5 Fantasy NBA Rookies with Opportunity
In my last article, I talked about three players from each position that I thought might be on the under-the-radar side during NBA season-long drafts, as well as maybe even some early looks for targets come opening day for the NBA season in DFS. There will be a couple of players from that article that will be show-cased here as well, so if you read the last article, you already know these cats, and if you didn’t get a chance to read it (go read it now), then this should be new material for you. In this article, I will discuss FIVE rookies coming into the 2018-2019 NBA season that should see early opportunities with their new squads.
1). Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks): This is no surprise and he was featured on my last article as well. The 6 FT 6 inch Euroleague MVP from last season has spent his last 4-5 years becoming a star in Real Madrid, Spain. Gaining league MVP this past season, while also leading his team to the Euroleague championship, are just a few highlights that Doncic has attached to his resume recently. In multiple seasons, Doncic finished in the top 10 raknings for field goals, assists, defensive rebounds, free-throws, as well as free-throw attempts. The Mavericks knew exactly who they wanted in the 2018-2019 draft, and they gave up a decent amount of stock to get Luka, trading off young Oklahoma star Trae Young after drafting him in the 1st round, 3rd pick, along with a future 1st round draft pick to boot. Doncic is slated to be the starting SG for the Mavs, and he should get ample opportunity alongside Dennis Smith Jr. in the Mavericks backcourt in the upcoming season.
2). Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks): Trae was also featured in my first NBA article alongside Luka, as both of these young studs should be in line to get plentiful playing time for their respective NBA squads. As mentioned above, Young was traded off by the Mavericks to the Atlanta Hawks after being selected 3rd overall in the draft. The Hawks were more than pleased to get Young, and knew that he would be inserted right into their young core that the Hawks have been building over the last 2 seasons with the likes of John Collins (21 yrs old), and Taurean Prince (24 yrs old). The Hawks did go out and sign Jeremy Lin as well to compete with Young in the backcourt for the starting PG spot, but we all know that Lin has had his unfortunate many injuries, and therefore, we can bank on Young being the starting PG and eventually win the job solely in the upcoming season. Young had quite the resume coming out of Oklahoma after the 2017-2018 season, being selected to many award lists such as the Wooden award, USBWA Freshman of the year, as well as a concensus 1st team all-american. Not to mention, he averaged 27.4 ppg, 8.7 apg, 3.9 rpg, 1.7 spg, while also notching the highest usage percentage in both the NCAA, and for the BIG 12 conference. Young is no stranger to the spotlight and I feel he will have no issues at all filling his new role (They did just get rid of their starting PG Dennis Schroder), and should be a great fantasy asset being on a top-5 pace NBA squad.
3). Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns): Ayton was the number 1 overall pick in the 2018-2019 NBA draft out of Arizona. The 7 foot 1 inch, 250 lb monster of a man from the Bahamas averaged 20.0 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg, and 1.6 apg in his 2017-2018 season at the University of Arizona. Landing him the PAC 12 player of the year honors, while being selected to the Wooden award list, grabbing the prestigious Big-Man Karl Malone award, as well as being selected to the 1st team All-American squad. Ayton lead the PAC 12 in field goals, 2-point baskets, 2-pt attempts, total rebounds, and total rebounding percentage. Ayton is slotted currently in the starting Center position for the Suns, and should easily be a double-double machine if given ample playing time, in which he looks like he should get early on.
4). Marvin Bagley (Sacramento Kings): Bagley was selected 2nd overall in the 2017-2018 NBA draft out of Duke University. Bagley was an absolute stud for the Blue-Devils over his 2017-2018 collegiate season, grabbing many awards and honors such as 2017-2018 ACC Player of the Year, concensus 1st team All-American, as well as 2018 NCAA Tournament All-Region team. Bagley averaged 21.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.8 spg, and 0.9 bpg. To say he is an all-around forward is quite the understatement. Bagely is currently listed atop the depth chart for the Kings at the PF spot, yet he will have to more than likely win this job early on as they do have some depth at the spot with the likes of Harry Giles, Skal Labissiere, and even long-time veteran, Zach Randolph. However, things most are looking good for Bagley as the Kings have given into wanting to develop their youth over the last couple season, and this should allow Bagley to get ample early court-time.
5). Wendell Carter Jr (Chicago Bulls): The 6 foot 10 inch, 260 lb Center out of Duke was selected 7th overall in the NBA draft. Carter ranked top 10 or better in just about every statistical measure that is measured, as well as averaged a modest 13.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, and 2.1 bpg over his 2017-2018 campaign. The Bulls had quite the issues with their Center position towards the end of last season, as they had benched starting C Robin Lopez, allowing playing time for Christiano Felicio to get some reps. Neither were anything to write home about, so this could absolutely turn into a full-time gig for Carter if he can go out a prove himself early on. He should and will get the opportunity to do so, and the Bulls did make some moves over the off-season, such as bringing in Jabari Parker, to help round out their squad in the frontcourt. Look for Carter to come out with something to prove, and work towards gaining the extra starter minutes.
A couple to watch for……Kevin Knox (New York Knicks)- Knox should get some early run as Kristaps Porzingis is looking to not be back from injury until January. Also, Elie Gkobo (Phenix Suns)- Listed as the starter at the current time for the Suns as they traded off Brandon Knight to the Rockets, so if they do not sign another PG (which it doesn’t seem like they are..yet) this could mean a split share of time with Okobo and De’Anthony Melton alongside Devin Booker and the #1 paced offense from the 2017-2018 season.
That will do it for this article, I hope you enjoyed the read! Catch me over @thesportsdegens or @smitchell17!