The 2014 NBA Draft was heavily debated as one of the best draft classes that we have seen in years. It was packed with so much hype that SLAM Magazine decided to recreate the 1996 NBA Draft with this year’s upcoming rookie class.
The 1996 NBA Draft featured a very talented pool of players including: Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Peja Stojakovic, Ray Allen, Stephon Marbury, Antoine Walker, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Marcus Camby, Jermaine O’Neal, Derek Fisher and many more notables. This class has a wide variety of individual accolades as well as team milestones. There are many MVPs in this draft as well as NBA Champions and a huge amount of All-Stars. There is no questioning the quality of players that came out of this draft.
The 2014 NBA Draft also did not disappoint with big names such as Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Aaron Gordon, Dante Exum, Elfrid Payton, Marcus Smart, and many more. I guess you can add Nerlens Noel to this year’s list of rookies considering he never played a single game last season.
Though it is only the first few weeks into the season, the rookies of 2014 have not been able to live up to the hype. I think we were all expecting Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Nerlens Noel to come out of the gate running full speed, but as it shows, the transition from college ball to the NBA takes a bit of time to get used to. The game is being played by the best in the world. Many players are bigger, stronger and more experienced than these rookies coming in and there are more games to be played.
In the Fantasy NBA world, not many of these rookies are returning their value. Andrew Wiggins is leading the rookies in scoring with just 11.3 ppg, Jabari is only averaging 10.6 ppg in a lackluster Bucks team, and the only other rookie scoring in double digits is Bojan Bogdanovic. Wiggins is putting up great percentages from the field and 3pt land which is a good thing and with Rubio going down, perhaps he may have to shoulder more of an offensive workload than anticipated.
Rookies to target for Fantasy should only be limited to Nerlens Noel. Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Zach LaVine mainly because they’re the only ones who are starting for their respective teams. LaVine was not receiving many minutes until Rubio went down so I guess for him it’s a blessing in disguise. Marcus Smart, Elfrid Payton, KJ McDaniels, Shabazz Napier, Nik Stauskas and Dante Exum have the potential, but are currently buried in the depth charts at the moment.
If you’re looking for assists from a rookie then go with LaVine and Payton. If you need blocks and steals go with Nerlens Noel and surprisingly KJ McDaniels. If you need scoring Wiggins and Parker are your best bets as they are on terrible teams and will have all the touches they eat. Bojan Bogdanovic is great for 3 pointers and Nik Stauskas as well.
If Rondo gets traded then Smart would be a great player to target. He is a defensive minded point guard who many have claimed to have been the most basketball ready out of the draft. Exum and Napier also have the opportunity to take the starting point guard positions away from Burke, Cole and Chalmers, so it will be interesting to see how this develops throughout the season.
These rookies still have a long season ahead of them and have plenty of time to prove that this draft class will be one to remember. In a few years I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of these players as All-Stars and putting up big numbers.
Hopefully you didn’t reach too high in your fantasy drafts for the rookies this year though. There were plenty of other players capable of producing statistics from the beginning of the season that could help your team win now. Feel free to try to steal away these rookies as buy low candidates. Now would be the perfect time to make a low risk, high reward investment.