Selecting rookies in Fantasy NBA drafts can be a dangerous proposition. Ideally, one should be looking for a game-ready player with a chance to contribute immediately on a lesser team. While that may sound obvious, there is a tendency to overvalue these entry-level athletes based on hype from college, international or even NBA Summer League play.
A good example can be found with the Charlotte Hornets’ Frank Kaminsky. His draft stock rose when he led the Wisconsin Badgers to the NCAA tournament finals, after earning multiple accolades in the Big Ten. He also comes to the NBA after having completed four years of college ball, a rarity for a lottery pick these days.
While the Hornets may qualify as “lesser,” Kaminsky’s chances to contribute this season may be dubious at best. He joins a flock of college studs–turned-NBA underachievers like Tyler Hansbrough, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller on the power forward depth chart, while the middle will be patrolled by proven NBA vets Al Jefferson and Spencer Hawes.
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Kaminsky could potentially emerge as a preferred option among that batch of 4s, but unless the Hornets purge their roster by trading to a contender short on frontcourt depth, he is likely to be lost in the shuffle for now. He may end up being a very good NBA player, but I wouldn’t recommend having him take up a roster spot in your lineup until his ability to stay on the floor stabilizes.
Generally speaking, there are more red flags than positives when it comes to NBA rookies. Although both Kobe Bryant and LeBron James had initial success at the pro level, other early entries like Jermaine O’Neal and Tracy McGrady struggled in their initial seasons before they matured into All-Stars.
With that continuum in mind, here are some viable options to consider out the gate for both weekly lineups and possibly DFS options if the anticipated return value seems right.