NBA Fantasy 2023-24 Look Ahead - Free Agents, Sophomores, Zion, Wemby

NBA Fantasy 2023-24 Look Ahead - Free Agents, Sophomores, Zion, Wemby

We've come to the end of yet another wild fantasy basketball season. Congratulations to everyone that came away with a title, and condolences to those who finished at the bottom of their respective standings. Regardless of where you landed, it's never too early to prepare for next season. Let's dig into some topics that could impact the next fantasy campaign.

Potential Free Agents

Some noteworthy fantasy players could be on the move this summer. James Harden was excellent this season, averaging 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.8 three-pointers. He also shot 44.1 percent from the field -- more than three percentage points higher than last season. The question is, who will Harden play for next season? He has a player option, so he could opt out and decide to test the waters. There have been rumors that the guard might be interested in returning to the Rockets, which would be interesting given the current rebuilding state of their roster.

In terms of players who are set to be unrestricted free agents, some of the more prominent names include Kyrie Irving, Nikola Vucevic and Jerami Grant. The Mavericks hoped that trading for Irving would take their team to another level, but they have gone backward, struggling to make it into the play-in tournament. His fantasy contributions have remained stellar, averaging 26.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.9 three-pointers over his last 20 games.

Vucevic is another interesting case because the Bulls gave

We've come to the end of yet another wild fantasy basketball season. Congratulations to everyone that came away with a title, and condolences to those who finished at the bottom of their respective standings. Regardless of where you landed, it's never too early to prepare for next season. Let's dig into some topics that could impact the next fantasy campaign.

Potential Free Agents

Some noteworthy fantasy players could be on the move this summer. James Harden was excellent this season, averaging 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.8 three-pointers. He also shot 44.1 percent from the field -- more than three percentage points higher than last season. The question is, who will Harden play for next season? He has a player option, so he could opt out and decide to test the waters. There have been rumors that the guard might be interested in returning to the Rockets, which would be interesting given the current rebuilding state of their roster.

In terms of players who are set to be unrestricted free agents, some of the more prominent names include Kyrie Irving, Nikola Vucevic and Jerami Grant. The Mavericks hoped that trading for Irving would take their team to another level, but they have gone backward, struggling to make it into the play-in tournament. His fantasy contributions have remained stellar, averaging 26.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.9 three-pointers over his last 20 games.

Vucevic is another interesting case because the Bulls gave up a lot to get him. Letting him walk while possibly losing their first-round pick in the 2023 Draft to the Magic would be a tough pill to swallow. The team is struggling, though, despite him providing 17.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 three-pointers per game. He is also shooting 52.0 percent from the field, which is on pace to be the second-highest mark of his career. The Bulls' roster could be in flux even if he does return, so Vucevic will be someone to monitor this summer.

The 2022 Draft Class

A few players from last summer's draft class have already influenced fantasy. Paolo Banchero made the Magic a difficult team to face on a nightly basis, posting averages of 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 three-pointers. To take his fantasy game to the next level, he must improve his 42.7 percent shooting from the field.

Things looked bleak for the Thunder when Chet Holmgren (foot) went down before the season began. However, another promising rookie in Jalen Williams has them in the playoff hunt. Since becoming a full-time starter, Williams has provided 15.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 three-pointers per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field. Those two, combined with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, should make the Thunder dangerous for years. While Holmgren should be a popular draft target, expect the Thunder to ease him into the NBA after he sat out all of this season.

As far as a rookie that could leap fantasy relevancy next season, don't sleep on what Shaedon Sharpe has done to close the season. With the Trail Blazers sitting most of their starters, he has averaged 24.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.3 three-pointers over eight games as a starter. The returns of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons next season will curtail his upside, but he's shown enough to at least work himself into a leading role within their second unit. If the Trail Blazers were to trade either Lillard or Simons, Sharpe could become a stellar option.

What To Do About Zion Williamson?

Williamson will be a hot topic debated around fantasy basketball circles during the offseason. When he's healthy, he is an elite option. He was dominant when on the floor this season, posting 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals with 60.8 percent shooting from the field. But he was limited to 29 games because of a hamstring injury. He is trying to work his way back to play if the Pelicans make the playoffs, and if he does appear at some point, it would be a good step for him heading into the summer.

Those who want to draft Williamson in fantasy will likely require a high pick based on his name recognition and production when he plays. However, it's difficult to feel good about using an early selection on a player who has played 29 regular season games in the last two seasons. Proceed with caution.

How High Will Victor Wembanyama Go?

The top pick in the 2023 Draft will be Wembanyama, so there's no need to have much discussion there. He looks to be a generational talent, with his skillset for a player of his size something we haven't seen before. Whichever team is lucky enough to have the lottery balls fall in their favor and get the top pick will have someone to build their franchise around.

The question we need to discuss is, how high will Wembanyama go in fantasy drafts? Some landing spots might be better for him than others. For example, if the Spurs select him, he would immediately take on a leading role for a team in the very early stages of a rebuild. However, if he were to land on the Pistons, he would join a crowded frontcourt that includes Jalen Duren, James Wiseman, Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III.

No matter who selects Wembanyama, expect fantasy managers to scoop him up quickly in drafts. You might need to take him as early as the second round if you want him. That's a steep price for a player who has never played in the NBA and has a body type that might find it challenging to hold up through the grind of an 82-game season for the first time.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Barner
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Mike also won the 2022-23 FSGA NBA Experts Champions league. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.
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