Fantasy Basketball: 12 Teams, 1st Round Mock Draft for 2022-23

Fantasy basketball season has started and it’s time to start drawing. With Opening Night just 26 days away, it’s helpful to participate in mock drafts so you can get a feel for when players will be picked. With that in mind, here’s a first look at what I think the first round will be like across category leagues. And for additional insight, check out our latest Yahoo Expert Rankings to help your design prep.

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Let’s go to the first round. Without further ado, the first pick in the 2022-2023 Fantasy Basketball Draft goes to…

1. Nikola Jokic – C, Denver Nuggets

No surprise here. Jokic is a fantasy basketball cheat code after having a historic 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.3 threes and 2.4 stocks (steals plus blocks) per game last season 58/34/81 Shooting Splits released. He had the highest single-season box plus/minus (BPM) in NBA history and is the unanimous first pick overall here.

2. Joel Embiid-C, Philly 76ers

After his best statistical season and a career-high 68 games, Embiid will be the center of a fantasy-friendly Sixers offense. One of the most dominant big men in the league, he finished fourth in the NBA in double-doubles and added 2.7 shares on the defensive end. He shouldn’t have trouble replicating a top-3 performance per game and total if he can play at least 60 games this year.

3. Kevin Durant – F, Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant is a walking bucket you can’t get past up here. He finished second per game in 2021/22 and will continue to post a 30 percent utilization rate this season. I expect the Nets to make the top 10 in Pace and Offensive Rating and KD will lead the way. He ticks every box for fantasy basketball.

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo – F, Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis is the only player in NBA history to average at least 25 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks across multiple seasons, four straight years. He finished 10th per game last season, but a surge in three-pointers made when he shot over 72% from the free-throw line will help draft him here.

5. Luka Doncic – PG, Dallas Mavericks

Luka magic is in effect. Yes, he’s known for turning the ball at high speed and missing a lot of free throws, but I buy his numbers after the Kristaps Porzingis trade: 31.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 8.1 assists with a 3.9 Threes and 1.0 steals. He’s ripe for an MVP-like season.

6. Stephen Curry – PG/SG, Golden State Warriors

The 2022 Finals MVP and four-time champion anchors points, three-pointers and free-throw percentage in fantasy basketball annually. I predict Curry’s minutes and usage will remain at the heart of one of the best teams in basketball in the 30’s.

7. Jayson Tatum – F, Boston Celtics

Still only 24 years old, Tatum set career highs in points, rebounds and assists last year with a 32% utilization rate.

8. James Harden – G, Philadelphia 76ers

Harden’s decision to earn less and return to Philly on a two-year contract shows he’s ready to play ball. The hamstring injury that plagued him for two seasons is behind him and he’s reportedly in great shape for the season. He was the only player in the NBA to have over 20 points and 10+ assists per game in ’21-’22, finishing 15th per game despite a midseason team change and play on a hind leg. A surge should put him squarely in the fantasy basketball top-10.

9. Tyrese Haliburton – G, Indiana Pacers

If you don’t know, now you know.

I’ve seen Haliburton voted in the top 5 in designs by industry experts, but I feel comfortable putting him in the top 10. I’m hesitating between Haliburton and LaMelo ball at this point, but the former is a good bet for averaging most assists per game this year and averaging 20+ points a night with solid peripherals. In 18 games without Malcolm Brogdon Last season, Haliburton averaged 18.6 points, 10.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 threes and 1.8 steals with 50/46/89 shooting splits. Breaking out!

10. LaMelo Ball – G, Charlotte Hornets

LaMelo Ball is entering his third NBA season to continue building on his career highs in points, rebounds, assists, threes made and FT%. He’s also among the leaders in steals. Last season, Miles Bridges accounted for 23% of Ball’s assists in 2021-22, but there’s still ample opportunity to see 30% usage while padding the box score alongside Terry Rozier.

11. Karl-Anthony Towns – PF, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves’ frontcourt suddenly became overcrowded after they were traded for the Utah Jazz All-Star Center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Rudy Gobert, this off-season. Gobert’s presence should push KAT to a true stretch four, which has risks and rewards. He finished eighth a game last year, but I’d expect his rebound numbers to drop slightly with an increase in threes made. KAT is used to playing with an offensively limited apron (Taj Gibson, Jarred Vanderbilt), so I’m not too worried about Gobert being in town. KAT should still be able to pick up at least two stocks and be the league’s best shooting big man; 41% from Beyond the Bow last year and 40% for this career – to put it that way.

12. Trae Young-G, Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young has a new backcourt colleague in All-Star G Dejount Murray, but he should still be one of the best fantasy guardians in the upcoming season. He is a volume scorer, ranking fourth in usage rate last year with 34.4. I expect Hawks head coach Nate McMillan will shift Young and Murray’s minutes at this point, but also give Young an opportunity to work more off the ball for a better look on the edge. He should still be boasting sizeable fantasy numbers around him and Murray with little offense.

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