You can’t have a fantasy team full of NBA All-Stars. Fantasy basketball simply doesn’t work like that, and even if it did, that wouldn’t be any fun! It’s finding those diamonds in the rough, and hitting on players that aren’t consensus favorites that bring you home a championship. Let’s touch on five breakout players players who are in position to become household names in the fantasy basketball community.
5 Breakout Players for 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder, PG, SG:
Josh Giddey was one of my favorite draft picks last year. I forecasted that he would average a triple-double in his rookie year, and while I came in a little hot, he had an incredibly stellar rookie year. He averaged 12.5 points, 7.8 boards, 6.4 assists, and 1.3 stocks. Not bad for someone still learning the NBA game. This year, I expect him to take a huge step. He had a 22.2% usage rate last year, and I expect that to increase to at least 25%+ this year. To be honest, the only other person on this roster that should have priority in development over Giddey, is Shai, and with his transition to shooting guard, it opens Giddey up for more usage as he touches the ball on every possession. Giddey had tremendous rapport with Chet Holmgren in Summer League, but with Holmgren out for the year with a Lisfranc injury, there’s no one else to take away usage. Having Holmgren would’ve helped Giddey’s assist totals, but now he’ll be expected to handle more of a scoring load. Lastly, Holmgren’s injury solidifies the Thunder’s Wenbanyama sweepstakes tickets. That means they’ll be tanking. After the trade deadline, expect to see less of Shai, and more of Giddey and the second and third stringers. I don’t know if he’ll average a triple-double, but a breakout season is in order.
Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons, SF:
It’s time for the Detroit Pistons to compete for a playoff spot. They’ve got the talent, they’ve drafted well, and now they’re deserving of expectations. Expectations from me, at least. Saddiq Bey is a rarely talked about talent, that has improved every year he’s been in the league. Now that he’s in his third year, the team and the player are ready to take a jump. Bey averaged 27 minutes in his rookie year and 33 minutes last year. He took 10 shots per game in his rookie year, and 14 per game last year. His rebounding averages have improved to 5.4 per game, his assists doubled to 2.8 per game, and the points per game have increased to 16.1. With a 22% usage rate last year, Bey boasted game highs of 51 points, 17 boards, and 8 assists. DID I MENTION HE DROPPED 51 POINTS IN A GAME?! Bey is here and he’s ready to be one of the season’s biggest breakout players. Get on board!
James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors, C:
James Wiseman could end up extending the Warriors Championship window by multiple years. The seven-footer has played just 39 games in the NBA and missed all of last year with a knee injury. Now that he’s back, I expect him to start, and eat into Kevon Looney’s minutes. I don’t expect him to average more than 25 minutes (at least not until later this season), but for reference of his potential, here are his per 36 numbers: 19.3 points, 10 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 2.1 stocks. That’s big time in fantasy and in real life. With Center being a relatively scarce position in fantasy, it will make Wiseman’s potential all the more valuable. I have him ranked as my 37th Center overall, meaning you’ll be able to grab him late. He could end up being a critical part of your lineup each week.
Monte Morris, Washington Wizards, PG, SG:
Morris was traded to the Wizards from Denver, along with Will Barton. He played with Kyle Kuzma when he was young and the two always wanted to play together in the league. I think he’s the only true point guard on the Wizards roster right now, and while he won’t get a lot of usage with Brad Beal, Kuzma, and Porzingis, he knows how to play with high usage guys as he’s done it with Jokic and Murray. I expect him to have a career-high in assists and I expect him to get a touch on offense in virtually every possession. You’ll be able to draft him in the late rounds, or possibly even pick him up off the waiver wire. Morris had a career-high in points, rebounds, and assists last year with 12.6 per game, 3 boards, and 4.4 assists in 29 minutes per game. I see no reason why Monte won’t get at least 10-15 shots per game, while also being surrounded by better shooters than he had in Denver. At only 27 years old, Monte Morris can put himself in position to get PAID!
Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs, SF, PF:
Last but not least among our potential breakout players, let’s talk about Keldon Johnson. With Devin Vassell and Jakob Poeltl as the only other fantasy-relevant players on the team, the Spurs are firmly in the Wenbanyama sweepstakes. Still, someone is going to have to score for this team to help them lose every game by 15, instead of 40. Keldon Johnson has what it takes to lead this team in points. He had a career-high in points last year with 17, and he also shot 40% from three-point range, on 5 threes per game. I expect the 21% usage rate he had last year to skyrocket to the 25% – 30% range, on this team. His career high in points, came last year, scoring 34 points going 6 for 12 from three. Those kinds of games should come more often this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 50-ball from Keldon this year. Hopefully, he falls to you!
Got some breakout players of your own in mind? Drop some names in the comments below and then check out our full 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Draft Kit!