We are not even finished with the first quarter of NBA action this season, but rookies are making an impact around the league. Jahlil Okafor and Emmanuel Mudiay are averaging over 30 minutes per game, while eight other rookies are playing 20+ minutes each night. The first four picks are all averaging double digit points per game and so is the 7th overall pick, Mudiay. Karl-Anthony Towns has proven he can play with the NBA's biggest and strongest players, shooting 52.6% and leads all rookies with 9.4 rebounds per game, which has led to an average of 41 fantasy points per game in our league. That tops all rookies. New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis has the high total points scored, with 712 (39.7 avg).
Towns has been everything and more the Timberwolves were hoping he would be...a few years from now. On a young team, with one of the brightest futures in the NBA, Towns and Andrew Wiggins are going to be fun to watch develop together. At 41 fpg, Towns ranks in the mid 30s overall in our league. When compared to other C eligible players, Towns ranks 15th, ahead of Rudy Gobert and Al Horford. Towns was selected top 60 in Yahoo drafts, while Gobert and Horford were top 20 picks. He has also provided fantasy owners with some defensive stats - 37 blocks and 13 steals. Last week was rough, with just nine points and six board per game, but Towns is nearly untouchable in fantasy.
Okafor has yet to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a victory as they have started their season 0-18. However, fantasy owners could care less about who wins, as long as their players fill the stat sheet, which is some Okafor is very good at. With five double-doubles, Okafor ranks third amongst rookies and has scored 20+ points in seven games this season. The downside, if your league counts FG%, is that he has nine games of which he has shoot less than 50% from the field. He was drafted on average around pick 90 in Yahoo leagues, and you could have done worse with a PF/C like Enes Kanter or Markieff Morris . Stick with the rookie, but if someone offers you a good deal, he sbouldn't be untouchable.
Okafor's teammate and fellow rookie, PG T.J. McConnell is putting up nice numbers himself with nearly seven points, six assists and five rebounds per game. Isaiah Canaan's return to the hardwood has cut into McConnell's starting role, but he still manages to dish out assists in a bench role.
Kobe Bryant is set to retire from the NBA after this season, and if he continues to play basketball like this for the rest of the season, he will hurt the development of D'Angelo Russell. LA is 2-14, and Kobe is hoisting up nearly 17 shots per game, shooting 30.5% from the field. The future of the Lakers revolves around Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle. Kobe needs to understand that and let the kids play! Russell has been very inconsistent, with nearly as many games under 10 points as he does with. He is also only averaging three assists per game. He is actually averaging more rebounds (4.6) than assists. I would absolutely look to acquire the guard in fantasy as I think he will get better as the season progresses.
Porzingis has been a human highlight reel this season, with putback dunks, game winning shots that didn't count, showing some Hakeem Olajuwon with the Dream Shake and showing off his shot blocking skills. Porzingis has eight double-doubles, the same as Towns, to lead all rookies. As a guy who was booed at the NBA Draft and selected in just 54% of Yahoo drafts, he might just be the most valuable player this season in fantasy basketball. He is currently 25th overall with 712 fantasy points, 12th among PFs. The past two weeks he has averaged 50.5 fantasy points per game, with four 20 point double-doubles and 22 blocks in seven games. All that being said, his value will never be higher, the Knicks have a lot of frontcourt depth and even Linsanity came to a crashing hault. See what people are willing to offer for the 20 year old Latvian.
Emmanuel Mudiay has been great for fantasy owners this season, at 34 points per game. He is a top 25 PG eligible player and leads the Nuggets with 14 shot attempts per game. He is only shooting 32.4% from the field, but even if your league does not score FG%, look to move him. Even with all those shot attempts, Mudiay has scored 20 points just once this season, and Denver is one of 10 NBA teams scoring less than 100 points per 100 possessions. Mudiay is a major reason for this and things aren't going to get better. Just make sure you sell him as a top PG and upgrade another position.