The 2021-22 NBA season is rapidly approaching, tipping off on October 19th. Of course that marks the start of fantasy basketball as well. With so many new faces this season, it might be tough navigating who to stick on your fantasy teams and who to pass on. We’ll go over some of the top rookies this season who could make a big and immediate impact, both on the court and in your fantasy lineups.
Cade Cunningham, PG, Detroit Pistons
ESPN ADP: 62
It’s no surprise that the No. 1 pick in the draft would land on this list. Cunningham is a solid, well-rounded player who should be able to rack up fantasy points from all angles. He’ll be a very important piece to the Pistons’ game from the jump, and can be expected to run up the numbers in points, assists, and/or rebounds on any given night. Cunningham should be a relatively high pick in any draft, going pretty quickly after the top superstars are off the board.
Jalen Suggs, SG, Orlando Magic
ESPN ADP: 66
In a similar fashion to Cunningham, Suggs can bring fantasy points in across the board, and not just in one stat column. He’ll be running the Magic offense from the first game, putting up numbers in steals, assists, and points on any given night. He can also shoot from downtown and get a few blocks under his belt as well on defense. The former Gonzaga showrunner is poised for a big first year in the NBA, and he should be off the fantasy draft board around the same time as Cunningham, relatively early when it comes to second and third-tier stars.
Jalen Green, SG, Houston Rockets
ESPN ADP: 76
Jalen Green was the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft for a reason, as he’ll be a key component to the Rockets offense from the very first game. He may not put up double-doubles every night, but the 19-year-old can easily score points, whether it’s inside or from beyond the three-point line. He’s fantastic from the free-throw line and he can contribute in the rebounds column as well on both ends of the court. Green will add plenty of value to any fantasy lineup, so don’t sleep on him too long and miss out on one of the most promising rookie guards this season.
Scottie Barnes, SF, Toronto Raptors
ESPN ADP: 105
Barnes going as the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft was a bit of a surprise for some, but the Raptors clearly knew what they were doing with their selection. Raptors All-Star forward Pascal Siakam (shoulder) is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season, leaving Scottie Barnes a door to step in and show what he can do from the jump. He can not only score, but he’s solid on defense and can rack up points in the rebounds column with the best of them. If he proves himself early in the season, he could see plenty of playing time even after Siakam comes back.