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2015 NBA Draft: Initial Fantasy Reaction

June 26, 2015 | Category: NBA

Now that the 2015 NBA Draft is concluded, we’ve been thinking about who are the biggest winner’s from a daily fantasy basketball perspective. Here we are breaking down the initial top rookies to target and add to your watchlist as you build your lineups.  As always, if you are new to daily fantasy basketball check out our Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy section. 

2015 NBA Draft: Initial Fantasy Reaction

1) Karl Anthony Towns : Minnesota Timberwolves

Two words: Home Run! Towns joins a young Wolves squad that should give him the opportunity to start right off the bat while Nikola Pekovic recovers from offseason ankle surgery. Considering the lack of an inside defensive presence the Wolves had prior to selecting Towns first overall last night, KAT will provide an instant upgrade on that end of the floor and is likely to play heavy minutes due to his rare defensive skill set. Coach Flip Saunders played another 19 year old, Andrew Wiggins, heavy minutes last season and we see a similar scenario for Towns next year. DFSers can expect healthy Blocks, Steals and Defensive Rebounding numbers from Towns on a nightly basis.

On offense, Towns is sure to be a nice fit as he is able to run the floor much more effectively than the slow-footed Pekovic and should serve as a nice open court target for Ricky Rubio. In half court sets, KAT will likely work of the blocks and be involved in the pick-and-roll game. There’s always a learning curve for young players when becoming accustomed to the complexity of an NBA system, but pairing Towns athletic ability, basketball IQ, and soft touch, we are confident he will catch on quickly. What makes Towns unique is his ability to either roll to the basket or drift to the perimeter off pick-and-rolls. This is something that the Wolves have lacked for the last 3-4 years with Pekovic and his inability to do anything but roll hard to the basketball. Not only will this versatility bode well for Towns, it will also improve the Wolves offensive efficiency and maximize Rubio’s playmaking opportunities.

We are targeting Towns in daily leagues as well as season long formats. The biggest thing to look for when evaluating rookies and what to expect from a fantasy perspective is opportunity and fit. Towns checks off both of those requirements and has a better supporting cast than many other highly-touted rookies that were taken last night. Green light Towns and get excited because the future is bright for this kid.

2015 NBA Draft: Initial Fantasy Reaction

 2) Jahlil Okafor : Philadelphia 76ers

I envision Jahlil Okafor becoming a consistent option even in his rookie season. He will get the opportunity to play next to Nerlens Noel, who will take care of things on the defensive end and help mask Jahlil’s defensive inabilities. Playing alongside Nerlens will allow for him to save a lot of energy on the offensive end. Don’t get me wrong Jahlil needs to improve on the defensive end. All of his fantasy value resides with the fact that he will be the top scoring option from the get go and his rebounding ability and box out help from Nerlens will make him a nightly double-double threat. I see Jahlil being a solid cash game option in daily fantasy basketball due to his high floor (massive volume the offensive end).

We are under the assumption that Embiid will be out some time to start the year or miss the season. If Embiid does play, we highly doubt that he will be getting 30 minutes per game with his fragile foot.

Who knows with Hinkie though? He could end up trading Okafor, Embiid, or Noel…. Or all three! For now, assume the above and keep an eye on Jahlil Okafor throughout the season.

 3) D’Angelo Russell : Los Angeles Lakers

Had Russell fell to Philly with the third pick, he would have been our number one rookie target. Visions of Russell in a Sixers jersey having a Damian Lillardesque rookie campaign had us salivating at the mouth, but hey, you can’t win em’ all. Back to reality, where Russell joins a Lakers team whose roster currently resembles a puzzle with missing pieces, a car without an axel, an orchestra without a conducto……….I’ll stop, you get the picture.

This uncertainty and the presence of All Rookie 1st teamer Jordan Clarkson, makes Russell attractive, but not a sure fire stud just yet. If the Lakers land a big time free agent, pull the trigger on a sign-and-trade for a Kevin Love for example, or move Clarkson for another asset, this outlook will change quite a bit. If given the opportunity for heavy playing time, Russell will rival Towns as a top rookie DFS performer. Kobe will take shots away from him of course, but Russell’s natural ability to create off the dribble will provide owners with healthy assist totals. Russell is also a lights out shooter, so he is likely to open up the floor for himself and his teammates in Los Angeles. Russell is not a top flight athlete and his slower feet could make guarding the West’s elite Point Guard population on a nightly basis a difficult task. Having said that, we still believe that Russell will have plenty of opportunity to earn minutes early on next season. His 6’ 5” frame could also allow the Lakers to play him at the 2, considering Kobe will likely not want to run 35 minutes a night again next season, but you never know, he’s the MAMBA.

Keep an eye on trade news and free agency moves, as they could highly effect our outlook on Russell, but as it stands now even with many unanswered questions on what the Lakers will look like next year, there is no denying Russell’s talent and potential to become a superstar in the NBA. We like him, and so should you.

4) Emmanuel Mudiay : Denver Nuggets

USAGE ALERT! With the Nuggets looking to clean house and scrap the table, Mudiay will become the centerpoint of the offense. Let’s face it. Ty Lawson is gone. Wilson Chandler is gone. Nuggets are going to wash their hands clean and start over. Mudiay will be the start of a long rebuilding effort and it won’t be pretty during his rookie year. There will be some major up and downs along the way. However, he will be the top facilitator on offense with Danilo Galinari and Kenneth Faried. Mudiay is a slasher and a playmaker that needs some serious work shooting the ball. With his projected usage and pace of the Nuggets offense, I see Mudiay replicating Michael Carter-Williams rookie season numbers over the course of the year (not winning rookie of the year though too much talent this year), which makes him a good option in daily fantasy basketball for GPPs especially in favorable matchups.

5) Justise Winslow : Miami Heat

I love this pick by the Heat for both true basketball fan purposes and from a fantasy perspective.  There are a number of moving parts with the Miami Heat which include: Where will Dwayne Wade land? Will Goran Dragic resign? Will Loul Deng leave? We believe that Goran Dragic will definitely resign, Loul Deng will leave, and we are still up in the air about Dwayne Wade. Let’s assume Wade stays and the previously mentioned scenarios occur. Winslow has the opportunity to slide directly into Luol Deng’s role, which he is a perfect fit and possibly better than Deng from a pace and athleticism perspective. Winslow will instantly become the third or fourth scoring option on a team that is looking to increase its pace in the 2015-2016 NBA season. Winslow is smaller, quicker, and gets to the lane more effectively than Deng, which will be a huge boost to an offense that seemed to have the Josh Smith Detroit Pistons offensive logjam even when Bosh was out of action. If Wade and Deng leave with Dragic staying, Winslow’s usage rate will skyrocket along with his fantasy value and would be a prime watchlist target in daily fantasy.

Honorable Mention

Kristaps Porzingis (THE ZINGER)

Frank Kaminsky

Jerian Grant

Willie Cauley-Stein

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