We're a little more than a month away from the start of the 2022-23 NBA season and preseason hoops are set to begin on September 30th. Fantasy managers are still evaluating players and news will continue to affect the potential of quality targets in the coming weeks. Robert Williams and Lonzo Ball are already dealing with knee injuries that could limit them early in the upcoming campaign, while Kawhi Leonard is looking as fit as ever after taking a year off for rehabilitation purposes.
I simulated a 12-team H2H points league fantasy basketball draft where I selected ninth and had 30 seconds on the clock to make each of my choices. Here's a quick rundown of the results:
I went ahead and took James Harden in the first round and felt like I got a steal. I feel like he has the potential to finish in the top five overall, and I'm higher on him than most following his down year in 2021-22. He might not be a scoring leader again, but he has a great shot at leading the league in assists while also giving his usual contributions as a rebounder and on the defensive end with steals. I locked in a few versatile, stat sheet stuffers in the following rounds and took a bit of a leap of faith with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in hopes that he can put together a healthy season. Jimmy Butler and Scottie Barnes were right where I expected them to land. I rounded out the fifth round with Ayton, who was my ninth-ranked center in my positional rankings earlier this month.
Josh Giddey was the highlight of rounds 6-11 for me. The sophomore guard totaled nearly 27 points, rebounds, and assists per last season and will get even more burn in his second run. He exceeded expectations and finished as a top-30 point guard despite missing 28 games. Jakob Poeltl was a nice add in the seventh round after cracking the top 10 at his position in 2021-22. PJ Washington and Monte Morris have a good chance to be day one starters, while Bones Hyland can build upon becoming a rotation player for the Denver Nuggets as a rookie playing behind Jamal Murray.
The Detroit Pistons' Jaden Ivey will likely be among the league's most productive rookies. Even if he is playing alongside the ball-dominant Cade Cunningham for long stretches. He and Montrezl Harrell, who could benefit in a big way from any time Joel Embiid takes off, highlight the closing rounds of this mock. I rated Harrell as a top-20 center as a backup to a clear first-round target and he's used to making an impact coming off the pine.