Aug 23, 2012 Blog
NBA Rookies are definitely the hardest group of players to rank, especially before they have even attended their first camp. These rankings will probably change a good bit before the season starts, but there are a few good fantasy bets here.
Our 2012-2013 NBA Fantasy Basketball Rookie Draft Rankings will be updated throughout the offseason and training camp, so check back for updated rankings.
The following rankings are based on the FBD scoring system, which you can find HERE.
I also use these rankings for all of my cash game play at FANDUEL. Daily cash games and tournaments at Fanduel are highly addictive for guys who like daily fantasy action. Registration at Fanduel is free and you can deposit with Paypal or a credit card.
Anthony Davis (NOR) - Davis got some great exposure and experience this summer playing in the Olympics. From what I watched, he didn’t look overmatched at all and actually held his own quite well. The Hornets are probably going to give him some run at power forward and center to see where he fits best. They just brought in Robin Lopez to play some center and Ryan Anderson to get some minutes at power forward. There’s a good chance Anderson slides down to small forward, leaving the power forward minutes for Davis. Wherever he plays, he should get 30-32 minutes a game and grab rookie of the year honors. His scoring might take some time to develop, but he has the potential to grab 10+ rebounds a game and put up great shot blocking totals as well.
Damian Lillard (POR) – The Blazers parted ways with Raymond Felton, which leaves the starting point guard spot open for Lillard. He had a great summer league, being voted co-MVP, and should be able to log 32-24 minutes per game this season making him the best rookie point guard on the board. Lillard is a great pick and roll player and should have some big games with LaMarcus Aldridge. I’m projecting him at 14 points and 6 assists per game.
Bradley Beal (WAS) – Beal will get every opportunity to earn the starting shooting guard spot and play alongside John Wall. Beal has an excellent jumper and has been compared to Ray Allen in his effectiveness. He’s still got to compete with Jordan Crawford for minutes, but Crawford’s horrible shooting percentage should keep Beal on the court to spread the floor for Wall. Beal also has excellent defensive skills and could easily pick 1.5 steals per game. If you are building around points, threes and steals, then Beal is probably the best rookie candidate for those categories.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA) – The Bobcats got rid of Corey Maggette, which opens the starting small forward spot for Gilchrist. MGK is a great defensive player and that should get him on the court for 30+ minutes a game in his rookie season. He’s going to be a hard working energy guy for Charlotte on the defensive end, but he might have some problems developing his offensive game. He’s not a great jumpshooter, but instead prefers to take it to the basket. He’ll definitely need to work on his shot to open himself up some space to drive. He should be able to put up 10 points, 5 rebounds and a couple of steals a game.
Dion Waiters (CLE) – The Cavaliers drafted Waiters to pair with Kyrie Irving in the backcourt and he could get some significant minutes this season to develop chemistry with Irving. Waiters has a good shooting touch as evidenced by his numbers at Syracuse where he hit threes at a 36.7% rate and shot 47.6% overall. He’s also a very active defensive player, picking up 1.8 steals per game in just 24 minutes of action at Syracuse. He’s going to have some competition for minutes with Daniel Gibson and the newly acquired C.J. Miles, but if Miles starts getting minutes at small forward, Waiters could get the bulk of the shooting guard minutes.
Jonas Valanciunas (TOR) – Toronto drafted Valanciunas fifth overall in the 2011 NBA Draft and stashed him over in Europe for some much needed development. He’s back, and he’s developed. There is a good chance the Raptors will insert him into the starting lineup at center this season and move Andrea Bargnani to power forward (which would be a big help to his stats as well).
Meyers Leonard (POR) – The Blazers have absolutely nobody on their roster to play center, so they used the number 11 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft on Meyers Leonard. He’s got as much chance as anyone to grab a starting NBA job, which makes him fantasy worthy, especially at center.
Austin Rivers (NOR) – The Hornets grabbed Rivers with the tenth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and will try to plug him in at point guard. They recently traded away Jarrett Jack, which leaves only Greivis Vasquez at point guard. Rivers isn’t a natural point guard and would be better suited at shooting guard, but the Hornets already have that spot covered with Eric Gordon. There’s a good chance that they work Rivers in slowly at point guard and also give him minutes backing up Gordon at shooting guard. New Orleans really has no shot at the playoffs this season and they might as well develop some chemistry between Anthony Davis and Rivers if they have any hope of competing in the future. If Rivers grabs the starting point guard spot, his ranking will rise sharply.
Donatas Motiejunas (HOU) – The Rockets let Luis Scola walk and now have an opening at power forward. Motiejunas should battle it out with Patrick Patterson for the starting spot, and could easily win that battle. Motiejunas is a 21 year old seven-footer who was drafted with the 20th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He’s got excellent offensive potential and a nice shooting touch. He’s a little thin, which could give him some problems on defense, but he’s a great fantasy asset for points, rebounds and blocks. There’s also a chance that he could pickup some minutes at center if newly acquired Omer Asik doesn’t perform well or gets hurt. His final ranking will depend a lot on how his camp goes, with a starting spot he’s a top five rookie.
Harrison Barnes (GSW) – The Warriors got rid of Dorell Wright and only Richard Jefferson remains between Barnes and a starting job. I expect that Jefferson will get first shot at the starting small forward spot, but Barnes could easily take that job by Christmas. Even if Jefferson grabs the starting spot, look for Barnes to pick up 25 minutes a game as the primary sixth man offensive option off the bench. His final ranking will depend greatly on his battle with Jefferson and how quickly the Warriors want to develop him.
Tomas Robinson (SAC) – Sacramento currently has Jason Thompson at power forward, but they desperately need to improve their team rebounding, which is exactly why they drafted Robinson. Although he probably won’t score much, he should pile up huge rebound numbers that could really help your fantasy team. Keep an eye on how many minutes he’s getting in camp and adjust his ranking accordingly.
Jeremy Lamb (HOU) – Lamb is just one Kevin Martin injury away from being a huge fantasy asset, and you know that Martin injury is inevitable, right? Lamb is a pure scorer and averaged 17.7 points per game for Connecticut on 47.8% shooting. When Houston finally realizes they have no shot at the playoffs, look for Martin to be shopped and the starting shooting guard spot handed to Lamb.
Moe Harkless (ORL) – Harkless was drafted by Philadelphia but was recently traded to Orlando as part of the Dwight Howard deal. The Magic are definitely in rebuilding mode and currenly have Hedo Turkoglu manning the small forward spot. Turkoglu could be a trade candidate, which would leave a starting job for Harkless. If the trade doesn’t happen, then Harkless probably isn’t draftable.
Guys who need some luck to become fantasy relevant:
Terrence Ross (TOR) – Ross is an excellent offensive player, but right now he’s solidly behind DeMar DeRozan. He’s going to need a DeRozan trade to have enough value to draft him in one year fantasy leagues. If DeRozan doesn’t get traded, Ross will be lucky to get 20 minutes a night.
Alexy Shved (MIN) – Shved is a Russian combo guard that really got some attention during this year’s Olympics. The Timberwolves have him slotted at shooting guard, but he’s also going to get some time at point guard while Ricky Rubio continues to rehab. He’s got a pretty good jumpshot and can hit the corner three when needed. The danger with drafting Shved is that the Wolves also have Brandon Roy. Roy will probably get most of the minutes, so Shved will likely start off as the backup.
Royce White (HOU) – White is a ‘point forward’ type of player who will competing with Patrick Patterson, Donatas Motiejunas and maybe some of the small forward candidates for minutes. If the Rockets choose to go with his skillset at power forward, he could gain fantasy value.
John Henson (MIL) – Henson has size and offensive ability, unfortunately he’s buried on the depth chart behind Drew Gooden, Samuel Dalembert and Ersan Ilyasova. He’s going to need a few injuries to the guys in front of him to become fantasy relevant.
Perry Jones, III (OKC) – Jones has offensive skills, but he’s stuck behind Kevin Durant. He could get some run with the second team.
Terrence Jones (HOU) – Jones has the ability to play either small forward or power forward for the Rockets, but his best bet is probably at small forward. He’s got too much competition for minutes right now to be draftable.
John Jenkins (ATL) – Jenkins is a sharpshooter who is currently stuck behind Jeff Teague, Devin Harris and Lou Williams. He’s primarily a jumpshooter and will likely come off the bench, but not really have enough value to be draftable.
Andrew Nicholson (ORL) – Nicholson was hoping to grab a backup spot behind Glen Davis, but the Magic recently brought in Al Harrington, which could kill Nicholson’s chance at fantasy relevancy.
Kendall Marshall (PHO) – Marshall had a shot at the starting point guard spot when Steve Nash left, but the Suns brought in Goran Dragic. Marshall averaged nearly 10 assists per game for North Carolina and could pickup some backup minutes. He’s going to have to improve his shot though.
Jared Sullinger (BOS) – He’s behind some guy named Kevin Garnett. Enough said.
Tyler Zeller (CLE) – Zeller should pickup some backup minutes, but the Cavs are likely going all-in with Tristan Thompson at power forward and Anderson Varejao at center.
Andre Drummond (DET) – I’ve seen several sites hyping Drummond, but don’t fall for the hype. He’s definitely a project and has no offensive game at all. His only contributions would be rebounding and maybe some blocks, that’s if he can get with the system and keep his fouls under control.