Rookie/Sophomore Report

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While the NBA Playoffs are still in full swing, for all intents and purposes the fantasy basketball season came to an end when the regular season did. With that being the case, now is a good time to take a look back at the fantasy impact that rookies and second-year players had on their respective teams. This column will focus on the Western Conference, which was home to two of the league's best second-year players, and one of the biggest surprises in the rookie class.

Dallas

Rookies: Moses Wright

Wright, who was signed to a two-way contract in late February, appeared in four games total (three with Dallas and one with the Clippers) during the regular season. Obviously, he didn't offer anything as far as fantasy value was concerned, and that's unlikely to change in 2022-23.

Sophomores: Josh Green

Green, a first-round pick in the 2020 draft, appeared in 67 games this season (three starts). While his numbers did improve when compared to his rookie campaign, Green averaged just 4.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 0.4 3-pointers in 15.5 minutes per game. He did shoot nearly 51% from the field, but Green failed to have much of an impact. And with many of the more experienced wings under contract for next season, his path to fantasy relevance in 2022-23 isn't too clear.

Denver

Rookies: Bones Hyland

Hyland being selected in the first round surprised more than a few draft analysts, but the Nuggets' decision ultimately paid off. With Jamal Murray sidelined for the entire season as he continued to work his way back from a torn ACL, Hyland was immediately in a position where he could earn rotation minutes. He would ultimately take over the backup point guard duties, averaging 10.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.9 3-pointers in 19.0 minutes per game (69 appearances). Hyland is more of a scoring guard than a "traditional" point guard, which proved to be a plus with regard to the Nuggets' diminished rotation.

He finished the season ranked outside of the top-200 in 8- and 9-cat formats, and that, combined with the expected return of Murray and the presence of Monte Morris, will limit Hyland's ADP ahead of next season. However, with Facundo Campazzo (restricted), Austin Rivers, and Bryn Forbes (unrestricted) all set to be free agents this summer, Hyland is well-positioned for an increase in playing time next season.

Sophomores: Facundo Campazzo, Zeke Nnaji, Markus Howard

Denver didn't get much in the way of production from its second-year players, whether we're talking fantasy or "real" basketball. Campazzo fell completely out of the rotation shortly after the All-Star break, ultimately appearing in 65 games and averaging 5.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 0.9 3-pointers in 18.2 minutes per. He'll be a free agent this summer, but with Murray due back, Campazzo will likely take on a diminished role if he returns to Denver. And then there's Howard, a reserve guard who averaged just 5.7 minutes per game in 31 appearances. He'll be a restricted free agent, and what happens with Howard won't have much of an impact fantasy-wise.

Nnaji did show some promise during the regular season, but injuries ultimately limited him to 41 games played. Nnaji posted averages of 6.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 0.9 3-pointers in 17.0 minutes per game. Carving out a role for himself in 2022-23 will largely depend upon what happens with a few of Denver's more experienced big men. JaMychal Green and Jeff Green both have player options for next season, while DeMarcus Cousins (who backed up league MVP Nikola Jokic) will be an unrestricted free agent.

Golden State

Rookies: Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody

With the Warriors very much in "win now" mode, it comes as no surprise that neither Kuminga nor Moody had much of an impact from a fantasy standpoint. The seventh overall pick, Kuminga appeared in 70 games (12 starts) and averaged 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 0.7 3-pointers in nearly 17 minutes per. Shooting better than 51% from the field, Kuminga did show signs of promise when given extended minutes. As for Moody, the 14th overall pick made 52 appearances (11 starts) and accounted for 4.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, 0.4 assists, and 0.8 3-pointers in 11.7 minutes per game.

Due to the presence of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins, it's difficult to plan on selecting either Kuminga or Moody in drafts ahead of next season. That being said, wings such as Otto Porter, Andre Iguodala, and Gary Payton II will all be free agents this summer. Financing a title contender can be expensive, as the Warriors know all too well. Losing one (or more) of those veterans in free agency could open the door for Kuminga and/or Moody as soon as next season.

Sophomores: James Wiseman

Unfortunately, we never got to see Wiseman on the court, as he missed the entire season after a torn meniscus ended his 2020-21 campaign prematurely. While it's tough to count on Wiseman in fantasy next season for that reason, Kevon Looney will be a free agent this summer. Given how important Looney has been to the Warriors in recent years, it's difficult to envision a scenario in which he's allowed to walk. Wiseman should be a rotation player, but fantasy managers would be wise to take the "wait and see" approach before going all-in.

Houston

Rookies: Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Usman Garuba, Daishen Nix, Trevelin Queen

Houston had four rookies who were first-round picks on its roster this season, and it was clear that they were going to factor into the team's rotation. Green got off to a slow start, but he was much better after the All-Star break. In 24 post-break starts, he averaged 22.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 3.1 3-pointers per game, shooting 47.6% from the field and 75.6% from the foul line. Green's season-long fantasy value wasn't particularly good, due to the early struggles and his missing a month due to injury. But that finish to the season should give fantasy managers a healthy amount of optimism regarding Green's potential heading into next season. Green had a Yahoo ADP of 88.4 entering the 2021-22 campaign, and he stands to be targeted by some managers before that point in the fall.

Sengun, whose draft rights were acquired from the Thunder, was a bit of a cult favorite in fantasy circles. There was no shortage of demands that he be thrust into the starting lineup, but the 6-foot-9 pivot only started 13 of the 72 games that he appeared in. Sengun averaged 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 0.4 3-pointers in 20.7 minutes per game, shooting 47.4% from the field and 71.1% from the foul line. Christian Wood is heading into the final year of his contract, which could mean even more room for Sengun to flourish if the Rockets were to find themselves well out of playoff contention by next season's All-Star break. Sengun's ADP heading into next season stands to be noticeably higher than what it was heading into his rookie campaign (136.2 in Yahoo leagues).

Christopher may not have been ranked particularly high in fantasy, but he did have moments of promise as a consistent reserve this season. Playing 18.0 minutes per game, Christopher averaged 7.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.8 3-pointers in 74 appearances (two starts). Shooting 44.8% from the field and 73.5% from the foul line, Christopher will need to improve his perimeter shooting (29.6% from three) moving forward. The presence of Green and Kevin Porter Jr. will have to be taken into consideration when assessing Christopher's fantasy prospects next season, as will the status of Eric Gordon (who's entering the final fully guaranteed year on his deal). He may not be a player that fantasy managers draft, but Christopher will be on the radar as an in-season addition.

Garuba, who was known more for his defensive prowess during the pre-draft process, was limited to 24 games (two starts) due to injuries. He averaged 2.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.4 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 10.0 minutes per game, and his path to consistent minutes is even more crowded than that of the aforementioned Sengun. Nix (24 appearances) and Queen (10 appearances) didn't offer much in the way of production last season, and the latter was on a two-way contract.

Sophomores: Jae'Sean Tate, KJ Martin, Anthony Lamb

After a rookie season that surprised many, Tate was a consistent starter for the Rockets this season. Making 77 starts (78 overall appearances), he averaged 11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 0.8 3-pointers per game, shooting 49.8% from the field and 70.7% from the foul line. Tate finished the season ranked just inside of the top-150 in 8-cat, and just outside of that threshold in 9-cat. He has a team option for next season, so there's no guarantee that Tate will be back in Houston. And if he does return, what will his role look like? The answers to those questions will have a major impact on his fantasy prospects.

Martin was also a rotation player, albeit as a reserve. Appearing in 79 games (two starts), he accounted for 8.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 0.8 3-pointers in 21.0 minutes per, shooting 53.3% from the field and 63.4% from the foul line. Outside of the assist and 3-point averages, Martin's numbers decreased slightly, as he was playing nearly three minutes fewer per game than in his rookie season. With young talents such as Sengun and Garuba now in the mix in the frontcourt, Martin's fantasy outlook for next season isn't all that promising. And that's if his contract becomes fully guaranteed. Lamb, who was on a two-way contract, did not appear in any games after rejoining the Rockets in late March.

LA Clippers

Rookies: Brandon Boston Jr., Xavier Moon, Jason Preston

The Clippers didn't get much out of their rookie class, which should come as no surprise. Preston missed the entire season after undergoing foot surgery, while Moon joined the team on a two-way contract and appeared in just ten games. Boston made 51 appearances in his debut campaign, averaging 6.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 0.7 3-pointers in 14.9 minutes per game. His best performance came in a December 8 win over the Celtics, in which he tallied 27 points, two rebounds, four steals, and five 3-pointers in just 25 minutes off the bench. That capped a five-game stretch in which Boston his double figures on three separate occasions, and he scored ten points or more in 15 games as a rookie (including 18 in the regular-season finale).

The issue for Boston with regard to 2022-23 is the amount of depth that the Clippers will have on the wings. Paul George, Marcus Morris, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, and Robert Covington are all under contract, and there's also Kawhi Leonard's return to take into consideration. And we can't leave out Nicolas Batum, either, as he has a player option for the 2022-23 campaign. Already faced with a crowded and experienced rotation, the path to consistent playing time gets even more difficult for Boston if Batum opts into the final year of his deal.

Sophomores: Jay Scrubb

Scrubb has appeared in a total of 22 games during his two seasons with the Clippers, and his 2021-22 campaign came to an end in early February due to toe surgery. His situation is similar to that of Boston but without the security of his contract being guaranteed for next season. Scrubb was on a two-way deal, and he's on track to be a restricted free agent this summer.

LA Lakers

Rookies: Austin Reaves, Mac McClung

Not much was expected from Reaves last summer, as he joined the Lakers as an undrafted free agent. But the team's decision to low ball Alex Caruso freed up playing time on the perimeter, and the former Oklahoma standout was ultimately able to earn a spot in the rotation. While this was undoubtedly a disappointing season for the Lakers as a whole, the front office had to be encouraged by what they saw from Reaves. Appearing in 61 games (19 starts), he averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 0.9 3-pointers per, shooting 45.9% from the field and 83.9% from the foul line.

That wasn't enough to make Reaves a relevant player as far as fantasy was concerned, but he did manage to earn himself consistent playing time (23.2 mpg). His fantasy outlook for next season will depend upon, first and foremost, whether or not the Lakers pick up Reaves' option. Beyond that, who the Lakers hire as head coach, and how the front office goes about filling the roster, will also have an impact on Reaves' outlook. What may help him is the team's lack of available cap space, especially if Russell Westbrook opts into the final season of his deal (worth just under $41.4 million). McClung, who was also undrafted, spent most of the season with the Lakers' G League affiliate before being signed to a two-way deal in early April. He faces even longer odds than Reaves at this point.

Sophomores: Mason Jones

Like McClung, Jones ended the season on a two-way contract, which he signed just before Christmas. He made just four appearances with the Lakers, with the last two coming in the team's final games of the regular season. He accounted for totals of 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one 3-pointer. It goes without saying that he won't offer much in the way of fantasy value heading into next season.

Memphis

Rookies: Ziaire Williams, Santi Aldama, Yves Pons

Of Memphis' three rookies Williams saw the most action, appearing in 62 games (31 starts). Playing just under 22 minutes per night, he averaged 8.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 1.2 3-pointers, shooting 45.0% from the field and 78.2% from the foul line. Williams hit double figures in points on 20 occasions, most notably scoring 21 in games against the Knicks (February 2) and Timberwolves (February 24). His longest run of starts came as a result of the Grizzlies being without Dillon Brooks; as a starter, Williams averaged 9.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.4 3-pointers in 25.8 minutes per game. Looking forward to next season, Williams will be a part of the rotation.

The issue, as far as fantasy value is concerned, is the amount of young talent on the Grizzlies roster. Brooks (who will be in a contract year), Desmond Bane, and De'Anthony Melton will also play rotation minutes, with the first two firmly entrenched as starters. This makes Williams a player who will be avoided in drafts, but he'll be a convenient pickup if any of those guys go down with injuries. Aldama, whose selection with the final pick of the first round, appeared in just 32 games this season, playing 11.3 minutes per. Aldama's fantasy outlook is even worse than Williams', as Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke take up the lion's share of the minutes at power forward. Pons, who was on a two-way contract, played an average of 5.9 minutes per game in 12 appearances this season.

Sophomores: Desmond Bane, Xavier Tillman Sr., Killian Tillie, Tyrell Terry

The aforementioned Bane was one of the NBA's most improved players, taking full advantage of the opportunity that presented itself in the form of Memphis trading Grayson Allen to the Bucks. Starting all 76 games that he played in, Bane averaged 18.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 3.0 3-pointers in 29.8 minutes per, shooting 46.1% from the field and 90.3% from the charity stripe. Bane, who has quickly become one of the NBA's best shooters, was a top-50 player in both 8- and 9-cat formats this season. And there's certainly room for growth, especially if the Grizzlies lose Tyus Jones in free agency. In theory, that could get Bane more time on the ball, which would put him in a position to boost the assist numbers. He's a guard that Memphis fans and fantasy managers alike should be excited to watch moving forward. Bane had a Yahoo ADP of 146.4 heading into the 2021-22 season; it should be closer to 50 in 2022-23.

Tillman started two of the 53 games that he appeared in this season, primarily serving as Steven Adams' backup. Unfortunately for the former Michigan State standout, his minutes decreased when compared to his rookie campaign, as he played just 13.2 minutes per (18.4 in 2020-21). And Tillman's numbers decreased, as one would expect, with the second-year big accounting for 4.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game, while shooting 45.4% from the field (he was at 55.9% last season) and 64.8% from the line. The tough thing for Tillman heading into next season is that, even if the Grizzlies looked to get Adams more rest, that could mean more time for Jackson Jr. at the five. So, Tillman will obviously be left alone in most drafts.

Tillie, as was the case during his college career, continues to struggle with injuries, and he was limited to 36 games this season. Terry, who was on a two-way deal, made just two appearances this season and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

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Minnesota

Rookies: Leandro Bolmaro, McKinley Wright IV

Neither Timberwolves rookie made much of an impact this season with regard to fantasy basketball. Wright, who was on a two-way contract, played in just five games. As for Bolmaro, while he did start two of the 35 games that he appeared in, there wasn't much to write home about from a production standpoint. Playing an average of 6.9 minutes per game, Bolmaro averaged 1.4 points, 1.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists, and 0.2 steals per, while shooting 31.5% from the field and 84.6% from the foul line. He's under contract for next season, so the opportunity to earn more playing time could be there. That being said, Bolmaro's behind Anthony Edwards (more on him below), Malik Beasley, and Jaylen Nowell (who has a team option for next season). And that doesn't even take into consideration the Timberwolves starting Patrick Beverley at the two.

Sophomores: Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Nathan Knight

After finishing second in the voting for Rookie of the Year in 2021, Edwards continued to make progress in his development this season. More productive across the board, he averaged 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 3.0 3-pointers in 34.3 minutes per game, shooting 44.1% from the field and 78.6% from the foul line. While there is still room for growth from an efficiency standpoint, Edwards improved his field goal and 3-point percentages by nearly three points when compared to his rookie year numbers. Providing 3rd-round value in 8-cat formats, Edwards was a 4th-round player in 9-cat, outperforming his Yahoo ADP (46.5) in both. If he's on the board at the end of the third round in drafts ahead of next season, that would be a surprise.

McDaniels also made strides in his second NBA season, serving primarily as the backup to Jarred Vanderbilt at the four. In 70 games (31 starts), McDaniels posted averages of 9.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 1.1 3-pointers in 25.8 minutes per, shooting 46.0% from the field and 80.3% from the foul line. He finished the season ranked outside of the top-150 in 8- and 9-cat formats, which was to be expected given his place within the Timberwolves' rotation. The defensive numbers were solid, especially on nights when McDaniels was given the opportunity to start, but the 3-point percentage (31.7%; he was at 36.4% as a rookie) does need to improve. If Chris Finch decides to have an open competition for the starting power forward role, that would give McDaniels a shot at providing consistent fantasy value.

Knight was on a two-way contract this season and appeared in 37 games (two starts), and didn't offer much value beyond being a streamer when the Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid at Christmas.

New Orleans

Rookies: Herb Jones, Jose Alvarado, Trey Murphy

Murphy, a first-round pick, was the player that many expected to be the best prepared to impact the Pelicans before the season began. But that isn't how things played out, with the defensive abilities of Jones and Alvarado being the reason why. Jones, a second-round pick, started seven of New Orleans' first eight games and did not leave the first five after Thanksgiving. In 78 games (69 starts), he averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 0.7 3-pointers in 29.9 minutes per, shooting 47.6% from the field and 84.0% from the foul line. You'd like to see more 3-point production from Jones moving forward, especially once Zion Williamson joins a starting lineup that already boasts C.J. McCollum, Brandon Ingram, and Jonas Valanciunas. And given those weapons, Jones won't lack for catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Those veterans may keep Jones' ADP down during draft season, even though he was a top-75 player in 9-cat as a rookie. But he's emerged as a player that fantasy managers will want on their rosters, especially with the defensive production. As for Alvarado, he played well enough to not only earn a standard contract but consistent minutes as the backup point guard as well. Averaging 15.4 minutes per game, the former Georgia Tech guard accounted for 6.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.6 3-pointers, shooting 44.6% from the field and 67.9% from the foul line. The numbers aren't good enough to make Alvarado a fantasy fixture just yet, but he should be a part of Willie Green's plans moving forward.

Going back to Murphy, this season was anything but smooth for the former Virginia standout. Beginning the season in the rotation, minutes were far tougher to come by once the season hit mid-November. And then there was the stretch just after the New Year in which Murphy appeared in just two NBA games in a month, spending time in the G League instead. He was able to get back into the rotation in March and made the most of that opportunity, averaging 9.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.9 3-pointers in the Pelicans' final 17 games of the regular season (including a career-high 32 in a loss to the Hornets).

The aforementioned Ingram being injured at the time essentially gave Murphy a new lease on life, and he scored 12 points in New Orleans' Game 6 loss to the Suns in the first round of the playoffs. Williamson's return may cause a minutes crunch heading into next season, which will limit Murphy's fantasy potential.

Sophomores: Naji Marshall, Kira Lewis Jr.

Lewis' second season was a difficult one, as he appeared in 24 games before suffering a torn ACL in early December. One would think that he'll be ready to go when training camp begins. But with the aforementioned Graham and Alvarado in the mix for minutes behind McCollum, the Pelicans are deep enough to exercise a significant amount of caution when it comes to working Lewis back into the fold. Marshall played in 55 games this season (four starts) but wasn't a fantasy-relevant player, averaging 5.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.4 3-pointers in 13.4 minutes per (he averaged 21.9 mpg as a rookie).

Oklahoma City

Rookies: Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, Aaron Wiggins, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Vit Krejci, Lindy Waters III

The Thunder were once again in rebuilding mode, which meant that there was no shortage of playing time for the team's younger players. Giddey was the rookie who offered the most promise, given how well he played in Australia's top professional league, and he was making strides before injuries ended his season in late February. While Giddey wasn't a top-150 player at the season's end, over his final 15 games he averaged 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.9 3-pointers in 33.6 minutes per.

Shooting 45.5% from the field and 76.7% from the foul line during this stretch, Giddey still has work to do as a perimeter shooter, and the turnovers (3.7 per game over his last 15) will need to come down. But he has the look of a player who stands to be a key member of OKC's rebuild moving forward. Giddey had a Yahoo ADP of 132.7, a number that may have been a bit low, even with his production not meeting that standard. Why? Because of his place within the Thunder rotation; those are the guys that are worth gambling on, especially when there's a lack of veterans capable of cutting into the playing time of the younger talents.

Mann appeared in 60 games, starting 26, with a lot of his damage being done in the points category. Playing 22.8 minutes per game, Mann posted averages of 10.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 1.6 3-pointers. And he wasn't all that efficient in getting those numbers, either, as Mann shot 39.3% from the field (36.0% on 3-pointers) and 79.3% from the line. Being able to consistently play alongside Giddey and/or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should help Mann moving forward, but he isn't worth gambling on in fantasy leagues just yet.

Robinson-Earl, who was limited to 49 games due in large part to a foot injury that sidelined him for two months, made 36 starts and averaged 7.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.2 3-pointers in 22.2 minutes per. Posting three double-doubles, JRE scored a career-high 18 points in his final game of the season. His fantasy prospects for next season aren't great, however, as starter Darius Bazley is under contract, and the team holds Isaiah Roby's option. Robinson-Earl should be in the rotation, but the minutes split makes it difficult to commit to him fantasy-wise.

Wiggins, who was also a second-round pick, started 35 of the 50 games that he appeared in, averaging 8.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.8 3-pointers in 24.2 minutes per. He scored 20 points or more on four occasions, most notably going for 28 in a March 28 win over Portland. Heading into next season Wiggins is in a spot similar to Robinson-Earl; while there should be the opportunity to earn minutes, Oklahoma City's many young options on the wings don't help him from a fantasy standpoint. Krejci (30 games; eight starts) and Waters (25 games; one start) did not see the majority of their NBA minutes until late February, with the latter being signed to a two-year, two-way contract on February 10. Their names may be worth keeping in mind if the Thunder once again wind up in "tank mode," but that's the most that can be said for Krejci or Waters with regard to fantasy basketball.

Sophomores: Aleksej Pokusevski, Theo Maledon

Pokusevski and Maledon did see time during the earlier portion of the season, but things didn't truly clear up for either until February. The former would ultimately become a bit of a DFS favorite down the stretch, averaging 12.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 1.5 3-pointers in 29.6 minutes per game over his last 15 appearances. Pokusevski's season-long fantasy value wasn't particularly high, but he bordered on a must-add once it became clear that the Thunder were going to give him all the minutes that he could handle during "silly season." The ability to play multiple positions works in Poku's favor moving forward, but Oklahoma City doesn't lack for young forwards (as noted above). Whether or not he's worth drafting will depend upon what we hear coming out of training camp, as well as how the Thunder's preseason rotation looks.

As for Maledon, over his last 15 games, he accounted for 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.5 3-pointers in 25.4 minutes per. His fantasy outlook is worse than Pokusevski's however, as most of Maledon's production came when the Thunder were without Gilgeous-Alexander and/or Giddey. Backing up two projected building blocks isn't the best way to go about cementing fantasy relevance.

Phoenix

Rookies: Ishmail Wainright, Gabriel Lundberg

The Suns' rookies didn't offer much in the way of fantasy production, which isn't all that surprising since neither began the season with the team. Wainright, who was one of Toronto's final cuts in training camp, agreed to a two-way deal with the Suns a few days later. Appearing in 45 regular-season games, Wainright was ultimately converted to a standard contract on April 10. His contract for next season is partially guaranteed, and that isn't the recipe for a player to become fantasy relevant in 2022-23. Lundberg was signed to a two-way contract in March, averaging 11.0 minutes per game in four appearances. Like Wainright, Lundberg is highly unlikely to be a relevant fantasy option next season.

Sophomores: None

Portland

Rookies: Trendon Watford, Keon Johnson, Greg Brown III, Brandon Williams

The Trail Blazers' season went downhill in late January when a loss to the Timberwolves kicked off a stretch in which the team lost eight of nine games. Ultimately the decision was made to go all-in on a rebuild, with the aforementioned McCollum and Nance being traded to New Orleans, and Norman Powell and Robert Covington being dealt to the Clippers. Add in Damian Lillard undergoing surgery to address a lingering core issue, and there was no shortage of playing time for the team's younger players.

Johnson joined the team at the trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Powell and Covington to L.A., ultimately playing in 22 games for the Blazers (12 starts) and averaging 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.4 3-pointers in 25.5 minutes per. An elite athlete, Johnson has a lot of work to do when it comes to being a more efficient scorer (35.7% from the field), but the hope is that he'll ultimately make good on his perceived upside. Watford was playing well when he suffered what would prove to be a season-ending knee injury in late March, averaging 15.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.0 blocks, and 0.6 3-pointers in 31.5 minutes per game over his last 13 (ten starts).

Whether or not Watford can be a fantasy-relevant player at the beginning of next season will depend upon how the front office goes about rebuilding around Lillard. One would expect that Portland will look to make improvements in the frontcourt, which would not bode well for those hoping to see more from Watford. Brown is in a similar spot, although he didn't play as much as Watford did down the stretch. The second-round pick out of Texas averaged 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.0 3-pointers in 22.1 minutes per game over his last 12 (six starts), and did so with solid percentages (45.8% from the field, 80.0% from the foul line).

Williams had two stints with the Blazers this season, not seeing extended minutes until Portland was without both Lillard and Anfernee Simons, but he did score 20 points or more on six separate occasions. Simons will be a restricted free agent, but it's difficult to envision the Blazers allowing him to walk for nothing, especially with McCollum in the fold. That, in addition to Williams' inefficiency, limits his fantasy prospects for next season.

Sophomores: CJ Elleby, Elijah Hughes, Keljin Blevins, Didi Louzada

None of Portland's second-year players did much fantasy-wise, even after the team decided to essentially shut things down. Elleby was the "best" of the bunch, averaging 5.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 0.6 3-pointers in 20.2 minutes per game. He started 28 of the 58 games that he appeared in but shot just 39.3% from the field. Hughes and Blevins were even less impactful, appearing in 22 and 31 games, respectively, while Louzada made seven appearances after being acquired from the Pelicans. None of these guys will be on anyone's fantasy radar in 2022-23 unless Portland's rebuild goes wrong in a major way.

Sacramento

Rookies: Davion Mitchell, Neemias Queta

Mitchell got off to a slow start to his rookie campaign, shooting just 36.6% from the field in October and November (21 games). Things would get better from that point onward, with Mitchell's fantasy value receiving a significant boost at the trade deadline. Sacramento's decision to trade Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield freed up additional minutes for Mitchell, who was already logging 30 minutes per game on a consistent basis before the transaction. And one can't overlook the impact that De'Aaron Fox being lost due to injury had on Mitchell, either. Over his last 11 appearances, "Off Night" played an average of 39.9 minutes per game, accounting for 18.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 1.4 3-pointers.

Fox's return will undoubtedly have an impact on Mitchell's usage, but it's clear that the Kings believe in their lottery pick. The key for Mitchell moving forward will be to improve his percentages, as he finished the season shooting 41.8% from the field, 31.6% from three, and 65.9% from the foul line. Playing off of Fox and Domantas Sabonis has the potential to be helpful since those two will receive a lot of attention from opposing defenses. Queta, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, was in a difficult spot rotation-wise. The Kings didn't lack for bigs even before the trade that brought the aforementioned Sabonis west, so it was difficult for the second-round pick to play consistent minutes. Queta only made 14 appearances this season, but he did put up solid numbers with the team's G League affiliate.

Sophomores: None

San Antonio

Rookies: Joshua Primo, Jock Landale, Joe Wieskamp, D.J. Stewart Jr.

The Spurs didn't have any fantasy-relevant rookies this season, but there is optimism with regard to Primo. The team's first-round pick started 16 of the 50 games that he appeared in, averaging 5.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 0.8 3-pointers in 19.3 minutes per. Those numbers aren't anything to write home about, but Primo did average more than four points per game more as a starter (8.6) than as a reserve (4.4). An issue for him this season was the number of young guards on the Spurs roster. But Derrick White was traded to Boston at the deadline, and Lonnie Walker will be a restricted free agent this summer, so there's a chance that Primo can earn himself more playing time next season. This isn't enough to make him a player worth selecting come draft time, but fantasy managers should keep an eye on the Spurs rotation during the preseason.

Landale, who had plenty of experience playing professionally in Serbia, Lithuania, and Australia, appeared in 54 games during his debut season in San Antonio. He only played about 11 minutes per game, which clearly isn't enough to offer anything with regard to fantasy value. His contract for next season isn't fully guaranteed, and with Jakob Poeltl and Zach Collins in the fold, it will be very difficult for Landale to make the leap to fantasy relevance. Wieskamp averaged 7.1 minutes per game in 29 appearances while Stewart, who was on a two-way, made all 12 of his professional appearances this season with Sioux Falls in the G League.

Sophomores: Devin Vassell, Tre Jones, Robert Woodard II

Vassell went from averaging 5.5 points per game as a rookie to finishing his second NBA season as a top-100 player in 9-cat formats. Making 32 starts (71 overall appearances), he averaged 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 1.9 3-pointers in 27.3 minutes per game, shooting 42.7% from the field and 83.8% from the foul line. While you'd certainly like to see the field-goal percentage improve, there's a lot to like here. Vassell's production in the 3-point and defensive categories will make him a worthwhile target in the later rounds of drafts after he wasn't even on the radar of many fantasy managers entering the 2021-22 campaign.

Jones filled the backup point guard role for the Spurs, with his minutes more than doubling when compared to his rookie season. In 16.6 minutes per game, he averaged 6.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 0.6 steals per, shooting 49.0% from the field and 78.0% from the charity stripe. Jones didn't offer much value as far as 3-point shooting is concerned, but like older brother Tyus, he doesn't hurt you in the turnover category, either. The combination of his contract for next season not being fully guaranteed, and the presence of Dejounte Murray, puts Jones in a tough spot as far as fantasy value goes. Woodard who joined the Spurs on a two-way contract in March, less than a month after he was waived by the Kings, appeared in a total of 12 games this season.

Utah

Rookies: Jared Butler, Xavier Sneed

Not selected until the 40th overall pick due to medical concerns (which were ultimately cleared up before the draft), Butler was viewed by many as a steal for the Jazz. There's still time for that to be the case, but Utah's perimeter rotation made it very difficult for the former Baylor standout to earn consistent playing time. Averaging 8.6 minutes per game (42 appearances), Butler averaged just 3.8 points, 1.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 0.7 3-pointers per. Unless Utah were to make some drastic moves during the offseason, Butler may once again have a tough time cracking the rotation in 2022-23. Sneed, who was on a two-way, appeared in a total of nine games this season (two with Memphis, seven with Utah). There's no fantasy value to be had here, either.

Sophomores: Trent Forrest, Udoka Azubuike

Forrest did show some signs of promise when given the opportunity to play, but his issue is very similar to that of Forrest. Utah has both depth and experience on the perimeter ahead of Forrest, which made it difficult for him to hit double digits in minutes played on a consistent basis. His 17-point effort in a January 24 loss to the Suns began a seven-game stretch in which he averaged 9.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.6 steals in 25.2 minutes per. He's due to be a restricted free agent this summer, so we'll see what happens there.

Azubuike continues to be hampered by injuries, as he's appeared in a total of 32 games during his two seasons with the Jazz. While Azubuike's numbers weren't very impressive when given the opportunity to play, Hassan Whiteside being an unrestricted free agent could free up playing time in 2022-23. But even if Whiteside were to move on, that doesn't guarantee an increase in fantasy value for Azubuike, as Rudy Gobert is firmly entrenched as the starter.