37. Zion Williamson
38. Deandre Ayton
39. Terry Rozier
40. Jarrett Allen
41. Evan Mobley
42. Jakob Poeltl
43. De’Aaron Fox
44. Jrue Holiday
45. Dejounte Murray
46. Nikola Vucevic
47. Khris Middleton
48. Scottie Barnes
49. Jaylen Brown
50. Brandon Ingram
51. Kristaps Porzingis
52. Alperen Sengun
53. Jonas Valanciunas
54. CJ McCollum
55. Julius Randle
56. Clint Capela
57. Mitchell Robinson
58. Ben Simmons
59. Jalen Green
60. John Collins
Rounds 2 & 3
Rounds 6 & 7
Rounds 8 & 9
Late Round Picks
37. Zion Williamson – NOP – PF
SR Value (Rank): 0.563 (46)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.209 (68)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.038 (110)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.855 (36)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.543 (67)
Zion has fallen into a category of being underrated now. I think he will have a little rust to wear off after sitting our the 21-22 season but he is an absolute player in punt FT builds. His ~8.5 FTA at sub .700 tanks the category even if you’re well stocked with good FT shooters but if you’ve opted for the punt FT route he is your man. I think Zion can be one of the best players in the NBA (real life) but he is always going to have some flaws in fantasy. His 3s will begin to pickup as he’s shown he can stroke it out there at a strong enough clip to warrant respect from defences. It’s steals and blocks where we need to see growth, I have him down on 20-21 numbers but only on rust, I think Zion’s potential defensively is probably somewhere around 1.2 steals per game and .8 blocks per game. How quickly he can put all of that together remains to be seen. What we want to see from him is a healthy 60-70 game season and then let him build from there.
- Punt FT – Zion is uniquely placed in the Punt FT build as he doesn’t offer elite boards or blocks, or steals, he offers elite points and elite FG%. That’s it. He will also come with a high 4th round late 3rd round price tag meaning the person who has a pick at 7, 8, 9 and catches a falling Curry is likely the winner of the Zion sweepstakes rather than those taking Giannis and Doncic at the top of R1. You must take Gobert in round 2/3 for Zion to work, the boards and blocks are must wins in this build.
- Watch Zion’s 3 point volume in preseason (I don’t expect him to play a ton in preseason) as this will give us a good indicator as to whether he will have the green light from downtown this season
- Also watch Zion’s assists. I don’t expect both 3s and assists to go up, but its easily possible for Zion to average 5 or 6 assists in this new look Pelicans as a gravitational force inside kicking to CJ, Ingram and co.
38. Deandre Ayton – PHX – C
SR Value (Rank): 0.620 (36)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.427 (34)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.343 (42)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.863 (34)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.753 (46)
In my opinion Phoenix played the Ayton situation in free agency perfectly – they didn’t rate him as a max extension player, allowed him to test free agency and then matched an offer which was less than the max extension to keep the player they wanted to keep. Ayton is someone I love possibly more than I should. I think his combination of FG% and FT% makes him a reasonably unique prospect with only Vuc putting up comparable numbers. You don’t get the assists that you get with comparable players in this range like Vuc, Sabonis or Bam (albeit the last 2 on this list go at the 2nd round turn) but you get better FG% and lower turnovers. Defence is the key here – do we get the under 1 block per 36 guy from last year or the 1.5 blocks per 36 variation from the 2 seasons prior. I am gambling on yes, he was used less as a drop big man (sitting in the lane guarding the rim) last year and more as a mobile big getting out onto the perimeter and that affects block numbers, I think there is a happy medium though for him defensively – which I think includes a little bit more drop coverage defence.
- Punt Blocks – the obvious fit for Ayton as a big man who averaged .7 blocks last year. I expect more in 22-23 but even at my projected 1.1 he is light on for a C.
- Punt Assists – Phoenix have not got Ayton more involved with the passing game which is strange considering there is usually 3 if not 4 elite shooters that surround him in the Phoenix line up. As such there is scope for him to improve his assist totals – right now there he is a perfect fit in punt assists builds as a source of FG%, Rebounds and scoring that does not hurt your FT%.
- Balanced – Deandre doesn’t hurt any categories – he’s light on 3s, steals and blocks but it’s not the end of the world if you build accordingly around him. 3s and blocks are easily had late and steals fluctuate more than any other category year to year.
- The Suns were always planning on bringing Ayton back they just didn’t want to pay the max figure Ayton wanted. Neither did anyone else in the NBA meaning the Suns get him back on the matched deal. Given he is a part of their plans now, does this unlock a bigger role for Ayton?
39. Terry Rozier – CHA – PG/SG
SR Value (Rank): 0.586 (43)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.414 (35)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.546 (20)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.724 (48)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.895 (26)
This fringes on too high for Terry but I just think he could be incredible this year. The stars have aligned for him in Charlotte. Playing next to an oversized 1 guard, with no backup point guard on the roster meaning he gets starts at the 2 but also the usage upside of being the backup point guard for the bench unit is the dream scenario. I haven’t even baked it into his numbers and he’s still flirting with this value. He doesn’t miss games which is where his value proposition begins. Throw in scope for a far better role this year and I am a big-time buyer. I don’t think the DSJ signing affects him too much. It may limit his upside slightly with fewer on-ball minutes off the bench but I still rate him here.
- Balanced – Rozier is a well-rounded guard option. His FG% is easily overcome by a couple of solid big men and far from punt worthy in isolation. He fits that build but is actually a bit of a unicorn with 3 triples on ~45% shooting which is usually only available in the first couple of rounds.
- Punt FG or Blocks – you can roll Rozier out in traditional small man roles next year without too much issue. His FG% has been rock solid the past two seasons but he was a FG punt player before then which suggests he could end up back there.
- The numbers could easily be 10% higher than my projection with the potential role he could have this season. 35-36 minutes is completely in reach – as is 22+ points and 5+ assists as the starting shooting guard, primary backup point guard.
40. Jarrett Allen – CLE – C
SR Value (Rank): 0.630 (33)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.379 (38)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.300 (49)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.879 (31)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.761 (44)
Slipping well behind the numbers here is Jarrett Allen. I wouldn’t look down on anyone who takes Allen late in the third. Even in the back end of the 20s isn’t horrendous value if you’re high on him. He has always flirted with the reputation that he could get add a 3 ball, that he could be an 80% FT shooter. I’m not entirely convinced any of that happens. I think before he retires he will hit 1 triple a game for at least a few seasons. I think he will have seasons above 75% from the line too. I’m just not sure its right now. Right now we have a Jarrett Allen who will line up as the primary lane clogger. His contest style means the blocks aren’t going to jump off the page – there’s room for them to reach 1.6, maybe 1.8 and as an outlier 2 per game. So there is room in his game to have a season in the top 20 players, potentially sitting alongside Williams and Gobert as elite Punt FT options. His game could also disappear – I think its inevitable at some point over the next couple of seasons that either his minutes decline somewhat to make way for more Mobley at the 5 or he is traded. The silver lining here is that if Allen and the Cavs want to keep Mobley and Allen together, likely both of them have to expand their range.
- Punt FT – Allens FT% isn’t warranting a punt on his own. But if you take Giannis or Doncic pre pick 4 you’re going to find yourself in a situation in R4 where you either reached on a punt FT big in R2 came back for scoring in R3 and need another big in R4. Or you missed out on the Punt FT options to Curry or Lebron owners and therefore need to take a legitimate big man – Allen is the play here.
- Punt Assists – I don’t love this fit. I want my bigs in Punt assists to be clean from the line. Allen isn’t clean at 70% on over 4 shots but it isn’t the end of the world if we take good FT shooters around him.
- Balanced – In a vacuum and with sufficient assists and FT% taken around him Allen fits most builds as a early to mid round 4 option – if you’re high on his upside you can take him earlier but I think the likes of Turner and Ayton warrant attention first. If they are off the board early, along with Siakam and Sab there are a decent contingent of bigs in the 50-70 range which aren’t too far behind Allen.
- This is a low-risk selection. Worst case Allen is a top 60 play this season, best case he is in the 20s. Either way I don’t expect much to change this season. Allen will be unaffected by the addition of Mitchell so don’t hesitate to draft him.
41. Evan Mobley – CLE – C
SR Value (Rank): 0.611 (39)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.329 (44)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.471 (30)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.752 (45)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.938 (21)
Evan Mobley proved to be better than everyone expected last year, oft taken around the 110-120 mark in my drafts he broke onto the scene delivering well above that ADP in value. I expect the good to get better, there will be a larger offensive role for Mobley this year and I expect him to continue expanding his range. I think his boards should increase slightly and his help defence timing should lead to slightly more blocks also. The biggest differences here in my projections are his scoring and a slightly improved FT%. Donovan Mitchell’s addition really caps his upside. I had him in for a 19 ppg season before that trade with a far greater increase in his role but unfortunately we may be limited to rebound and defensive improvements this season.
- Punt FT – Like his running mate, Allen’s FT isn’t going to justify a punt situation on its own. However it’s not the best and so given you’ll be drafting in this range as a Giannis or Doncic owner, if the other options like Zion and Allen are off the board, Mobley still makes sense.
- Balanced – I think there is real potential Mobley hits 70%+ from the line this year which would make him the perfect fit in most builds around this range. His solid assists for the position will also help you not fall behind there too.
- It’ll be key to watch Mobley’s shooting in the preseason – if he looks much improved from 3 we could expect this to have a positive effect on his FT% as well, meaning we get a 5-10 rank swing upwards.
42. Jakob Poeltl – SAS – C
SR Value (Rank): 0.692 (26)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.245 (60)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.283 (51)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.907 (28)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.953 (20)
This looks really high for Poeltl. I have already seen some eyebrows raised when I released my initial projections. I am quoted on Reddit as saying he wouldn’t fall out of my top 40 but I just can’t justify putting him in there when he is going more like 55-65 in most drafts right now. If I didn’t know I could get him a round or two later in almost all drafts he would definitely be well and truly in the conversation in R3 for me. The issue, and the reason I have ranked him here rather than in R3 is because the upside is somewhat limited. Spurs will be bad this year. They may intentionally be bad. In order to be even worse, they may trade Poeltl away for more picks and improved odds in the Wembanyama stakes. With that said 29 minutes is on the low side. There’s scope for this to be 32. If he plays 32 we are talking about a R1 player in Punt FT builds. Another reason I have dropped him slightly behind the likes of Allen and Mobley is because he only fits Punt FT builds. Still – I think if I have the 40th pick and I’m in a punt FT situation, I’d take Poeltl over Allen or Mobley.
- Punt FT – The unique proposition for a punt FT big man here is the out of position assists on a good A/TO ratio for a big man. The concern is scoring. This build already has an issue with scoring and so the primary situation you take Poeltl is where you’ve gone Doncic or Giannis into Edwards and Morant (for example).
- It’s all about minutes for Poeltl. If its north of 30 this is a steal even here at 40. You’ll likely be able to get him at 55 so it’s obnoxiously good value. The only way he isn’t a steal here is if he is traded.
43. De’Aaron Fox – SAC – PG
SR Value (Rank): 0.547 (49)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.314 (49)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.233 (66)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.776 (42)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.636 (59)
I was too high on Swipa last year. While he has third round upside for punt FT builds I didn’t see what happened happening when I wrote this piece last year. Fox was completely unengaged next to Haliburton for most of the year. The offense was slow, and fox was not dialled in. He shot 45% from the field, 24% from 3, scored 20ppg with 5 assists on 34 mins. After Hali left, Fox shot 50% from the field, 38% from 3, scored 28ppg with 6.6 assists on 37 mins a night which if taken in isolation is mid second round value. I don’t know if that’s the version we get this year but something in between that and 20-21 Fox is my projection.
- Punt FT – the dream R4 selection for Punt FT teams. Elite scoring, elite assists, good steals and FG% with some 3s thrown in. Even better in Punt FT & 3s builds.
- Balanced – Fox isn’t quite must punt FT territory although he is high volume. But he improved to a respectable 75% last year which is fine. Not elite but fine. If you’re well stocked for FT% then this is a perfectly reasonable selection.
- With a full offseason to integrate Sabonis into the offense itll be interesting what that means for Fox. Sab will likely be the primary initiator in half court sets with Fox being the secondary guy and primary on fast break offense.
- Assists are key to watch here – even after the Hali trade these did not come all the way back (like I am projecting) on a per minute basis (were more around 6.5 per 36.)
44. Jrue Holiday – MIL – PG/SG
SR Value (Rank): 0.553 (48)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.379 (37)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.405 (37)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.724 (47)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.766 (43)
I have a real affinity for players with unique strengths. My whole top 7 ranking methodology is predicated around the idea of punting away weaknesses and those players then having elite strengths. Jrue is one of the players that kind of falls through the cracks when you view Fantasy the way I do. I almost never want to draft Jrue. There’s no team build that I have planned out this season, where I say – Jrue Holiday is an important player to take in this build around here. The FG% is nice, especially with 2 triples a game but his FT% isn’t. The assists are good but compared to other PGs mediocre. The real draw card here is steals and above average blocks for a PG. I quite like him for Doncic owners who have already got 1 or 2 bigs, Curry owners can also entertain him especially if he slips a little. He leans into punt FT builds more than anything else but he is a very diverse player that can fit almost any build. He is also one of the few players who consistently provide steals year after year without fluctuation.
- Punt FT – Jrue is a ~0 FT impact guy, he doesn’t hurt it but he also gains nothing from the category either. So roll him into the punt and take advantage of an elite 3s/Assists/Steals/FG% combination.
- Balanced – If you’ve taken decent FT Impact early Jrue will slot into your team without a worry. His FG% and Steals make a nice unique boost to those categories here in R4.
- Middleton may miss the first couple of weeks of the season which may give Jrue a little boost. Jrue is probably one of the most consistent and reliable players you can draft so I am not expecting much change to his line this year.
45. Dejounte Murray – ATL – PG/SG
SR Value (Rank): 0.576 (45)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.394 (36)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.481 (29)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.723 (49)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.857 (32)
A massive fall from grace for a fantasy breakout last year Dejounte Murray was ranked in a similar position in my draft guide last year. Some thought that might be a fraction high but the true upside was there. He had the role, he had the keys to San Antonio and so the minutes and usage were always going to be there for him to truly breakout. Now he feels almost quite similar to what we get with Jrue Holiday. The unique value proposition is going to be rebounds, although moving to a team where he isn’t necessarily going to be the focal point offensively and now as an off guard does he get the silver service of big men boxing out for him to take uncontested boards? I have assumed so to some extent but not like last year and there is probably more downside here than upside. His assists as well will be interesting, if I think through it tactically – Trae is an elite outside shooter, Dejounte struggles off ball, so lets put Murray on Ball and Trae off? But Trae is a generational playmaker and better than Dejounte there too so we want the ball in his hands. Will be interesting to see what direction they go. There will definitely be a lot of staggered minutes.
- Punt FG – When we punt FG% we usually need to be elite in guard stats (tick) but also need to still compete in rebounds (tick). Murray helps with both of these elements offering us great and unique puzzle piece for this build. 3s are naturally high in this build so Murrays lack is not as relevant nor is his middling FT%.
- Punt 3s – Looking across Murrays stat line the missing component for a guard here is the 3 point shooting. 2 a game is kind of entry level we are looking for from the position so ~1.3 is underwhelming. His FG% considering he takes so few is also underwhelming. FG% is naturally high in this build, so both these elements are ignored when punting 3s.
- Balanced – Murray doesn’t force a punt and is a particularly useful steals specialist for most builds. His combination of points, assists and steals with strong rebounding is unique.
- There is a real chance Dejounte looks more like 17-5-5 with ~1.5-2 steals and that would drop him even further back into the conversation around pick 60 rather than 45. If I’m honest, draft with caution. If Jrue is on the board take him and leave Dejounte to someone else.
46. Nikola Vucevic – CHI – C
SR Value (Rank): 0.554 (47)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.495 (22)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.635 (13)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.669 (51)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.878 (28)
Vuc had a down year last year across all shooting ranges: the line, 3 and inside the arc. His last season in Orlando Vuc posted top 20 numbers and if we look at the 9-cat rankings above, we are almost suggesting he would be around the same mark, particularly if you factor in how healthy Vuc stays for a big man. I think if you’re high on him and lean more into balanced builds he’s not the most outrageous late 3rd round pick. He flies under the radar in my draft guide because, like Jrue a few picks ago – he’s not particularly strong in a couple of areas and weak in others. He’s a wonderful 9-category player who will fit almost any punting strategy. He provides above average 3s for the position, just slightly below average defensive contributions, above average assists and great rebounding. He does all of this on great FT% for a big man and while his FG% isn’t the anchor we are after from our bigs, it’s still at a league average level overall.
- Punt Blocks – an obvious fit for Vuc is in the Punt Blocks build. We usually want our bigs providing atleast 1 a game but more like 1.5 blocks, so Vuc who flirts with and occasionally returns under 1 a game finds a natural home in this build.
- Punt FG% – similar to the punt blocks route, Vuc doesn’t excel in FG% which is a category that is typically sourced from our Center spot. Given we still want to be competent in boards in this build Vuc is a natural fit – especially with the growing variety of big men that fit this build as blocks specialists.
- Balanced – there is no real punt strategy where Vuc isn’t an option. He is a truly 9 category player so feel free to take him if you need a big around the R4 mark.
- There is a strong case to be made for Vuc just behind Myles Turner at 38. I think that is when you start looking at him and if you don’t like the crowded situation in Cleveland, and you aren’t punting FT% then take him there happily.
47. Khris Middleton – MIL – SF/PF
SR Value (Rank): 0.540 (50)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.329 (43)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.242 (60)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.765 (44)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.631 (60)
Another versatile option here at the end of R4, Middleton had a down year last year from an efficiency standpoint (usually his selling point). He will start the year potentially in doubt for week one and two of the season after undergoing wrist surgery. I’m optimistic there is a bounce back this year for Middleton but I have discounted him a few spots due to the injury. The surgery was on his non shooting hand so I don’t consider it to be a factor in the efficiency debate. I’d expect Middleton to be pretty similar to what we saw last year with 20 5 and 5 on cleanish shooting and elite FT% the baseline here with very little room to move either way. He’s a poor shot blocker for his position which is probably the only point of discussion for Middleton who is a great option in R4 for most builds. Middleton could easily finish the season around 30th in overall value as he has done before so this is still great value.
- Punt Blocks – The one category where Middleton is a non-factor is blocks. The advantage here is his forward status allows you to double down on smalls. You’ll need to focus on rebounds but otherwise this is the perfect build for Middleton
- Balanced – Middleton makes a ton of sense for drafters who have managed to get their hands on a couple of big men up until this point. They will take away the pain you face in the blocks category and Middletons elite FT% should help give you a boost there.
- Be mindful of the wrist. The closer we get to the season the better indication of how long he is expected to be out. I’ve assumed 1-2 weeks. Anything beyond that bump him down into R5.
48. Scottie Barnes – TOR – SF/PF
SR Value (Rank): 0.449 (57)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.270 (55)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.497 (25)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.478 (76)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.840 (34)
Another rookie who blasted onto the scenes last year was Scottie Barnes. I personally rated Mobley’s season a little better and more impactful while he was healthy but Barnes was hard to go past in the end. The thing about Barnes is we can’t really predict what he is going to be. He played all 5 positions at times last year and whilst there is talk he may pickup more of the ball handling duties next season, a healthy Raptors side with Siakam, OG and FVV has plenty of ball carrying. As such it’s quite difficult to predict what categories are going to really help Barnes break out. On the flip side of that difficulty is looking at the raw potential of Barnes as a player – there will be a point in the future where he is a top 20 player at least with in excess of 20p 8r 5a 1.5s and a block with 1-2 triples.
- Balanced – Barnes is a tricky one to isolate to any of the punt builds. A mediocre FT shooter, he doesn’t give enough value in assists, 3s or steals to warrant taking him in that build. I don’t mind him in punt 3s but its far from a must. On the flip side he also doesn’t hurt any categories enough to warrant not taking him in any either so if you’re high on the upside jump in.
- Ball handling and playmaking are the two keys to watch early in preseason. If we get evidence that he is going to be a primary or secondary ball handler then we can boost his assists up to around 5.
- The other thing to watch for is his outside shot. I would think this is going to be one of the primary things he works on over the offseason and while I have only factored in a small increase here a much larger one could be in store.
49. Jaylen Brown – BOS – SG/SF
SR Value (Rank): 0.434 (60)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.291 (52)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.245 (59)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.601 (56)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.535 (70)
This feels low for Jaylen but I am actually ranking him well above the numbers here and that is because I can trust that what I have gotten from Jaylen over the last few years is what I will get next year. That’s not something I can say for many of the next few selections. Brown had a down shooting year last year from 3 which I expect t bounce back. He was also less influential defensively – another thing I expect to bounce back. Unfortunately I am not sure there is another gear here for Jaylen. With a deep Boston roster there isn’t going to be a need for him to increase his usage much, conversely it appears if Boston did look to favour more iso sets they will be feeding Tatum rather than Brown. That’s not to say Jaylen won’t be an excellent option again this year, 24 and 6 with what we expect assist and steals wise on great FG% for the 3s volume we get is a great thing to pickup towards the back end of R4 or early R5.
- Punt FT – this is by far JBs best build. He is only a slight negative in the FT% category but provides the build with the exact combination of categories it will be looking for at this point of the draft – Points, 3s, assists and steals on decent FG%.
- Balanced – Browns FT% isn’t tank worthy on its own. Whilst he gains 5-10 spots in a punt FT build if he slips in your draft into R5 he is a great selection there.
- I don’t think there is all that much to see here. The addition of another point guard should theoretically help Brown to get open looks which may give us some slight swing in 3P% but I am already predicting a resurgence there so I’m not sure it’s a huge factor.
50. Brandon Ingram – NOP – SF/PF
SR Value (Rank): 0.437 (59)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.294 (51)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.214 (71)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.621 (55)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.507 (75)
This honestly feels a fraction high for Ingram as the closer the season becomes the more weary I am of Zion’s return impacting him. The with vs without Zion splits are telling, with Ingram averaging 2p 1.6r .1s .3b less with Zion playing. I think the Pelicans this season will slot Ingram in as the no.2 option. Last season Ingram and McCollum (post-trade) played 1a and 1b but ingram was probably slightly more like the no.2 in that scenario. If I was to guess Zion will slot straight back into his no.1 role and Ingram and McCollum will play 2a and 2b, popping up as the true second option on different nights against different matchups. All this to say Ingram won’t completely go away but he is certainly not a R4 selection for me this season and you could make a good argument to take him towards the back of R5 rather than where I have him here.
- Punt Steals – the only real difference between Paul George and Ingram is steals, so removing them gives you a ton of value in the middle rounds here. Steals are also the most sporadic category year to year so removing them takes a lot of variance out of your draft day.
- Balanced – the key here is that you stock up defensively. Ingram will give your team a boost here from a scoring perspective allowing you to take a defensive specialist later on to compensate.
- It will be key to see the shot distribution between CJ and Ingram in preseason. I expect them to be similar but if one is clearly ahead, respond accordingly.
- I am forecasting a huge return to Ingram’s 3 point shooting playing off Zion as he plays a slightly lower creative role in favour of a spacing outside shooter – still, it will be key to see how this plays out.
51. Kristaps Porzingis – WAS – PF/C
SR Value (Rank): 0.591 (41)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.581 (20)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.234 (65)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.909 (27)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.545 (66)
Kristaps is a per game monster. I am guilty of buying in year after year. Last year I thought his yahoo ranking in the 40s was far too low and snatched him up in most drafts. I also had taken a bunch of other risky early round picks and it resulted in disaster (and the development of my new SR rating system which factors in GP to some extent). KP at 50 is still excellent value. If the 50-55 games he does play happen to coincide with fantasy playoffs you’ve got yourself a draft day steal – a top 25 per game player. In Washington he found a productive role where he averaged 22p 8.8r 3a and 1.5b in just 28 minutes per night. I can’t see these averages holding over the course of a season, especially given he likely needs his minutes to trend down to stay healthier throughout the season. He also played a majority of that time without Brad Beal healthy so was the no.1 option on offense. I see that all trending down, as well as his minutes which I think should be around 28 this season.
- Punt FG – he is far more efficient as a C and was at his best in Washington. Still 47% for a C eligible player is Punt FG territory. The ~2 triples and ~1.5 blocks are exactly the combination we are looking for with our rebounds in R4 in this build. If you are in a Punt FG, Porzingis is a late-R3/early-R4 option. Pairing him with Turner for late first round punt FG builds is an elite option.
- Punt Assists – Punt assist builds are naturally well placed in FG% based on the extra value Bigs and wings have in the build. Porzingis key deficiency therefore is erased and we can take advantage of his 3s, blocks, FT% and boards.
- Health is the key issue here, and it probably will be for the length of Porzingis career. The other issue is Washington are going to use him as a center. This is great for his production but awful for his durability. Playing 50 games is going to be a win for owners.
52. Alperen Sengun – HOU – C
SR Value (Rank): 0.534 (51)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.206 (69)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.332 (43)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.636 (53)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.862 (31)
Sengun is primed for a breakout season. Most people will say I am dreaming rating him at 53. I’ll be honest it might not be high enough. He’s young and durable. He’s the only center on the roster and they clearly trialled him in bigger minutes post all star break with ~26 mins a night, and then 34 in 4 games in April. They were running things through him during this patch too. He could easily average 16p 10r 5a with a steal and a block. The steals and blocks are interesting. Sengun has a terrible foul rate which could bring his minutes down. But the NBA has adopted unique strategies for poor shot blockers in Jokic and Sabonis, two very comparable big men. They play prevent defense with a help defender protecting the rim. This leads to more steals and less blocks so we could see this playout with Sengun if that’s the route Houston opts to go. He also has an emerging 3 point shot which will be key as Houston doesn’t have the best spacing. They have added some in the draft but will need Sengun to be able to knockdown his looks. Minutes are the key here – Alperen should play 30 a night or thereabouts this season and if his role also increases (which I have barely factored in) then he will be a top 25/30 player this time next season.
- Balanced – one of the best parts of Sengun’s game is he fits almost any build. Think of him like a young Vuc. There’s easily scope for 80% FT shooting, a 3 ball as well as around 1s and 1b per game.
- Prevent defense with a help man behind would be a negative for Sengun – likely pushing him back towards 1.2 steals and 0.8 block defensive combo.
53. Jonas Valanciunas – NOP – C
SR Value (Rank): 0.490 (54)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.299 (50)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.385 (39)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.626 (54)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.709 (51)
Big Val makes me nervous this year. I spoke about Ingram (and I’m about to speak about it again with CJ) but the return of Zion is a dangerous thing for everyone on the Pelicans. No one more so than Jonas. He was a fringe top 40 selection last year and played up to it providing owners with great scoring, boards and FG% whilst adding a 3 to his repertoire as well. That last part will be key this year as the Pelicans look to put spacing around Zion. I think Jonas’ rebounding, assists, FG% and minutes will suffer as a result of Zion returning but he will provide situationally better value against taller line-ups.
- Punt Blocks – not the best blocking big man his blocks per 36 suffered in New Orleans last year. I expect these to come back somewhat and we should expect somewhere between .9 and 1.0 from him this season in slightly less minutes than we saw last year. Val will give us the Boards and FG% we look for in this build and as such
- Balanced – as clean as they come as far as big men go, he provides a very comparable line to Vuc a good round later. Zion will put people off but there’s plenty of value in the 5th or the 6th where I have seen him slide a couple of times.
- Minutes are key here – he could be as low as 27 mins. This would drop about a round off his value here – still clean bigs with 10+ rebounds are really hard to find this year. Jonas is one of the last options on the board.
54. CJ McCollum – NOP – PG/SG
SR Value (Rank): 0.465 (56)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.335 (42)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.419 (33)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.580 (59)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.700 (52)
CJ is an interesting prospect this year – he averaged 24p 5.8a 1.3s on 49% shooting in New Orleans last year. Yet Zion looms large here and his vacuum of usage will be obvious. It should create more open looks for CJ which will suit him to a tee. His 3PA have hovered mainly around 7 throughout the last 5 years apart from an outlier in 20-21. I think playing as a combo point guard for the Pelicans this maybe is a tad lower than last year (as his 2PA and assists trend up). There’s a lot of uncertainty in his line, we could get a number of different variations of McCollum this season – all should be top 65-70 and some may be top 50.
- Punt FT – If we don’t buy his FT% returning – this forms the obvious fit for him. Disregard one of his weaknesses and stock up on categories that the build needs in points, 3s and assists.
- Balanced – If we think CJ’s FT% is coming back then we get an incredibly well rounded PG/SG in R5. He fits almost any build with decent %s, a steal, 3s, assists on low TOs. He’s a steal here if his FT% returns.
- It will be key to see the shot distribution between CJ and Ingram in preseason. I expect them to be similar but if one is clearly ahead, respond accordingly.
- Does his FT% come back? It was an odd fall away for him last year and not something anyone predicted. I think it does and have him around 80% but will be interesting to watch – makes him less risky in punt FT builds
55. Julius Randle – NYK – PF/C
SR Value (Rank): 0.478 (55)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.082 (97)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.215 (70)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.549 (63)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.815 (38)
Randle is really interesting coming into 22-23. I honestly believe he is, Westbrook style, playing for his career. His game style is abrasive, it’s the direct opposite of what today’s game is all about (efficiency). Randle plays with a power, a me against the world attitude. At times it’s been clear he felt left out of the Knicks youth-based resurgence, where even after buzzer beating game winners he looked dejected and frustrated it wasn’t him taking the shot. It’s rumoured after one such game he actually requested a trade. This is a terrible attitude, a terrible locker room presence. Yet he will still be in New York next year because nobody else in the NBA will want to give up anything to get him. As such you would expect that he either buckles down, becomes more efficient and effective in New York’s offense – something having a legitimate point guard in Brunson should help with, or he will find himself in a dwindling role.
- Punt FG – Almost the only build you can consider Randle in. He pretty much punts FG% for you on his own with 41% on 17 shots from the C spot. However this build needs rebounds, so to get 10 per game whilst still getting PG worthy points, assists and steals is a great outcome in R5.
- Punt Blocks – you pretty much have to double punt FG and blocks if you go this route. Which is why I almost didn’t include him on this list. Still he’s a 10 rebound a game big man who doesn’t block shots which warrants selection here. Still you’d need to have not taken any FG drags to this point to make it work.
- It will be important to note the role we see Randle in. He could feed off Brunson’s arrival and be a home run in the 5th round for Punt FG teams. He could also find himself out of a role and a bit of a bust here. Watch closely and listen out for any noise.
56. Clint Capela – ATL – C
SR Value (Rank): 0.587 (42)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.136 (84)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.221 (69)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.743 (46)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.863 (30)
Capela is falling deep into drafts now as the threat of the younger, cheaper Onyeka Okongwu grows behind him on the Hawks depth chart. Capela’s minutes dried up last year falling from 30 a game to 27.5. I expect this to continue in 22-23. I see Capela as a real trade deadline target for teams like the Lakers and Hornets. Still, for fantasy purposes Capela’s value is tied to punt FT builds needing a big man presence. That’s exactly what they get. Elite boards, FG% and good blocks (that have faded the last two seasons – I see these returning per minute but with minutes declining they sit around the same). There is upside here. There was an Achilles heel injury rumoured to be affecting Capela in 2021. A full 18 months after the first reports of this and hopefully he is over it. COVID also impacted him last year. These are both things that could have been the cause of his low minutes. So there’s a chance we see 30 minute Capela in 22-23 making him a second round value we can have in R5 or 6.
- Punt FT – almost no way about it, you are punting FTs if you take Capela. Still theres R2 upside here and I love going for a punt FT with no early big men centered around the likes of Lebron / Edwards / Beal or Morant as my R2/3 pairing and picking up a combination of Poeltl / Capela / Simmons / Robinson between rounds 4 and 7.
- Minutes are key here – is he healthy now? Is he locked in for 30 mins a night? Or are the Hawks gearing up to offload him?
57. Mitchell Robinson – NYK – C
SR Value (Rank): 0.527 (53)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.057 (103)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.093 (96)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.688 (50)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.733 (49)
M-Rob is poised for an interesting season. In one hand I feel M-Rob has all the tools to be a Robert Williams type of player – a top 20-30 stud who blocks 2.5 shots a game and grabs 10 boards with 10 points on absurd FG%. On the other the Knicks signed a player a lot of real NBA Analysts love in Isaiah Hartenstein who presents an interesting alternative to Robinson for the Knicks providing rim protection with a bit more passing and offense. I don’t see him unseating Robinson, and my estimate of 26 mins a night is also a little light – we could easily see a 28 minute a night role this season. Last years 76% shooting is likely going to be an outlier so I have settled for a still incredible 70%. The blocks have also been drying up in recent seasons in favour of better actual defense and this is a trend that could continue. Still the upside is there for big time shot blocking.
- Punt FT – the volume here is pretty low, but the % is so bad that he still kills you from a FT perspective – hitting less than half of his attempts. We get what we expect here – Elite FG% and great big man stats with incredible upside in blocks.
- Balanced – the volume is low enough on his FTs that it’s possible to hide MRob on really good FT shooting teams. It’s not ideal, and I wouldn’t be strategizing around it, but you may find yourself hurting for blocks, and in this scenario Robinson can be your best bet.
- Only thing to watch for is the minutes split between him and Hartenstein. I don’t expect a surprise here but its worth watching.
58. Ben Simmons – BKN – PG/SF
SR Value (Rank): 0.383 (71)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.023 (115)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): -0.116 (159)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.588 (58)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.356 (98)
This is the beginning of where my draft guide starts to really diverge from my rankings. The risk here is somewhat high. Simmons sat out last year with Mental and Back issues. He’s had several offseason interviews where he states he is good to go. The team he is joining now is absolutely absurd for his skillset – KD, Kyrie and then 2 of the best shooters in the league surrounding Simmons playing the 5, or a young mobile big man in Claxton rim running when he plays the 3 or the 4. My projection for him is way under the ceiling here too – I have edged off some per minute numbers as he wears off the rust. If he plays 32 minutes he could be top 30 quite easily. He is a single punt strategy type of player but provides elite assists and elite steals with great FG% to support these builds. This pick is all about upside. It’s kind of risky, but this is no time to play it safe. You can get safe guys later in your draft, get guys who can finish top 30 in your draft around here.
- Punt FT – Simmons punts FT on his own so you’ll only be considering him in these builds. He doesn’t hit 3s so you’ll want to be well geared up in 3s or planning to be when drafting Simmons. Treat him like an additional big man if you do take him.
- Will be key to see how much Simmons at center we get. This could be huge for his rebounding, blocks and steals numbers as well as his assists (as he would be surrounded by shooters).
59. Jalen Green – HOU – SG
SR Value (Rank): 0.405 (67)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.228 (64)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.244 (60)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.530 (66)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.562 (66)
Similar to Ben Simmons – this is all about upside. After the all-star break, Green figured things out. In ~35 mins he averaged 22p 3.8r 3.2a on 48% shooting. His playmaking should improve as he sees more usage this season and the Rockets have improved the spacing around him too with the addition of Jabari Smith at the 4. Houston won’t quite be contenders this season and there primary focus will be developing their young core which means I expect them to put Jalen in the very best positions to succeed alongside Sengun and Jabari Smith. KPJ will be playing for his career and I am hoping this helps him focus on being a more efficient player – finding his teammates (Green) in their best scoring positions. Looking at Green’s line you might be concerned there isn’t enough upside here – he could easily put up 25p 4r 5a 1.1s on 46% shooting with 3.5+ triples, it’s well within his repertoire.
- Punt FG – Green struggled with his shot last year. I don’t expect that to continue but it is still somewhat of a risk. Taking him in punt FG builds helps give you peace of mind – but definitely cuts into his upside.
- Punt FT – Scoring, 3s and a small dose of assists – tick tick tick.
- Punt Assists – Assists are an area which may actually hold him back from breaking into the top 50 this year. It is very likely the rest of my projection comes true but the assists don’t quite come with it. In Punt Assists build you can erase that worry and enjoy what he does bring.
- Balanced – Any build you need scoring makes sense to take a stab at Jalen around the 5/6 turn. He is the go to scorer in this range.
- It will be key to observe his assists in preseason – is he initiating the offense (or just finishing it).
60. John Collins – ATL – PF/C
SR Value (Rank): 0.408 (66)
9 Cat Value (Rank): 0.267 (58)
9 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.195 (76)
Top 7 Cat Value (Rank): 0.570 (60)
Top 7 Cat Totals (Rank): 0.492 (76)
John Collins is a tough player for me to rank. I even hate him here. I could make a really strong case to take Simmons or Draymond here who are high risk high reward options but I settle on John Collins. The Hawks are trying to move him, he’s just not a great fit for them next to Capela (for fantasy either). Capela takes away rebounding upside, blocks, shots. Pretty much everything you want a big man for. Because he plays next to a dominant inside big he also takes more of his shots further from the rim however hasn’t quite mastered his 3 ball. If Collins gets moved, he will explode however. Like easily has top 30 upside for the Hornets or Mavericks or even somewhere like Portland if Nurkic goes down. Unfortunately I see this as a year with further decline across his fantasy line unless he is moved. The arrival of Dejounte Murray makes Collins the clear no.3 for touches and if we are lucky it’ll mean an increase in 3 point volume to save some of his scoring upside (put hurt his FG%).
- Balanced – the upside on Collins is that he is a fantastic fit in almost any build. He is usually there when we need bigs in a lot of builds and offers fantastic FG%, FT% with a triple and a block.
- I would imagine if I was John Collins and I was looking at how I was going to carve out a slightly bigger role for myself on this team I would be focusing on pick and pop and 3 point shooting. So lets hope that his 3PA can creep towards 5 or 6 per game as he is a very good shooter – however this percentage reflects the often near wide open looks he gets. When you take more, more of them will be heavily contested.