The 2022-23 NBA season brings about a fresh rookie class, although Oklahoma City big man and No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren will have to wait a year to make his debut. It’s hard to assess how rookies will factor into fantasy basketball leagues, but here are five players worth keeping an eye on ahead of the season.
Paolo Banchero, SF, Orlando Magic
ESPN ADP: 60.1
Everybody projected the Magic to take Jabari Smith No. 1 overall, but Orlando pulled off a stunner just ahead of the draft and took Banchero. The Duke forward figures to be a focal point of this offense, which could take a major leap as young players keep making strides together. Banchero’s ADP might be a little high but he’s going to put up numbers in every stat column.
Keegan Murray, PF, Sacramento Kings
ESPN ADP: 83.2
Murray was the talk of Summer League with his offensive exploits, and his demeanor is perfect for lifting Sacramento out of oblivion. The scoring will be there immediately, and it sounds like Murray is going to start for the Kings alongside Domantas Sabonis in the frontcourt. This is a pure volume play.
Bennedict Mathurin, SG, Indiana Pacers
ESPN ADP: 139.9
Mathurin could be the bargain rookie, as his ADP suggests he’ll be available off the waiver wire potentially. The Pacers are tearing things down, but Mathurin should be safe as a perimeter piece for the future. If and when Buddy Hield gets traded, he will take on a bigger role in this team.
Jabari Smith, SF, Houston Rockets
ESPN ADP: 126.4
Smith might have a chip on his shoulder after falling to No. 3 in the 2022 NBA Draft. The Rockets are the perfect environment for him to explode offensively, and there’s the chance he becomes the primary scorer for this team by the end of the year. The talent is there and the volume should eventually come.
Walker Kessler, C, Utah Jazz
ESPN ADP: 140.7
The Jazz aren’t going to win many games next year, so there’s reason to be wary of most players on this team. However, Kessler is a first-round pick the Jazz got back in the Rudy Gorbert trade in player form and they’ll want to see if he’s part of the future there. The big man should get consistent minutes and outperform this ADP by the end of the season.