In honor of the NCAA tourney, I thought we should take a glimpse into the future and start overrating–I mean properly rating–next season’s incoming draft class. Now, I’ve watched my share of Zion, but it’s honestly been tough for me to get as excited about this draft class as I was for the last two. I look forward to the hype increasing on some of these guys over the next few weeks because it feels like they (and we) really need it. But even underwhelming drafts produce all-stars and fantasy goodness, so let’s see what these guys have to offer.

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ben simmons

The basketball season may still be 2 months away, but it is never too early to start the research for your fantasy dynasty rookie rankings. We have already seen a wild off-season, what with the crazy free agency period, a period in which Kevin Durant found a new home; the NBA draft – a draft which was one of the most unpredictable in years; and Olympic basketball, in which we saw a spirited Serbian team pick up a silver medal against the odds.

In this article I will be looking at the long term value of those rookies selected in this year’s NBA draft, and how I rank their long-term future in the NBA for all of you in dynasty leagues. This year’s draft class is not as top heavy as previous seasons, but still brings a lot of intrigue nonetheless. This article will feature my top 20 picks, be sure to check out next week’s edition where I dive into my 21-40 picks.

Remember that these are dynasty league rankings, so are focused on the future from a talent/upside perspective for fantasy, rather than that of immediate impact in the NBA.

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The draft is here!  I’m so excited that I pushed through a hectic day to have a live post throughout the night, something I told Slim I probably wouldn’t be able to get to.  He’s all like, “5,000 ranty words on Interstellar, and you can’t do a live draft post?!”  And I’m like, “MUUURRRPPPHHHHH!!!!!”

Let me start with this question to loyal Razzball Nation readers – is the NBA draft the best of the professional sports drafts?  My vote is hell yea!  Better trades, it flows faster, rooks impact right away…  Ugh, I wish the MLB draft got a little more interesting at the top.  And the NFL draft, well, 2/3 of the players who get picked don’t impact fantasy so I care a lot less…

So here we go folks!  I’ll be updating the post live with every pick – so constantly hit dat refresh – along with some immediate fantasy thoughts and a gut-call grade as we go.  Here’s how the 2015 NBA Draft went down (which you can compare to Slim and I’s mock draft early this month):

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With an ADP of 68.6 in drafts all the way back in 2014, Jimmy Butler has been an absolute revelation and made all his fantasy owners rich with value.  “Butler, I need some extra steals!  A couple more blocks!  Some artisan cheese!”  And the trusty ol’ Butler would always deliver.

Unfortunately, all that caviar and pancetta piled on that silver serving plate really wore down the Butler’s elbow, and Jimmy Buckets is going to miss 3-4 weeks.  Hey, on the bright side this is the NBA and not a year-long pitcher injury!  So the billion dollar question – to drop or not to drop JB?  Well don’t drop me!  I’d try to hold where I could.  I’d much rather have JB at the end of my bench than stashes of Kemba Walker or Paul George.  Even in 10ers, I think I’d probably hold on as most Jimmy Buckets teams are doing pretty well.

In his stead, the vastly improved Tony Snell should get the tiger’s share of minutes.  He’s greeeeeeeeeat!  I don’t think he’s a must-own in even 12ers though, since he’s a semi-ThrAGNOF with steals upside.  Not that I don’t like him!  But I would say a little better FG%/FT% version of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.  The real interesting addition to me is Nikola Mirotic, who should get a lot of run while Taj Gibson is out at least another week.  And with Butler gone, maybe he gets a handful of SF minutes here and there, even though it hasn’t gone that well when experimenting with that before…  But experiments take a lot of tries before they go right!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Man, who woulda thought the Bucks without Brandon Knight (sat with minor injuries) would’ve been able to beat the Raptors last night?!  I figured that big Jurassic Park reboot trailer during the Super Bowl would have pumped the Raps up!  Well, I guess Canadians don’t really watch the Super Bowl, so their loss!

And while the 82-75 win was a defensive grinder, it didn’t slow down that impressive O from The Duchess K Middleton!  25/9/1/3/0 for Khris Middleton, hitting 10-17 FG (3-4 3PTM 2-2 FT) and only 1 TO.  All that with Jorge Gutierrez as the fill-in starting PG!  It didn’t matter though, since they had a JB waiting in the wings as well…  But more there later.  With 25 Pts last night, K-Midd is 17+ points in 4 of 5 and 3+ treys in 4 of 5.  And multi-steals in 4 of 5 for good measure as well!  Even though a lot of the counting stats are lower than the breakout last year, so are the minutes and the %s are much better.  But my favorite leap is 1.0 steals in 30 minutes last year to a whopping 1.5 in only 26 this year.  The Duchess is secretly a world-class thief!  I think Keira Knightley could star in that movie.  Larry Drew could be the evil drug lord!  Maybe Ersan Ilyasova can be a Turkish arms dealer.  The script is writing itself!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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After a tough groin injury, we really weren’t sure how long DeMar DeRozan would be Frozen.  “Let it go!  Let it go!  Blah dee, blah dee, blah…”  Trying to reach out to our younger readers.

DD is back and immediately entices with immense cleavage!  Younger readers, alienated.  DeRozan returned after missing a month and a half/21 games for a very solid 20/4/4/1/1 game hitting 9-14 FG.  It was against the soon to be relegated Sixers, so there’s that, but this is mighty encouraging.  In a game where Toronto didn’t need him at all, he started, got 29 minutes, and looks healthy for the stretch run.  Toronto letting the DD out!  I bet chicks aren’t letting the DD out this time of year in Canada, sheesh it’s cold in NC!  Lots of ripples with DeRozan back out there.  The biggest is it looks like James Johnson can go in several leagues, as sad an epitaph as it is…  Played only 15 minutes for 5/2/2/0/0.  Some of that was probably matchup based since the Sixers backup depth is in guards (and Amir Johnson played well), but it’s a swift death.  Terrence Ross also played only 18 minutes as the starter and scored 2 Pts without doing anything else.  Ross is barely 16-teamer worthy now, as one of the deepest lineups in the NBA is healthy top to bottom.  The Raptors bench could probably contend for a playoff spot in the East.  Well they’d have to replace Tyler Hansbrough.  I think one of those inflatable flailing arms things has more ball skills than Psycho T…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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The new year brings us the glorious 2nd coming of the Durantula, again.  Kevin Durant looked better than expected going 44/10/7/0/1 with 6 3s and 12-12 FTs.  Sure you could argue the stat line was OT aided but just that Durant played 40 minutes after missing 6 games tells me there is nothing wrong with his ankle.  I imagine any buy low window is long gone after this game but he might be worth one last attempt to trade for.  If you thought this is why I watched this game though you would be wrong.  I wanted to see the Steven Adams vs Alex Len match-up.  Lurch with 9/7/1/1/0 in 27 minutes and Len with 2/6/0/0/1 in 22 minutes.  There is no question Adams is the guy to own.  Neither are part of the offense but at times Len looked bored and unsure of what he was supposed to be doing on both ends of the court.  That is a sentence I will never write about Steven Adams.  His aggression does one of two things.  The foul trouble associated will give him a few duds but it will also lead to big games which I don’t think Len has in him this year.  There were a ton of huge stat lines in this 137-134 overtime thriller but perhaps the stat that tells the biggest story was the 6 technical fouls.  Including two and an ejection for…

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What a night for the Brow!

On a near-unparalleled night for my bold call for MVP yesterday and Razzball’s #1 fantasy pick, I’ve gotta say, it feels like it’s going to be a great season!  An unbelievable 26/17/2/3/9 in a near trip-dub with the blocks, and fitting he’d be 2014-15’s first rainbow line (at least 2 Pts/Reb/Ast/Stl/Blk).  In H2H leagues, if you have Brow you better win blocks this week!  Not only were those blocks more than enough, but Brow was a solid 10-22 from the field (6-9 FT), and didn’t commit a single TO.  About all you could complain about is if you play in a triple-doubles league, he just needed one more swat!  Just one!

Of the 25 experts on FantasyPros, only 5 had Brow #1 overall with yours truly one of the five, and Razzball’s Seth a second.  Now, before you go unloading your top 5 picks for Brow in a desperate trade, don’t forget this was against the Magic who looked pretty horrific.  Then again, Stephen Curry and LeBron James are going to have to do something outrageous to make the Brow non-believers feel better tomorrow…

Here’s what else went down across the league’s first three regular season games:

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Razzball Nation!  Man, scary to think there’s only a week left of the regular season.  Where has all the time gone?!  While the majority of leagues have wrapped up, we’ve still got some extended H2H finals and Roto players out there who need a pickup for The End of the Road.  And why not Randy Foye after his 30/5/15/2/0 explosion last night?  “Wait, don’t you hate Randy Foye JB?!”  Shut it, commenter who remembers everything!  I do hate Foye, but he’s going to get the volume with Ty Lawson out at least another few games with his bum ankle.   Brian Shaw is saying Lawson probably will return this season, and coaches never lie or deceive us in the NBA, right?!  Cough cough.  With only two games on the slate tomorrow, the 63%-owned Foye (which, yes, is probably lower than it should be given the leagues that are over with aren’t making moves) needs to be scooped up in all leagues still rounding out their finals.  Plus the Nugs schedule the rest of the way is @GS, UTA, @LAC, GS.  He’s gonna heave up more threes than Jimmer Fredette at the BYU Alumni game!  Here’s what else I’ve seen over the last couple of days of NBA action:

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