2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Dynasty Rookie Rankings
- Markelle Fultz, 6’4” PG, Philadelphia 76ers, 2017 NBA Draft #1 overall pick
Fultz sprained his ankle in summer league so we didn’t get to see him in much game action. The most recent updates by the 76ers indicated he has fully recovered from the ankle injury and I don’t expect it to hinder him going forward. Fultz was selected #1 overall despite his Washington team not making the NCAA tournament. That marks two years in a row where the #1 pick did not play in the NCA tournament (Ben Simmons in 2016).
Fultz also looks to have good stocks based on his college statistics. He is more of a scoring point guard but he did average nearly 6 assists on a bad University of Washington team. Ben Simmons will be initiating a lot of the offense so Fultz will have the ball in his hands less than Ball. Not a great free throw shooter but rookies generally tend to improve each year in the league. For year 1, I prefer Ball but a few years from now Fultz could be the clear #1 player in this class
2. Lonzo Ball, 6’6″ PG, Los Angeles Lakers, 2017 NBA Draft #2 overall pick
Yes, it was only summer league but Lonzo was impressive in Las Vegas and his college statistics make it look like he will be a good fantasy player. You may ask why isn’t Markelle Fultz #1? Fultz may end up being the better player but I think Lonzo’s current value is higher than Fultz. Ball should be a better overall fantasy player in his rookie year and his trade value is higher due to the Ball family hype machine and Lakers large fan base. If you really don’t like Ball, I am sure you could get more value for him than for Fultz.
Ball is not a prolific scorer and like most rookies his FG% and FT% will be on the low side. He did shoot a very high percentage in college because he got a lot of shots at the rim. I expect plenty of assists and steals from day 1. He is tall for a PG at 6’6” so he should have fairly high rebounds and blocks (he averaged close to a block of a game at UCLA) for a guard.
- Dennis Smith Jr., 6’2” PG, Dallas Mavericks, 2017 NBA Draft #9 Overall
Yes, this draft class was loaded with point guards and Dennis Smith. Jr. was quite impressive in Las Vegas summer league. Smith tore his ACL in high school but it appears he has fully recovered from that and played a full season at NC State. He really showed that he can get to the free throw line in summer league. He should start for the Mavericks from day 1. He was a draft day steal for the Mavericks at #9 overall.
- De’Aaron Fox, 6’3” PG, Sacramento Kings, 2017 NBA Draft #5 Overall
After continually drafting PF/C types the past few years, the Kings final drafted a high end point guard. Fox is skilled on both sides of the ball but needs to improve his shooting to take his game to the next level. With the arrival of George Hill in Sacramento, the Kings will have time to bring along Fox rather than throw him into the fire. The Kings took a new direction when they traded Demarcus Cousins so perhaps they will improve player development as well.
- Jonathan Isaac, 6’10” SF, Orlando Magic, 2017 NBA Draft # 6 Overall
Isaac has significant upside and could be a high end steals/blocks type player with the proper development. The Magic have had some talented draft picks in the past but they have not always put these players in position to develop and maximize their strengths. Isaac could be a very impactful 3 or 4 down the road but is a project right now.
- Jason Tatum 6’8” SF, Boston Celtics, 2017 NBA Draft #3 Overall
Tatum played well in summer league and Boston allegedly would have drafted Tatum #1 if they had not trade the #1 pick. All that is heresay of course but the Celtics were definitely high on Tatum entering the draft. Tatum is a good strong offense player but like most in the draft he needs to work on his shooting.
- Josh Jackson 6’8” SF, Phoenix Suns, 2017 NBA Draft #4
Jackson has all the tools to have a solid NBA career. He may not have as high of a fantasy ceiling as other players in the draft but he is likely one of the more NBA ready prospects near the top of the draft.
- Frank Ntilikina 6’5” PG, New York Nicks, 2017 NBA Draft #8
Many think New York should have taken Dennis Smith Jr. rather than Ntilikina but Ntilikina has great length for a PG and is a better creator for others than Dennis Smith Jr. He does need to work on his jumper. He is very young at barely 19 years old so there is lots of room for development.
- Malik Monk, 6’3” SG, Charlotte Hornets, 2017 NBA Draft #11
Monk is often compared to Ray Allen. Those are quite lofty expectations to live up to. Monk is small for a shooting aurd at 6’3” but is fairly athletic. Monk is the best pure shooting guard in the draft. He should contribute off the bench this year.
- Donovan Mitchell, 6’3” PG/SG, Utah Jazz, 2017 NBA Draft #13
Mitchell was perhaps one of the most impressive surprises of summer league. He had 37 points and 8 steals in one summer league game. He is a PG/SG tweener at 6’3” but has huge upside. The Jazz have a fairly good track record in the draft and Mitchell seems to have the tools.
- Lauri Markkanen, 7’0” PF, Chicago Bulls, 2017 NBA Draft #8
The Bulls acquired Markkanen through a trade with the Timberwolves that most felt heavily favored Minnesota. That being said, Markkanen performed well in the Eurobasket tournament averaging more than 20 points per game. He is a great shooter and a prototypical stretch 4 for the modern NBA.
- Zach Collins, 6’11” PF/C, Portland Trailblazers, 2017 NBA Draft #10
Collins came off the bench for Gonzaga but don’t let that make you think he isn’t talented. He has the potential to be a good stretch 5 that can shoot and block some shots. He looks like a really good fit with Lillard and McCollum in Portland.
- John Collins, 6’9” PF, Atlanta Hawks, 2017 NBA Draft #19
Collins may not be the highest ceiling player in the draft but the cupboard is pretty bare in Atlanta at the 4/5 so he could get some playing time as the year goes on. He is the youngest sophomore player drafted in 2017.
- Harry Giles, 6’10” PF, Sacramento Kings, 2017 NBA Draft #20
Giles was perhaps the top prospect in this class before a series of ACL and other knee injuries set him back. He only played 11 games at Duke. His upside is tremendous if he can overcome those injuries and return to his prior form. The later you get in the draft, the more you can gamble with guys with boom or bust potential.
- Jarret Allen, 6’10” C, Brooklyn Nets, 2017 NBA Draft #22
Allen is a traditional pure center but is very mobile for his size. Perhaps he can follow in the footsteps of someone like Deandre Jordan. Allen should have plenty of opportunity with the Nets being thing on talent at the 4/5 with Mozgov being his primary competition at center. Look for traditional big man stats from him.
- OG Anunoby, 6’7” SF, Toronto Raptors, 2017 NBA Draft #23
Toronto went for upside with this pick as Anunoby is recovering from an ACL tear in January. He may miss most if not all of this season. The Raptors have talent on the wing so they can afford to wait on Anunoby’s development. Annunoby is a strong all around player who should contribute in multiple areas.
Others to consider: Jordan Bell, Josh Hart, Caleb Swanigan, DJ Wilson, TJ Leaf, Jawun Evans, Luke Kenard, Kyle Kuzma, Sindarius Thornwell