1) Giannis Antetokounmpo (SF/PF) – If you’re drafting Giannis, you are punting FT%. You have no choice. His free throw shooting has gotten to the point where it is no longer manageable (63.4 FT% on 10.0 FTA). The back-to-back MVP had a significantly larger negative impact on the category last season than Rudy Gobert and Andre Drummond did. Fortunately, Antetokounmpo is as elite as they come in that build. Only Anthony Davis was better on a per-game basis last season when free throw percentage was ignored. If you draft Giannis in the first, wait a few rounds to take your second big. If you start with something like Giannis/Rudy Gobert, you are going to find yourself in a hole in threes that is going to be very hard to dig yourself out of. The Buck is respectable from deep these days (1.5 3PG), but at best, he’s going to be league-average in the category next year, and he will finish well below what a typical first-round pick produces in the category. A high-volume three-point shooter is the ideal second-round partner for Giannis. It digs you out of the hole that Antetokounmpo puts you in, and Giannis’ elite FG% impact (54.7 FG% on 20.0 FGA) allows you to easily take on the FG% hit that will likely accompany that guard. Just keep an eye on your swats when building around the MVP. Giannis is not as helpful in the category as most think (1.0 BPG).
2) Jayson Tatum (SF/PF) – This may seem like an aggressive ranking given the names below him, but it’s really not. Tatum finished 12th in nine-category leagues last year and got better as the year went on, capping his junior year in the NBA with an absurd 25.7 PPG, 2.8 3PG, 10.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.2 BPG playoff run. In his prime, Tatum is going to be one of those very rare nine-category players. Once he cleans up efficiency (44.8 FG%) and improves his playmaking (2.9 APG), he’ll have the potential to be a top-three player in fantasy. With even modest improvements, Tatum should finish within the top-10 this season, and unlike some of his first-round brethren, he’s not a DNP-rest risk. Build around Tatum like you would build around Kawhi. Their lines have a lot of similarities. Punting assists makes the most sense when starting with the Celtic. From January until COVID break, Tatum was a top-seven player in punt dimes.
3) Luka Doncic (PG/SG/SF) – Like most, I’m a big Luka fan. His Game 4 performance against the Clippers was one of the five best games I’ve ever seen played. That being said, I’m probably not going to own Doncic in any nine-category leagues this year. He’s going to go inside of the top-five in a lot of leagues, and that is a ridiculous price for a player who was ranked outside of the top-25 before the COVID break, and who was ranked outside of the top-75 from January to March. In eight-category leagues, I love him. Go nuts in the middle of the first. But in nine-category leagues, you have to be careful. Doncic has a lower ceiling than you’d think due to all the holes in his line. Last season, Luka was a four-category player. He dominated points (28.7 PPG), threes (2.9 3PG), rebounds (9.3 RPG), and dimes (8.7 APG) while putting up mediocre-to-ugly numbers everywhere else (46.6 FG%, 75.2 FT%, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 4.2 TOPG). His young LeBron-like struggles at the line make him a natural fit for the punt FT% build, but it is his points, threes, and assists that make him an ideal fit for fantasy’s most famous punting strategy. Since you are going to be drafting players like Rudy Gobert, Clint Capela, and Andre Drummond in that build, you’re going to have a very hard time with points, threes, and assists. Drafting Luka as the centerpiece of the strategy doesn’t make those issues go away, but it does make them much easier to handle.
4) Kawhi Leonard (SG/SF) – The condensed season actually boosts Kawhi’s value. Leonard was always going to miss a ton of games, but the game difference between himself and the other first-round studs is going to less this year since load management is likely going to be ramped up across the league. When he’s out there, there are only a few players who can match the 2019 Finals MVP’s fantasy dominance. Last season, only Anthony Davis and James Harden were more valuable in nine-category leagues. The Clipper is an ideal fit for the punt assists build despite the improved playmaking skills that he showcased in 2019-2020 (5.0 APG). He doesn’t lose much value when dimes are thrown out, and his all-around game (26.9 PPG, 2.1 3PG, 7.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 0.6 BPG) works well with a build that has no natural weaknesses and has the ability to compete in all eight of the non-punted categories. I also like Leonard quite a bit in punt threes. He’s only average from deep, and his points and elite FT% impact (88.9 FT% on 6.9 FTA) shore up the build’s two iffy categories.
5) Kevin Durant (SF/PF) – The track record of players coming back from Achilles tears is not good. Kobe Bryant was still an All-Star when he tore his Achilles and when he came back, he was one of the worst high-volume players in the league. An Achilles tear caused DeMarcus Cousins to go from a first-round fantasy asset to a guy the Warriors wish they could have benched in the 2019 finals. Rudy Gay is probably the closest thing we’ve seen to a success story, and he still lost multiple steps after his injury. None of those guys were as good as Durant was when he tore his Achilles, but their comebacks don’t exactly inspire confidence. I still have Durant as a borderline first-round player because he has room to fall. I don’t expect him to match his 2018-2019 numbers, but that’s OK. He can still be a first-round player if he doesn’t. In his final season with the Warriors, KD finished eighth-overall in nine-category leagues and averaged 26.0 PPG, 1.8 3PG, 6.3 RPG, 5.9 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 1.1 BPG on elite percentages (52.1 FG%, 88.5 FT%). I think he can match his offensive counting numbers, but I do worry about his defensive numbers and field goal percentage. If you draft Durant, make sure you pair him with someone sturdy. Don’t get cute and chase per-game upside and pair him with someone like Kawhi Leonard. The former MVP is likely going to get plenty of nights off in his first season in Brooklyn.
6) LeBron James (PG/SF/PF) – After an unfortunate 2018-2019 season, LeBron struck back at Father Time in 2019-2020 and pulled off a top-10 finish in nine-category leagues. He managed this despite most of his counting numbers slipping slightly. The big exception, and the reason why he was able to once again be a first-round pick, was his assists (10.6 APG). Since he’s going to be back in the point guard role this season, I don’t expect a major drop in value. Even if he slips a bit physically, his role keeps his ceiling extremely high. Only Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic averaged more touches per game than The King did last year. Unlike Giannis, he can be used outside of the punt FT% build (70.1 FT% on 6.0 FTA), but that is his ideal home. LeBron’s still excellent points (25.9 PPG) and elite dimes are a good match for a build that needs to keep an eye on both categories. If you draft James in the first, pay extra attention to your defensive numbers. The Finals MVP has only averaged 0.6 BPG in Los Angeles and last year’s 1.2 SPG average was the worst performance of his career in the category.
7) Paul George (SF/PF) – George flopped last season, but a first-round finish wouldn’t take much improvement. All it would take would be a small bump in his minutes (29.1 MPG), and he should get that assuming his shoulders come into the year in decent shape. George will be a great fit for all punt FG% teams, but especially those who got creative and went big in the first. If you start with Anthony Davis, George fixes your issue with threes (3.2 3PG), and if you start with Karl-Anthony Towns, George can help offset the big man’s lack of steals. Playoff P was only good, not great, in the steals category in 2019-2020 (1.3 SPG). However, I would expect some improvement in 2020-2021. Steals has a ton of year-to-year variance, and George is only one year removed from averaging a league-leading 2.2 SPG. In addition to his stellar swipes and threes, George should be a major help in points (21.0 PPG) and FT% (88.2 FT% on 4.5 FTA) and do more than most wings on the boards (5.7 RPG) and in the assists (3.9 APG) department.
8) Jimmy Butler (SG/SF) – Buckets had a very strange year. He was by far the worst shooter in the league last season. That’s not an exaggeration. He made Russell Westbrook look like Steph Curry. However, despite shooting only 33 percent on jumpers in 2019-2020, Jimmy still somehow managed a first-round fantasy finish. He made up for his poor shooting by doing a little bit of everything. He was not dominant in any category besides steals (1.7 SPG), but he also wasn’t a disaster anywhere besides threes (0.5 3PG). The rest of Butler’s line was very solid (20.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.1 APG, 0.5 BPG) with his FT% impact being especially useful (83.3 FT% on 9.1 FTA). He remains a centerpiece of the punt threes build as he’s one of the only top-end sources of points and FT% impact that doesn’t lose a lot of value in that build. Before the COVID break, fewer than 10 players were more valuable than Jimmy when threes were ignored.
9) Robert Covington (SF/PF/C) – Covington remains one of the most underappreciated assets in fantasy basketball. It looks like, once again, fantasy players will be able to acquire his services at a discount. He is currently ranked shockingly low on Yahoo. Heck, this fairly aggressively ranking is probably underselling him. After all, he did finish as a second-round player in some of fantasy’s most popular builds in 2019-2020. Covington brings elite steals (1.6 SPG), very useful boards (6.0 RPG with the Wolves), and above-average triples (2.3 3PG). He’ll also be one of the best sources of out-of-position blocks, although he likely won’t match last season’s 1.3 BPG. Last year’s exceptional performance in the category is inflated by his time as the Rockets’ primary rim defender. While in Houston, the newest Blazer averaged a ridiculous 2.2 BPG. As elite as Covington is, he’s a tough pickup for teams struggling in points. The swingman has never averaged more than 13.5 PPG, and most of the players in his range score significantly more than that. Points are very hard to find after round five, so if you have a poor start in points, and grab Covington in four or five, you probably won’t be able to end up where you want to be in the category.
10) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (PG/SG/SF) – SGA finished as a top-50 player in his sophomore season while never playing like a top-50 player. He was either borderline droppable or an early-round asset. From the beginning of the season to December 17th, the Canadian was ranked outside of the top-130 in nine-category leagues behind fantasy studs such as Glenn Robinson III and Justin Holiday. Those who held through his rough start or bought low early were richly rewarded over the second half of the season. From December 18th until the COVID stoppage, fewer than 20 players were more valuable than the Thunder’s young stud. Over that stretch, SGA averaged an outstanding 20.2 PPG on 50.2 FG%, 1.2 3PG, 6.9 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.9 BPG. As good as those offensive counting numbers are, they may be his floor this year. With both Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari playing elsewhere, SGA is going to have all the usage he wants. He’s also moving to point guard, which guarantees a spike in his assist rate. The 2020-2021 season should be a fun one for the future star.
11) Khris Middleton (SG/SF) – Middleton isn’t the sexiest pick in his range, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not a very good one. Before the COVID shutdown, Middleton was producing top-25 numbers while being one of the best sources of percentages impact in the league. The mid-range maestro shot 49.9 percent from the field before Rudy Gobert did his thing and was also connecting on 90.8 percent of his 3.6 FTA. The counting stats were also excellent. Every build can use 21.1 PPG, 2.4 3PG, 6.2 RPG, and 4.1 APG. The only holes in his line were his defensive numbers (0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG), which makes him a very strong target for any team punting either steals or blocks. In the punt blocks build, Middleton was a first-round player in 2019-2020.
12) Brandon Ingram (SG/SF/PF) – Ingram is only 23 and is coming off of a top-30 finish. Normally, a player who is as young and as good as Ingram would be ranked a lot higher than this. The biggest reason why he is ranked this low is Zion. Once Williamson returned, Ingram went from being a borderline first-round option to a top-80 asset. The drop was due to a decreased usage rate caused by Zion and a change in Ingram’s shot profile also caused by the stud rookie. Without Williamson on the floor last season, Ingram had a usage rate of 28.1 percent. With Zion on that floor, his usage rate dropped to 24.6 percent. Ingram also took a lower percentage of shots at the rim and in the restricted area with Williamson on the court than he did while the rookie sat. The tougher shot profile was a big reason why Ingram only shot 43.7 percent with Zion on the floor (46.8 FG% with Zion off). Williamson isn’t the only reason why Ingram is a little riskier than his 2019-2020 ranking suggests. The former Laker is coming off of one of the largest shooting improvements that I can remember. In his final year in Los Angeles, Ingram shot only 33.0 percent on 1.8 3PA and connected on only 67.5 percent of his free throw attempts. In his first year in New Orleans, the All-Star connected on 39.1 percent of his 6.2 3PG and shot an excellent 85.1 percent from the line. The swingman also doubled his 2018-2019 0.5 SPG average in his first year in New Orleans (1.0 SPG). Ingram has obviously put in a ton of work, but anytime we see improvement like that, we should be worried about regression. If Ingram’s 2019-2020 numbers come close to holding, you can fit him into just about any build. Last year’s Ingram didn’t have any notable holes in his line (46.6 FG%, 85.8 FT%, 24.3 PPG, 2.4 3PG, 6.3 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG).
13) Zach LaVine (PG/SG/SF) – It’s going to be difficult for LaVine to repeat his top-35 2019-2020 performance. His outstanding across-the-board contributions were inflated by the rash of the injuries that the Bulls suffered through. A healthier Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter will take touches away from LaVine, as will a second-year Coby White. LaVine also absolutely crushed his previous career-high in swipes last season (1.5 SPG). Prior to 2019-2020, the Bull had never eclipsed 1.0 SPG. Any player whose fantasy improvement is at least partially driven by a large steals jump is going to be a little risky. That is because steals, along with FT%, has the most year-to-year variance on the individual level. Rebounding and assist rates are usually fairly stable and predictable, but steal rates can jump all over the place. The shooting guard may not match last year’s numbers, but he is still a strong pick for most builds due to his efficient high-volume scoring (25.5 PPG, 3.1 3PG, 45.0 FG%, 80.2 FT%) and lack of holes in his line. The Bull is a high-turnover player and should be bumped up a round if you play in eight-category leagues (3.4 TOPG).
14) DeMar DeRozan (SG/SF) – If you decide to punt threes this season, reach for DeRozan (0.1 3PG). Unless you are getting really crazy, the Spur will return value at his draft position in that build. Before the COVID stoppage, the throwback shooting guard was a second-round player when threes were thrown out. DeRozan is essential for the build not only because he gains a significant amount of value, but because the build usually struggles to find enough points and FT% impact. DeRozan addresses both issues. In his second year in San Antonio, the former All-Star averaged an outstanding 22.1 PPG on 53.1 shooting and connected on 84.5 percent of his trips to the charity stripe. The former Raptor is also one of the best sources of dimes from the two-guard spot (5.6 APG) and has an excellent turnover rate for a high-usage player (2.4 TOPG). If you want to draft DeRozan, but don’t want to punt threes, make sure you don’t draft more than one other zero-threes player. It is extremely hard to get away with having more than two non-shooters on your roster these days.
15) Gordon Hayward (SG/SF) – Hayward is back. Besides a dip in points, which was obviously due to the team Hayward was on, the swingman’s 2019-2020 per-possession numbers were pretty close to his per-possession numbers in his lone All-Star season in Utah. He’s might not ever quite match his Utah numbers again, but he’s made up for the dip in touches by improving his efficiency (50.2 FG%) and rebounding (6.5 RPG) while doing his usual good work in the assists (4.1 APG) and FT% column (84.7 FT% on 2.5 FTA). DeMar DeRozan is still the ideal mid-round punt threes guard/forward target, but if you miss out on the Spur, look Hayward’s way. The newest Hornet is only average from deep (1.6 3PG) and is a plus contributor in the points (17.3 PPG) and FT% categories, which are the two categories that tend to be a problem for the build.
16) Tobias Harris (SF/PF) – In a season that is likely going to be full of insane plot twists, players like Harris hold extra value. There isn’t top-30 potential here, but the swingman’s floor isn’t much lower than this ranking. Over the past six seasons, Harris has been a top-60 nine-category player five times, and the one time that he missed, he was a top-65 player. The Sixer is also one of the most durable players in the league and has only missed a total of three games over the past four seasons. There’s no reason why Harris can’t match last season’s 19.4 PPG, 1.8 3PG, 7.0 RPG, and 3.2 APG. With Morey now running the team, it’s also fair to expect the forward’s triples to rise. The only major hole in Harris’ line is his steals. He hasn’t averaged 1.0 SPG in a season since the 2014-2015 season and only managed 0.7 SPG in his first full season in Philadelphia.
17) Kelly Oubre Jr. (SF/PF) – The Warriors are a nice final landing spot for Oubre. With Klay Thompson out, the Dubs are going to be fighting to get into the playoffs and will need Oubre to play all the minutes he can handle. He may not quite match last season’s 34.5 MPG, but he should get close enough to that number to be a top-50 player in friendly builds. In his final year in Phoenix, Oubre was a top-50 player in nine-category leagues thanks to his strong scoring numbers (18.9 PPG, 1.9 3PG), reliable work on the boards (6.4 RPG), and very strong defensive contributions (1.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG). The main drawback to drafting the newest Warrior is that he’s going to be a larger drag than most wings on your assists (1.5 APG).
18) Jaylen Brown (SG/SF) – Brown has the makings of a punt assists stud (2.2 APG) if he can get it together at the line. Despite being a fairly significant drag on the category last season (72.4 FT% on 4.3 FTA), Brown still managed to be a top-50 player in punt dimes before the league shut down. The rest of his line is looking very promising. There are not many players available in the middle rounds who can provide you with high-level points (20.4 PPG) that are accompanied by positive production in the FG% category (49.0 FG%). That combination is usually reserved for the early rounds. It becomes an even rarer combination when you factor in his solid three-ball (2.1 3PG). This isn’t a DeMar DeRozan situation where his FG% is inflated by his shot selection. The Celtic is also one of the league’s better rebounding wings (6.4 RPG) and comes with an average steal rate (1.1 SPG).
19) Otto Porter (SF/PF) – This is a tough one. Porter has only played 14 games since March 2019 and didn’t look healthy in any of them. We know a healthy Porter has top-35 potential in nine-category leagues, but it’s hard to say if a healthy Porter is a realistic expectation this year. He’s battled hip issues for years and never looked right at any point last season, although a lot of his struggles were due to a foot injury that he just couldn’t beat. Preseason should tell us a lot about the odds of Porter getting back to his early-round self this season. I wouldn’t just be looking at his box score. I would also be looking at how the Bulls are handling his minutes. If they are still limiting him in preseason, I would likely wait for a discount on the former stud. At 27, that shouldn’t be happening unless there are real concerns that his body can’t handle big minutes. If everything checks out and he looks good in decent minutes, then I think he’ll be worth gambling on in the middle rounds. A healthy Porter would be more productive than most players in his range. In 2018-2019, Porter was a top-40 option in nine-category leagues thanks to his all-around game (13.9 PPG, 1.9 3PG, 5.6 RPG, 1.4 SPG, and 0.6 BPG). In the past, he’s been a consistent early-round player in punt dimes (2.1 APG). In 2018-2019, he was a top-30 player in the punt assists build, and in 2017-2018, he just missed cracking the top-15. Those in eight-category leagues should wait on Porter. In that setup, he loses a significant amount of value thanks to his nonexistent turnover rate (1.2 TOPG in 2018-2019).
20) T.J. Warren (SF/PF) – Try to wipe Bubble Warren from your memory. That was fun, but that performance also doesn’t mean a whole lot for the 2020-2021 season. The explosion came without Domantas Sabonis on the floor and with a version of Victor Oladipo that we likely won’t see this year. Warren did end up as a top-60 player in nine-category leagues this season, but again, a lot of that had to do with Oladipo’s issues. A healthier Oladipo is going to lead to a usage drop for Warren, which is bad news for any player, but especially one like Warren who has most of his value tied up in usage-related categories (18.7 PPG on 52.9 FG%). The swingman doesn’t do enough elsewhere to maintain top-60 numbers while losing touches. Before the bubble, the Pacer averaged only 1.1 3PG, 4.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, and 1.1 SPG. Despite the incoming drop in touches, Warren should see his threes increase. Indiana’s firing of Nate McMillan signals that they want to move away from their mid-range-heavy offense. More threes may or may not be a good thing for Warren’s value because it will be accompanied by a drop in his FG%.
21) Mikal Bridges (SG/SF) – If Bridges plays like he did over the second half of the season in 2020-2021, this ranking is going to look stupid. Bridges was promoted to the starting lineup on January 28th, and from that point until the COVID break, fewer than 30 players were more valuable than the 24-year-old. In the punt points build, that number drops under 15. Over that monster stretch, the sophomore averaged a nasty 11.7 PPG on 52.2 FG% and 96.8 FT%, 1.5 3PG, 4.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.9 BPG, and only 1.2 TOPG. What makes that performance unsustainable and what forces me to rank him this low is that those numbers were produced in 35.0 MPG. As good as Bridges is, that is going to be a hard number to duplicate with Jae Crowder on the roster and Cam Johnson likely looking at an increase in playing time. In 28-30 MPG, Bridges should still be able to produce mid-round numbers. His final top-75 ranking was achieved in only 27.3 MPG.
22) O.G. Anunoby (SF/PF) – Anunoby was a boom-or-bust top-70 player last season. He had close to 20 first-round-level performances in 2019-2020, which means that most of the time, he was providing his owners with only late-round value. If you take a look at his game log, you’ll see plenty of 7/5/1/1/0 types of games. That level of inconsistency is not a problem in Roto, but it makes valuing Anunoby very difficult in H2H. In fact, of all the players who finished inside of the nine-category top-125 last season, the only player who was more inconsistent on a game-to-game basis was Christian Wood. Owners willing to put up with Anunoby inconsistency will have a potential defensive categories difference-maker on their hands. Before the bubble, Anunoby averaged a solid 1.4 SPG and 0.7 BPG and was heating up in both categories when the league decided to stop playing. In the month leading up to the stoppage, the Raptor produced a nasty 2.5 SPG and 0.8 BPG. His contributions in the other counting categories will be limited (10.7 PPG, 1.3 3PG, 5.4 RPG, 1.6 APG), but he is more efficient than most wings from the field (50.7 FG%).
23) Aaron Gordon (SF/PF) – Gordon has been up and down since becoming a featured player on the Magic, but the absence of Jonathan Isaac this season makes Gordon a relatively safe investment. The forward has always excelled when he’s been allowed to spend more time at the four. His FG% is going to be less than ideal (43.3 FG% on 12.5 FGA), but he should be a steady provider of rebounds (7.6 RPG), and produce low-level, but helpful, numbers in the guard categories (14.4 PPG, 1.2 3PG, 3.7 APG). I would expect some positive regression at the line this season. Last season’s pre-bubble mark of 67.5 percent was the worst Gordon has done in the category since his sophomore year. In 2018-2019, he shot a much more palatable 73.1 percent from the charity stripe.
24) Evan Fournier (SG/SF) – Fournier isn’t the most exciting pick in the world, but he is one of the safer options in this range. The Magic’s shooting guard has finished inside of the top-70 in three of the past five seasons, including in 2019-2020. With the Magic still extremely thin on the wing, the veteran has a good shot at making it four of six. Fournier functions like a poor man’s C.J. McCollum. Most of his value is derived from doing good work in scoring categories (18.1 PPG, 2.6 3PG) while having a neutral impact on your percentages (46.0 FG%, 81.0 FT%). The rest of his line is very forgettable (3.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.9 TOPG), and you’ll want to make sure that you pair him with a strong rebounding squad. The swingman averaged a horrendous 2.6 RPG before the COVID break and has never produced more than 3.2 RPG in his career.
25) Danilo Gallinari (SF/PF) – Atlanta is a brutal landing spot for Gallo. He is joining a team that has five players who could easily average 15+ points on a less loaded offensive squad. That would be bad news for most players, but it is especially bad news for a player like Gallinari who derives almost all of his value from usage-related categories. The Rooster finished as a top-50 nine-category player in 2019-2020 thanks to his contributions in points (19.2 PPG), threes (3.0 3PG), and FT% (88.6 FT% on 3.8 FTA). All of those numbers should drop now that he’s a Hawk, and he’s not going to be able to make up for it in other areas since he produces so little outside of the scoring categories (2.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 43.9 FG%). I’m out on Gallo this year unless he comes at a discount.
26) Will Barton (SG/SF) – MPJ is coming for Barton, but that passing of the torch may not happen this year. Barton is still a very useful player, and given the current state of MPJ’s defense, Coach Malone may not be willing to unleash the youngster in his sophomore year. If Barton once again finds himself in a 30+ MPG role, he’ll likely outplay his current ADP. He was a top-70 player in nine-category leagues last year and did not have any major holes in his line. His best attribute is his rebounding ability (6.3 RPG), and he provides about average production everywhere else (15.1 PPG, 1.9 3PG, 3.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.5 BPG).
27) Michael Porter Jr. (SF) – Coach Malone is going to decide the fate of many MPJ teams this year. If the Nuggets’ coach can stomach Porter’s nonexistent defense enough to play the sophomore big minutes, MPJ drafters could have a top-40 asset on their hands. That’s not a guarantee, unfortunately, and it’s very possible that Porter gets stuck in a low-20s MPG role. Assuming he ends up around 25 MPG, the Nugget should bless his owners with some of the most efficient points (20.4 PP36) available in the second half of the draft. As a rookie, MPJ shot an outstanding 50.9 percent from the floor and a promising 83.3 percent from the line. Porter has also shown some nice upside from deep (2.5 3PG) and on the boards (10.3 RP36) and his defensive contributions were decent for a rookie (1.1 SP36, 1.0 BP36).
28) Andrew Wiggins (SG/SF) – Where to take Wiggins comes down to whether or not you think his defensive numbers with the Warriors are for real. If he somehow comes close to matching the 1.3 SPG and 1.4 BPG that he averaged in his 12 games with the Dubs, a top-60 finish is possible. As you can tell from this ranking, I’m not buying them. I could see him improving in both categories, but both numbers are miles above anything he’s done in his career. In his first full year with the Warriors, Wiggins should be able to produce an 18/5/4 line with close to a steal and a block. That’s a nice line, but unless he remembers how to shoot free throws, he’s going to be a punt FT%-only player. Wiggins’ awful free throw shooting (70.9 FT%) is very hard to offset due to his high number of attempts (5.0 FTA).
29) Norman Powell (SG/SF) – FVV getting a big deal from the Raptors hurts Powell’s 2019-2020 outlook, but I still like his chances of cracking the top-100 for the second year in a row for a couple of reasons. The first is that he is playing behind two somewhat injury-prone players. Lowry plays through a lot, but he’ll be 35 in March and has faded in the second half of the season in the past. VanVleet is in his prime, but he’s missed a ton of games over the past two seasons. The second reason is Powell’s efficiency. For a player who averaged 2.1 3PG in 2019-2020, the Raptor is extremely efficient from the field. Before the bubble, Powell hit 50.3 percent of his attempts from the floor (16.4 PPG on 11.7 FGA). If Powell can lock in 27+ MPG again, he’ll also be a nice source of steals (1.3 3PG) and will provide his owners with low-end FT% impact (83.8 FT% on 3.0 FTA).
30) Bojan Bogdanovic (SF/PF) – Bogdanovic is coming off of two consecutive top-100 finishes and has top-75 potential in friendly builds. He finished inside of the top-75 in punt steals (0.5 SPG) and punt blocks (0.1 BPG) last season. He will be one of the best sources of points available in the second half of the draft this season (20.2 PPG) and should finish among the league leaders in threes made (3.0 3PG). The rest of his counting numbers are mediocre (4.1 RPG, 2.1 APG), but he does have the potential to be a difference-maker in the FT% category. In 2019-2020, Bogdanovic connected on 90.3 percent of his 4.4 FTA. Those numbers were good enough to allow Bogdanovic to have a top-seven impact on the category.
31) Josh Richardson (SG/SF) – Richardson needed a change of scenery. After back-to-back top-70 finishes in Miami, the swingman failed to crack the top-150 in his only season in Philadelphia. He’s not going to blow up in Dallas playing beside Luka Doncic and his unholy usage rate, but joining a team that had the best regular-season offense of all-time last year gives the 27-year-old a good shot at finishing inside of the top-100 again. Richardson should hit more threes this season (1.5 3PG), and we should see his steals rebound. The 0.9 SPG that he averaged in his only season with the Sixers was his worst performance in the category since his rookie year. In his final two seasons in Miami, Richardson averaged 1.5 SPG and 1.1 SPG. In addition to helpful threes and steals numbers, the swingman should gift with owners with low-end points (13.7 PPG), assists (2.9 APG), and blocks (0.7 BPG).
32) Duncan Robinson (SG/SF) – Robinson functions as a poor man’s Davis Bertans. He’s threes and not much else, but his elite threes do come without a FG% hit. In his breakout 2019-2020 season, Robinson averaged a stunning 3.7 3PG before the bubble games while shooting 46.7 percent from the floor. That is Klay Thompson-esque. I would not expect the rest of Robinson’s line to improve this year. He doesn’t have the ability, and with the Heat running it back with the team that made the Finals, he’s not going to be asked to do anything besides shoot. The sharpshooter should once again be a low-end source of points (13.3 PPG) and a drag on the other counting categories (3.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.5 SPG). Don’t be fooled by his elite free throw shooting (90.6 FT%). He doesn’t get to the line enough for it to matter (0.8 FTA).
33) Jerami Grant (SF/PF) – The Pistons didn’t pay Grant $60M to sit on the bench. Expect the forward to see time at both the three and four and play north of 30 MPG. Grant isn’t productive enough on a per-game basis to flirt with the top-50 in 30 MPG, but a top-100 finish is very doable. His final season in OKC gives us an idea of what he can do in a featured role. In 2018-2019, the forward produced top-75 numbers in 32.7 MPG and averaged a healthy 13.6 PPG, 1.4 3PG, 5.2 RPG, and 1.3 BPG while shooting 49.7 percent from the floor.
34) P.J. Washington (SF/PF) – Washington will be a mid-round player for most of the next decade if he starts hitting his free throws. Outside of his disappointing performance at the line (64.7 FT%), the Hornet had a very promising rookie year. The forward did not produce standout numbers in any category, but he did a little bit of everything and has a shot at being a 2.0 3PG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG player in his second year in the league. As a rookie, Washington averaged a very intriguing 1.5 3PG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.8 BPG. In addition to his 3-and-D stats, Washington should post respectable numbers in the points (12.2 PPG) and rebounding (5.4 RPG) categories.
35) Terrence Ross (SG/SF) – You’ll find Ross in the final rounds of most of EFB’s 2020-2021 guides and for good reason. The swingman has been a top-100 player the past two seasons and has a solid shot at scoring the hat trick this in 2020-2021. Ross will once again be in his sixth-man role that led to 14.8 PPG, 2.6 3PG, and 1.1 SPG in 2019-2020. He works in most builds because most builds love a late points boost, but he will be especially valuable in punt FG% (40.7 FG% on 12.3 FGA). With his poor shooting from the floor thrown out, Ross was a sixth-round player in both 2019-2020 and 2018-2019.
36) Tyler Herro (SG/SF) – Herro is undraftable on Yahoo. He’s ranked inside of the top-70 for some reason, and he has absolutely no shot at returning value at that price. Unless Jimmy Butler goes down for most of the season, the sophomore’s ceiling isn’t even close to his current ADP. Herro doesn’t contribute in enough categories right now to be a mid-round player. His poor wingspan makes it very unlikely that he’s ever a plus contributor in the defensive categories (0.8 SP36, 0.2 BP36), and he rarely got to the line in his rookie year (2.4 FTA36). He has flashed some potential in the playmaking department (2.9 AP36), but he’s unlikely to be more than a low-end source of dimes this year with Butler, Goran Dragic, and Bam Adebayo on the roster. The leaves Herro as a decent points and threes option (17.7 PP36, 2.8 3P36) that doesn’t do anything else. And that would be fine if he came at a late-round price. Unfortunately, he won’t due to some flashy playoff performances, and that makes Herro a lock to be one of this season’s most overdrafted players.
37) Rui Hachimura (SF/PF) – Rui’s got some holes in his line that are going to prevent him from ever being an early-round player, but he still offers decent value at the end of the draft in friendly builds like punt blocks (0.2 BPG) and punt assists (1.7 APG). As a rookie, Hachimura was a top-115 player when assists or blocks were shown the door. The Wizard’s best assets are his boards (6.0 RPG) and percentages (47.8 FG% on 11.1 FGA, 82.9 FT% on 2.7 FTA). Most late-round picks are a drag on at least one of the percentages categories and many struggle in both. That’s not the case with the sophomore, although I would expect his FG% to drop a little bit this year as more of his game moves to the perimeter (0.5 3PG). Taking a shot on Hachimura at the end of the draft makes a lot of sense, but that move will make it more difficult to consistently win threes, assists, and steals (0.8 SPG).
38) Troy Brown Jr. (SG/SF) – I was ready to hype Brown as one of my favorite late-round sleepers until the Wizards drafted Deni Avdija. I still like Brown, but his upside did take a hit on draft night as he’ll now be forced to split minutes with a player the Wizards had high on their draft boards. Fortunately, Avdija is very raw, and 25+ MPG is still in play for the third-year man. In a 25 MPG role, Brown will be an above-average bet for swipes (1.7 SP36) and a sneaky source of boards (7.7 RP36). He would also be a decent contributor in the points (14.5 PP36) and assists (3.6 AP36) categories if he was ever to find himself in a 30 MPG role.
39) Caris LeVert (SG/SF) – LeVert is one of the easiest bust calls in a long, long time. He is a final-round type of player that will cost fantasy players a mid-round pick. Despite having the Nets almost to himself for half of the 45 games that he played in 2019-2020, the 26-year-old failed to crack the top-150 in nine-category leagues. If that’s the type of numbers that he produces as the Nets’ go-to guy, think about how ugly it is going to get with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving healthy. I’m not confident in LeVert’s chances of fantasy survival this season because almost all of his value is derived from touches-related categories. His points (18.7 PPG), threes (1.8 3PG), and assists (4.4 APG) are all likely going to take a hit this year with the Nets’ top-two dominating the rock, and he doesn’t do enough on the boards (4.2 RPG) or on the defensive end (1.2 SPG) to offset the drops. Making matters worse is his percentages. LeVert has always been a disaster in both and is coming off of a season where he shot 42.5 percent from the field and 71.1 percent from the line.
40) Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG/SF) – Bogdanovic would be a potential mid-round player on a team where he would have a large role on offense. He had an early-round streak last year when De’Aaron Fox went down, and he was allowed to run the point. Unfortunately, he signed with a Hawks team that all of a sudden looks like one of the deepest squads in the association. It’s going to be extremely difficult to match last year’s 22.1 percent usage rate playing beside Young, Gallinari, Collins, and Capela, and last season’s top-100 finish looks like his ceiling. He’ll probably be rosterable, but potential owners shouldn’t be looking to spend more than a late-round pick for Bogdanovic’s strong threes (2.7 3PG), average points (15.1 PPG) and steals (1.1 SPG), and low-end assists (3.4 APG).
41) R.J. Barrett (SG/SF) – Barrett is a punt FT%-only player. He’ll likely improve from the line this season (61.4 FT% on 4.5 FTA) but not by enough to make him viable outside of that build. In his rookie year, the Knick had a larger negative impact on the category than all but six players. The swingman was about as detrimental to your chances of winning the category as Ben Simmons was. Those taking the dive should expect fairly strong counting numbers. With Coach Thibodeau in town, Barrett is going to be a candidate to lead the league in minutes, and all that extra run should lead to useful numbers in the points (14.3 PPG), rebounds (5.0 RPG), assists (2.6 APG), and steals (1.0 SPG) categories. Stay far, far away if you are not punting FT% or if you play in a Roto league. Thanks to his horrendous percentages (40.2 FG%, 61.4 FT%), the Canadian finished outside of the top-400 in his maiden NBA campaign.
42) Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG/SF) – Kristaps Porzingis is likely out until at least mid-January, and that should make Hardaway a strong early-season play. When KP sits, Hardaway’s usage rate jumps from 19.2 percent to 22.1 percent. Those investing in the Mavericks’ swingman should be rewarded with plenty of points (15.8 PPG) and high-end threes (2.9 3PG), and those flashy scoring numbers will not come with a turnovers hit (1.0 TOPG). He’s best paired with the punt FG% build. Due to the perimeter-oriented nature of Hardaway’s game, the Maverick is a notable drag on the FG% category (43.7 FG% on 12.6 FGA). In addition to hurting your chances in FG%, Hardaway will drag down your big-man numbers (3.1 RPG, 0.1 BPG) and steals (0.7 SPG).
43) Cameron Johnson (SG/SF) – Kelly Oubre’s departure opens up some minutes for Johnson and gives the sophomore a pathway to top-120 numbers this season. If he can lock down minutes in the mid-20s, the sophomore should average over 2.5 3PG. With that much run, the sharpshooter would also be able to produce low-end points (14.5 PP36) and boards (5.4 RP36). The key to Johnson’s value this season will be his FG%. If he doesn’t improve on last season’s 43.5 percent shooting from the floor (including bubble games), he’ll only be a streamer. If he can get into the 46%+ percent range, then he’ll belong on a roster in standard leagues.
44) Cam Reddish (SG/SF) – I had Reddish about 30 spots higher before Atlanta decided they wanted to load up for a run at the East’s eighth-seed and a quick first-round exit at the hands of the Bucks. I still think he’s draftable, but I’m waiting until about the final round to take a shot on the sophomore who is now competing with, I believe, 18 other players for minutes at the two and the three. If Reddish sees 25 MPG this year, he should help his owners from deep and in the steals column. He showed nice upside in both areas as a first-year player. As a rookie, Reddish produced 1.9 3P36 and 1.4 SP36 and was much more productive than that down the stretch. After a horrendous start to his rookie year where he looked like college Cam Reddish, the swingman blew up in February and March and averaged a very encouraging 15.9 PPG on 48.9 FG%, 2.1 3PG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.3 SPG.
45) Danuel House (SF/PF) – With Robert Covington now in Portland, House has a decent shot at matching last season’s top-110 finish. The Rockets at thin at the three, and the bubble villain should see close to 30 MPG. With that much playing time, House should be able to help his owners in threes (1.9 3PG) and steals (1.1 SPG) while providing low-end boards (4.2 RPG). The rest of his line is forgettable (10.2 PPG, 0.6 BPG, 41.6 FG%), but the only major issue with it is his assists (1.3 APG). If you slide House into the punt assists build, he’ll likely end up as a top-100 player. Without dimes included in the valuation calculation, House was a top-85 asset in 2019-2020.
46) Dillon Brooks (SG/SF) – If you are punting FG% and are in need of a points and threes boost, look Brooks’ way late. Including the bubble games, Brooks averaged 16.2 PPG and 2.0 3PG in 2019-2020. Those numbers were good enough to land him inside of the top-115 in his best build. If you are not punting FG%, then I would pass on the Canadian. The damage that he can do to your FG% is significant. Only five players who played more than 30 games last season had a larger negative impact on the category than Brooks (40.7 FG% on 14.7 FGA). Brooks’ contributions outside of the scoring categories are likely going to be limited this year (3.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.9 SPG).
47) Josh Hart (SG/SF) – With Jrue Holiday now in Milwaukee, there should be a few more minutes open on the wing for Hart. The playing time wasn’t always there in 2019-2020 for the Pelican, but when Hart was given solid run, he usually produced. Despite only playing 27.4 MPG, Hart managed to sneak inside of the top-100 in friendly builds. We like Hart late because of the good work he does on the boards and from deep. It’s not easy to find 6.5 RPG attached to decent threes (1.9 3PG). Most of the better sources of rebounds available in the final round of the draft are not three-point shooters. In addition to the threes and rebounds, Hart should also provide his owners with average steals (1.0 SPG).