The 2017-18 fantasy basketball campaign officially tipped off with the NBA draft. Joe Kaiser breaks down what fantasy owners should expect from each first-rounder as rookies and down the road.
No. 1: Markelle Fultz to Philadelphia 76ers
Markelle Fultz is exactly what you want out of a fantasy point guard -- an efficient scorer, consistent distributor and smooth 3-point shooter who also is active defensively -- and he'll have a chance in Philadelphia to lead all rookies in minute-per-game next season. The 6-foot-4 future star has top 50 fantasy upside from the minute he steps on an NBA court, and will likely go in rounds 4-5 in fantasy drafts.
No. 2: Lonzo Ball to Los Angeles Lakers
Rarely do players come along like Lonzo Ball, whose elite court vision immediately makes everyone around him better. With the Lakers, he immediately boosts the fantasy value of players like Brook Lopez, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Ball should be a secondary scorer and steady source of assists, rebounds and steals as a rookie.
No. 3: Jayson Tatum to Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum is regarded as the most NBA-ready scorer in the draft, and can fill it up from all areas of the court. As a rookie, the smooth small forward will battle Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown for minutes at small forward. His defense is an area of concern and if it doesn't improve it could impact his ability to earn extended minutes on a team led by defensive-minded coach Brad Stevens. He has top 100 fantasy upside in 2017-18.
No. 4: Josh Jackson to Phoenix Suns
The Suns immediately upgrade their athleticism with the addition of Josh Jackson, an excellent defender who plays above the rim and excels in transition. He won't be a big scorer as a rookie but can make an immediate fantasy impact in terms of rebounds and steals. Jackson, T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender give the Suns four young forwards to mix and match depending on the opponent. Jackson makes sense after round 10 in fantasy drafts.
No. 5: De'Aaron Fox to Sacramento Kings
De'Aaron Fox has drawn comparisons to John Wall for his elite speed and quickness, but his perimeter shot needs work. He will have the chance to play big minutes as a rookie in Sacramento but without a presence from 3-point range, he is a risky pick anywhere in the first 10 rounds of fantasy drafts. Consider him a late-round flyer.
No. 6: Jonathan Isaac to Orlando Magic
Jonathan Isaac has high upside as a long, bouncy athlete in Orlando but he's rail thin at 6-10, 210 pounds and is likely a year or two away from being a real fantasy option. The addition of Isaac creates an interesting competition for minutes with Aaron Gordon, a similar athlete whose career has yet to really take off after three seasons in the league.
No. 7: Lauri Markkanen to Chicago Bulls
Selected by Minnesota but expected to head to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler trade, Lauri Markkanen gives the Bulls a desperately needed stretch 5. His fantasy value as a rookie centers around how well he adjusts to the NBA game. The 20-year-old 7-footer from Finland averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 points at Arizona this season and shot 42.3 percent from 3-point land.
No. 8: Frank Ntilikina to New York Knicks
The Knicks took 18-year-old French combo guard Frank Ntilikina with an eye to the future. The 6-foot-5 guard doesn't carry fantasy value in 2017-18.
No. 9: Dennis Smith Jr. to Dallas Mavericks
Dennis Smith Jr. is undersized but he has the athleticism and scoring ability to make an instant impact in the NBA. At 6-foot-3, physically he looks like a young Kyle Lowry, and he averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game as a freshman at NC State. He's worth a late-round flyer in fantasy drafts, given the rebuilding nature of the Mavericks next season and the possibility of considerable playing time.
No. 10: Zach Collins to Portland Trail Blazers
Zach Collins shined in the NCAA tournament with Gonzaga as an active and versatile big man, and the result is being selected 10th overall. He is expected to be traded from Sacramento to Portland, where he has a chance to make an immediate impact playing alongside Jusuf Nurkic in the Trail Blazers' overhauled frontcourt. Collins is a fantasy sleeper in this rookie class who can contribute immediately as a scorer, rebounder and shot blocker.
No. 11: Malik Monk to Charlotte Hornets
Malik Monk provides the Hornets with exactly what it needs -- scoring and 3-point shooting. He averaged 19.8 points and shot 39.7 percent from distance at Kentucky. If there's a concern, it's his lack of size (6-foot-3), which could make it difficult to share the backcourt with undersized point guard Kemba Walker on a regular basis.
No. 12: Luke Kennard to Detroit Pistons
Luke Kennard gives the Pistons one of the best shooters in the draft and his ceiling as a rookie is that of a streaming option whenever you need 3-point shooting.
No. 13: Donovan Mitchell to Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell is expected to end up in Utah, where he will give the Jazz another scoring option on a team that lacked in that area outside of Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert this past season. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard could cut into the minutes of Rodney Hood, whose career hasn't progressed since an impressive rookie season. If Hayward leaves via free agency, more will be needed from Mitchell as a rookie.
No. 14: Bam Adebayo to Miami Heat
The final pick of the NBA draft lottery, Kentucky product Bam Adebayo has a little Larry Sanders look to him and that's the role the Heat hope for him -- a physical, high energy big man to play alongside Hassan Whiteside. His rebounding and shot-blocking may be worth streaming into your fantasy lineups at some point in 2017-18.
No. 15: Justin Jackson to Sacramento Kings
The Kings add their potential Rudy Gay replacement at small forward in North Carolina's Justin Jackson. The ACC Player of the Year, Jackson is a smooth shooter and scorer but he will have to battle for shots with second-year shooting guard Buddy Hield and is a minimal fantasy contributor outside of scoring.
No. 16: Justin Patton to Minnesota Timberwolves
Justin Patton is a toolsy big man who will see minimal minutes off the bench for the Timberwolves next season. Any fantasy potential he has as an athletic and efficient big isn't likely to show up as a rookie.
No. 17: D.J. Wilson to Milwaukee Bucks
D.J. Wilson played three years at Michigan and is highly regarded for his footwork and efficiency around the rim. He shot 63.1 percent on 2-point attempts while blossoming as a college junior. With Milwaukee lacking in the frontcourt, Wilson could earn a bench role as a rookie if he plays well in training camp and preseason.
No. 18: TJ Leaf to Indiana Pacers
TJ Leaf averaged more than 16 points a game as a Pac-12 freshman at UCLA and he adds another scorer to the Pacers frontcourt along with Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young. With Young's game appearing to be on decline, Leaf has a chance to eat into his minutes at the four.
No. 19: John Collins to Atlanta Hawks
John Collins is a 6-foot-10 scorer and rebounder who has a chance to develop into a productive big man for Atlanta. Problem is, he isn't much of a defender or shot-blocker, and points and rebounds are two of the easiest stats to find in fantasy hoops.
No. 20: Harry Giles to Sacramento Kings
Harry Giles is a high upside play who has recovered from torn ACLs in both knees. Praised for his length and athleticism, he will battle second-year forward Skal Labissiere for minutes as a rookie and is worth a look in late rounds for dynasty leagues.
No. 21: Terrance Ferguson to Oklahoma City
Terrance Ferguson provides the Thunder with a wing defender who can shoot it from distance much better than Andre Roberson has for Oklahoma City in recent years. Ferguson's fantasy value as a rookie, if he earns the minutes to warrant consideration, is reliant upon his 3-pointers and steals.
No. 22: Jarrett Allen to Brooklyn Nets
After trading Brook Lopez to the Lakers, Brooklyn replaces him with a mobile and athletic shot-blocker in Texas freshman Jarrett Allen. He could see a lot of court time as a rookie, with Timofey Mozgov being the main competitor for minutes, and may be someone worth streaming for blocks at some point in 2017-18.
No. 23: OG Anunoby to Toronto Raptors
Selected No. 23 by Toronto, OG Anunoby is an athletic, defense-first wing and it's unlikely his raw offensive game will put him on the fantasy radar at any point next season.
No. 24: Tyler Lydon to Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets add depth to their frontcourt by drafting Syracuse power forward Tyler Lydon. Lydon will have to battle Kenneth Faried and rising second-year forward Juan Hernangomez for minutes, likely leaving him without fantasy value as a rookie.
No. 25: Anzejs Pasecniks to Philadelphia 76ers
Andzejs Pasecniks is a slightly-built, athletic 7-1 Latvian center who isn't expected to make a meaningful impact with Philadelphia for a season or two. According to ESPN's Fran Fraschilla, Pasecniks' game is running the floor and throwing down alley-oops. Ideally, he becomes a key reserve in the coming years behind Joel Embiid.
No. 26: Caleb Swanigan to Portland Trail Blazers
It's hard to look at Caleb Swanigan without thinking of former lottery pick Ike Diogu, but the rugged 6-foot-8 big man gives Portland a second rookie power forward. He will have to beat out Zach Collins to have any fantasy value next season, and his style of play may make it tough for him to stay on the court against the floor spacing teams out West.
No. 27: Kyle Kuzma to Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma is a very versatile player with good length and agility and he has a chance to develop into a classic stat-stuffing wing for the Lakers. Of all the late picks in the first round, Kuzma may have the best chance of carving out a role and becoming a valuable fantasy asset -- even if it's in a bench role.
No. 28: Tony Bradley to Utah Jazz
Traded from the Lakers to the Jazz, Tony Bradley gives Utah rebounding reinforcement behind Derrick Favors at the four. At 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, he already has NBA size at the power forward position but doesn't figure to be a legit fantasy option for a year or two.
No. 29: Derrick White to San Antonio Spurs
For the second year in a row, the Spurs go with a combo guard in round 1. Derrick White has a good feel for the game but doesn't have the athleticism or immense upside of 2016 draftee Dejounte Murray. It's Murray to watch out for in fantasy next season, not White.
No. 30: Josh Hart to Los Angeles Lakers
Josh Hart, the only college senior drafted in round 1, is a productive player who gives the Lakers another versatile guard to join Lonzo Ball and Jordan Clarkson. Hart scores, shoots and passes well and his experience could make him an instant impact rookie, even at this late draft slot.