NBA Fantasy: Value Projections for Mock Lottery Picks

NBA Fantasy: Value Projections for Mock Lottery Picks
NBA Fantasy: Value Projections for Mock Lottery Picks

NBA Fantasy: Value Projections for Mock Lottery Picks

The NBA draft lottery will occur on May 16th, and people will immediately begin to hone in on their mock drafts. However, if you’re an avid NBA fantasy player, you might already be looking at some of these kids during March Madness and wondering how they can help your squad next year. So we took a look at the projected lottery types to see how they can help your cause.

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NBA Fantasy: Value Projections for Mock Lottery Picks

#1 – Victor Wembanyama – C – France

I’ve seen comps for Wembanyama anywhere from a taller Kevin Durant to a rangier Giannis Antetokounmpo. All I’m sure of is that he’s something extraordinary. Not since LeBron James have we seen someone so obviously going number one overall.

When it comes to fantasy value, he may not fly off the board as quickly as you might think. Paolo Banchero, last year’s number one, was a late 6th or early 7th-round pick (10-team league formats). There’s reason to believe that Wembanyama might face a similar learning curve as Giannis, which may not be as valuable out of the gate. I’d peg him around somewhere in the 10th-12th round, but the value assessment might be later than that. 

#2 – Scoot Henderson – PG – G League Ignite

After having a rough start to his three-point shooting earlier in the season, he started to put it together a bit. As a guard who does a bit of everything, he’ll have value. A big part of that will hinge on what kind of situation he walks into. Get him the right position, which allows him to stretch out the minutes and pick up dimes, and I could see him being drafted similarly to Jaden Ivey. Ivey went between the 13th-15th rounds, and I’d like Henderson in that situation. 

#3 – Brandon Miller – SF – Alabama

Whether or not Miller goes this early is ultimately a question of what happens off the court. The skills are obviously there, but are NBA scouts willing to take a risk on him? If they are willing, you should be too. I might like him more than the guys that’ll be drafted in front of him. His size and abilities may have people looking at him more like Keegan Murray, who has become a massive piece for the Kings. Ultimately, he’ll need to be rostered but is probably just worth a late-round pick. 

#4 – Amen Thompson – SG – Overtime Elite & #5 – Ausar Thompson – SG/SF – Overtime Elite

Either of the two Thompson brothers strike me as having some potential like Bennedict Mathurin did in the draft (owned in roughly 60% of leagues right now). Both are really athletic and have excellent size for the position. They’ll likely grab a handful of boards, but the actual value will only come whether they can score like Mathurin has shown to be able to.

Given the limited sample size, it seems like that’s a possibility for Ausar much more than Amen. I’d say Ausar will be a solid late-round pick and someone to keep an eye on for DFS. Amen is going to rely more heavily on his situational usage.

#6 – Jarace Walker – PF – Houston

Long term, some scouts think that Walker can be a more versatile version of Paul Millsap. I’ve also heard comparisons to John Collins. While that might be his long-term value of him, out of the gate, I think he’s going to be more help on the defensive side than the offensive. Being that, he’s likely not much more than a deep bench option or someone to grab in really deep drafts. 

#7 – Nick Smith Jr. – SG – Arkansas

Smith Jr may wind up being the better of the Arkansas freshman in the long run, which is why he’s projected higher. However, he will wind up having far less value off the bat than his fellow Razorback. The main reason is that he is currently pretty one-dimensional on the stat sheet. He scores, but there’s not much else there. This is my first pass for NBA fantasy in the 2022 lottery.

#8 – Cam Whitmore – SF – Villanova

This late in the lottery, we’re talking about being drafted by a team like the Pacers or Jazz, which is a team in far less of a dire situation than the Rockets or Spurs. Those teams usually lean on someone like Whitmore, who has a lot of athleticism but isn’t a creator by himself yet, at least at the NBA level. He’s clearly improving from a three-point perspective, but until he can do more for himself and those around him, he’ll just be a pass on a fantasy level. 

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#9 – Anthony Black – PG – Arkansas

I said there was a more obvious NBA fantasy option out of Arkansas, and here it is. Long-term teams might rather have Smith Jr, but if you’re looking at fantasy options, Black may actually be worth drafting. As with all prospects, the situation is key, but I could see him grabbing a handful of dimes and boards each night to go with some entry-level scoring nights. A deep draft or great situation might make him a possibility, but you might want to throw him on your watch list. 

#10 – Gradey Dick – SF – Kansas

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Grady Dick turn out to be this draft’s Jeremy Sochan – currently owned around 30% of leagues. He’s a guy who goes to the basket well and can handle the contact (at least in college).

At 6’7″, he’s also a good shot-maker, which could help him get more burn than some of his contemporaries right out of the gate. As I’ve said with everyone, it certainly depends on the circumstance, but this is a guy who I think could be a steal in the late rounds as a stash – and not even just in super deep drafts. 

#11 – Cason Wallace – PG – Kentucky

Some pundits have pegged Wallace as the best defensive prospect in the draft. That might help out when it comes to getting playing time, but he won’t be stuffing stat sheets quite yet when it comes to fantasy. I wouldn’t judge you for putting him on a watch list for the future to see if the minutes are there. Even if that is the case, he might not be much more than a good lineup filler on DFS in his first year. 

#12 – Keyonte George – SG – Baylor

Keyonte George will be an explosive guard in the coming years but needs more time in college to develop. While that’ll mean he’s not ready to contribute in a big enough way to draft in most fantasy formats early, he’ll be one I’ll have an eye on in terms of development in the next few years.

#13 – Gregory Jackson – PF – South Carolina

There’s always a college big man who falls to the outer edge of the lottery that winds up being an excellent fantasy value. Last year it was Jalen Duran who just happened to find himself in a nice situation in Detroit. I’m not sure Jackson will find a fit that works as well for him, but his athleticism should play at the next level. Pencil him in for a flyer towards the end of the draft and someone who I keep an eye on his DFS salary as he starts to find his feet and minutes.

#14 – Jordan Hawkins – SG – UConn

This NCAA tournament will likely do wonders for Hawkins’s draft stock. His Sweet 16 game against Arkansas showed us just how good he can be at shooting and drafting the fouls. As that develops more and he starts to score inside the arc more regularly, he’ll start to get more playing time. Until he does that, he’s destined to be part of the watchlist crew. 

If you’d like even more information that could help your knowledge of NBA fantasy, be sure to check out the NBA Gambling Podcast. The guys are dropping weekly episodes to make you the smartest guy at the bar. 

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