Fantasy Impact – NBA Draft Vol. 1

In light of the recent 2016 NBA Draft, there has already been a lot of discussion about the possible fantasy impacts of not only the players drafted, but also the players that have been traded already this offseason. With so many transactions already in the books, Jacob Martin (@2JMartin) and I (@JMetz34) will break the first round of the NBA draft into three separate articles and dive in to what we feel to be the biggest fantasy impacts from the draft.

1 – Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons

Joe:

Obviously this is the pick that is going to have the biggest fantasy impact in the draft as Simmons is immediately the Sixers biggest offensive threat. The 76ers do, however, have a bit of a log-jam at the four, with Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Simmons all capable of manning the position. If one or both of Okafor and Noel are shipped off, Simmons should see close to 35-40 minutes per game, and if one or both of them are held on to by Philly, he should be around 30-35 minutes per game. Regardless of what happens in the frontcourt, Simmons possesses more than enough skill to be a viable fantasy asset night in and night out. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him go in the first 6-7 rounds of standard leagues and be priced around 7-8K on Fanduel to start the season.

Jacob:

I agree, Simmons should have the most hype of any rookie in this year’s class considering he is coming to the 76ers who love to play at an uptempo pace, and he should have the longest leash on the court of any rookie considering how badly Philly needs him to be a star.  The 76ers have too many frontcourt guys right now with third year Center Joel Embiid expected to debut and Dario Saric, the promising draft and stash prospect selected 12th overall in the same Embiid draft, also expected to come to Philadelphia.  Coach Brent Brown has said he wants Ben Simmons to have a point guard type role on the team which should lead to more usage and upside in terms of fantasy.  Ideally, the 76ers will move either Okafor or Noel this summer to free up space in the frontcourt for next season.

2 – Los Angeles Lakers – Brandon Ingram

Jacob –

A lot of draft experts saw Ingram and thought he was the best prospect in the draft.  He should come in and play heavy minutes at small forward and power forward with very good playmaking ability.  Ingram showed at Duke that he can take over games with both his driving ability and a quality jump shot.  With Byron Scott (finally) out as head coach in LA, Ingram should have a chance to shine with Luke Walton taking over the reins.  The young core of Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle brings excitement to the Lakers after a couple of down years.

Joe –

What Jacob said is spot on. I see Ingram coming into a prominent role in the offense immediately (barring a major FA acquisition) and logging heavy minutes, much like Russell did in the stretch run last season. He should be able to post quality scoring and rebounding numbers, but the question about his durability and strength is going to only get louder as the season drags on. As is, he’s a strong role player with all-star potential, and if he beefs up in the off-season, he could be extremely dangerous.

3 – Boston Celtics – Jaylen Brown

Jacob –

This was a somewhat controversial pick as Boston was all over the board on who they were going to pick, if they were going to pick at all.  After a month of trying to work out a deal for an established star, the Celtics decided on Jaylen Brown who could develop into a really good NBA player.  After an inconsistent freshman year at Cal, Brown was able to show in workouts that he is a very good scorer and has a great motor.  The biggest knock on his game was a lack of a consistent jump shot.  It probably won’t develop immediately, but if he can get his jumper to fall, Brown could be a real star.  Boston has a lot of nice, young pieces on their team, and Brown should fill in nicely at small forward.

Joe –

Man was the Celtics draft disappointing. Everyone expected the Celtics to trade away the third pick for the likes of Jimmy Butler, but they didn’t, and that should shed some light on how high they are on Brown. Jacob mentioned Brown’s lack of a consistent jumper, and my fear is that if he doesn’t develop one quickly, he’ll be lost in the Boston rotation. He’s likely to play small forward and a bit of shooting guard, positions that the Celtics already have filled with Evan Turner, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and even Marcus Smart when they play small ball. It’s going to be tough for Brown to carve out significant minutes out of the gate, but if he does, he should be able to develop into a great player.

4 – Phoenix Suns – Dragan Bender

Jacob –

Dragan Bender is one of the biggest unknowns in the draft.  The immediate comparison for Bender was Knicks rookie sensation, Kristaps Porzingis, but I don’t think that’s entirely fair.  Bender isn’t as big or as polished as Porzingis was coming into the draft.  What Bender can do is protect the rim and really shoot the ball.  The Suns are another team I think will make a trade as they also have a loaded frontcourt.  Bender is more of a project, but should show some flashes in his rookie year.

Joe –

There isn’t a ton to say about Bender because there isn’t a ton that is known about him, but like Jacob said, in order for Bender to be fantasy relevant this season, trades need to be made. The suns have a rather established frontcourt of Alex Len and Tyson Chandler, with backup bigs being Mirza Teletovic and Jon Leuer. I actually see a lot of Bender in Teletovic, with how effective they are with a jump shot and their rebounding ability, but I think that Bender has a higher ceiling, even if it isn’t immediately apparent.

5 – Minnesota Timberwolves – Kris Dunn

Jacob –

Teams were very high on Kris Dunn on draft night.  Lots of organizations were trying to trade into the top part of the draft to take Dunn, but he went to Minnesota at 5.  I don’t know what to make of this pick for a couple of reasons.  First, the Timberwolves already have a good, established point guard in Ricky Rubio, although I do expect him to be traded.  Then there is also the issue of starting a point guard who is not a great shooter.  The argument can be made that Minnesota is used to that with Rubio, but Rubio can make up for that with his excellent passing.  I have been skeptical of Dunn for most of the year, but leaving school after his junior year should make him a little more ready to contribute right away than some of the 19-year-old projects being selected.

Joe –

I love Kris Dunn. After watching him play against Xavier throughout the college basketball season, I wanted him in a Bucks uniform. He’s the perfect point guard for the Timberwolves (if they can move Rubio) as he’s an up-tempo pass-first point guard. He will rack up assists in transition dishing it off to Andrew Wiggins and Karl Towns and should be one of the best defenders on the team. The only question mark is his jump shot. It could either develop and enhance his game, or he could end up somewhat like Michael Carter-Williams and have defenses completely sag off of him at the three point line. Let’s hope its not the latter.

6 – New Orleans Pelicans – Buddy Hield

Jacob –

I love Buddy Hield as a do-everything combo guard.  He might be the best shooter in the draft, he comes from a winning culture at Oklahoma, and is less of a project after staying all four years in school.  If the Pelicans can move one of their guards this summer, Buddy could really shine if he’s given the minutes.  I haven’t liked what New Orleans has done since drafting superstar Anthony Davis in terms of surrounding him with championship-caliber talent, but drafting Buddy Hield is a step in the right direction.  I think he can come in and contribute right away, and could be a fantasy stud this year.

Joe –

Jacob may be a bit higher on Hield than I am. Yes, he’s a polished and developed player and yes he can shoot the ball lights out, but is there much room to grow? Coming out of Oklahoma as a senior prohibits a good amount of development to be made in the NBA, which is why I see his ceiling comparable to his now-teammate Eric Gordon. They have extremely similar play styles (outside marksman, occasional slasher) and I think that they can work as a great pairing at the two guard spot. I don’t necessarily see Hield as a fantasy “stud”, but I do see him making a significant impact as a valuable role player, and someone I could see in the running for the Sixth Man of the Year award down the road.

7 – Denver Nuggets – Jamal Murray

Jacob –

Jamal Murray was one of my favorite prospects to follow this year at Kentucky.  With the league becoming a place for shooters to excel, drafting one of the best shooters in the draft who is 19 was a great pick for Denver.  Emmanuel Mudiay now has a very solid backcourt mate who will space the floor for him, and should provide a very good balance to Denver’s offensive attack.  Fantasy wise, the hope is Murray will do more than score, and he might be able to after averaging 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal at Kentucky.

Joe –

The Denver backcourt could get pretty dangerous. With Mudiay being a 6’6″ point guard with a rather balanced game, adding a bigger-sized two guard like Murray should only compliment him. Jacob touched on it a bit, but Murray didn’t do a ton outside of score at Kentucky (19+ ppg), so the scoring should translate rather easily, but if he can keep the complementary stats up, the Denver backcourt should be tough to slow down. I think that he’ll be a pretty valuable fantasy asset and is the perfect type of player that I would roster as a secondary shooting guard to spend up for a stud, only he should have a higher ceiling than many players in his price range.

8 – Phoenix Suns – Marquese Chriss

Jacob –

Most people saw this draft in tiers.  The first two picks were tier one, then picks 3-8 was the second tier.  Rounding out the last of the elite prospects is Marquese Chriss.  Chriss flew up draft boards after the season ended due to his incredible athleticism and measurements.  The Suns absolutely robbed the Kings to get Chriss, and now have one of the highest upside projects on their team.  I don’t think Chriss will offer much value right away in fantasy, but if injuries or trades open up minutes for Chriss later in the season, he could have some very solid games that will show people that the potential is there.

Joe –

While Chriss is obviously going to be a rookie, I’m scared at his lack of knowledge in the game of basketball. Obviously he’s had enough to make it this far, but does he have enough to flourish? He didn’t start playing basketball (organized) until the age of 14, much later than most of these prospects, but still doesn’t turn 19 until the first week of July. Age is on his side as he comes in with a ton of room for development, especially on the Basketball IQ side of things, but will find it hard-pressed to make a fantasy impact in the crowded Phoenix frontcourt.

9 – Toronto Raptors – Jakob Poeltl

Jacob –

Drafting Poeltl provides the Raptors with insurance if Bismack Biyombo leaves in free agency after a very strong postseason.  After staying another year at Utah, Poeltl got a lot stronger and showed significant improvement in his game to warrant this pick.  I think Poeltl will be a solid contributor for the Raptors, but in terms of fantasy, barring injury, I don’t think he will have a big impact.

Joe –

Every single mock had Poeltl going to the Bucks and I’m glad it didn’t happen. I don’t know why I don’t like him, something about him just bugs me. I do like the fit in Toronto however. He, like Jacob mentioned, provides relief if they lose Biyombo to free agency, but is still likely to be stuck behind Jonas Valanciunas. I do believe there is a glimmer of hope from a fantasy standpoint though. Down the stretch of last season, Valanciunas became somewhat ineffective in the offense both due to injury and poor play, leading to an increased role for Biyombo. If Jonas comes into the season out of shape, hurt, or just not playing up to his potential, I don’t think Toronto will hesitate in boosting Poeltl’s role early on.

10 – Milwaukee Bucks – Thon Maker (Disclaimer- We are both huge Bucks fans)

Jacob –

After watching a youtube video a couple of years ago of Thon Maker showing off guard-like skills in a 7’1″ body, I dreamed that one day he would be a Milwaukee Buck.  A lot of the hype died down as his game was really picked apart, but the talent is there for him to be a homerun pick.  It probably won’t happen this year, but the goal for Maker is for him to be a stretch-5 rim protector who can run the floor as a playmaker.  Like the fan of any team who just drafted a player, I have been convincing myself that this is a great pick, and Maker can live up to the hype and bring a title to Milwaukee.

Joe –

I remember sitting in Spanish class in our junior year in high school having Jacob pass me his iPad, forcing me to watch Thon Maker highlights. The fact that he’s actually on the Bucks is comical when I look back to that. John Hammond should be considered the boldest GM when it comes to drafting, because the Giannis pick clearly got to his head. While Maker is only 19 (?) and stands at 7’1″ with a nice jump shot, the fact that we have yet to see him against legitimate competition is what’s scary. This is your typical boom-or-bust draft pick. IF Thon Maker can fulfill his full potential, I think we have the next Kevin Garnett on our hands, BUT there is still the very strong likelihood that he doesn’t. In his rookie season, I would completely stray away from him in any fantasy format, as the Bucks are likely taking baby steps in his development. The only way that he’ll become relevant would be due to a rash of injuries to John Henson, Miles Plumlee and maybe even Joakim Noah if the Bucks can snag him.

 

*Picks number 11-20 will be featured in the second edition of “Fantasy Impact – NBA Draft”, stay tuned for more and follow us on Twitter @JBDailyFantasy!*

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