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2022 NBA Draft Winners for Fantasy Basketball - NBA Draft Recap

Keegan Murray daily college fantasy basketball CFB DFS picks March Madness

After months of prep and dozens of mocks, the 2022 NBA Draft is now complete. There were some surprises along the way, including a trade that sent De'Anthony Melton to the Philadelphia 76ers, but for the most part, it was a pretty quiet draft.

When it comes to fantasy hoops, one thing regarding the draft is clear: landing spots matter. If a rookie is drafted onto a stacked roster and has to fight for minutes, odds are he'll struggle to produce fantasy-friendly numbers. On the flip side, a rebuilding team with lots of usage up for grabs represents a perfect landing spot.

Now that we know who each rookie will play for this season, here are five rookies whose fantasy-friendly landing spot will allow them to maximize their value in Year One.

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1. Chet Holmgren - Oklahoma City Thunder

It feels tacky to list Holmgren here solely because of his draft pedigree, but the fit is too good to ignore. Right off the bat, he joins a rebuilding Thunder roster that desperately lacks a true big man down low. Sure, 31-year-old Derrick Favors and 30-year-old Mike Muscala are still on the roster (for now), but they averaged a measly 15.2 MPG combined last season. As a result, the Thunder ranked seventh-worst in rebound rate last season.

Insert the 7-0 Holmgren.

While the Thunder did add both Ousmane Dieng (6-10) and Jaylin Williams (6-10) later in the draft, Holmgren will likely open the season as the starting center. This will allow him to form a mini big-three with two promising playmakers in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Sharing the court with the aforementioned duo should do wonders for his efficiency but his fantasy bread and butter will likely come on the defensive side of the ball.

Holmgren finished his freshman campaign at Gonzaga with 3.7 blocks per game, good enough for fourth-most in the country. While it's clear he'll need to add some muscle to reach his full defensive potential, his 7-6 wingspan should be enough for him to flirt with 2.0 blocks per game. And because blocked shots hold so much weight in category formats, he won't have to put up Earth-shattering numbers elsewhere for him to finish as a top-75 guy (CC Mo Bamba).

2. Keegan Murray - Sacramento Kings

We get it. The Kings should have drafted Jaden Ivey instead of Murray at pick number four. Well, guess what? They didn't. While it's certainly plausible to label Ivey as the better real-life prospect for the Kings, this is fantasy basketball we're talking about here.

Murray, who will be 22-years-old when the season tips off in October, has the most NBA-ready game of any prospect in this year's draft. Standing at 6-8, he can essentially do it all. Just look at the numbers he posted as a sophomore at Iowa: 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 threes, 1.3 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game.

The most interesting part about his game, however, is that he doesn't need the ball in his hands to be effective. During his sophomore campaign at Iowa, he knocked down 38% of his catch and shoot 3s, a skill that will benefit him well playing alongside De'Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell in Sacramento.

Furthermore, his 6-8 wingspan and 215lb frame allow him to score efficiently inside the paint. As a matter of fact, among the 439 players in college basketball to have at least 50 possessions on the block, Murray was the most efficient scorer in the country, shooting 63 percent on such shots while also drawing fouls on 26 percent of his post attempts.

As for his fit with the team, it's certainly possible that Harrison Barnes will be playing in a different city next season. This means Murray's main competition for minutes will come from the likes of Trey Lyles, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb. Not exactly a scary trio.

Simply put, Murray is a dynamic offensive weapon. He'll see plenty of open looks in the halfcourt and his savvy defensive instincts will lead to lots of transition magic with Fox. The Kings selected him to play now. And to play a lot. He has the ability to positively impact the entire box score and the fact that the Kings don't need him to be ball-dominant will help in the efficiency department.

Don't be shocked if Murray winds up as the league's best fantasy rookie this season.

 

3. Jalen Duren - Detroit Pistons

It's been no secret that the Pistons are in the market for a quality big man. I mean, rumors attaching them to Deandre Ayton have been running rampant over the last couple of weeks. At the very least, that should tell us how confident they feel in Isaiah Stewart and Kelly Olynyk. After all, they did end up making a trade, it just wasn't for Ayton. It was for 6-11 center Jalen Duren out of the University of Memphis.

Duren was originally drafted by the New York Knicks before being acquired by Detroit shortly after and he better thank the fantasy gods for this one. Had he stayed in New York, he would have been competing with a slew of big men for minutes down low. Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, and Nerlens Noel, to name a few. Not to mention the Knicks were on the cusp of the playoffs last season, meaning developing a 19-year-old center likely wouldn't have been at the top of their priority list.

Now in Detroit, his main competition for minutes will come from the aforementioned duo of Stewart and Olynyk (who really is a stretch-4 if we're being honest). While he may not start early on, it's clear that Detroit thinks highly of him. So much so that there are now rumors that they are less likely to trade for Ayton now that they landed Duren.

While it remains to be seen how Detroit will utilize him, Duren is a traditional center who will excel in field goal percentage, rebounds, and blocked shots. His lack of a three-point game and his poor stroke at the line will certainly hurt his value, but there is a place for him in fantasy. It also helps to have two dynamic playmakers in Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham running the show. For all intents and purposes, keep Duren's name in the back of your mind this season.

 

4. Johnny Davis - Washington Wizards

Davis landing in Washington is intriguing for the very fact that the Wizards' roster is sort of in flux at the moment. Bradley Beal's status remains up in the air and Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's names have wound up in trade rumors as well. Regardless of what their opening day roster looks like, guard depth is a major problem for them outside of a Beal. With Tomas Satoransky, Ish Smith, and Corey Kispert the only true guards on the roster, Davis should see a massive amount of usage immediately. And while high usage typically leads to lower efficiency and more turnovers, especially for rookies, it's hard to envision a better fit for Davis' fantasy value.

Davis is an athletic combo guard who excels in transition. Given that Washington finished 23rd in pace rating last season, he should have the green light to push the tempo. His strong frame (6-5, 190lbs) allows him to get to the rim and either finish at a high rate or get to the free-throw line, where he shot 79% on six attempts per game as a Sophomore at Wisconsin.

There's little doubt that Davis has all the tools to be a fantasy contributor from day one and landing in Washington will give him the opportunity. At the moment, he's looking like an excellent late-round selection when drafts take place later this year with a slight boost in points leagues.

 

5. Bennedict Mathurin - Indiana Pacers

Much like the aforementioned Wizards, this Pacers' roster could look a lot different by the time the regular season rolls around. While they have a plethora of young talent in Tyrese Haliburton, Chris Duarte, Isaiah Jackson, and now Mathurin, there's been some serious trade talk surrounding Malcolm Brogdon. At the same time, there are questions about T.J. Warren and Ricky Rubio's health. If we do know one thing, however, it's that this team desperately needs help in the 3pt department.

Insert Mathurin.

The 6-7 wing projects as one of the best spot-up 3pt shooters in this class, shooting 37% on 6.1 attempts per game as a sophomore at Arizona. Considering the Pacers ranked 25th in 3pt shooting percentage last season, his skillset will be welcomed. Because of this, he should be given a decent amount of playing time right out of the gate. And with the Pacers not projected to be very good this season, it could wind up staying that way.



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