We all love rookies. It’s the old Peter Griffin story. Why choose a boat when you can choose a mystery box that could be anything, even a boat? And a lot of the time, this level of scepticism should be applied to rookies.
People vastly overestimate how good rookies will be in the NBA and that leads to a lot of them getting drafted too high. But, rookies are going to get picked, so I am here to tell you a little about what to expect from the top rookies this year and where to look at them in the draft.
Despite the old wives’ tale of ‘the rookie wall’, rookies, for the vast majority, get significantly better as the season moves forward.
Drafting rookies often means subpar performances in October, November, and December, with the hope of big nights in February and March. Balancing that out in terms of where to draft them can be tough.
With that in mind, here are some of the most viable rookies in fantasy basketball this season.
Cade Cunningham - Detroit Pistons
The number one overall pick in the 2021 draft, Cunningham should be the first rookie off the board in all drafts.
His current ADP is at 72, which places him at the end of Round 6 in a standard draft.
Cade should start right away for Detroit and it’s conceivable he is the Pistons best player very early on.
In terms of this ADP for Cunningham, I think it’s fair and while it may be shaky for the first month or two, I find it hard to see how picking Cade in the 65-75 range will go wrong.
Evan Mobley - Cleveland Cavaliers
The number three pick in the draft, Mobley is one that I’m a bit more sceptical about for this season.
I would’ve picked Mobley at two if I was Houston, but given Jarrett Allen and Lauri Markkanen are in Cleveland, and Kevin Love is still there, I’m not sure Mobley will make the same immediate impact as other rookies.
Mobley is coming off the board at pick 85 and I believe that is too high for my tastes.
He is someone I would look at around pick 95-105, understanding that if it comes together quickly, a top 60 is not outrageous given his skillset.
Jalen Green - Houston Rockets
With John Wall’s absence from the Houston rotation, Green’s value has jumped in the last week.
A current ADP of 88 (well ahead of his rank of 101) sees Green getting selected in Round 8 and I believe this is a fair area to get him.
If I saw Jalen fall to Round 9, I would have no hesitation in picking him, but this ADP is solid enough value, expecting him to get a bump in the fantasy playoffs.
Jalen Suggs - Orlando Magic
I think there is a real chance that Suggs finishes higher than both Mobley and Green this season, yet his ADP places him outside the top 100 (109). That is fantastic value.
People inside the Orlando Magic tell me they expect Suggs to be a starter immediately and be the face of this franchise as they rebuild.
If his ADP is to be believed, Suggs is available in Round 10, but I wouldn’t have an issue with getting him between 85-95.
Josh Giddey - Oklahoma City Thunder
Giddey is the only other rookie I would make sure is drafted in my 12 team league.
With an ADP of 144, people are taking a flier on Giddey in the last round, but to me, I have no issue getting Josh in the 105-120 range of a draft, fully expecting him to be a top 100 guy for the last three months of the season with some rough patches to begin.
The only other rookie I would think about as a last round flier in a standard league is the Rockets’ Alperen Şengün. Guys like Moses Moody, Scottie Barnes, Trey Murphy, Chris Duarte, and Franz Wagner may have some moments, but I just don’t think there is any value in drafting these players.
With Josh Lloyd for Yahoo Sport Australia
Sign up for NBA Fantasy Basketball for free: https://yhoo.it/NBAFantasyPH2022