Just like that the NBA is back! The shortest off-season in NBA history will come to an abrupt end as Adam Silver announced the 2020-21 season will tip-off December 22nd including a 72-game schedule. That means it’s time to get the ball rolling and start breaking down our first run of Fantasy Basketball Rankings for the fast-approaching season!
The NBA started off with a bang this past week with a few massive trades. There’s still quite a bit to digest and a few changes will need to be made with more moves coming but in the meantime, let’s get the discussions going and find out some key risers and sleepers for this upcoming season.
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Fantasy Basketball Rankings Breakdown
My apologies to LeBron James. This will be the first year I remember having him ranked outside the top 10 but as he said after winning the Championship, this is now Anthony Davis’s team. Expect the shortened offseason to impact veteran players who had long playoff runs and are unlikely to go through back-to-back sets. That being said, James still gets the 12th nod which makes him the last number one anchor for a 12-team league…so just the kind of underdog story he needs to keep striving.
The sky’s the limit for 21-year-old Luka Dončić who took the NBA by storm last season nearly averaging a triple-double with a 28.8/9.4/8.8 line. He improved on those numbers in the postseason averaging 31.0/9.8/8.7 almost dismantling the Clippers by himself. He is the big riser in my 2020-21 Fantasy Basketball Rankings as he shoots up all the way to the number two spot. 30/10/10 numbers don’t grow on trees and there’s room for more as he continues to improve FG and FT percentages.
Recency bias always plays a big factor in the following season’s rankings. This is why many have Stephen Curry behind the 8-ball with just a 5-game season last year. Let’s not overthink and draft the 2-time MVP with confidence. Curry averaged 33.5 ppg in the final two playoff series with Durant out of the picture. It is back to being his team.
Trae Young and Devin Booker are becoming two of the game’s best scorers and round out the top 12. Young was second in the NBA in APG last season adding to his offensive prowess and we all saw what Booker could do in the bubble.
Bam Adebayo is a big riser with a great season. Just 23 years-old, the Heat have made him a focal point of the offense. Jimmy Butler who had quite the playoff run will definitely need some nights off so enjoy the BAM show in 2020-21. John Collins was a 20/10 player with great shooting percentages making him a must-own player in the top 20. Meanwhile, the star keeps pointing up for Donovan Mitchell who scored a scorching 36.3 PPG in the playoffs to go along with the highest player efficiency rating. Kevin Durant definitely has top-5 potential if fully 100% healthy but not worth the risk for a top-12 with his injury history.
Ja Morant just edged out fellow sophomore Zion Williamson. The metrics and dominance is there for the future star in Zion. Poor free-throw percentages should keep him from being top-24 material. He will need to get the blocks up to enter the next phase of stardom!
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with very well-rounded numbers last season contributing across multiple categories. Chris Paul is on his way to the desert making it Alexander’s team in OKC. There’s not a whole lot going on in Sacramento. I expect a big jump from 22-year-old De’Aaron Fox. Started off last year averaging 16 PPG and finished with 26.4 over the final seven. He should be running things in Sac-town in 2020.
Keep signing me up for young talented scores this season. Zach LaVine finished top 12 in scoring last season and bumped up his 25 PPG up to 28 over the final two months of the season. Jimmy Butler recorded some playoff games for the ages but has proven to up his game in the playoffs. Butler averaged 16.8 PPG in March compared to his 26.2 PPG in the finals. I expect heavy regression with a short offseason for the veteran.
Draymond Green was one of the bigger busts in fantasy last season. But I expect him to get back to his category stuffing ways with Stephen Curry back on the floor.
Malcolm Brogdon proved to be an important part of the Pacers lineup in the bubble with averages of 21.5 PPG and 10.5 APG in the playoffs and 18.2/6/6.3 in August. He’s a big riser for me and could even receive a bigger bump if Victor Oladipo leaves town.
Christian Wood averaged 21.9 points and 9.4 rebounds in 12 starts last season. Wood should be a solid pick here with Russell Westbrook’s usage rate shipped out of town. Look for Gordon Hayward to bounce back after being appointed the new focal point in Charlotte. Hayward was super efficient last season and now gets to revert to being the no.1 option like his Utah Jazz days. Andrew Wiggins rounds out the top 5 here. Wiggins receives an uptick after the big loss to Klay Thompson. Wiggins should be a great source of points, three pointers and can chip in the rebound category too.
I love the Billy Donovan hire for sophomore Coby White. The young bulls should flourish in an up-tempo offense. White ended last season on a tear averaging 26.1 PPG adding 4.5 APG. Michael Porter Jr., needs to be rising on everyone’s list after his impressive showing in Orlando. MPJ is a true stat stuffer and more minutes are on the way in 2020. OMG! Another Jimmy Butler mention, my bad folks but his load management at times should help Tyler Herro flourish. Herro was great averaging 19.2 PPG alongside 6.2 RPG, 4.8 APG in the playoff series against the Celtics. It sounds like change is coming to San Antonio. The youth movement propels Dejounte Murray up the rankings. Murray finished the season with a line of 13.1/6.1/4.4 over the final 9 games adding 1.9 SPG. Expect an increase in minutes and a top 70 fantasy finish. Jonathan Isaac’s injury should open up scoring opportunities for Orlando Magic players. Markelle Fultz showed a lot of promise in certain spots last season and will have plenty of chances this season to make his mark.
We finish off the last few rounds taking chances on guys like Collin Sexton and RJ Barrett. Wasn’t thrilled with either rookie campaign but both can score and both teams (Knicks, Cavs) are lacking mightily in the scoring department. Stay tuned for updated rankings after NBA free-agency and draft!
2020-21 Fantasy Basketball Rankings
|49||Jaren Jackson Jr.||MEM||PF/C|
|63||Michael Porter Jr.||DEN||SF/PF|
|100||Marvin Bagley III||SAC||PF/C|
|104||Wendell Carter Jr.||CHI||C|
|14||Michael Porter Jr.||DEN|
|15||Jaren Jackson Jr.||MEM|
|19||Michael Porter Jr.||DEN|
|36||Marvin Bagley III||SAC|
|16||Jaren Jackson Jr.||MEM|
|33||Marvin Bagley III||SAC|
|35||Wendell Carter Jr.||CHI|
Mike will be updating his 2020-21 Fantasy Basketball Rankings right up until opening tip-off. Check back for updates and also the rest of our Fantasy Basketball content.
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