Another small piece for you guys to help you decide on which young guys to take a chance on, in this article I will be giving you guys my TOP 5 Rookies to look for in drafts and DFS for the upcoming 2019-2020 NBA Season! As always, follow me on Twitter @smitchell17, feel free to discuss any and everything, or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate!
1.) Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)– If you somehow have not watched this young man play the great sport of basketball yet, you my friend must be under a rock somewhere. The first-round, first pick phenom out of Duke University after only his freshman year, is said and claimed heavily to be the next LBJ. If you don’t know who LBJ is, then stop reading now and go pick up crocheting. Either way, everyone will have their eyes looking forward to seeing Zion at the NBA level, and he should absolutely be a massive fantasy player this season. The Pelicans traded of AD to get tons of talent in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, BECAUSE they knew they were getting Zion. They have a great young core of athletes, and I believe this will be one of, if not, the most exciting teams to watch this season. Not to mention, the Pelicans pick up the former Laker youth, who ran the 4rd highest PACE in the NBA last season for LAL. Look for the Pelicans to get up and run this season, as THEY ranked 2nd in PACE last season as well.
2.) Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)– The Grizz were such believers in Ja Morant becoming their guy, their ball-handler, and the NEW face of the Grizzlies that they even went ahead and traded Mike Conley to the Jazz for the movement. It was more than likely a plan they already had in place, as the Grizzwere in basically a total rebuild move, already dishing off long-time veteran Marc Gasol, so Conley was the only lasting part of the “old” Grizzlies squad. Grizzlies were another team, much like the Pelicans that went out and supplied their team with future talent, instead of paying their veterans to stick around.Back to Morant, ranked 7th in D-1 in scoring (24.5 ppg) and first in dimes (10.0 apg), led Murray St. to a 28-5 record, and the 2019 Ohio Valley Tournament championship in his Sophmoreseason last year. Also, a consensus 2018-2019 All-America First Team selection, as well as the 2018-2019 Bob Cousy Award winner as the nation’s top point guard. A fun fact, Morant’sfather played ball in highschool with recent HOF inductee, Ray Allen as well. This kid is special.
3.) Deandre Hunter (Atlanta Hawks)– Hunter comes fresh from the NBA draft being selected number 4 overall in the first round of the 2019 NBA draft by the LA Lakers, was dealt to the Pelicans, before landing with the ATL Hawks. Hunter is a massive land for the Hawks, who ranked 1st overall in PACE last season in the NBA. Hunter ranked 5th in minutes played in the ACC, 7th in most points scored (579) in ACC, 9th in free-throw attempts (157), 13th in PPG (15.2), 4th in OFF Rating (125.8), while also averaging 32.5 minutes per game all for the 2018-2019 UVA tourney run where they finished victorious over the whole 64-team field beating Texas Tech in the finals in OT. Hunter finished the Tourney winning game with 44 mins, 27 pts, 9 boards, and dished out one assist. Look for Hunter to make an immediate impact with the high-tempo, young Hawks team, who did also just deal Taurean Prince last season, allowing ample room and playing time to be had at the 3 this season.
4.) RJ Barrett (New York Knicks)– Another Duke University stand-out, selected 3rd overall in the 2019 NBA draft was RJ Barrett. Barrett comes from an athletic family, as father played for St. Johns, as well as overseas, Godfather- STEVE NASH obviously played a big part in the growth of Barrett as well, and mother ran track at St. Johns also. As a Freshman last season for Duke, Barrett set many records in the ACC conference including tops in scoring (22.6 ppg, even WITH Zion on his team), and also set the ACC Freshman record with a very lofty TWENTY-SIX, 20-point performances. Not to mention being selected to the All-ACC First Team. The Knicks have a very good, young talent here in Barrett, and I would expect him to get lots of floor-time here in his first season in the NBA, as he is not only a great scoring guard, he is a hell of a defender as well. Great draft by the Knicks for once.
5.) Jarret Culver (Minnesota T-Wolves)– The NCAA tourney finals stud that was part of a dynamic duo leading the Texas Tech Red Raiders through the field of the tournament was no other than the new (more than lilkely) starting SG/SF for the TWolves, is Jarrett Culver. The Wolves were lucky enough that the Suns were looking to make moves on draft day, and then in turn dished off Culver to the Wolves for Dario Saric and the 11thround pick in the draft, Cam Johnson. Culver almost doubled his output from his first season in 17’-18’ (11.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.8 apg) for the Red Raiders compared to his 18’-19’ NCAA runner-up finishing season (18.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.7 apg). I would absolutely look for Culver to be a very nice option for early playing time with the T-Wolves, and if you haven’t watch him play, do yourself a favor and go check out some highlights on YouTube, kid is a STUD.