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The Rookie Report - Revisiting the 2018-2019 Rookies With An Eye On Next Season (Part 2)

Earlier this season, I took a look at the early returns on this year's rookie class and made player comparisons as well as what I thought their short and long term potential would be.

Now that these kids have had a season of ball under their belts, it's time to revisit those comparisons and see where I was right and wrong. Part of being a great fantasy player is being able to recalibrate expectations after gaining additional context. It's important to be able to adjust expectations based off of additional film and numbers -- being able to do so correctly is a skill that will translate year to year - not just help you during the current season.

In the first part, I looked at rookies who started producing as soon as the season began. This week I look at later picks who saw their roles solidify as their rookie seasons progressed. Remember that player comparisons are in terms of what they provide in fantasy, not their actual games.

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Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings

Original Player Comparison: Montrezl Harrell, New Player Comparison: Nikola Vucevic

As the season progressed, Bagley's free throw percentage has steadily improved to the point where he's not exclusively a punt free throw guy too, an the defensive stats he flashed in his rookie season have a lot of promise in terms of his future fantasy profile.

He's even managed to add some 3s to his game, making him very close to a 1/1/1 guy. He should be able to get there with a few more minutes, and that makes his profile look a lot closer to a different 2019 breakout star, Nikola Vucevic, who is one of the very few in the game who can provide that 1/1/1 production from a C spot. Bagley is there too, and that make him a pretty exciting player next season, especially if he can make further strides in his free throw shooting.

2019 Draft Outlook: Top 50


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Los Angeles Clippers

Original Player Comparison: Jeff Teague, New Player Comparison: Darren Collison

Shai fell off pretty hard during the middle of the season but has managed to pick up again to close out the year. Next year, he should solidly be in the top 100 with upside and is someone that I'd be looking to pick up for a number of different strategies.

Teague wasn't a great comparison looking back as SGA plays a lot off the ball and his lower assist numbers and solid field goal percentage play closer to Darren Collison than Teague. With a bump in minutes and a solid role next season, he should be able to produce similar to what Collison does now.

2019 Draft Outlook: Top 100


Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns

Original Player Comparison: Gary Harris, New Player Comparison: Patrick Beverley

Bridges is probably the rookie who fell off the most in the second half of the season. Despite the recent struggles, I still see a future top 100 guy off the strength of his insanely high steal rate and other contributions across the board.

I don't see Bridges becoming a scorer on the level of Harris so a better comparison would be Patrick Beverley. PatBev doesn't need to score to return value and the ability to contribute decently in so many categories made him a top 60-70 type player for the seasons in which he was healthy. Bridges can get there as well, but there are still deficiencies in both these guys' games and they don't fit neatly into every strategy.

2019 Draft Outlook: Top 80


Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

Original Player Comparison: Nerlens Noel, New Player Comparison: Rudy Gobert

Even my optimistic outlook on Robinson wasn't good enough as he was better than anyone could have expected this season, pushing top 50 value once given decent minutes. Robinson's block rate is absolutely off the charts insane but he's also showing he can score and rebound at a very high level.

I'm comfortable now giving him the Rudy Gobert comparison, and I actually thing his upside is higher than Gobert fantasy-wise once he is able to get over his foul issues and if the Knicks let DeAndre Jordan go and hand Mitch Rob the starting job from the start of next season. I think he's going to be very overdrafted next year, but still believe he has a great chance to be a top 20 player. I just wouldn't pay top 20 prices for that just yet.

2019 Draft Outlook: Top 20


Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers

Original Player Comparison: Rodney Hood, New Player Comparison: Andrew Wiggins

Sexton has had a very good last 2 months scoring-wise, putting up over 20 points per game on a reasonable 46% from the field but even during this stretch he has not provided anything else.

The Rodney Hood comparison is probably a bit harsh but Sexton is that kind of player, and it's fair to compare him to Wiggins who is pretty much the ceiling for what a guy who scores and does nothing else can do, which is not saying much. Sexton is still a bad fantasy player and will be one of the most overrated players in the draft next year unless he can take some serious steps forward in his game in something other than scoring. I won't be owning him anywhere.

2019 Draft Outlook: Top 120



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