2017-2018 NBA Rookie Rankings

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Dennis Smith Jr. Dallas Mavericks, PG

Dennis Smith Jr. repeatedly had highlight dunks in the Las Vegas Summer League and showed that he can be built around. Smith averaged 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.2 steals during Summer League. He is currently slated to start for Dallas, and could be in line for a ton of touches as Wes Matthews and Harrison Barnes are his top competitors. While the Mavericks might not win a lot of games this season, Smith will put a few defenders on skates. Check out one of his victims, Lonzo Ball, below.

Lonzo Ball Los Angeles Lakers PG

Say what you want, but the Summer League MVP can flat out BALL. No pun intended. He continuously threaded the needle with slick passing, something that will be very valuable as ESPN and Yahoo! leagues are switching from categories to points scoring. While he may be streaky in shooting (38% FG in Summer League), the Lakers do not own a first round pick in next year’s draft. The threat of being shut down due to tanking isn’t there. According to everyone in their front office, the team is vying for a playoff spot, so that diminishes the chances of tanking as well.

Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics SF

There is a reason why Boston didn’t trade Tatum to Cleveland in the Kyrie Irving deal and I expect him to be a star for the team in the coming years. Other than Lonzo Ball, Tatum was the talk of Summer League. He looked like a veteran playing against rookies. His 17.7 points and eight rebounds per game are just an early look at how good he will be this season. While he will be playing behind Gordon Hayward early on, Tatum could find himself as a stretch 4 late in games.

De’Aaron Fox Sacramento Kings PG

Most Kings’ picks are scrutinized, but they finally made a good pick. Fox made Lonzo Ball look silly in their matchup at Kentucky this past college season. For fantasy purposes, he will be a gem when it comes to steals. As stated above, fantasy sites are moving to points system as opposed to categories. In DFS, steals are worth a ton and Fox will help accumulate a ton of them. He even brings scoring as he averaged nearly 12 points per game. While he will play behind George Hill to start the season, Hill will most likely be traded to a contender later in the season.

Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers G/F

Who knows how he will be classified in the fantasy leagues. At 6’10’’ it doesn’t matter. He has proclaimed he is a starting point guard, but if he gets PF or SF eligibility, that could be huge if he gets enough playing time. Simmons won’t get many points or 3-pointers, but he will contribute assists, blocks, and rebounds. The biggest downside will be if/when he sits to prevent injuring his healed leg. I wouldn’t spend an early pick on him, considering how management handled Joel Embiid last year. Simmons isn’t the player Embiid is either.

Markelle Fultz Philadelphia 76ers PG

There are questions around the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. The question of talent is not there, rather, how many touches will he get? Above, it’s noted that Ben Simmons is expected to be the starting point guard. So where does that leave Fultz? He averaged 23 points, five rebounds and nearly six assists per game last year at Washington. Talent isn’t the issue. It’s the amount of mouths that need to be fed. The fact that he shot 64.9% from the free throw line could spell trouble late in games if he does not fix it. Brett Brown may opt for a lineup that doesn’t feature Fultz late in games.

Josh Jackson Phoenix Suns SF

Josh Jackson has reportedly grown an additional two inches this summer bringing him to a towering 6’10’’ height. Known for his defense in college, Jackson has the ability to show up on the offensive end as well. The youth movement is in full effect in Phoenix and a frontcourt of Jackson, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss should be on display a lot. He averaged 17.4 points, 9.2 boards, 1.6 dimes, 1.2 steals and 1.0 block per game on 42.5 percent shooting in Summer League, but left much to be desired on his jumper.

Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz SG

The Utah Jazz might have found a diamond in the rough in Donovan Mitchell. That can be proven by them not playing him in the last Summer League game as a “precaution.” He led Summer League with 28 points per game and averaged 3.3 steals in three Utah Summer League games. Quin Snyder has praised Mitchell and has signaled that he will be a part of the rotation. Losing Gordon Hayward isn’t as sour as it might seem after all. A bit of an unknown to some, check out Mitchell’s Summer League highlights below.

Other Notables

Lauri Markkanen, Frank Ntilikina, Malik Monk, Luke Kennard, Harry Giles, Jarrett Allen

Danny Stokes - Senior NBA Writer/Analyst for Legion Report

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