The 2019 NBA Draft gave us one of the more hyped classes in recent memory, mostly due to the man at the top – Zion Williamson. The first-overall selection, made by the New Orleans Pelicans, is considered the best NBA prospect since Anthony Davis, and Zion's fantasy basketball stock is sky high as a result.
Williamson, along with Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant and New York Knicks shooting guard R.J. Barrett, made up the top three picks in this summer's draft, and are considered the best long-term prospects heading into their respective rookie seasons.
Top NBA Rookies 2019-20
While top-three picks from the 2019 NBA Draft will also command the earliest selections in upcoming fantasy basketball drafts, there are several other intriguing rookies. With that in mind, here are the top-10 fantasy basketball rookies for the 2019-20 NBA season.
10. Tyler Herro, SG, Miami Heat
Arguably the best sleeper to target in the late rounds of fantasy basketball drafts, Tyler Herro tore it up during the NBA Summer League and is looking like a lock to be part of the Miami Heat rotation. While he is currently blocked at shooting guard by Dion Waiters, the veteran has struggled with consistency and conditioning during his NBA career, leaving the door open for Herro to emerge as a strong sixth man candidate. He can contribute in scoring and 3-pointers, while even chipping in some assists.
9. Cam Reddish, SF, Atlanta Hawks
8. De'Andre Hunter, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks
7. Brandon Clarke, PF, Memphis Grizzlies
6. Rui Hachimura, PF, Washington Wizards
The ninth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Rui Hachimura has a path to something most rookies don't to kick off the season – a starting job. There is very little competition at power forward on the Washington Wizards' roster, meaning Hachimura may start by default. A cerebral player who gets by with fairly average athleticism, Hachimura can be an asset in points, rebounds and field goal percentage, as well as threes, if he feels comfortable attempting from NBA distance early on.
5. Jarrett Culver, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves
4. Darius Garland, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
While Darius Garland doesn't have the name brand value of the draft's big three players, he possesses plenty of talent and, almost more importantly, opportunity. Garland is projected to start in the Cavaliers' backcourt with second-year guard Collin Sexton. Garland is a way more polished offensive player than Sexton, at this point in his development, and could lead the Cavs in scoring and assists as a rookie. He will get all the run he can handle playing on one of the NBA's worst teams, and is a great late-round option for those waiting on the always-loaded point guard position.
3. R.J. Barrett, SG, New York Knicks
2. Ja Morant, PG, Memphis Grizzlies
1. Zion Williamson, PF, New Orleans Pelicans
While some prefer the safer upside of Ja Morant, who plays fantasy basketball's most productive position in point guard, Williamson possesses immense upside at the way thinner power forward spot. Zion will play lots of minutes as the Pelicans' starting power forward, as long as his health cooperates. If he can stay on the floor, the No. 1 overall pick has the potential to be an asset in several categories, potentially averaging a double-double in points and rebounds to go with blocks and steals on the defensive end. Zion has all the makings to put together one of the best rookie seasons ever, and should be considered in the third-to-fourth round of most 2019 fantasy basketball drafts.
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