Oct 20

2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Rookie Rankings

2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Rookie Rankings


Fantasy Sports Locker Room recently released our 2013-14 Fantasy Basketball Rankings. A few rookies made the cut, but as the fantasy basketball season approaches were going to take a closer look at the first year players here, inside the locker room. Everybody is looking for last year’s Damian Lillard. The truth is, you won’t find him from this year’s rookie class – it’s considered one of the weakest in years.

Lillard received all 121 first-place votes on his way to taking Rookie of the Year honors, and rightfully so. The Portland point guard led all rooks in scoring (19.0 ppg), assists (6.5 apg) and minutes (38.6 mpg) – he filled up the stat sheet. The 2012 sixth overall draft pick set an NBA rookie record by draining 185 triples, passing the 166 three-point field goals made by Stephen Curry in 2009-10. Lillard hit 2.3 shots per game from beyond the arc, good for 9th in the NBA last year. All of this gave him a Yahoo! fantasy basketball ranking of 54, a number we likely won’t see from anyone in the 2013-14 class. With that said, you can’t let them slide under your fantasy basketball radar.

FSLR ranked the 2013-14 NBA rookies from a fantasy perspective days after the draft, but things have changed since then.


1. Victor Oladipo, SG, Orlando Magic – ‘Orlandipo’ should be the first rookie off your draft board. Last year’s second overall pick is probably going to be one of the more enjoyable players to watch this season. Oladipo is an outstanding athlete with an explosive first step as a two guard.

Arron Afflalo may stand in his way during the start of the year but the Magic are not a great team so the playing time should be there for Oladipo, although it’s unclear how big of a fantasy impact the former Hoosier will have in his first season with Orlando. Most of his fantasy help will come on the defensive end. He has all the tools to be a great individual defender as he led the Big 10 in deflections and finished second in steals last year.

The rook grabbed 24 rebounds in his first three preseason games including 11 on October 14th against the Mavs. He has averaged 14 points in five preseason games including 22 in his last game against Memphis. He also had a game where he dished out nine assists.

Those kind of numbers from Oladipo won’t be as good in his first year as he’s likely just taking advantage of most team’s bench players. One thing that will be there in the regular season is turnovers. He has averaged four per game thus far, a number likely to stick throughout the year. Start thinking about him during the mid-way point of your draft, the 10th round or so.


2. Ben McLemore, G, Sacramento Kings – McLemore is the best offensive player in the draft with perhaps the most upside – he’s a really talented player who can shoot from all over the floor and is excellent coming off screens.

The departure of Tyreke Evans helps, but there is still competition in Sacramento. The former Jayhawk does have a couple things going for him apart from his skill. Greivis Vasquez, the NBA’s leader in assists last season, will provide solid looks for McLemore. DeMarcus Cousins should draw plenty of double-teams leaving McLemore open outside.

When LeBron James speaks… I tend to listen.


3. Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Philadelphia 76ers – Carter-Williams picked up 21 assists over his first four preseason games. Much like Lillard last year, MCW should receive plenty of playing time in his rookie season.

Last year’s 8th overall pick won’t produce a great field goal percentage and the turnovers could come at a premium. Carter-Williams has played himself into my top five rookies with his play so far, and first-year 76ers coach Brett Brown has been impressed as well. If he can develop an outside shot he could become a real fantasy sleeper.


(Photo credit: Jim Prischler/AP)

In six preseason games Cody Zeller has averaged 8 points and 6 rebounds a game. (Photo credit: Jim Prischler/AP)

4. Cody Zeller, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats – Last year’s fourth overall pick is expected to start the season as the Bobcats starting power forward ahead of Josh McRoberts. Having Al Jefferson should attract plenty of double teams freeing up space for Zeller.

Zeller should finish the year with at least 10 points and six rebounds per game with a solid field goal percentage. The fact that you can plug him in as a center increases his value.


5. Kelly Olynyk, C, Boston Celtics – Olynyk will get plenty of playing time with the Celtics as they turn a page and look to the future. As long as the Canadian can stay healthy he should see the floor a lot. He’s averaged 12 points per game over his last four and that’s where I see him finishing the year.

Olynyk’s skill-set is very similar to Zeller’s, and I also see Olynyk averaging at least six boards a game. When Rajon Rondo returns (and if he sticks around in Boston), Olynyk will see his point production increase.


6. Trey Burke, PG, Utah Jazz – Trey Burke was on the top of my list before he broke his finger in a preseason game. The initial report was that Burke would miss 8-12 weeks, but he cleared that up pretty quickly.

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Trey Burke averaged 18.6 points, 6.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals for Michigan last season, helping the Wolverines to the NCAA title game. (Carlos Osorio)

I like Burke because there is absolutely no competition in Utah. I also think the 2013 national player of the year will have a chip on his shoulder from falling down to 9th in the draft and then getting traded to the Jazz. Keep an eye on Burke’s progress over the next couple weeks. There is no need to reach on him, but he has the most upside. When he does return however we should probably expect a low shooting percentage and if you can live with that Burke makes a nice play.


7. Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, Cleveland Cavaliers – Last year’s first overall pick – the Canuck – joins fellow Brampton Ontario native Tristan Thompson in Cleveland. He has to compete with Thompson and Anderson Varejao for playing time and isn’t the best fantasy option. In fact, he might only be worth a late round pick in keeper or dynasty leagues.

I wouldn’t let him go undrafted though as Varejao seems to always get hurt and who knows what Andrew Bynum‘s deal is.


8. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Detroit Pistons – On draft day it was looking like Caldwell-Pope could be a nice fantasy option, but it was a busy summer in Motor City. It could be tough for Caldwell-Pope to get big minutes with Rodney Stuckey and Chauncey Billups around. 

KCP has had plenty of time over the preseason, but he hasn’t shot the ball well. He is 13-of-56 including 4-for-15 from beyond the arc. He won’t play much shooting the ball like that.


9. Otto Porter Jr., SF, Washington Wizards – The Wizards have a nice future with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Porter Jr, but it will take some time for Porter Jr. to be fantasy relevant. He has also been bothered by a hip injury since the start of training camp and has yet to play in the preseason.


10. Alex Len, C, Phoenix Suns – Some thought Len could be the top pick in the draft, but he fell to fifth, and he falls to tenth in our fantasy basketball rankings. Len is coming off two ankle surgeries and that scares me. His 2.1 blocks per game last year shows us that the potential is there, and it also helps that he plays for a poor Suns team.

I think it will be a learning process for the big man this year and playing behind Marcin Gortat is a smart move for the organization. However, there is no saying Gortat stays in Phoenix.


Honorable Mentions



Tim Hardaway Jr. might not get a lot of shots in New York, but he will be in New York’s rotation to start the season. (AP)

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, New York Knicks – I like Hardaway Jr.’s game a lot. He has led the Knicks in scoring during the preseason including a game winning buzzer beater from three. Of course, Carmelo Anthony will lead New York in scoring this season, but the strong play from the former Wolverine has left Knicks coach Mike Woodson impressed.


C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers – What is with the Trail Blazers and their injured draft picks? You can add C.J. to the list as he is out indefinitely with a broken bone in his left foot. He would have cracked the top 10 if not. McCollum will be reevaluated in six weeks. Keep an eye on his status because when he returns he will be a nice fantasy option.


Shabazz Muhammad, F, Minnesota Timberwolves – Muhammad has played in only two preseason games so far and that is just too small of a sample size for me to rank him inside the top 10. He has shown more off the court than on as he was sent home from rookie camp for bringing a girl back to his room.


Nerlens Noel, C, Philadelphia 76ers – Noel is out until at least January as he recovers from a torn ACL. Before his injury, Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.4. blocks per game. All that in his rookie year with Kentucky.


Archie Goodwin, G, Phoenix Suns – The Kentucky guard has had problems finding his NBA jump shot so far this preseason, but he should be on your fantasy basketball radar as the season starts. Goodwin has a knack for getting to the rim, that shouldn’t change in Phoenix.



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