This article is part of our NBA Draft Kit series.
In fantasy basketball, one of the general rules is that relying on rookies tends to be extremely risky.
Last season, for instance, only two first-year players – Ja Morant and Kendrick Nunn – ranked inside the top 120 in eight-category total value. Both players, Morant in particular, proved valuable for fantasy managers, but those who took fliers on R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Darius Garland or Rui Hachimura were not so handsomely rewarded.
In fairness, certain players have been able to buck that trend. Karl-Anthony Towns was a revelation as a rookie, putting up 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 blocks en route to a top-20 finish in per-game value. The fact that he played all 82 games pushed him inside the top 10 in total value. Similarly, Ben Simmons was a strong fantasy commodity right away, cruising to a top-30 finish in per-game value – though he did miss his true rookie year while recovering from injury.
Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young and Jaren Jackson are among the other recent exceptions, but on the whole, buying in on multiple rookies tends to be a fickle investment. For every Donovan Mitchell there's a Josh Jackson and for every Trae Young there's a Markelle Fultz (OK, maybe that's an extreme example).