Despite the 2011 NBA Draft being one of the weakest in recent memory, there are still some very capable rookies that you may want to add to your weekly fantasy basketball lineup in 2012.
Back in the day – in the 1990s and early 2000s – the NBA was a league pre-dominantly bossed by power forwards and centers, with the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon dominating the paint. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and Michael Jordan was surely one of them.
As of 2012, the NBA has turned into a guard-oriented league. For this reason, the “new NBA” is more suitable for lightning-quick guards that have tremendous ball skills, including players like Derek Rose, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo.
Subsequently, the top five 2012 fantasy basketball rookies are happen to be guards. Surely this is not a coincidence.
Counting down from number five to one, here are the top five fantasy basketball rookies in the NBA today.
5. MarShon Brooks, New Jersey Nets
Brooks is one of the biggest rookie surprises of the 2011 NBA Draft class. There’s no doubt that he was a prolific scorer at Providence, but nobody could foresee him putting up 14 points and 3.8 rebounds per game for the New Jersey Nets as a rookie.
MarShon is playing about 26 minutes per game, and is shooting 45.2% from the field, 38.7% from beyond the arc and 77.4% from the free-throw line. Very solid numbers for any shooting guard, especially a rookie.
If Brooks is available in your league, pick him up!
4. Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons
The former Kentucky Wildcat is just the latest John Calipari point guard recruit to make it to the NBA. You may recognize the previous ones, i.e. Derek Rose and Tyreke Evans.
Knight is one of the few must-have fantasy rookies of 2012. For starters, he is a starter, averaging 29.2 minutes per game in 2011-12, and 37 minutes per game in the Pistons last five contests.
Secondly, Knight is putting up some solid numbers across the board. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.6 steals per game, while shooting 45.4% from the field, 41.7% from three and 85.7% from the line.
Do your fantasy team a favor and add Knight as soon as possible.
3. Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks
Now that Shumpert is the Knicks starting point guard, his fantasy value has certainly increased substantially.
The former Georgia Tech guard can be a fine addition in all fantasy basketball game formats.
In his first 7 NBA games, Shumpert is averaging 12.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.4 steals and 0.6 blocks per game.
In other words, he can help your team in all but two categories, field goal percentage (38%) and turnovers (3.0 topg).
With Carmelo Anthony doubtful (ankle) for Saturday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Shumpert is a must start this weekend.
2. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Irving has quietly put together a very nice start to his NBA career, and has the Cleveland Cavaliers, 5-5, in contention for a possible playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Despite playing just 26.9 minutes per game, Irving is averaging a stellar 16.6 points, 5.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.6 blocks per contest.
The first overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft has not disappointed, and is the front-runner for the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year award.
If you can add Irving to your team for a reasonable price, I suggest you do so sooner rather than later.
1. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
Call me crazy, but I rate Ricky Rubio higher than any other rookie, if you can call him that, in the NBA.
The Spaniard is enjoying a very successful rookie campaign, averaging 10.2 points, 7.9 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 29 minutes per game with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Add him immediately before someone else in your 2012 fantasy basketball league starts reaping the benefits of the former Barcelona play-maker!
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