The NBA draft is always a spectacle, and this year will be no different. With the top-ranked prospect in the country and a new team on the block, this season has all the makings of a fantasy basketball bonanza.
With the NBA draft just a few days away, there is plenty of buzz around who will be drafted first and what teams will make trades. The draft strategy fantasy basketball 2020 is one of the most interesting seasons in years, with major changes at the top of the draft.
15 September 2021
ESPN’s Andre Snellings
This season’s stories are almost limitless.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is on a career path that rivals the greatest players in NBA history, including “His Airness” and “King James,” yet no one appears to notice. For years, I’ve been anticipating and documenting his development, yet the bulk of the basketball world continues to argue that he isn’t the greatest player of his generation. It’s strange. He’s the NBA’s version of Keyser Söze.
So there you have it.
For the NBA season 2021-2022, you may start or join an ESPN Fantasy Basketball league at any time.
Register for free!
However, you should cast a broader net. The list could go on…
This season, where will Ben Simmons be playing? Damian Lillard, perhaps? Can Chris Paul and the Suns repeat their success? Does Donovan Mitchell make an appearance in the regular season? Is it possible for the Heat or Celtics to return to the top? This season, could Zion Williamson slam a real human over the rim?
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Consider the Los Angeles Lakers, who won the NBA title less than a year ago and have built the NBA’s version of “The Expendables.” They seem to have gathered every previous generation’s NBA action hero on one team, with at least one expert predicting a club that might win 70 games.
Last season, the Nets put together a superteam that was disrupted by injuries, but they are the clear favorites to win the Eastern Conference this season, and they will play the Lakers in a possible series with so many stories that the NBA universe may collapse under the weight.
Nikola Jokic, the current MVP, and Luka Doncic, the future MVP, are fighting for a hundred championships. Who is the greatest European in the NBA (assuming Antetokounmpo, “the Greek Freak,” isn’t included)? Who will be the first to average a triple-double? Did any of them have the flair to pull off Kristaps Porzingis’ European corn rows look? There are so many questions.
Nikola Jokic is the most versatile big man in fantasy football. USA TODAY Sports’ Isaiah J. Downing
Doncic is also up against Trae Young, dubbed “the Ice Trae.” On Draft Night in 2019, they were traded for each other, with everyone agreeing that the Mavericks got the best of the transaction. Despite this, Young’s Hawks advanced to the Conference Finals first, while Doncic’s Mavs sat at home. What could be better than being cool? It’s freezing!
However, these are only some of the major events taking place in the NBA. What about science fiction and fantasy?
The following are the major themes I’m seeing in fantasy basketball this season:
In Rounds 1 and 2, there were a lot of new faces.
This season’s first two rounds of the draft are akin to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”: They’ve been reversed, turned inside out. In fact, they will bear little similarity to the first two rounds from only a few seasons ago — or even last year! The top of this season’s fantasy basketball drafts will seem like a completely unknown nation due to age, superteams, injuries, and young players making the jump. Do you have any doubts? Let’s have a look.
Here’s an early peek at the top of the inaugural season’s points-based rankings, as well as the questions they raise:
The Best ten
Nikola Jokic is a Serbian footballer. Antetokounmpo, Giannis Luka Doncic is a Serbian footballer who plays for the James Harden is a basketball player from the United States. Towns, Karl-Anthony Bradley Beal is a basketball player who plays in the NBA Lillard, Damian Stephen Curry, Paul George Jayson Tatum is a basketball player from the United States.
Where have LeBron James and Kevin Durant disappeared to? When healthy, James and Durant have been first-round picks in fantasy drafts for well over a decade. Since the 2020 Hall of Fame Class (Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Duncan Robinson) retired, they’ve been the most common responses to the question, “Who is the greatest player in the NBA?” Even now, if you asked that topic on most sports programs, the discussion would mainly revolve on James and Durant. But what about fantasy first-round picks?
Nope. This isn’t the season. Because their objectives and club outlooks are sufficiently removed from regular season performance, their influence may not always transfer to consistent fantasy output. Both are important components of a great team that includes several previous MVP/All-NBA teammates, making them more likely to win a championship but less likely to put up big statistics. They’re also almost 70 years old, with 30 years of NBA experience between them. They also missed a combined 74 games last season due to injuries and will most likely be load managed this season. When you add it all up, we’re looking at the first fantasy basketball first round since 2005.
Following the trade of Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal’s statistics may increase even higher. Tommy Gilligan is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
Is it possible that Beal and “PG13” will come out ahead of “Chef Curry”? Curry is coming off perhaps his greatest statistical season, in which he led the NBA in scoring and averaged over five assists, rebounds, and 3-pointers per game. Exceptionally hideous. However, he and the Warriors are anticipated to have Klay Thompson back this season, and Andrew Wiggins, who is currently on the roster, is projected to provide close to 20 points per game. With the addition of the other great players they’ve gathered, the Warriors believe they’re poised to make another run at the title this season. They don’t expect Curry to have to do everything offensively for them like he did last season. He’ll still be a first-round fantasy basketball pick, but he’ll be closer to the bottom of the round than the top.
In the meanwhile, Beal and George will be missing their most dominating teammate from last season. Russell Westbrook was moved to the Lakers by the Wizards, while Kawhi Leonard was lost to a knee injury by the Clippers. Both teams have some good secondary talent around their stars, but make no mistake: Beal and George are the team’s stars to begin the season.
Beal is coming off two seasons in which he averaged more than 30 points, five assists, nearly five rebounds, and three three-pointers despite playing a significant amount of games alongside one of the NBA’s most used players.
Meanwhile, George averaged 28 points, more than eight rebounds, four assists, and nearly four three-pointers while leading the NBA in steals the last time he was “the guy,” which happened to be when he was playing with Westbrook. Both Beal and George have a realistic chance to improve on their past high-water marks, landing them in the first round in fantasy basketball drafts.
Then there’s Tatum, who has been on the verge of being the “next big thing” for a few of seasons and has finally broken through as a first-round pick. He struggled physically for months last season after contracting COVID-19 early in the season. Despite this, he ended the season with an 18-game streak averaging 30 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three three-pointers per game, including performances of 60 points, 53 points, and ten rebounds, and 44 points and ten rebounds.
In the playoffs, he averaged over 30 points per game with a similar outstanding stat line. Furthermore, the Celtics moved high-usage point guard Kemba Walker to focus their output more firmly in the hands of Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum has finally arrived, and he’s poised to take over as the obvious franchise player on fantasy basketball teams.
The next ten
Kevin Durant is a basketball player who plays in the NBA Nikola Vucevic is a Serbian businessman. Williamson, Zion De’Aaron Fox is a professional basketball player. LeBron James Joel Embiid Young, James Trae Donovan Mitchell Fred VanVleet Sabonis, Domantas
What about AD, Westbrook, and the rest of the team?
This season, we finally get to see Durant and James in Round 2, but James’ two most accomplished colleagues are missing. What’s going on? After all, Russell Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in four of the past five seasons, and Anthony Davis is a top-five fantasy basketball prospect every year.
The problem is that now since they’re all on the same team, it’s reducing everyone’s statistics. On this Lakers team, Westbrook can’t even get close to his normal usage numbers because of James.
Anthony Davis’ fantasy output will be harmed by the arrival of Russell Westbrook. Getty Images/Stephen Gosling/NBAE
Davis may still put up good numbers even if James and Westbrook limit his points and rebounds, particularly if the reduced offensive pressure enables him to concentrate more on defense and his blocks and thefts increase. Last season, though, he missed 36 games and has missed double-digit games in seven of his nine NBA seasons. For the first time since his rookie season, he is pushed out of the first two rounds due to restricted chances and the danger of injury.
Year 3 begins for Zion and Ja.
This season, Zion Williamson jumped up the rankings, in part because he’s approaching that magical third season when the game appears to have slowed down to the point where a player can simply ball out. Ja Morant, who is presently ranked 44th, is likewise in his third year and is expected to rise in the rankings. Both the Pelicans and the Grizzlies made changes in the summer to make each player more of an offensive focal point, and Williamson and Morant seem to be ready to take on that increased responsibility and elevate their performance.
Vucevic and Sabonis are both deserving of praise.
Both Vucevic and Sabonis are NBA All-Stars, but neither is well-known yet. Nonetheless, both have proved themselves worthy of first-round selections in fantasy basketball leagues and should no longer be ignored. Last season, Vucevic was moved from the Magic to the Bulls, yet he averaged 21.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 2.3 3-pointers for both clubs. And he did it while hitting more than half of his 2-pointers, 80% of his free throws, and about 40% of his 3-pointers.
With Domantas Sabonis, efficiency is the name of the game. Trevor Ruszkowski is a reporter for USA TODAY Sports.
Last season, Sabonis was the greatest center-source of assists East of MVP Jokic, averaging 6.7 assists per game to go along with 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, a career-high 1.2 assists per game, and 0.8 three-pointers. Sabonis, who is just 25 years old, is still improving and may be in line for another breakout year.
A new Raptor has taken command.
In fantasy drafts, the Raptors usually feature at least one player in the first two rounds. Kyle Lowry was the man for years. DeMar DeRozan was sometimes taken into account. Leonard swept into Toronto like a tornado of fame. Last season, it was Pascal Siakam who was the first player off the board.
But what about this season? Fred VanVleet is on his way. Lowry has moved to Miami, Siakam is sidelined with an injury, and VanVleet is the undisputed alpha creator in the backcourt. More than 20 points, maybe seven or eight assists, a few rebounds, high-volume 3-pointers, and almost two steals are all statistics that would make FVV a second-round pick.
An ace and a king
With a combination of aggressive scoring and playmaking, Fox and Young have rocketed to the top rounds of fantasy drafts, but they do it in very different ways.
On the court, Fox, 23, is greased lightning, making it difficult for opponents to keep him out of the paint. And once he’s there, he can finish over, around, or through opponents at ridiculously high percentages, more akin to a point guard than a James or Antetokounmpo. He also has the court vision to take full advantage of the defenses he breaks down, allowing his teammates to score easily.
Aside from his high number of points and assists, Fox stands out with nearly 1.5 thefts per game and is working on his 3-point shot, which he averaged 1.8 3PG per game last season. And while we’re on the subject of treys…
Trae Young is one of the NBA’s brightest young talents. Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox
“The Ice Trae” attempts and hits the most 35-foot 3-pointers in the NBA. His shooting range is ridiculous, and he also utilizes the most on-ball selections in the league, according to Second Spectrum. When all of this comes together, he pushes other teams’ defenses to distort outward in order to slow him down.
He’s averaged more than 27 points, nearly 10 assists, four rebounds, three three-pointers, and a steal per game over the past two seasons. Last season, he led the Hawks to the Conference Finals, with postseason statistics that were even greater than those of the regular season. His greatest is still to come at the age of 22, which is terrifying.
Mitchell, are you ready for the playoffs?
Mitchell, who has a habit of taking his “Like Mike” elixir during the playoffs, is another youthful talent who shines in the postseason. In the past two postseason, the Jazz two-guard has averaged 33.9 points per game, 5.2 assists per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 4.9 three-pointers per game, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 48.0 percent from the field and 88.1 percent from the line. In fantasy basketball leagues, he’d be in the discussion for the first overall selection if he accomplished this in the regular season.
He’s been happy to be “merely” a fantasy hero throughout the regular season, with comparable statistics but roughly seven less points and 1.5 fewer treys per game. He’s obviously capable of MVP-level performance and is one of the few predicted second-rounders who may significantly outperform his initial position.
Final thoughts: the following wave promises to be spectacular.
The first two rounds of fantasy basketball drafts were unlike anything we’d seen in years. It doesn’t end there, either. Other newcomers Julius Randle, LaMelo Ball, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dejounte Murray, and Michael Porter Jr. have been pushed out of the top-20 ranks and are vying for a spot.
We’re on the verge of seeing a whole new generation of NBA superstars, which makes fantasy basketball a lot more interesting right now. Everything is brand new. The names are all brand new. The games are vibrant and youthful. What’s not to like about that?
This is your year if you’ve never played fantasy basketball before. And if you’ve been playing for a while, 2018 is shaping up to be the most enjoyable season ever. Let’s have some fun together!
This year’s fantasy basketball season is the most interesting in years. The top of the draft has been changed and there are a lot of players that could be taken at number one. Reference: fantasy basketball mock draft 2020.
- nba fantasy draft strategy
- fantasy basketball 5th pick
- cbs fantasy basketball mock draft
- nba fantasy who to draft
- nba fantasy mock draft 12 team