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In the wake of the draft, I embarked in many interesting conversations with people in the industry. I wanted to share with you a conversation that I found fascinating with a good buddy of mine, Steve Connell, an independent scout who also happens to be a Boston Celtics fan, on his theory as to why the Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick and why it wasn’t just to stockpile more assets.

Markelle Fultz, for all his talent, is coming off a season at the University of Washington in which the team went a disappointing 9-22, raising question marks as to whether Fultz really has that ‘winning’ mentality that coaches love. The Celtics are a team that pride themselves on being able to play well on both ends of the floor. A look into the advanced metrics for Fultz shows a wide variance between offensive and defensive ratings, 7.7 OBPM compared to a 1.4 DBPM. In addition, Fultz had the lowest defensive rating for any No. 1 overall selection.

There is also the difference in long-term guaranteed money between the one and three slots, which saves a team a ton of money, especially if they decide to pick up the options and sign for 120% of the rookie deal. It is no secret that the Celtics own a lot of assets. In order to keep those assets while maintaining the flexibility to pursue players in free agency or the trade market (Gordon Hayward or Paul George?), the Celtics need to be thrifty with their cash. They do have Ante Zizic, Guerschon Yabusele, and Abdel Nader stashed away, who could all potentially be huge bargains for the Celtics’ bench in the future.

Another thing that was raised by my good buddy is the fact that Markelle Fultz might not have been the Celtics’ guy anyways. Pre-draft NBA is filled with smokescreen statements from clubs so as not to give their hand away, and if Fultz wasn’t the Celtics’ guy then, not only did the Celtics get their man in Tatum, but they also saved a considerable amount of cash and gained an additional asset.

The points raised by Steve were extremely valid ones, and points that really got me thinking. There is always more to the story than meets the eye. Does any of this affect Fultz’s value in fantasy basketball? Of course it doesn’t, but it does serve as a friendly reminder the differences that fantasy players face between the real world and fantasy. We are only interested in the statistical production and job security of our players.

Fultz is going to be an outstanding fantasy contributor, but if we are to ‘Trust the Process’ in Philly, then we are relying on Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz to develop that ‘winning’ mentality after coming off losing records in college.

Without any shadow of a doubt, Markelle Fultz is my number one prospect in fantasy basketball, but that doesn’t mean the Celtics were wrong to trade away the No. 1 overall pick.

Enough about the magic of the pre-draft NBA, and more of what you have come here for: Part 1 of my dynasty rookie rankings.

It is important to consider the following with these rankings:

  • This only includes rookies from the draft class of 2017 (Players such as Ben Simmons and Bogdan Bogdanovic are not included).
  • This is for dynasty purposes. Not for redraft leagues.
  • Landing spots are important, and they are somewhat taken into consideration, but the main focal point is the overall projection for the players’ career.
  • It often takes time for NBA prospects to adjust to the NBA. Just because players don’t crack the rotation from the outset doesn’t mean they are a bust. Three years is often a good time frame to define roles in the NBA.
  • This is my own personal rankings, and not representative of all writers at Razzball .

 

Player Position Team Drafted
1. Markelle Fultz PG 76ers
2. Lonzo Ball PG Lakers
3. De’Aaron Fox PG Kings
4. Josh Jackson SG/SF Suns
5. Malik Monk SG Bobcats
6. Dennis Smith Jr PG Mavericks
7. Jonathan Isaac SF/PF Orlando
8. Jayson Tatum SF/PF Celtics
9. Frank Ntilikina PG/SG Knicks
10. Donovan Mitchell SG Jazz

Value Pick: Dennis Smith Junior, Dallas Mavericks

It is likely that the top two picks in your rookie draft will beย Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball.

I covered Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox in my last article, so let us take a look at Dennis Smith Jr here.

The point guard out of North Carolina State is an explosive do-it-all player that has the fantasy potential to rack up the stats, making him an easy player to fall in love with. Coming back from major injury, DSJ not only proved his health, but also managed to lead his team with 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game on 45% shooting.ย The big-time athletic PG sat out his senior high school year with a torn ACL and is quickly demonstrating that he has not lost much of his explosiveness as a result. Although he is an explosive finisher who gets to the rim with ease, there is still work to be done on the shooting end, as he has struggled with his three-point shot, and is not spectacular when shooting from the charity stripe. There are also question marks about his attitude and desire when it comes to playing the game. It will be interesting to see how he handles himself if things go poorly in Dallas.

With that said, DSJ is a freak athlete that has the potential to rack up the fantasy stats. Just be aware of the health concerns and inconsistencies with his shot.

Is There Any Room At The Inn? Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics.

It’s very possible that I have ranked Tatum too low here, and taken far too much consideration into the landing spotย in Boston. No one denies the versatility that the former Duke man brings, as well as the NBA ready frame that comes with it. The questions come in how much Tatum will be utilized by the Celtics, given the talent they already have on the roster. They could also be adding Gordon Hayward and/or Paul George and Guerchon Yabusele and Ante Zizic are waiting in the wings. For now, I am being pessimistic with my ranking of Tatum, but that could change once the picture becomes clearer.

 

Player Position Team
11. Jarrett Allen C Nets
12. Lauri Markkanen PF Bulls
13. Zach Collins C Trail Blazers
14. OG Anunoby SG/SF/PF Raptors
15. Harry Giles PF Kings
16. John Collins PF/C Hawks
17. DJ Wilson PF Bucks
18. Terrance Ferguson SG/SF Thunder
19. Justin Jackson SG/SF Kings
20. Jordan Bell C Warriors

 

A New Era in Atlanta? John Collins, Power Forward, Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are going in a different direction. Dwight Howard isย in Charlotte and Paul Millsap is currently an unrestricted free agent. So where does this leave the Hawks? In full rebuild mode and a perfect landing spot for John Collins, who looks to be the future in Atlanta.

As it stands, the only player ahead of Collins on the depth chart is Miles Plumlee, who is under contract until 2020. There is the possibility that Mike Muscala returns.

John Collins is a 6′ 11″ center who has an excellent offensive game around the rim. Collins shot an outstanding 62% from the field and 75% from the line last season. He also has a jump shot which is developing nicely. That being said, his wing span is not elite given his size and there are elements on the defensive end which will need to be improved upon.

Collins found himself in an outstanding landing spot and should be a player you look to target come rookie draft day.

 

Feel Like Gambling? Harry Giles, Power Forward, Sacramento Kings.

Pre-draft, it was rumored that the Kings were ready to take the former Duke star as high as No. 10, after medical reports were more favorable than expected. Heading into the college season last year, one of the most talented high school phenoms had all eyes on him, to see how he would bounce back after two ACL surgeries. The minutes were extremely limited and he looked very rusty, leading many to believe that he might return to Duke for another season.

At his best, Giles is an explosive athlete that displays good strength in the paint and possesses great hands. He runs the floor well, something which should work well in time with a young Kings roster. He also has the potential to play the 4 or the 5. The red flag here is obviously the health. The Kings will likely bring the big man along very slowly with the hope that he can return to the form that made him one of the most talented prospects in the country. It is possible that the Kings hit a home run here, but there is also the potential that Giles is a bust.

 

That’s my Top 20. For those of you looking to go deeper into this year’s draft for potential gold, be on the lookout for #21-40 in my Dynasty rookie rankings.

 

 

  1. Brett says:
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    I know you specifically stated that this is only for the 2017 Draft Class, but where would you slot Simmons on this list? Or Bogdanovic/Yabusele/Zizic?

    Thanks in advance – great stuff as always.

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig Bozic says:
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      @Brett:
      Appreciate the kind words as ever.

      For me Simmons belongs in the top tier of 1-5 dependent on your needs and what you value. No player in that tieris perfect, and all have a question mark whether it be the FT % of the likes of Fultz and Jackson, Lonzo Ball’s inability to create for himself, and whether the strange release point will be a hindarence in the NBA, and whether the jump shot will develop for Fox. Ben Simmons is a unique talent with his ball handling skills, court vsion and passing ability from a man his size but also has the question mark of not being able to shoot from range. That being said though, it is personal preference as to where he would slot in the elite tier.

      Zizic and Yabusele I am extremely high on as you know from my articles last season, as well as their aggressive ranks in last years rookie rankings. Both have the skillset to be in the 5-10 tier, but the murky waters of where they fit in Boston make them a somewhat risky play if looking for a short term investment. Both however had outstanding seasons abroard last season, and Yabusele demonstarted his talents by tearing up the D-League playoffs on both ends of the floor. Yabusele has immense upside for the modern NBA, but the drafting of Jayson Tatum and the impending big name free agent could send him overseas for another season. Zizic is the higher floor player, but already has a transition game and a skill set that could translate into an immediate role for the Celtics, having already demonstrated his talents with some big games against some of europes best in his first taste of euroleague after starting the season in the Adriatic league.

      Bogdan Bogdanovic is a bit of a different case. What Bogdanovic lacks in upside he makes up for with a high floor. He missed a large chunk of time last season with an ankle injury, but bounced back remarkebly in the Euro league. Having already performed at a high level in Europe’s premier basketball tournament (already gaining player of the month accolades, which is no mean feat). If he makes the jump to the Kings this season, I think t would be safe to slot him in the 11-14 range, but more done so on the high floor rather strict upside (remember he is 24 and nearly 5 years older than a lot of these one and done prospects).

      I hope this helps.

  2. Saints says:
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    Love that stuff ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have the 5th the 11th and the 21st pick so i think i can get at least 3 guys of your Top 20 which would be amazing.
    I’m still considering trading up in the Top 2 to get one of those 2 elite prospects. Son is leaning slightly towards Ball. Do you think Fultz is clearly ahead ? I think with the bigger usage and the great tempo in LA Ball could be better than Fultz. For me its pretty close. If i try to trade up i target the 2nd spot to pick one or the other.
    I’m a little bit surprised that Josh Jackson is that high on your list with Tatum dropping down so much. Thought Jackson is very raw offensively which isnt translating well in fantasy.
    With Monk im a little bit “Thragnof” scared, i have devin booker already and sometimes those stats are very empty which hurts a lot. Do you think he can collect some Boards/assists/steals ?

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Saints:
      My concerns with Ball is his inability to create for himself coupled with athleticism that doesn’t come close to matching that of Fultz. With an inability to create fir himself abd a lack of playmaker in LA at this stage I think offensive output expectations really have to be tempered. If you are in dire need of assists then Ball is your guy, but I prefer in fantasy land the more well rounded athletic style of Fultz which I think will play immediately from the 1 or 2 for the Phillies.

      In regards to Monk, I think we will see his initial role being more a 3 point guy for sure, but the point I made I’m my last article was the growth potential with his great athleticism abd ability to handle the ball gives him the potential to be a so much more as the seasons progress. Similar augment with Jackson, JJ already finds himself in a perfect landing spot and has the defense to immediately command a heavy workload, the offense is still a working progress, but I am not as concerned as others in that catching up, especially when you see how much progress was made last season from start to finish. JJ is also a player with a winners mentality, and that mentality saw him show glimpses if taking over games fir Kansas last year when it was needed.

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Saints:

      It’s also worth noting some of the biggest winners from draft day in the fantasy world are the supporting cast for the Lakers in the Lonzo ball show.

      Ball’s ability to create for his opponents is fantastic and he has a knack of getting the best out of his team mates abd making them look better than what they are. This still has to translate to the next level of course, but his adjustment period should be smaller than that of nearly any other prospect from the off set.

      IMO Lonzo made a good player look great in TJ Leaf. I am no TJ fan abs think a lot of his success was from Lonzo helping him look good

  3. Dongo says:
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    Hey man, when can we expect part 2?

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Dongo:

      Part two will be available for viewing on Saturday, and dynasty deep dive will be remaining a Saturday release for the upcoming season.

  4. Psykomerc says:
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    I have a feeling I’ll be hitting refresh on your site frequently…I’m joining my first Dynasty league ever, 30 team 9 cat, yelp.
    I’m guessing I better be drafting youth after like the 4/5th round ? Any advice appreciated!

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig Bozic says:
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      @Psykomerc:

      30 team is brutal, coz if you want to win first season you need a lot of help with your initial draft position and pretty much have to go all out to win that year, avoiding the chance of being able to draft players who will develop.

      For me personally the rule of thumb i like to go into dynasty drafts is to draft players with realistic room for growth, so i can get a positive return in value in the future as opposed to a negative one.

      It is important to draft youth for the right reasons though, and not youth for the sake of youth. There is a lot of talent coming into the NBA the next couple of seasons with very strong draft classes, and the needle will move a lot in that time in player values and rotational and situational effect on teams.

      • Psykomerc says:
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        @Craig Bozic:

        I probably don’t want to go all out to win if it costs me for years to come ๐Ÿ™ I assume people like Lebron, Lowry, CP3, Millsap won’t be the best 1st/2nd round picks.

        So your comment about a lot of youth coming into the league, are you saying I should be wary of placing too much value in current fringe value players as they can be worthless given what will happen in the next 2 years?

        I was planning on drafting young great players when possible, not passing on valuable players for no name rookies. I am imagining by the 4/5th round, that’s 120-150 picks gone, there won’t be many starters or even consistent bench players left. But I honestly don’t know as I have never experienced a dynasty draft. By around then, I was considering drafting any lottery pick rookies/sophomores left. Also the roster is 6 active, 6 bench.

        Do you know of any good dynasty materials to read up on?

  5. Ties says:
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    LOL, still a Bobcats-believer, Craig? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Ties@Ties:
      Lol good spot.

      Let’s go back to crappie names please ๐Ÿ™‚

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