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Checking in on Walker Kessler and the rest of the 2022 NBA rookie class

Special to Yahoo Sports

As we near the 50-game mark in the NBA season, and with the All-Star break just around the corner, it’s time for another check-in on the league’s crop of first-year players. While Paolo Banchero, Bennedict Mathurin, Keegan Murray and Jabari Smith — among others — continue to show encouraging flashes, the reality is that the 2022 draft class hasn’t exactly been a fantasy basketball goldmine.

As of Wednesday, Murray is the only rookie who ranks inside the top 120 in nine-cat, per-game value. Fittingly, he checks in at exactly 120th.

Meanwhile, Banchero is down at 140th, though it’s worth noting that these rankings can be a bit skewed due to the absence of roster construction context. While Banchero’s value is dragged down by his pedestrian percentages, lack of elite defensive production and relatively high turnover rate — he ranks 95th in eight-cat — he’s clearly been much better than the 140th-best fantasy player in the NBA this season. That’s especially true in points leagues, where Banchero has been a borderline top-50 option thanks to his exceptional points, rebounds and assists numbers.

Let’s take a look at the biggest names from the 2022 NBA Draft, as well as highlight some lesser-known rookies fantasy managers should be keeping an eye on as the trade deadline approaches.

Paolo Banchero, Magic

As noted above, Banchero’s real value doesn’t necessarily correlate to his ranking in category leagues. He’s been far and away the best rookie in the class and is one of the most advanced first-year players, physically, that we’ve seen in quite some time. He’s had some ups and downs over the last few weeks, but on the whole, his production has remained incredibly consistent.

Over his past 12 games, Banchero is posting 19.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.6 threes, though he’s shooting just 42.4 percent at the line. On a better note, he’s working his way to the line 7.3 times per game during that span. For the season, Banchero’s 310 total free throw attempts are good for 10th in the league.

Story continues

Jabari Smith, Rockets

An ankle injury…


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Author : Yahoo Sports

Publish date : 2023-01-25 18:50:00

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2023-01-25

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