The NBA season tips off next Tuesday, December 22nd, so we imagine fantasy basketball managers are getting in their last-minute preparation ahead of their drafts. We want all of our readers, longtime and new, to dunk on their competition and cruise to a title this season like Giannis Antetokounmpo does on a fast break. These past couple of weeks we've offered excerpts from the 2020 NBA Draft Guide found in our EDGE+ Roto, EDGE+ Pro and EDGE+ Max packages, and this week we'd like to offer you even more.
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Recently, we gave you an inside look at our 2020-21 NBA Draft Guide's top sophomores, highlighting a couple of notable players and some who may fly under the radar in fantasy drafts. Today, we're showing off our points league mock draft, to highlight which players our experts took. Take a look:
2020-21 Points League Mock Draft:
1 James Harden - HOU Ryan K
2 Giannis Antetokounmpo - MIL NBARigged
3 Anthony Davis - (N/A) jared831
4 Luka Doncic – DAL chericsinc
5 LeBron James – LAL JonasNader26
6 Karl-Anthony Towns - MIN Charles Koo
7 Trae Young – ATL docktora
8 Nikola Jokic – DEN Mack Mookie
9 Stephen Curry – GS sgtvino
10 Damian Lillard - POR raphiellej
11 Jayson Tatum - BOS rikleen
12 Ben Simmons – PHI PG1DSJ
I’ve been randomly assigned the No. 1 pick in consecutive mock drafts, which makes it easy – James Harden. I have him at No. 1 in every format this season, though not without trepidation. If his trade request is a sore that begins to fester, I can easily see Harden missing games until there’s resolution. And if he lands in his desired spot, Brooklyn, he’d be hard-pressed to maintain No. 1 fantasy output on the same roster as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. That’s simply too many mouths to feed for everyone to go home full.
Giannis Antetokounmpo at No. 2 was automatic, and may be actually a safer play than Harden in points leagues. Anthony Davis’ stratospheric per-game output in this format is tempered somewhat by the fear of rest days. L.A. will have the shortest offseason in NBA history, which basically ensures that AD and LeBron James will have their minutes trimmed (at least early in the season). Scheduled DNP-Rest days should also be expected in back-to-back situations.
The rest of the first round went as you’d expect when looking at the leaders in this scoring format last season – 10 players drafted thus far were in the top-15 (per game) last season. Luka Doncic at No. 4 is perfect in this format. He averaged 51.3 fantasy points last year, just below Damian Lillard and ahead of Karl-Anthony Towns. Even if his production remains level this year, he has no obvious DNP red flags for health or shutdown risk, so I’d listen to an argument about him as the No. 1 option.
13 Nikola Vucevic – ORL PG1DSJ
14 Devin Booker – PHO rikleen
15 Kawhi Leonard – LAC raphiellej
16 Kevin Durant – BKN sgtvino
17 Bam Adebayo – MIA Mack Mookie
18 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - OKC docktora
19 Joel Embiid – PHI Charles Koo
20 Jimmy Butler – MIA JonasNader26
21 Bradley Beal – WAS chericsinc
22 Russell Westbrook – HOU jared831
23 John Collins – ATL NBARigged
24 Andre Drummond – CLE Ryan K
I’ll start by crowing about my ability to land Andre Drummond at No. 24 overall. In an 8-cat or 9-cat league, drafting Drummond is of course a calculated risk – you’re probably committing to a punt-FT% build if you take him in Round 2 or 3. In a points league, though, it’s nowhere near as damaging. Drummond was No. 15 overall in this setting in 2019-20 and I’m not scared off by his iffy play with the Cavs. It was a small sample size and once his minutes leveled out, he was a beast – in the final three games he averaged 25.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.7 blocks. He faces minimal competition at center, too, especially with Tristan Thompson gone.
Russell Westbrook is a similar guy whose fantasy warts aren’t nearly as visible in typical points leagues, and Jared took the plunge at No. 22. I’m not very concerned about his trade request, and WB seems too competitive to sit out games if he doesn’t get his way. As long as he’s healthy he’ll be a lock for top-20 value.
Steve ‘docktora’ Alexander took a big swing on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at No. 18. He’s betting on SGA to have a monster year as the go-to guy for OKC, and I don’t disagree since the Thunder are rebuilding and the 22-year-old guard represents the closest thing they have to a franchise pillar. Shai’s strengths shine in category-based leagues, though, and I’m skeptical that he’ll return value inside the top-20 of this points league…especially when Bradley Beal was still on the board.
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