These rankings reflect standard scoring formats, taking into account a player's expected production in the following categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, 3-point shots made, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage, and turnovers.
Whether the Timberwolves have been in the playoff hunt or scuffling among the Western Conference cellar-dwellers, Karl-Anthony Towns has continued to log gaudy fantasy contributions. He's missed just five games through four seasons to date, with little change in statistical production from year-to-year. He's about as safe as they come among the superstar tier.
Drafting Nikola Jokic allows fantasy owners to fill a center slot while still establishing a base in categories more commonly associated with backcourt players - assists, steals, made 3-pointers, and free-throw percentage. Considering there should be a glut of guard-eligible players available between picks 30-50 of your draft, taking the Nuggets center in the first round will allow you to prioritize the frontcourt with your second and third picks.
Rudy Gobert has a few warts that prevent him from jumping into Tier 1. With limited assist potential, he'll likely never be confused for one of the game's new-age point centers. Shooting 63.1% on nearly five free-throws per game for his career isn't great. He's made a grand total of zero 3-pointers on three attempts for his career.
That's all fine. What you do get from the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year is top percentile production in field-goal percentage (he ranked No.1 in the NBA with 66.9% last year), blocks (No. 3 at 2.3 per game), and rebounds (No. 4 at 12.9 per game).
|25||Jaren Jackson Jr.||MEM|
|32||Larry Nance Jr.||CLE|
Investing a high-round pick on Hassan Whiteside is a bit of a scary proposition. He enters the year on the wrong side of 30, and even though he should be on his best behavior - his contract is up next summer - he's earned a reputation as a malcontent.
Will he be willing to do the dirty work - setting screens, locking in as a pick-and-roll defender - to support the team's established stars, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum? Can he withstand a playing-time crunch whenever Jusuf Nurkic returns from injury? Both are yet to be seen. There's decent upside here, but also risk that the experiment falls apart by midseason.
Speaking of position battles, what's happening in Brooklyn? The team already had a promising young center in Jarrett Allen but gave close to $10 million per year to DeAndre Jordan anyway. Sure, Jordan was likely part of the Nets' package deal to acquire Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this summer, but the veteran rim-protector likely won't be able to play alongside Allen on a consistent basis. Each is a proven fantasy contributor when given a full starter's workload, but one or both of them will see their numbers take a big hit this year.
|38||Wendell Carter Jr.||CHI|
Though injuries held Tristan Thompson to just 43 appearances last year, he still managed to average a double-double - 10.9 points and 10.2 rebounds - for the first time in his career. The Cavaliers will look to their veteran frontcourt players to provide a strong developmental backbone for youngsters like Collin Sexton and 2019 first-round pick Darius Garland. Thompson will continue to bring backup center production for fantasy owners.
Honorable mentions: Alex Len (ATL), Harry Giles (SAC), Kevon Looney (GSW), JaMychal Green (LAC)