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Way too early rookie rankings for 2021-22 fantasy basketball

We go through the recently drafted rookies from Thursday night and rank them based on best situation heading into next season.

Jalen Green of Team Ignite handles the ball during the game against the Raptors 905 during the NBA G League Playoffs on March 8, 2021 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2021 NBA Draft went down on Thursday night with the Detroit Pistons selecting OK State G Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 overall pick. It wasn’t a big surprise considering Cunningham was the best prospect with the most upside. The rest of the draft, well, didn’t exactly go according to plan if you had a mock draft written up beforehand. Most teams outside of the top 3 threw a bunch of curveballs, which made for a relatively exciting night.

The Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers went chalk with G Jalen Green and C Evan Mobley, respectively. After that, chaos ensued. The Toronto Raptors opted for Scottie Barnes over Jalen Suggs and most of the picks after that were tough to see coming. Josh Giddey was taken at No. 6 to the OKC Thunder, which shocked a bit of us. After that, the Golden State Warriors opted for big man Jonathan Kuminga instead of adding more shooting.

This class may end up being weaker than the 2020 class that featured LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and Tyrese Haliburton. Either way, we’re going to rank the incoming rookie class in terms of fantasy basketball for the 2021-22 season based on where each player landed.

In a guard driven league, we’re going to value guards over forwards and centers early on. Think of this more as a short-and long-term ranking to use for keeper and dynasty leagues. There are a few players I’m high on, including Davion Mitchell, Corey Kispert and Chris Duarte. All three have a bit more experience and can shoot the rock, so each could get more of a fast-track to playing time. Duarte is 24 years old (you’ve probably heard that a billion times by now) and could get more direct playing time for the Pacers.

I’m lower on Ziaire Williams and Franz Wagner mostly because of situation and lack of scoring upside. Wagner could develop into a solid inside-out big for the Magic, though Orlando is in the midst of a rebuild and has a few bigs in Wendell Carter Jr., Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba and Chuma Okeke.

Down the board, I like Ayo and Jared Butler to maybe make an impact as second-round picks. Butler comes from the championship Baylor squad and is in a great situation in Utah. Dosunmu goes home to Chicago and the Bulls could use his scoring off the bench, plus depth at point guard.

2021-22 fantasy basketball rookie rankings

  1. Cade Cunningham, G, Pistons
  2. Jalen Green, G, Rockets
  3. Jalen Suggs, SG, Magic
  4. Evan Mobley, C, Cavaliers
  5. Jonathan Kuminga, PF, Warriors
  6. Josh Giddey, G, Thunder
  7. Davion Mitchell, G, Kings
  8. James Bouknight, G, Hornets
  9. Corey Kispert, G, Wizards
  10. Scottie Barnes, F, Raptors
  11. Chris Duarte, G, Pacers
  12. Tre Mann, G, Thunder
  13. Franz Wagner, F/C, Magic
  14. Keon Johnson, G, Clippers
  15. Quentin Grimes, G, Knicks
  16. Ziaire Williams, F, Grizzlies
  17. Alperen Sengun, F/C, Thunder
  18. Moses Moody, G, Warriors
  19. Jalen Johnson, F, Hawks
  20. Bones Hyland, G, Nuggets
  21. Isaiah Jackson, PF/C, Pacers
  22. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Bulls
  23. Jared Butler, G, Jazz
  24. Brandon Boston Jr., G, Clippers
  25. Sharife Cooper, PG, Hawks