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NBA Fantasy Basketball Keepers: Top Five Update

If you’re like me, fantasy sports attracted your attention because it gave your fandom some true purpose, and allowed you to finally show you’d be a better GM than anyone that actually has the job. NBA Dynasty leagues are the true essence of running a fantasy basketball team, as it’s not just for one season. You’re trying to build a championship threat, year after year, while protecting a handful of players from going into next year’s draft pool. With that, it’s time to update our Top Five NBA Keepers!

There are several factors that indicate who’d be most valuable to your squad. My assumptions are that you’re playing in a standard nine-category league, so I’ll be looking at age, usage rate, current stats, and outlook/value to team going forward. Let’s dive into it!

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Dynasty Rankings:

1. Luka Doncic – DAL; PG/SG

Luka is the heart and soul of the Dallas Mavericks. He was their first round pick, and they’ve thrown all their eggs in his basket. There’s nobody that they could trade for or draft that would take usage away from Luka, which would lead to him not being the most valuable fantasy asset. The offense will always go through Luka. Jason Kidd was hired, in part, to help. make Luka more of a distributor, so they aren’t a one-dimensional offense (similar to James Harden’s Rockets). That said, this year Luka is leading the league in usage percentage at 35.9%, while averaging 24.8 ppg, 8.2 reb, and 9 asts. Honestly, what more can you ask for from the 22 year old. He’s a fantasy darling and rightfully so.

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo – MIL; PF/C

Much like Luka, he does it all. He’s consistent and has a 34.8% usage rate, which is currently third in the league. He’s a champion now, and it looks like it only made Giannis hungrier as he’s averaging 28.4 ppg, 11.4 reb, and 6 asts. They’ve had some injuries and COVID outbreaks, so his numbers may be a bit inflated on the year, but that’s true for just about every team in the league, so you can’t really use that as a demerit. The only thing keeping me from putting Giannis at number one is the fact that at 27 he’s still young, but that’s 5 years older than Luka. In a keeper league, he could be a valuable trade piece as we have to imagine he’s going to reach his peak production within the next few years.

3. Trae Young – ATL; PG

You might be sensing a theme here…for you to make the list among the top fantasy keepers in the league, the offense has to go through you. Trae is currently 2nd in the league with a 35.5% usage rate, and putting up 28 ppg, 9.6 ast, and 4 rebs. Everybody else on the Atlanta roster is there to fill specific roles for the team. Capela and Collins are rim-running rebounders, Bogdanovic, Huerter, and Gallo are there to shoot their open shots and play defense. That leaves Trae to do everything else. The Hawks won’t win anything anytime soon, but that’s okay because Young is only 23 years young. Trae can win you a league, for sure, and I think he’ll only get better.

4. Nikola Jokic – DEN; PF/C

A lot of people may argue that Jokic is too low on this list, and it’s not a bad argument. He’s the league’s MVP and he’s been dominating this year. We’re talking about a 32.7% usage rate, which is top ten in the league, all while averaging 25/14/7. Honestly, what more can you ask for. He’s putting his squad on his back and playing essentially every game. The reason I have him at 4 is that this is a dynasty article and the other three players mean everything to their teams, with nobody else to fall back on. The Nuggets will eventually have Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. enter the fold for the team. That will take a lot of pressure off of Jokic to score and likely deflate some of his scoring totals and usage rate in the future. Not enough to keep him out of the top five, but definitely out of the top three for me.

5. LaMelo Ball – CHA; PG/SG

19.4 ppg, 7.3 rebs, 7.4 asts per game. At 20 years old. He’s only going to get better, and at a 27.9% usage rate, it will be fun to see what he turns into when he’s truly given the reins to this organization. Right now, he’s respected as their best playmaker and a crown jewel, but Charlotte has acquired a lot of pieces that have redundant skillsets. There are guys like Gordon Hayward, Oubre, and Rozier, that are all talented players, but their roles are to do whatever is needed on any given night. That could mean we get a barrage of threes from Oubre, or Rozier takes twenty shots, or Hayward drops 30. All of that creates a scenario in which Melo only has to distribute. Over time, I believe Charlotte will adjust their roster so they have a big three that revolves around Ball, Bridges, and a player to be named later. On that team, Ball will have a 30%+ usage rate and enter MVP conversations. We’ll have to wait a little bit to see that play out, but Melo is coming. The future of the NBA is bright!

Honorable Mentions:

6. Donovan Mitchell – UTA; PG/SG

7. Jayson Tatum – BOS; SF/PF

8. Karl Anthony Towns – MIN; C

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