By James Anderson, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
With the dust settled on the 2020 NBA Draft, it’s time to dig deeper and take a look at which players could help fantasy basketball managers this season.
On the surface, the 2020 class does not project as an overly fantasy-friendly class, though every year at least a handful of players emerge as roster candidates as the season wears on. Let’s parse through the winners and losers from Wednesday night with an eye on how each prospect could impact the fantasy landscape in 2020-21.
James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
While this was the anticipated landing spot for Wiseman, it was also the preferred landing spot for anyone hoping to roster him in a dynasty league. He will receive excellent coaching and I think he’s the type of guy who will benefit from being around Steph Curry and Draymond Green. He is also the clear center of the future — and perhaps the present — so he could provide positive value in redraft leagues as well. Wiseman should eventually be a stud in FG% and blocks, at the very least, and he has the upside to be a top-five fantasy center.
Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls
Anytime a player goes at the high point of their perceived draft range, it’s good for their dynasty value, as the team is extremely committed to things working out. This is Arturas Karnisovas’ first big move and first draft pick, so Williams is going to get every chance to succeed. He won’t be ready to help in fantasy as a rookie, and perhaps not even as a second-year player, but his long-term fantasy ceiling is very high.
Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
Whoever the Pistons selected was going to see their fantasy value tick up, and Hayes, as a primary ball handler, especially benefits from this landing spot. He won’t be a net positive in real life or in fantasy as a rookie, but he essentially has the keys to this franchise now. Hayes and Sekou Doumbouya already have a relationship from their days in Europe, and they — along with Christian Wood, if he re-signs — are the most prominent faces of what figures to be a long rebuild.
Obi Toppin, New York Knicks
One of the more predictable picks in the lottery, Toppin is reunited with president Leon Rose, who initially recruited him to CAA. Rose will do right by Toppin, who clearly slots in as the long-term power forward next to Mitchell Robinson. Toppin and Robinson complement each other quite well, as Toppin is all offense and Robinson is all defense. He has a chance to win Rookie of the Year, perhaps posting something in the range of 15 points and seven rebounds with a couple of threes per game.
Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards
Even if the Wizards re-sign Davis Bertans, Avdija is probably the team’s fourth-best player from Day One (damning with faint praise), so he will get all the minutes he can handle. He isn’t great at any one thing on the court, but he is solid across the board, with the glaring exception of his FT%, so with enough minutes, he could compile enough counting stats to be relevant in redraft leagues.
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
The Magic are reportedly going to embark on a mini rebuild, so it’s unclear which veterans will remain on this roster, but Anthony will clearly be a key part of that rebuild. He actually fits nicely next to Markelle Fultz, who is a little overtaxed as a primary ball handler. Anthony can shoot and is a good athlete for his size (6-foot-3). He had a wide range on draft night, but getting picked 15th overall should buy him a fairly long leash.
Aleksej Pokusevski, Oklahoma City Thunder
The best landing spot for any long-term developmental project is a rebuilding club with not much talent on the roster, and that’s exactly where Pokusevski finds himself. He won’t be ready to help in fantasy anytime soon, but he has a chance to be one of the faces of this rebuild. He needs to add significant strength to his wiry, 7-foot frame, but Pokusevski can dribble, pass, and shoot, so he is one of the most appealing dynasty stashes outside of the lottery.
Precious Achiuwa, Miami Heat
Achiuwa won’t get enough minutes to be relevant in fantasy as a rookie, but he lands in the perfect organization to maximize his considerable talents. His biggest weakness is a lack of understanding of his offensive limitations, and Erik Spoelstra won’t play him until he figures that stuff out. Considering neither can really stretch from three, the fit next to Bam Adebayo is questionable, but the Heat have proven to be one of the best developmental organizations in the league.
Malachi Flynn, Toronto Raptors
Flynn is eerily reminiscent of Fred VanVleet coming out of college. Although he’s not at that level of a shooter, it’s easy to see why he appealed to Toronto. Like with Miami, this is an excellent developmental organization, so by the time the Kyle Lowry era is over, Flynn could be ready to step into a starting role. His timeline could be accelerated if VanVleet signs elsewhere this offseason.
Vernon Carey, Charlotte Hornets
Carey is essentially the Hornets’ center of the future (for now), so that’s a big win over him landing in a spot where his ceiling is capped as a backup. He can play next to P.J. Washington and could get enough minutes to be frisky in redraft leagues as a rookie, thanks to his points, rebounds, and FG% skill base.
Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks
This has nothing to do with Okongwu the player, but as of now, he is a backup on this team, which makes it unlikely that he is viable in redraft leagues. He is still appealing in dynasty, but as long as Clint Capela and John Collins are on the roster, his lack of playing time will cap his fantasy value.
Jalen Smith, Phoenix Suns
Like with Okongwu, this is a tough landing spot for Smith since he will be DeAndre Ayton’s backup until further notice. Smith’s ability to stretch the floor could allow him to play next to Ayton on occasion, but either of those players attempting to guard a mobile power forward would be a disaster, so it probably won’t happen much.
Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs
The only thing the Spurs have in spades is young, talented perimeter players, so Vassell’s immediate playing time outlook isn’t very promising. He could have profiled as a potential starter as a rookie on certain rosters, but that won’t happen here, although he could eventually earn such a role. The Spurs have also been a difficult team to predict when it comes to utilizing young players, even in their recent down seasons.
Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings
My third favorite player in the draft, Haliburton slipping to 12 was a huge win for Sacramento, but it lessens his appeal in fantasy. He’s the type of player whose skills are amplified when he plays with other good players, so being on a bad team on which he is blocked at the 1 and the 2 is about as bad as things could have ended up for Haliburton. Long-term, Haliburton still has a ton of appeal, but unless the Kings overhaul the roster in the next few weeks, he could be in a bit of a logjam.
R.J. Hampton, Denver Nuggets
Hampton’s ideal landing spot would have been a rebuilding team with some long-term questions at point guard, so ending up in Denver takes away a lot of the appeal in dynasty leagues. He is pretty firmly blocked at the 1 and the 2, and to make matters worse, this team’s offensive hub doesn’t even play the 1 or the 2.
Tyrell Terry, Dallas Mavericks
Terry is my fourth-favorite player in this class, but the hope was that another team would share my optimism and take him in the middle of the first round. This is an excellent pick by Dallas, but second-rounders don’t merit the same level of organizational clout as first-rounders. Terry should have some fun moments as a rookie, but he won’t be getting significant playing time right away on a crowded depth chart.