As much as I like to think this year’s draft class will have an instant impact, it does not look like that will be the case. John Wall will be a solid fantasy player this season, and Evan Turner might help your team in stretches, but it is very hard to find any other players that will consistently help your fantasy season.
John Wall – He’ll have the nation’s capitol forgetting about Gilbert Arenas within the first five minutes he steps on the home court. Wall will be a total spaz for the first couple of months, but the game will slow down for him as we reach the New Year. Wall will be an NBA star in no time, and the only thing he needs is experience running a professional offense. Wall will produce a lot more consistently than any other rookie on the board and should average well over five APG. He will turn the ball over quite a bit, perhaps lead the NBA in TOVs, but he will also score around 12 PPG and should be able to get more than one SPG.
Evan Turner – Turner will be a high quality NBA player in the future, and should be on your fantasy team all season, but do not draft him for consistency. Turner will have a handful of great games, and a lot more solid games than bad ones, but do not count on him as one of your best players. He should spend a lot of time with the ball in his hands, so he will turn the ball over a lot, which he did in college quite a bit, but he will be counted on from day one in Philly to make plays. He is a big time talent, and might battle for a spot on Team USA in 2016, but that is years away. Look for Turner to have an inconsistent season at 12 PPG, five RPG, four APG, one SPG, and a whole lot of TOVs.
DeMarcus Cousins - Boogie, will be a big time NBA player in a few years, but do not expect him to have an instant impact. Boogie is a do-it-all big man and is one of the best big man prospects the NBA has seen in years, so he will have a few great games this season, even at the age of 20. He will likely be on and off the waiver wire all season long, and can only hope he is playing his best basketball at the end of the season. With a loaded Sacramento frontcourt (Sam Dalembert, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Omri Casspi, and hell, we’ll even throw in Hassan Whiteside to prove a point), it will be hard to carve out consistent minutes for Cousins at this point, but the Kings will make it a priority to expedite Boogie’s development. BTW, “Expoditing Boogie’s Development” is a great team name.
Paul George – George might be a nice little sleeper in INDY, as the Pacers will give him plenty of opportunities to shine at either the SF or SG positions. The Pacers are only responsible for one more year on Mike Dunleavy Jr.’s awful contract, so do not owe him anymore playing time. Dahntay Jones has no offensive game, Brandon Rush has played his way out of town, and although my Pacer buddies did not like the low-profile draft pick, George will soon make them forget. Yes, I have Pacer buddies.
Derrick Favors – By one account Favors has been progressing extremely well, but it is still unlikely he will make an impact this season. Another immensely talented American big man, Favors will be a big time NBA player but it will not be this season. He just turned 19 (!) in mid-July, and there have not been too many 19-year-old kids who have averaged over five PPG in their first season. Favors might not average a lot of points, but he will always be able to rebound at a high rate, and if he stays out of foul trouble his minutes and production will increase all season long.
Wesley Johnson – Johnson will battle for minutes all season long with Martell Webster, Corey Brewer, and perhaps Michael Beasley. Webster was acquired to improve the offense at the SG/SF position, Brewer is a top notch defensive specialist, and Beasley will find a way to screw up his spot on the depth chart, so there are some minutes ready and waiting for Johnson. He was taken with a top five pick, which means the Wolves are heavily invested in Johnson and he could be starting for one of the worst teams in the NBA by season’s end.
James Anderson – He might sneak up on a few people due to the rapidly aging Spurs backcourt. San Antonio is only four deep in their backcourt (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, George Hill, and Anderson), meaning there will be plenty of opportunity for Anderson to show off his tremendous offensive talents. The kid can shoot and score, and the Spurs might have found another quality player in the late first round.
Gordon Hayward – Finds himself behind a plethora of mediocre NBA vets the Jazz love (Andrei Kirilenko, C.J. Miles, Raja Bell, etc.), and has a lot of game for a skinny 2-star recruit from middle of nowhere Indiana. If all goes to plan, Hayward will be playing his best ball in March and April, just like he did last season. We (I), like Gordon’s game, and there is a good possibility Kirilenko’s awful contract will finally be traded this season, clearing room for the next great white hope.
Ekpe Udoh – Had wrist surgery in July and is probably out until the New Year. The Warriors are not managed very well.
Xavier Henry - Was out for the entire off-season due to one of the most ridiculous contract squabbles in the history of any sport. I was not much of a fan of Henry in college. He’ll struggle to find minutes behind O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Sammy Young, and Tony Allen and his new three year deal.
Patrick Patterson – Might find himself some minutes because Yao Ming is going down at some point this season. The Houston frontcourt is deep, but fragile with age, as Brad Miller was signed as Yao insurance, but he is only good for 10 MPG. Chuck Hayes is a solid 4th big man option (ouch) and Jordan Hill will get a shot as well, but PP is as good if not better than all the Rockets’ backups.
Jordan Crawford – Is going to see a lot of minutes behind Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby, and Jeff Teague. He might see even more MPG if the Jeff Teague experiment does not work out. Crawford, a shooter, is a big 6’4″ combo guard that has a good chance of becoming a quality NBA role player.
Lance Stephenson – Haha.
Latavious Williams – Like him.