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2022 NBA Draft Losers for Fantasy Basketball - NBA Draft Recap

Paolo Banchero daily college fantasy basketball CFB DFS picks March Madness

The first depth chart shakeup event of the offseason is in the books. Free agency and trade season will of course add to the roster turnover this summer, but this past Thursday’s draft was the table-setter for a lot of teams, particularly the bottom-dwellers of the league.

While most “Loser”-based draft articles can simply just rail on the Sacramento Kings for 1,000 or so words, this article is more focused on the fantasy basketball losers from the 2022 NBA draft.

Alas, we can’t fully detach the Kings from any article about 2022 draft losers, so they’ll most definitely be making a cameo as I go through the players who saw their fantasy value take a hit as a result of the draft. But I’ll try to be somewhat easy on them.

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Paolo Banchero, F, ORL

Yes, it was of course great news for Paolo to have his name called first on Thursday. And amongst the three potential landing spots he had, he wound up with the team that looks to be the most readily able to compete as soon as this year. But that, ironically, is what causes his fantasy value to take a hit.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets were both desperately in need of a forward to build around. Both teams have a lot of backcourt talent and the Rockets have a lot to like about their center situation with second-year big man Alperen Sengun, but neither team had a clear franchise piece at forward going into this year’s draft.

I wouldn’t go as far as to call Banchero duplicative to 2021-22 rookie Franz Wagner, but the two players do offer a lot of the same value offensively. They are both gifted creators and passers who are at their best with the ball in their hands. Both players will certainly get their share of opportunities this year, but Banchero’s usage won’t be as high alongside Wagner as it would have been alongside, say Darius Bazley on the Thunder or Jae'Sean Tate on the Rockets.

Additionally, the Magic have another forward waiting in the wings in Jonathan Isaac, who hasn’t played for two straight years after tearing his ACL in 2020. There’s a chance the team could be looking to shop Isaac, but if he remains in Orlando, there’s a chance he’ll wind up being the team’s primary power forward – which he most certainly was prior to his injury.

Last, Banchero was a fantastic rebounder at Duke, averaging 7.8 boards per game last year. But with the Magic, he’ll be competing with center Wendell Carter Jr. for boards. WCJ averaged a career-best 10.5 boards per game while manning the middle for the Magic last year.

 

Thunder Big Men

Anyone who played deep into the season last year – either in season-long leagues or in DFS – knows that the Thunder big men were key to track down the stretch. Isaiah Roby had some stat-stuffing nights, including a 30-point outing against the Trail Blazers in late March. And Aleksej Pokusevski averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.4 three-pointers per game in March.

With Chet Holmgren now in town, both players will take massive hits in both minutes and usage. If the Thunder had wound up with Banchero or Jabari Smith Jr., we may have seen either Roby or Pokusevski reemerge as fantasy options, but Holmgren’s presence makes that scenario less likely.

 

Keegan Murray, F, SAC

And here we are. We couldn’t last much longer without some Kings talk, now could we?

Yes, the fit makes a lot of sense. Murray is a great complement to Domantas Sabonis and his three-point shooting should help spread the floor and give De’Aaron Fox ample room to create.

His inclusion on this list is more a result of my very substantiated lack of faith in the Kings’ organization. Over the past decade, Fox is the only player the team has drafted, kept around, and developed into an above-average NBA player.

The team’s last eight lottery picks prior to Murray…

Drafting for fit is just half the battle. You need an organization that can develop the player so that he indeed winds up fulfilling that fit and the Kings inspire little confidence in their ability to do that.

Additionally, Sabonis has just two years left on his contract. There’s a good chance he’s either traded or lost in free agency by the time Murray starts to really hit his stride. If that indeed ends up being the case, then we’re less than two years away from the fit argument completely crumbling. Without Sabonis, this team will be hyper-speeding into rebuild mode once again.

 

Killian Hayes, G, DET

The Detroit Pistons selected Hayes with the seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft. Since then, he’s been hampered by various injuries, but he’s also heavily underwhelmed when he’s been on the court. He played in 66 games last year and averaged 6.9 points, 4.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.

By drafting fellow guard Jaden Ivey out of Purdue fifth overall, the Pistons essentially cemented Hayes as a bench player or as a trade piece. Hayes is still extremely young. He turns 21 years old in July and there’s a very good chance he can develop into a plus perimeter defender. However, if he remains in the Motor City, his minutes are going to be limited going forward as the franchise is likely to be leaning heavily on a backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Ivey for several years to come.

 

Chris Duarte, G, IND

Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte had a fantastic rookie year in 2021-22. He played 28 minutes per game and averaged 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.7 three-pointers per contest. His season wound up being cut short by a toe injury, but he clearly showed that he belonged on an NBA court while he was active.

On Thursday, the Pacers selected guard/forward Bennedict Mathurin out of Arizona. Mathurin is a 6’6” wing with tantalizing athleticism and the makings of a promising outside jumper. He turned 20 years old earlier this month and figures to be one of the team’s primary building blocks alongside 22-year-old guard Tyrese Haliburton.

Duarte turned 25 years old this past month and should be very much in the thick of his prime right now, despite having just one year of NBA experience. Even though he isn’t necessarily a bad fit alongside Mathurin, his career timeline doesn’t quite add up with the timeline of what looks to be a rebuilding Pacers team.

29-year-old Malcolm Brogdon is the center of trade rumors right now and it might make sense for the Pacers to package Duarte alongside him. Whether or not that ends up being the case, Duarte will almost certainly see his playing time drop from the hefty 28 minutes per game he averaged last year. He’ll either be moved to a better team with more competition for playing time or he’ll remain on a Pacers team that has more rotational options than it did last year. Since Duarte lacks a standout statistic from a fantasy standpoint, any significant minute hit will really harm his overall fantasy value.

 

Isaiah Stewart, F/C, DET

The Pistons managed to put together a trade package to acquire Jalen Duren, this year’s 13th overall pick, from the Charlotte Hornets by way of the New York Knicks. With the acquisition of Duren, Isaiah Stewart finds himself with yet another competitor for boards and playing time.

Stewart saw his minutes increase from about 21 minutes per game as a rookie to about 25.5 minutes per game as a sophomore last year. He averaged 8.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game during the 2021-22 season.

Duren has similar rim-protection abilities to Stewart, but he also offers more upside and versatility on the offensive end of the court. He’s taller (6’11” to 6’9”), more explosive, and he’s a better passer as well. He’ll be able to open the offense up for Cade Cunningham in ways that Stewart simply can’t. We may see Duren eased into minutes at the start of the year, but over time, he should continue to cut into Stewart’s playing time, causing Stewart’s stats to take a hit.

Additionally, the Pistons have emerged as one of the frontrunners to land center Deandre Ayton, who is currently a restricted free agent. Ayton would be a huge acquisition for the Pistons and it would spell fantasy doom even more for Stewart.



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