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Fantasy NBA Cheat Sheet - Rookie Rankings

There's Anthony Davis, and then there's everybody else...


Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky Wildcats

Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 during the game against the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans at Freedom Hall on January 3, 2012

Andy Lyons, Getty Images
Updated October 11, 2012
Top 200 Players | Point Guards | Shooting Guards | Small Forwards | Power Forwards | Centers | Team Breakdowns

Drafting rookies in a fantasy league is an iffy proposition. Most take time to adjust to the NBA and to competing against bigger, stronger, faster players than they ever saw in college. Many enter the league without clear roles, and even the best don't necessarily get starting jobs right away.

And by the time that's settled, they hit the dreaded "rookie wall."

In years past, the conventional basketball wisdom suggested that point guards had the toughest time adjusting to the pros. But rule changes - specifically, the elimination of physical defense on the perimeter - has made life much easier for rookie points, as players like Kyrie Irving and John Wall would attest. That said, rookie point guards tend to be highly turnover-prone; in leagues that include turnovers or assist-to-turnover ratio, adjust accordingly.

Meanwhile, big men seem to be having a much harder time adjusting to the pros. The size and strength of most NBA bigs is a factor there, but so is the fact that talented bigs almost always come out of college early and may be a lot more raw than their smaller counterparts.

Anthony Davis is no exception - the first overall pick in this year's draft has a lot of work to do in refining his offensive game. But blocking shots is a skill that usually translates pretty well from college to the pros, and we expect he'll score enough on lobs and put-backs to merit the top spot in our rankings... and to run away with rookie of the year honors.

Note: These rankings are intended for standard "redraft" leagues. Most of these players - Davis, in particular - will be much more valuable in a dynasty or "keeper" league format.

The first column is each player's rank on our overall Top 200 list. The second column displays each player's rank at his primary position.

Fantasy NBA Rankings: 2012-13 Rookies

Overall Position Player Team Position Notes
45 11 Anthony Davis Hornets PF "The Brow" should be among the league leaders in blocks.
89 13 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Bobcats SF Projects as a very good two-way wing player, but might be best as the complement to another star… and Charlotte is notably short on stars right now.
104 21 Bradley Beal Wizards SG With John Wall and Trevor Ariza playing significant roles, the Wizards will need a space-the-floor shooter badly. Beal is probably their best candidate.
105 28 Damian Lillard Trail Blazers PG Should be Portland's starter from day one. Transition to the pros is easier for point guards than in the past (see Irving, Kyrie) but turnovers will be a concern.
111 22 Dion Waiters Cavaliers SG Cavs are projecting him as Kyrie Irving's backcourt mate for years to come, but temper your short-term expectations; he didn't even start in college.
120 33 Austin Rivers Hornets PG/SG No one seems to think he's a point guard… except the Hornets.
125 18 Harrison Barnes Warriors SF Warriors coach Mark Jackson has suggested that Barnes could win a starting job over veteran Richard Jefferson.
147 30 Thomas Robinson Kings PF Rebounding is usually a skill that translates very well from college to the pros. But Robinson will have to adjust to playing against bigger, stronger competition.
192 26 Jonas Valanciunas Raptors C Tons of potential, but inconsistent in top international competitions. And the matchups he'll face in the Atlantic Division (Garnett, Bynum, Chandler…) will be brutal.
202 35 Perry Jones Thunder SF/PF OKC might have been the ideal landing spot for Jones, but he won't get much playing time initially.
210 49 Royce White Rockets PF Can he overcome anxiety issues and become a productive player at this level? Lots of people will be rooting for the guy.
211 37 Mirza Teletovic Nets SF/PF The Nets love him - gave him a multi-year guaranteed deal. But with Brook Lopez at center, they'll need rebounders like Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans to play big minutes, so where does a stretch four like Teletovic fit?
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