Top 5 Rookies To Draft In Your Fantasy Basketball League

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Intro

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Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

As the NBA season quickly approaches, fantasy basketball season is almost here as well, and mid-October is usually the time where most drafts happen.

Rookies are usually the toughest players to draft because of the uncertainty surrounding them. Whether there are concerns about them being a bust, not NBA ready, or their minute total, fantasy owners tend to feel uneasy investing highly in a rookie.

The key in drafting rookies is to avoid the big names like Anthony Davis or Austin Rivers because they will likely be taken way too early, but go for sleeper picks that aren’t as popular. This way, you get a high upside rookie but haven’t wasted a third round pick on him and picked up a proven veteran instead. Regardless, there are certainly some rookies that will become viable fantasy options worth starting the whole year. I’m going to give you the top 5 fantasy rookies to target heading into your 2012 fantasy draft.

Honorable mentions:

Thomas Robinson, PF, Sacramento Kings

Robinson, the 5th pick in the 2012 draft, is a dominant, two- way forward. He is NBA ready and should be able to make an impact immediately alongside DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins will be worth a mid to late round pick and should produce numbers that make him a viable start for most of the year.

Harrison Barnes, SF, Golden State Warriors

Barnes, the 7th pick in the 2012 draft, is a pure scorer. He can light it up in quite a hurry and fits in quite well with the Warriors offence. In leagues that highly value scoring, Barnes should be a decent starting forward.

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5- Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers

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Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Lillard, the 6th pick in the 2012 draft, is an explosive scoring guard. Being drafted by a Portland Trail Blazers team without many options offensively, Lillard will get a ton of opportunities to produce.

Expect Lillard to consistently produce from day one, and draft him with confidence. He should be able to produce up to par with the mid-tier point guards with tons of added upside, so Lillard could be a good value pick.

Lillard will get the bulk of minutes at the point guard position for the Trail Blazers, and if the Blazers want any shot at the playoffs, Lillard will have to produce big time and take the load off LaMarcus Aldridge.

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4- Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Beal, the 3rd pick in the 2012 draft, is regarded as potentially the best scorer in the draft. A complete package offensively, Beal will be put into the fire right away alongside John Wall, forming a fantastic young backcourt for the Washington Wizards for the next decade.

As Wall and Beal form chemistry, they will become deadly and Beal should rack up a ton of points.

As the season progresses, Beal will get better and better, so taking him with a mid-round pick is a good investment that will pay off towards the end of the season.

Jordan Crawford will challenge Beal for minutes, however I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wizards trade Crawford in order to give Beal control over the shooting guard position

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3- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Charlotte Bobcats

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Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Kidd-Gilchrist, the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 draft, is an all-around two way thread with a high motor. Playing for the pitiful Charlotte Bobcats, Gilchrist will get all the playing time in the world as the Bobcats need all the help they can get.

While Gilchrist isn’t a great scorer, he will likely average a solid amount of points simply due to the lack of options the Bobcats possess. In leagues that value steals and blocks, Gilchrist becomes even more valuable due to his defensive presence. He’s also a very solid rebounder, and essentially does everything well. In categories scoring formats, Gilchrist will be a phenomenal pick.

Gilchrist should be able to produce from the beginning, so don’t be afraid to draft him in all leagues as a number 3 forward with upside.

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2- Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors

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Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Valanciunas, the number 5 pick in the 2011 draft, had buyout issues with his former club in Lithuania and has joined the Toronto Raptors for the 2012 season, making him a rookie from the class of 2012. Valanciunas has completely fallen off the radar for the most part, however there is no doubting his talent.

Valanciunas is a fantastic rebounder and shot blocker, and already an extremely polished pick and roll player.

Valanciunas will put up numbers making him worthy of starting as a number 2 center, and will likely be ranked extremely low on the draft board, making him one of the best value picks out there.

If Valanciunas is on the board and you need a center, don’t hesitate. You won’t regret it.

For more on Valanciunas , click here.

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1- Anthony Davis, PF, New Orleans Hornets

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Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Davis, the 1st pick in the 2012 draft, is likely the safest pick out of all the rookies. He should be able to put up close to a double double with the New Orleans Hornets, and will be worthy of starting as a number 2 forward from day one with plenty of upside.

However, the problem with Davis is his hype and recognition. Because virtually every NBA fan knows Davis and his potential, he will likely go much higher than he should, and it simply isn’t worth stretching for Davis when there are tons of other safe, high upside picks.

Unless he’s available where he’s projected, stay away from Davis.

Follow me on Twitter @Thesachman

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