Aber’s 2023-2024 NBA Draft Guide

Aber's NBA Fantasy Draft Guide

Aber’s ’23-’24 NBA Fantasy Draft Guide

What’s up, everyone?! It’s getting to be that time again as I prepare for the start of the NBA season. I’m going to help you draft the teams that bring home the ‘ship in your leagues. For this guide, I will be focusing mostly on category leagues and best balls. I am going to go over my favorite two picks in each round and then include a fade for the first 10 rounds. I’m always available in Discord (@Aber) if you have any other questions about your drafts.

Round 1

  • Nikola Jokic: This probably comes as no surprise, and I fully expect him to go #1 overall in probably every league you will touch. There’s not really any weakness with Jokic and he pads the stat sheet in every category. Averaging a triple double is not outside of the realm of possibilities. He’s been extremely durable, playing in at least 69 games in all eight seasons he’s been in the league, and in today’s NBA, we want guys who will be playing as much as possible. Also, with the departure of Bruce Brown, there’s a little more ball handling responsibility to be pushed his way if he didn’t already have enough of that.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Shai is probably one of the most controversial players going into this year’s drafts because half the world thinks he’s overrated and the other half thinks he’s under-appreciated. I think he’s the league’s MVP on the west’s third best team this year. He was one of the league’s most efficient players last year, shooting 50+% from the field. He led the league last year in drives per game by a healthy margin, which gets him to the free throw line for easy points as well. He added to that resume as arguably the best player in the FIBA World Cup tournament last month.
  • Joel Embiid: Taking a stand on a top 10 player you want to fade in drafts is not a great feeling, but there are a few reasons I am leaning in this direction. For starters, I think the center position is very deep this year and there are some deep guys I love from an ADP standpoint. There’s some uncertainty with what this team will look like this year with all the Harden drama going around. Is there a breaking point where Embiid is over it and wants out? There’s also the uncertainty in the amount of games that he plays, since we have seen him injured or resting a lot over his entire career. I think Embiid is one of the three best scorers in the league this year and he’s going to be incredible if he can stay healthy. This is not really a knock on his talent as much as it is that I just prefer other routes in this first round.

Round 2

  • Devin Booker: The Suns are going to be one of the best teams in the league with one of the best offenses. With the departure of Chris Paul, I think Booker is in line to start at the point all year, which increases his touch time and assists per game. Depending on his efficiency, Booker is in line to have a MVP season and the only thing in his way is himself. 
  • Mikal Bridges: A year ago today I didn’t think I would be talking about drafting Mikal Bridges in the second round, but here we are. The trade that sent him to Brooklyn last year skyrocketed his rates across the board and his efficiency stayed intact. There is not a lot of usage on this team, so Mikal will be producing as much offense as he can handle this year. He’s also one of the most durable players in the league and hasn’t missed a game since the 2020-’21 season. 
  • Trae Young: I’m not really sure what the team’s plan is going forward because they’re not good enough to win, but they have talent that is ready to win while also trying to develop young players as well. I don’t really think this is Trae’s team anymore and a rocky start could potentially see him on the block for teams that lack depth at the guard position. Young and Dejounte were both averaging about 36 minutes in the McMillan era and his minutes dropped per game after Snyder took over. I don’t think he’s just not going to get it, I just prefer others in his ADP range. 

Round 3

  • Dejounte Murray: The portion about Trae above was pretty much my segway into Dejounte, who I prefer more out of the two guards in Atlanta. While Trae’s minutes dipped after Snyder took over, Dejounte’s stayed the same. He’s just also the total package who can stuff the stat sheet in all categories for you. As I alluded to above, if this team has any kind of struggles at all early on, I think we see some big moves here. Dejounte will be the one that they keep, which would put him back into the situation he was in back in San Antonio where he was a triple double threat every night and a potential top 10 fantasy player. 
  • Jaren Jackson Jr.: With the Ja Morant suspension of 25 games, everyone on Memphis is going to see a huge bump, but Jaren leads the team in the usage with a 4.86 bump. Jaren had shown an increase in development every year as well, having a little less foul issues. If you’re playing in a league with steals and blocks, then he becomes even more of a priority as the league’s best shot blocker. 
  • Victor Wembanyama: Of course everyone is excited about Wembanyama, and for good reason, but this is just too high for me. If you look at the names around him, there is just too much solidified talent that I don’t think you need to take the risk for a very lackluster and/or inefficient season. I don’t dislike the player he is or could become, I just think this is a very bad ADP. 

Round 4

  • Jamal Murray: Coming off of an incredible playoff run, Jamal is looking to pick up right where he left off. Despite being limited for just about the entire season last year, he was able to turn it on when it mattered and he looked great. He has never really had injury issues in the past, it was just something they wanted to monitor and make sure he wasn’t being pushed back into a full workload too fast. I think he will be a full go this season and will not be a big rest candidate, especially with the departure of Bruce Brown. That’s quietly going to really impact their depth and ball handling, which only enhances the roles for Jamal and Jokic this year. 
  • Desmond Bane: The Grizzlies got Marcus Smart to fill the Morant void for the first two months of the season, but I’ve never really viewed him as the traditional point guard type. Until Ja returns, this will be the Desmond Bane show, as we saw last year when Ja missed time. The most notable increase we saw was in his assist rate, which is expected as the primary ball handler, and that was even when Tyus Jones was there. I just think this all sets up nicely for a prime Desmond Bane year. 
  • James Harden: The Harden drama is something we are not unfamiliar with, whether or not it’s justified is here nor there, but we have seen some really bad attitudes come out of him. I honestly do not think he will be a 76er by the end of the year and the questions are how did we get here? And where did he go? Seeing this era of his career end on a good note seems like the most unlikely option, but he could go out there and just not try, which ends up getting himself benched. I also can’t imagine any young teams taking on his issues and disrupting the development they have. I just don’t know where to even begin to see the good in Harden and it’s just not worth it for me. 

Round 5

  • Scottie Barnes: I’m not really sure what the destination is for the Raptors with the moves they made in the off season. Replacing VanVleet with Dennis Schroder is not really a path to contending for a championship, so I would not be surprised if we see some moving pieces here throughout the year. This will be Rajakovic’s first year as the head coach as well, which means we’re going to see some things we haven’t seen before with the Raptors. The one thing I know for sure is that Scottie Barnes is there to stay and the development around him should be the team’s #1 priority. Without VanVleet, I will be expecting the ball to be in the hands of Barnes more than it was last year. 
  • Cade Cunningham: Heading into Cade’s third year after missing most of last season, he has to break out this year. Detroit has shown a commitment to Cade by bringing Ivey off to the bench to separate the two of them. If that continues to hold once the regular season kicks off, the volume is going to be there. If he can become a little more efficient with his shot selection, he could easily turn into a top 25-30 player from a fantasy perspective. 
  • Spencer Dinwiddie: Dinwiddie is just an aging guard that hasn’t been the most efficient guy. He was always valuable in the past because his value would increase when the star player was out. The star player is now Mikal, who just flat out doesn’t miss games. There are other value guards I would rather take shots on that will have a higher ceiling. 

Round 6

  • Scoot Henderson: There’s some speculation that Scoot could put up a good fight for Rookie of the Year and I don’t think it’s too far-fetched. It’s just going to be a little difficult to overcome the hype around Wembanyama and Chet. The thing that Scoot has going for him is that it would take some of the worst basketball of all time for him not to end the year as the team’s starting point guard. I don’t know the immediate impact he will have, but he’s someone that could be an end of the season winner when Portland begins tanking. Acquiring Malcolm Brogdon seems like it will impact him but I don’t think there’s any room for Brogdon on this team. IF he can stay healthy, he will be a piece they trade away. 
  • Tyus Jones: Ole reliable finally found himself on a team as the starting point guard and it’s probably the worst team in the league. There is some concern that Tyus is not type of player that should be on a tanking team, so it’s someone that could be moved to a competitor at some point in the season. We have seen countless games of him starting when Ja was out, and the guy is just too consistent. I don’t think he has a crazy high ceiling, but he’s a solid sixth round guard that should remain durable and play 30 minutes a night. 
  • Khris Middleton: There was plenty of concern here for Middleton’s health leading up to the year, which made him a very risky pick already, and then they went out and acquired Dame. I don’t think there’s enough usage left on the floor for Middleton to be worth it and his health is the icing on the cake. One of the biggest things I want to be leaning into is the guys that you can trust to play a full season and Middleton is not one of those guys.

Round 7

  • Nic Claxton: Claxton might be one of my favorite picks of the entire draft at this ADP. He’s a young player that has been taking positive steps every year and he’s on a team that’s only focused on developing right now. There is also no one here to compete with him for minutes. Last year he almost averaged a double double and 3.5 stocks per game. If he continues to progress like he has every other year, then you are getting a really good value pick in the seventh round. 
  • Anfernee Simons: I’m sure most of you are not surprised by this, but Dame is gone now. Anfernee Simons has been one of my favorite fantasy players in the league over the last couple years when Dame has been out. While I think they’re going to clear the way for Scoot, they still lack depth, which will mean we still see tons of Anfernee at the point. He’s also very capable of getting it done without the ball in his hands and he’s one of the best 3-point shooters in the league. 
  • Rudy Gobert: I’m not really one to pull the plug on a guy’s career overnight, but Gobert has to be declining. This is not a good spot for him or his career and we watched it play out for an entire year. His stocks took a major hit last year and I don’t know if it’s the situation or he’s just breaking down. Either way, with Ant and KAT on the floor, there is no usage left, so you’re drafting him for rebounds and blocks. The blocks may never come back and the rebounds can be made up elsewhere. 

Round 8

  • Devin Vassell: After getting the bag in the off season, it’s pretty clear the Spurs are ready to build around Vassell for their future. There’s been talk about Keldon Johnson possibly coming off the bench, which only takes usage off the floor for Vassell to run the offense. While Tre Jones will be listed as the starting point guard, he only had a 18.9% usage. Keldon led the team with a 27.3% usage and Vassell was second on the team with a 24%. This offense will revolve around Vassell and Wembanyama as long as both of them can stay healthy. 
  • Cameron Johnson: Apparently the Nets are going to be my team this year. I just don’t think this team is very deep and there’s not a lot of usage in this starting lineup. I was a little unsure what Ben Simmons’ role would be on this team, but it seems more realistic he’s going to be the team’s starting point guard. That’s one less player that Cam is competing for minutes with. 
  • Clint Capela: Another old and declining center on the fade list for me. As I’ve alluded to above, this Hawks team is not ready to win and something has to change. They have seemed to show a ton of interest in Onyeka Okongwu down the stretch last year, and to be honest, he has just been the better player. There’s some minor discipline issues with him, but he just does what Capela does, and he does it better. I think it’s only a matter of time before we see Okongwu in the starting lineup and Capela slides into a bench role playing 20 minutes a night, and that’s not the kind of player I want to draft. 

Round 9

  • Aaron Gordon: We are starting to get into a common theme here where I like the team’s main guys who lack depth. There’s not a single person on this roster that can play the 4 and compete for minutes with Aaron Gordon. His role is going to be huge this year and he may even fall into some ball handling without Bruce Brown on the roster. I would just be cautious to draft too many Nuggets because they’re still going to be a slow team, which generally caps massive upside from all three studs in this lineup, but the roles are too good. 
  • Jabari Smith Jr.: Jabari started out last year like he was going to be the bust of the draft, but managed to turn it around and progress in the correct direction. Generally, we see players with his talent grow in their second and third years, which enhances the shot selection and gets him to the free throw line more for easy points. He’s got a much better point guard in VanVleet now that will help space the floor, allowing Jabari to get cleaner looks. This is also a team looking to develop their young talent, so the minutes here should be extremely secure. 
  • Jerami Grant: I really want to like Jerami Grant, but the writing is on the wall for him. When we get to the last month of the season, he will either be resting, shutdown, or on another team. They are going to be leaning heavy into their youth for the entire year and those are the pieces I want from the Blazers. I think the ADP is interesting for his talent, so I’m not opposed to taking a shot here and hoping he balls out early. Then, you have some serious leverage on a trade to get out from underneath him because I feel pretty good about him not contributing to your team down the stretch when you need it the most. 

Round 10

  • Shaedon Sharpe: Give me all the youth in Portland. I’ve been a broken record in this entire guide, but the Blazers are going to be tanking. Shaedon should start at the 3 for the year and he’s someone they want to develop. We saw him really breakout down the stretch last year and was scoring at a great rate.
  • Mark Williams: As I said above, I’m looking at all this value at center, which is why I’m having a hard time going after any of the big names. Ultimately the high-end centers are bringing points and that’s something you can get somewhere else. Mark Williams could be one of those breakout guys this year. We were pretty big into him last year and he did not disappoint. He’s going to start here for the year and could come very close to averaging a double double. 
  • Malcom Brogdon: I kinda got into this on the Scoot portion of this guide and I just don’t think Brogdon can stay healthy enough to be valuable over the course of an entire season. He is not a bad player when he is on the floor, but I just think the Celtics knew they should get out from under him when they could. I don’t think he’s on this team in the end, which could land him into a backup role on a competing team. I just don’t see a path to Brogdon contributing at a rate you’re going to like.

Notable Options After Round 10:

  • Jalen Duren
  • De’Anthony Melton
  • Obi Toppin
  • Markelle Fultz
  • Onyeka Okongwu
  • Saddiq Bey
  • Jarred Vanderbilt
  • Paul Reed
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
  • Gary Trent Jr.
  • Miles Bridges

Also Check Out: Aber & Healy’s ’23-’24 NBA Season Preview


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