We are officially one week away from the start of the NBA season which means that the vast majority of fantasy drafts will take place this week. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite draft day targets/values based on their ADP (Average Draft Position) below. I really don’t have a preference since I have several leagues in both, so I’ve included the ADPs for both ESPN and Yahoo. You may disagree with some of my choices and that’s fine (that’s what fantasy sports are all about!), but if you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear them. For season-long advice and fantasy news, click here to follow me on Twitter!
Jusuf Nurkic ADP: 109.3 Yahoo, 109 ESPN
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Nurkic is my favorite fantasy target this season (at his price) and it’s a crime that his ADP is this low. However, the secret is finally out and I’ve noticed in my mock drafts that the hype is slowly catching up with him. I was able to consistently grab him in the late rounds earlier this summer, but now I’m targeting him in the 50-75 range to make sure this guy is on my roster. If you’re not in a very competitive league, you still might be able to wait a bit longer.
Nurkic looks like a lock to start next to fantasy star Nikola Jokic, while Kenneth Faried may be shipped out of town. Even if the Manimal stays in Denver, Faried will carry Nurkic’s books to class this season. He’s averaging 15.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.6 blocks, 1.4 steals and 3.2 turnovers through five preseason games, shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 80.9 percent from the field. He dropped 30 pounds over the summer and is in the best shape of his life, and the knee concerns from last season are in the rearview mirror. Grab him in the middle rounds and don’t think twice about it.
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Avery Bradley ADP: 83.5 Yahoo, 89.7 ESPN
Bradley is ranked inside my top-60 this season and he doesn’t get enough love in fantasy drafts. He was a top-65 player in standard leagues in 2015-16 with averages of 15.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.9 treys on 44.8 percent shooting, and his improvement during the preseason has been obvious. He’s going to handle the ball a lot more this season and he expressed his desire to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Don’t sleep on him.
Myles Turner ADP: 61.0 Yahoo, 76.8 ESPN
He’s one of Rotoworld’s favorite breakout candidates and unlike Nikola Jokic (who we also love), he’s still available at an awesome price. Turner had his coming out party during the playoffs with 3.1 blocks per game, and now he’s been named the full-time starter on a revamped Indiana roster. It says a lot about how the Pacers feel about Turner when they are starting a second-year big over an established veteran like Al Jefferson. Turner did have a concussion in training camp which might explain why his ADP is still somewhat low, but he’s healthy now and is averaging 10.7 points, 6.0 boards, 1.3 assists and 2.3 blocks in just 23.6 minutes through three preseason games. He’s a top-40 stud and you should try to lock him up no later than Rounds 4 or 5.
D’Angelo Russell ADP 82.8 Yahoo, 57.6 ESPN
He might be one of the most improved players in the league since last season. Russell finally has a coach that believes in him and Kobe Bryant and his 16.9 FGAs are gone. Russell dominated at the summer league and carried that momentum over into the preseason, averaging 18.1 points, 4.7 assists, 2.0 boards, 1.8 steals and 2.3 treys through six games. I think he’s a top-40 option with room to grow, and while the 20-year-old PG might be a little inconsistent, you should pounce on him in the early middle rounds.
Jae Crowder ADP 73.9 Yahoo, 66.1 ESPN
That’s such a steal for a guy who returned top-35 value in standard leagues last season, posting averages of 14.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.7 3-pointers on 44 percent shooting. The Celtics are going to play a lot of small ball with Crowder at the four, and with Evan Turner out of the mix, Crowder is a lock to see more than the 31.5 minutes per game he played in 2015-16. He’s a high-upside pick that’s usually always available in the middle rounds.
Jrue Holiday 93.2 Yahoo, 118.5 ESPN
Holiday still doesn’t have a specific timetable to return, as he is currently spending time with his family as his wife prepares to undergo surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. First things first, I don’t care if Holiday sits out the entire season, I’m just praying that his wife makes a full recovery.
If you are having a strong draft and find yourself needing a point guard late, Holiday is one of the best bargains out there. He was able to stay healthy for the majority of the 2015-16 season until a fluke eye injury shut him down. He was dominant after the All-Star break when the Pelicans lifted his restrictions, posting 21.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.7 3-pointers per game. If/when he comes back, he should be an early-round stud. By the way, Tim Frazier is a must-own player while Holiday is away from the team.
Joel Embiid 124.7 Yahoo, 103.6 ESPN
Do you trust The Process yet? Awesome nicknames aside, Embiid has been dominant during the preseason and his foot has held up really well to the surprise of many. He started out on a strict restriction of 12 minutes per game, but now the 76ers are comfortable with him playing 20-24 minutes on opening night. There is even a lot of talk that the 76ers will lift his restrictions on back-to-backs! Similar to Jusuf Nurkic, Embiid is a per-minute monster and doesn’t need a lot of playing time to post some scary stat lines. His ceiling is unknown and he’s already a solid shooter at the line and from beyond the arc. Coach Brett Brown called him the focal point of the offense and defense and the 76ers’ main focus is on his development. He’s clearly their franchise player, so what’s not to love? He’s such a bargain late in drafts.
Trey Lyles ADP 139.9 Yahoo, 140.0 ESPN
Most people end up dropping their last-round pick anyways, but this is a guy worth gambling on. He’s more of a stash and may not have a lot of value right away, but the Jazz can’t stop talking him up and he should be the first big off the bench behind Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. Gobert and Favors had trouble staying healthy in 2015-16 and Favors is already banged up this season with a knee issue, so Lyles could be pressed into a larger role sooner than expected. The second-year forward averaged 12.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.6 triples in 26.6 minutes in seven appearances in April last season and has 1.6 treys per game in limited preseason action, so the upside is there.
Terrence Jones ADP 146.0 Yahoo, 140.0 ESPN
He was such a bust last season and he’s probably the unluckiest player in the NBA. How many times is this guy going to suffer an “eyelid laceration” or a bunch of random leg contusions? Regardless, Jones has a ton of opportunity in a new city alongside his good friend and former Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis, and he looked great in the preseason before picking up another, you guessed it, “contusion.” Jones put up averages of 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 0.7 steals just a couple seasons ago, so I’m not ready to give up on him. I’d like him a lot better if he was allowed to wear body armor and some sports goggles, but you cloud do a lot worse late in drafts.
Here’s a few more guys to consider:
Gary Harris ADP 110.9 Yahoo, 115.3 ESPN
He’s questionable for the beginning of the season with a groin injury, but he’s making progress and should be back very soon. His coach loves him and he will be the starting SG, and there’s not many guys you can grab this last who can return mid-round value.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 123.9 Yahoo, 104.1 ESPN
He played 36.7 minutes per game last season and his numbers have improved significantly in all three seasons. He has no competition at SG and just scored 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting with five rebounds, five assists, two steals and six treys on Monday.