1. Emmanuel Mudiay|G|Denver
Mudiay joins a Denver Nuggets team that is in desperate need of a superstar and Mudiay is going to fill that role from day one. With Ty Lawson’s name being brought up in trade rumors, Mudiay should grab the starting point guard or shooting guard spot from day one.
Mudiay is gong to fill up the stat sheet, he averaged 18/6/5 in China, and should be the front-runner for rookie of the year. Mudiay is going to have free-reign on the court, and it is going to result in a big season. One glaring issue though, Mudiay is a bad shooter and shot under 60 percent from the free throw line, but he’ll make up for it with a high volume of points, rebounds and assists. Expect Mudiay to be a Tyreke Evans type player from day one.
2. De’Angelo Russell|G|LAL
Many expected the Lakers to take Jahlil Okafor, but they came away with the best guard in the draft. Russell put up huge college numbers, has great size, and lands in a great situation. The Lakers have had a revolving door at point guard for years now, and Russell is going to finally create stability.
The only issue that prevents Russell from having free reign, like I expect from Mudiay, is Kobe Bryant is till around and the Lakers figure to snatch a high-profile free agent. Russell is going to get plenty of points, assits, and threes, but he’s going to be held back quite a bit.
3. Karl Anthony-Towns|C|Minnesota
Towns doesn’t have the offensive game that Okafor does, but he’s probably a more well-rounded center in fantasy leagues. Assuming he starts, and foul trouble isn’t a problem, Towns could average close to a double-double. Not anything crazy, but 12 points, 10 rebounds with two blocks is pretty solid.
The greatest part about Towns’ games is that he can actually make free throws, 81 percent in college, so he is one of a few big men that won’t kill you there. His season may not be flashy, but it will be just as useful as anyones.
Maybe I’m crazy for Towns over Okafor, but give me 12 points, 10 boards, 2.5 blocks, and 80% from the free throw line. Okafor may score more points, but Towns is going to do everything else better.
4. Jahlil Okafor|C|Philadelphia
Okafor ‘falling’ to the 76ers is probably better for his fantasy value because he’ll be free from Kobe Bryant and whatever big free agent the Lakers sign.
Nerlens Noel had a great rookie season, but Okafor is a more traditional big man, and both shouldn’t cancel eachother out. Everyone knows about Okafor at Duke, points, rebounds, and an absolutely horribe free throw percentage. Okafor is going to be impactful in his rooke year, but expect to punt free throw percentage if you plan on drafting him.
The 76ers also have Joel Embii, but he’s a mystery, and Okafor is much more ready to go.
5. Justise Winslow|F|Miami
At Duke, Winslow was a stat-stuffing stud and contributed across the board. He averaged 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block, and over a three per game.
The Heat currently have Luol Deng on the roster, though he could opt-out, which would open the starting small forward job for Winslow. Still, wherever he plays, Winslow is going to inject a high dose of energy into a team that desperately needs it.
6. Jerian Grant|G|NYK
Maybe I’m alone, but I do think that Grant will beat out Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin for the Knicks starting point guard job.
Anytime a rookie earns a starting point guad they instantly become ownable. Grant was a stud at Notre Dame, averaging 16 points, three rebounds, six assists, and a three in 37 minutes per game.
People may overlook Grant because he was drafted 19th overall, but don’t pass him up just because there are bigger names available.
7. Myles Turner|C|Indiana
Turner’s season didn’t finish as well as it started at Texas, but he should be regarded as one of the top rookie sleepers in 2015. Last season, Turner averaged 10 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and 0.5 threes in only 22 minutes per game.
There is a huge hole on the Pacers frontcourt with the loss of Davis West, and the likely trade of Roy Hibbert, which opens up a starting spot for Turner. Before free agency, Turner’s arrow is point way up in the rookie rankings.
Turner may struggle with fouls early on, but if he can contrinute rebounds, blocks, and the occasional three, he’ll be a big fantasy asset at the center position.
8. Mario Hezonja|F|Orlando
Many people have compared Hezonja to a more tame version of J.R. Smith and that should get people excited. Right now, the only issue for Hezonja’s value is whether or not Tobias Harris is on the team at the start of the season. If Harris is gone, Hezonja should have a clear path to starting at small forward, but Aaron Gordon and Moe Harkless could steal some minutes.
9. Kristaps Porzingis|F|NYK
I honestly don’t know what to expect from Porzingis, how successful he will be is a mystery to me, but he lands on a team without a center or power forward.
Overseas, Porzingis was decent in about 20 minutes per game, and averaged 11 points, four rebounds, a block, and a three.
There could be growing pains for Porzingis transitioning to the NBA, and needs to gain weight, but he could start right away for the Knicks. Porzingis is not a safe draft pick by any means.
10. Stanley Johnson|F| Detroit
At this point it becomes about finding guys that are going to get minutes, and it looks like Johnson should be the day one starter at small forward.
Johnson did a bit of everything at Arizona, 13 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 threes.
The Pistons have a lot of scorers with Bradon Jennings, Reggie Jackson, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but Johnson is also a good defender which will keep him on the court which will create more offensive opportunities.
On the fringe: Frank Kaminsky & Devin Booker