Razzball Nation! Sorry it has been a slight break from me, but it’s been a wild summer. If I weren’t out of town drinking daiquiris on the beach trying to grow my mustache out and know absolutely nothing about any sport besides baseball, then my summer would’ve felt incomplete…
But I’m back now, back into everything Razzball, and ready to talk some NBA rookies. I know I’m a little behind the draft, but hey, we’ve got a little time before we see these guys in real NBA action. Not that Kelly Olynyk playing in solid color warmups in a gym that looks like one Nikola Pekovic used to play in the Siberian Leagues isn’t entertaining, but c’mon. Let’s get these summer guys playing somewhere nice!
Despite being very entertaining and some big names thrown around in trades, I’m going to focus on a brief recap of the draft and only the rookies involved, then an NBA rookies ranking below. Here’s how the major picks down:
Pick 1: Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers – The draft got an early surprise with Anthony Bennett – a shocking first pick to the Cavs. Bennett has tons of talent, sure, but I didn’t think he’d be a fantasy-ready player no matter where he went, and he was going to a slightly crowded frontcourt of Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, and oh yea, 14 boards a night Anderson Varejao. And now they’ve added Andrew Bynum on top of that. I like Thompson to improve and Varejao to have a solid year if he can stay healthy, putting a big logjam on Bennett’s minutes even if the Bynum signing fails spectacularly. He’ll have buzz being the first overall pick, but a guy I’m not drafting.
Pick 2: Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic – Well I called the Magic would go Oladipo, but thought it would be Noel if he were passed on. Noel got passed by everyone! NBA teams were like Christmas carolers. Oladipo right now would be coming off the bench behind Arron Afflalo, but the Magic were trying to ship Afflalo to the Clip for Eric Bledsoe, which fell through. If a trade gets made, look for Oladipo to climb up rankings. He’ll be inconsistent, but get the minutes either way.
Pick 3: Otto Porter, Washington Wizards – The last thing I remember from Porter was when Florida Gulf Coast was throwing alleys all over Georgetown. Breaking News – the NBA has even better athletes than Dunk City! While looking at a possible starter’s role, I still think Trevor Ariza will get the majority of minutes and I don’t want to spend too high on any Wizard not named John Wall. With that in mind, my DC scout has Ariza still in the bench role and Porter having a decent impact. I probably won’t end up with him anywhere, but still worth a look at the end of drafts.
Pick 4: Cody Zeller, Charlotte Bobcats or Hornets, whatever it is – I’m weird. I’m only going to have an NBA team I officially root for when we’re officially the Hornets. I grew up on Charlotte Hornets. The Grandma. Mugsy (who I met in elementary school and I was taller! True story.). But until we strike this horrible name and logo from the team, I’m out. And good timing too, because this was an atrocious pick. Why not take the upside of Noel. Yikes. Then we go and sign Al Jefferson. Zeller won’t even have a season close to what Tyler did. All in all, good thing this wasn’t a Hornets pick.
Pick 5: Alex Len, Phoenix Suns – He’s terrible.
Pick 6: Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers – Really Washington, Charlotte and Phoenix? Originally picked by the Pelicans, Philly smartly traded up to take Nerlens for his upside. While coming off the ACL will limit his fantasy value for this season alone, great pick in real life.
Pick 7: Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings – One of the most NBA-ready talents in the draft, I love McLemore heading to the Kings. A high-octane offense and playing next to the second-half darling Isaiah Thomas I love McLemore’s prospects. He’ll might be the first rookie off draft boards, but I’ve got another guy I like more…
Pick 8: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons – Another guard pick I really like, KCP will have an opportunity to put points on the board. Besides incumbent, “please don’t put me alone on an island with DeAndre Jordan catching an alley again” Brandon Knight, guards for sure on the Pistons roster were Rodney Stuckey and Kim English so I thought KCP would get a lot of work at the 2. But with Will Bynum resigning and now bringing back Chauncey Billups, it’s a flooded frontcourt. I still see KCP getting minutes and shots, but it will be inconsistent.
Pick 9: Trey Burke, Utah Jazz – Spoiler alert! Burke will be my top rookie ranked in the official Razzball re-ranks next month. The rebuilding Jazz have no real huge options to score big (I do like Gordon Hayward for what he can do though) but Burke will be able to take over this team in a Damian Lillard-lite type season and my pick for Rookie of the Year. Rowengartner!
Pick 10: C.J. McCollum, Portland Trailblazers – I like this pick for Portland, but he’ll be coming off the bench this upcoming season, and I don’t see much value behind Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews who both will play a lot of minutes.
Pick 11: Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers – One of the bigger names in the draft, Carter-Williams looks to have a shot to start the point with Jrue Holiday traded. He just is a little oversized and turnover prone for my liking, and has already had a 3-16 shooting day in a scrimmage against the Thundah this Summah. He’ll be a really volatile player to rank, lots of upside and the opportunity, but was inconsistent in college and has to shed that tag in the pros. That said, the minutes look to be there and the rebuilding Sixers look ready to roll with him.. Worth a late-round gamble in 10-teamers.
Pick 12: Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder – A project.
Pick 13: Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics – With a name that sounds like a hot lifeguard, Olynyk is huge and ugly. Which might be a good way to sum up the Celtics first year under Brad Stevens. It sure will give Olynyk a lot of rock on offense, and while I don’t think he’ll put up really sexy stats, they’ll be fine.
Pick 14: Shabazz Muhammad, Minnesota Timberwolves – A guy with a little more name value than fantasy goodness, Muhammad might slot into the starting line-up, but I’m not expecting much behind Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love scoring the rock.
Pick 15: Giannis Adetokunbo, Milwaukee Bucks – 18-years old and another project, also a project to learn how to spell…
Pick 18: Shane Larkin, Dallas Mavericks – After leading Miami to a dream season, Larkin may have had a starting role at the point in Dallas, but Jose Calderon just got signed to start. I’m not huge on Larkin’s NBA prospects, he’s a little undersized and I think will have to rely too much on his shot, but if something should happen to Calderon I would really like Larkin.
Pick 19: Sergey Karasev, Cleveland Cavaliers – A polished shooter, Karasev will bring a nice stroke off the bench, which may have some ThrAGNOF value.
Pick 22: Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets – A big name since coming out of Duke, Plumlee is athletic, but still not ready to have much NBA impact in my opinion. Plus with the Nets now reloaded to play for it this year, I only expect minimal minutes with high energy.
Pick 29: Archie Goodwin, Phoenix Suns – I love Goodwin as a deep sleeper this year – going to a great situation where he’ll get a lot of rock and a name off radars since he barely made it in the first-round. Talk is he would’ve been a lottery pick if straight out of high school, but the mess at Kentucky last year made him drop. I mean, when you play at the menacing confines at Robert Morris, you can’t be expected to win, right?! With only Shannon Brown in his way, Goodwin could step into a starting role if the chips fall right on a flashy – albeit terrible team kind of like the Kings last year – next to Eric Bledsoe. Could be a dynamic front court.
Razzball Top 10 Fantasy Rookies:
1. Trey Burke
2. Ben McLemore
5. Otto Porter
7. Kelly Olynyk
10. Shabazz Muhammad