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Offseason Beat

Dr. A's early NBA draft day targets

by Steve Alexander

Every Monday in the summer the NBA crew at Rotoworld will post a column of their choice. Sometimes it will be a news recap, but I feel like we’ve hit the free agency frenzy pretty hard. And because of that, I’m going to hit my favorite target from each team in fantasy. So let’s go. 

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Atlanta – Give me John Collins in the fourth round. If I really want him, it will likely take a third-round pick, but I doubt he’ll be overdrafted as much as Trae Young. I’m not opposed to drafting Trae, despite all the negative chatter last season, but I just think he’s going to take a higher pick than I’m willing to spend. 

Boston Jayson Tatum is my Boston guy, but Robert Williams also intrigues me quite a bit. If the fifth-round rolls around and Tatum is sitting there, I’ll likely grab him. I’ll likely fade Kemba Walker because of the new system, but would take him in the right spot, too. 

Brooklyn Caris LeVert was my guy last season and he’ll be my guy again this year. I love him. If it was down to him and Tatum in Round 5, I’d probably go LeVert. 

Charlotte – I’ll take the bait on Terry Rozier, who should be given the keys to the car at point guard. But I have no interest on overpaying for him.

Chicago – I like Tomas Satoransky in Chicago, but it’s crowded at PG. I’m kind of a sucker for Zach LaVine and if he can stay healthy, he should rack up a ton of points and 3-pointers. I know LaVine has holes in his game, but I don’t care. 

Cleveland – I like Cedi Osman as a sleeper last season and probably will do so again this year. He could take a big step forward and should be fairly unchallenged for a big role at SF with the Cavs. 

Dallas – You already know this answer. I’ll take Luka Doncic, and I’ll reach for Luka Doncic. He’s my guy, and I seriously doubt he’s going to struggle from the free throw line, or anywhere else, for much longer. If you’re in a draft with me, you can be confident that I’ll reach for him. Every time. You’re welcome. He was only a ninth-round value last season, according to Basketballmonster.com, but he’s a third-round value if you throw out the free throw percentage and turnovers. And he’s only going to get better. He’s probably my late second-rounder, or third-round pick across the board this season, and I don’t care. I also kind of love Delon Wright in Dallas and will be targeting him in the later middle rounds. But I have a feeling he’s going to be hyped by Rotoworld, and others, so he might require a bit of a reach by those of you who really want him.

Denver – I’ll take Nikola Jokic after the superstuds are off the board and he’s going to go in the first round in nearly every draft. If you get the 8-12 pick in your draft, Jokic is going to go in that range, if not earlier, every time. I also like Jamal Murray, will fade Gary Harris, and could be talked into Paul Millsap if he’s sitting there late enough. 

Detroit Luke Kennard will be a fun late guy to target in fantasy drafts, while I’m intrigued by Andre Drummond early if I’m punting FTP. Drummond was a Top 15 talent in nine-cat leagues, despite the 59 percent free throw shooting. 

Golden State – With Klay Thompson (knee surgery) set to miss a big chunk of the season and with the Warriors featuring a new look, I’ll be targeting D’Angelo Russell often. I think he’ll have a nice season alongside Stephen Curry this year, and he was fun to own last year. 

Houston – I doubt I draft Chris Paul this year, but if I get a Top 5 pick, I’m taking James Harden where I can. He won me a championship in an expert points league last year that I’d been trying to win for a very long time. I’ll go back to the well. Isaiah Hartenstein is also an interesting deep-league sleeper at center. 

Indiana – There’s going to be a lot of hype around Malcolm Brogdon and there’s some risk in taking him, but I’m ready to do it in Round 5, maybe 4. I also like Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, and won’t hesitate to pull the trigger on Turner if I need a center in Round 3. Victor Oladipo (knee) likely won’t play until January, which means I’ll probably stay away this year.  

Clippers – I don’t want Kawhi Leonard because of load management missed games, and Paul George will probably be too rich for my blood. That leaves Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley in the middle rounds, which I’m cool with. 

Lakers DeMarcus Cousins in the third round? Sure! I don’t really want to invest a lot into LeBron James with Anthony Davis there, and I’m worried about both of their missed games for load management. 

Memphis – I’ll have to reach for Jaren Jackson Jr. in leagues with Jonas Nader, and any other Rotoworld guys, but I’m ready to do it. I love JJJ and Mitchell Robinson this season, and envision picking them a lot. I also won’t hesitate on Ja Morant if he’s sitting there in Round 5, but he’ll probably go in Rounds 3 or 4 in most leagues. I’m intrigued in seeing his preseason. 

Miami Bam Adebayo is a center I’ll be really intrigued by if he’s sitting there in the middle rounds. Hassan Whiteside is finally out of the way. 

Milwaukee – If I get a Top 5 pick and Harden is gone, I’m a sucker for Giannis, even though I know he only returned No. 6 value last season. I’ll still take him earlier than that if I need to. I’m also intrigued by Eric Bledsoe in the third without Malcolm Brogdon, Wesley Matthews late, and Khris Middleton in the fifth round if he’s there when I pick. 

Minnesota – If I miss on Harden and Giannis, I’ll take Karl-Anthony Towns all day, every day at any point in the first round. The fact he doesn’t miss (many) games, is huge. 

New Orleans – I doubt I draft many Pelicans this season, but if I do, it will probably be Jrue Holiday or Brandon Ingram, if it feels like they’re sitting there later than I think they should be.

New York – I want Mitchell Robinson, even with all the bigs now in New York. I’m also intrigued by Julius Randle, but I think people will be overpaying for him. Then again, I might be one of them. I’ll take Mitch-Rob anywhere from late second to the fourth round. I reached for him once already, in our way early fantasy draft, and I’ll probably do it several more times. 

Oklahoma City – I like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander late, especially with a depleted OKC team, and Danilo Gallinari should ball out if he can stay healthy again (fourth round?). We don’t know where Russell Westbrook’s going to be, but most of you know I’m a sucker for him, too. But this might be the year I layoff Westbrook everywhere. I’m not opposed to a mid-round Steven Adams when you need a center. 

Orlando Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic are all in play for me. Vuc would have to be Round 2, Gordon Round 9, and Isaac Round 10. And they’ll all probably go a round earlier than where I’d like to get them, although I could reach if I like what I see and here in the preseason. 

Philadelphia – I love Josh Richardson and if he’s sitting there in the seventh or eighth round, I’m probably taking him. I also won’t shy away from Ben Simmons’ terrible shooting (although he’ll go higher than he should), and am not opposed to taking Tobias Harris, Al Horford or Joel Embiid if I can get them without reaching. I’m not really an Embiid guy though, as the missed games and injury risk usually scares me away. 

Phoenix– If Devin Booker’s sitting there in the fourth round I’ll take him. I’m not scared of Ricky Rubio, but would rather trade for him in January, Kelly Oubre will be an intriguing eighth-round pick, and I love Deandre Ayton If he’s sitting there late third or anytime in the fourth round. 

Portland– If I pick at the turn and can get Damian Lillard at 12, I’ll do it, and might even pull the trigger on him around nine, but it depends on who is still available. I’m a sucker for C.J. McCollum in the sixth, would take a late flier on Gary Trent Jr., and am staying away from all the Blazers centers unless they really slide and I need a big man badly. 

Sacramento – De’Aaron Fox is my guy and I’d pull the trigger if he’s there in the sixth or seventh (ideal) round, like Buddy Hield late fourth, and Dewayne Dedmon looks like a super sleeper once the big-named centers are off the board. Dude was No. 48 on Basketballmonster.com last year, but should be available at least a couple rounds later. However, I’m not actively targeting Dedmon. 

San Antonio – I’m probably staying away from the point guards (Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Patty Mills), don’t feel like I need Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan or Rudy Gay on my team, but would think about LaMarcus Aldridge if he’s there in the third. I’m not actively targeting Spurs, as usual. 

Toronto Pascal Siakam was awesome last year, returning fourth-round value, and he should be even better with Toronto somewhat depleted. He’s the Raptor I’d like to have, but I doubt I’ll blow a third-round pick on him this year, which might be a mistake. 

Utah – I expect Donovan Mitchell to bounce back in a big way this year, and might reach for him in Round 3 or 4, Mike Conley should be rock solid with his new team, and Rudy Gobert should easily return second-round value again. Mitchell and Gobert are the guys I’d most likely end up with. 

Washington Bradley Beal was the No. 14 player last season and he should absolutely go off this year. I’m still nervous about his legs and won’t reach for him, but if he’s available for my second-round pick, I could see pulling the trigger. Ish Smith is interesting late with John Wall sidelined and Satoransky in Chicago, and I’m a sucker for Thomas Bryant, out of Indiana. Bryant and Smith could be real value picks late in your draft. 

Steve Alexander
Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.