This will be a season unlike any other for rookies. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the schedule, a condensed offseason left no time for the annual Summer League. That could create problems for what was already considered a mostly underwhelming draft class.
Still, there are some rookies who could have an immediate impact in Fantasy basketball, so let's discuss some of the top options to consider.
Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
Hayes fell to the seventh selection in the draft, but he landed in an ideal situation with the Pistons. The team has undertaken a massive rebuild and is very short on talent. Their depth chart is particularly shallow at guard with Derrick Rose being their best option. As good as he was last season, Rose only played in 50 games and hasn't played more than 64 games in a season since when he was a member of the Bulls.
Rose could be traded at some point, which would open up even more opportunities for Hayes. Even if Rose sticks around, things are already trending in the right direction for Hayes to make an immediate impact since head coach Dwane Casey said that Hayes would open training camp as the team's starting point guard. He only shot 29.4 percent from behind the arc last season overseas, so don't expect him to be a major contributor in that department. However, Hayes could provide immediate value with his points, assists and steals totals.
Position Tiers: Point Guard | Shooting Guard | Small Forward | Power Forward | Center
Obi Toppin, New York Knicks
Toppin went immediately after Hayes with the Knicks selecting him eighth overall. He was the most dominant player in college basketball at Dayton last season, averaging 20 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, one steal, 1.2 blocks and one 3-pointer per contest. He did that while shooting an impressive 63.3 percent from the field. While his free throw shooting is a concern, he hit 70.6 percent from the charity stripe during his two seasons in college, so he might not be a massive drain in that department.
The Knicks did try to eliminate some of the logjam that they had up front last season by letting go Taj Gibson. However, they do still have Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson up front, while they added Nerlens Noel to provide depth at center. The good news is that Toppin has the ability to play any of the three front-court positions, so even if he doesn't start right away he should see significant playing time. It wouldn't be a surprise if Toppin ends up making a strong case for Rookie of the Year.
James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
The Warriors found themselves in a unique situation on draft night, holding a top pick despite a roster that is made to compete for championships now. Injuries to Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry derailed their 2019-20 campaign, but it helped land them Wiseman, who fills a major hole at center. The question is: will Wiseman be ready to contribute at a high level right away?
Wiseman only played three games during his career at Memphis, but he certainly showed why he is thought of so highly, averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks. The Warriors will get Curry back this season and have added Kelly Oubre Jr. to try to help offset the loss of Thompson for another season, so don't expect Wiseman to receive a ton of scoring opportunities. However, he could be a valuable source for rebounds and blocks considering the Warriors' limited depth chart.
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Ball was the biggest name in this draft, some of which can be attributed to his family's reputation. He fell to third pick, ultimately landing with a Hornets team that already has an impressive young point guard in Devonte' Graham. Graham, a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, broke out in a major way last season, averaging 18.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 3.5 3-pointers across 35 minutes per contest.
There's no question about Ball's passing abilities, which should make him a valuable source for assists even if he comes off the bench behind Graham and Terry Rozier. However, his shot needs some work, which could make him a drain in the field goal percentage department. Despite being selected before Hayes in the draft, it might be better to roll with Hayes over Ball in re-draft Fantasy leagues based on their respective roles.
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
Anthony certainly has the pedigree considering his dad is former Knicks' point guard Greg Anthony. Unlike his father, Cole is an offensive-minded point guard who averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, four assists, 1.3 steals and 2.2 3-pointers last season with North Carolina. If there was a downside to his game, it's that he settled for a lot of difficult shots, hitting just 38 percent of his field goal attempts. And as a point guard, his 75 percent shooting from the charity stripe was a disappointment.
After being taken with the 15th pick by the Magic, Anthony might have found himself in an ideal situation. The Magic moved on from veteran point guard D.J. Augustin this offseason, which means Anthony is -- worst case scenario -- their top backup at the point behind Markelle Fultz. Fultz didn't exactly log a ton of minutes last season, averaging just 28 per contest. The Magic badly need a spark plug for their offense, which relies heavily on Nikola Vucevic. If you're looking to take a flier on a rookie in the later rounds of Fantasy drafts, don't sleep on Anthony.
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
It didn't feel right to not talk about the top overall pick in this article, but from a Fantasy perspective, Edwards is not all that appealing for his rookie campaign. The Timberwolves added a lot of depth during the offseason, acquiring Ricky Rubio while retaining the services of Malik Beasley. Add in holdovers D'Angelo Russell, Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver, and Edwards doesn't exactly have a path to a ton of minutes. And when he is on the court, his usage rate could also be limited playing alongside Russell, Beasley and Karl-Anthony Towns. If there was ever a Fantasy season to fade the top pick in the NBA Draft, this might be it.