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Fantasy Basketball 2018: Top NBA Player Rankings and 1st-Round Mock Draft

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2018

New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis, right, goes to the basket against Chicago Bulls' Bobby Portis during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Young)
Jim Young/Associated Press

The NBA preseason is finally here. 

That can only mean one thing: The NBA preseason is almost gone already. Get your stuff together and start organizing your fantasy NBA draft, slacker.

Fantasy basketball isn't quite as ubiquitous as football or baseball but is, in a lot of ways, more fun. Fantasy basketball is all about providing balance to your team; one or two stars isn't going to carry you. You're going to need to build a top-to-bottom roster.

Here's a look at some places to start and a first-round mock draft. 

      

Top 75 Rankings 

1) Anthony Davis (C – New Orleans Pelicans)

2) James Harden (SG – Houston Rockets)

3) Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF – Milwaukee Bucks)

4) Kevin Durant (SF – Golden State Warriors)

5) Karl-Anthony Towns (C – Minnesota Timberwolves)

6) Russell Westbrook (PG – Oklahoma City Thunder)

7) Stephen Curry (PG – Golden State Warriors)

8) LeBron James (PF – Los Angeles Lakers)

9) Nikola Jokic (C – Denver Nuggets) 

10) Kawhi Leonard (SF – Toronto Raptors) 

11) Joel Embiid (C – Philadelphia 76ers)  

12) Paul George (SF – Oklahoma City Thunder)

13) Victor Oladipo (SG – Indiana Pacers) 

14) Damian Lillard (PG – Portland Trail Blazers)

15) Chris Paul (PG – Houston Rockets)

16) Kevin Love (PF – Cleveland Cavaliers)

17) Rudy Gobert (C – Utah Jazz)

18) Jimmy Butler (SF – Minnesota Timberwolves)

19) John Wall (PG – Washington Wizards)

20) Ben Simmons (PG – Philadelphia Sixers)

21) Kyrie Irving (PG – Boston Celtics) 

22) Kemba Walker (PG – Charlotte Hornets)

23) Khris Middleton (SF – Milwaukee Bucks)

24) Devin Booker (SG – Phoenix Suns)

25) Jrue Holiday (SG – New Orleans Pelicans)

26) Marc Gasol (C – Memphis Grizzlies) 

27) Al Horford (C – Boston Celtics) 

28) Klay Thompson (SG – Golden State Warriors)

29) Draymond Green (PF – Golden State Warriors)

30) Donovan Mitchell (SG – Utah Jazz)

31) Bradley Beal (SG – Washington Wizards)

32) Blake Griffin (PF – Detroit Pistons)

33) Andre Drummond (C – Detroit Pistons)

34) LaMarcus Aldridge (PF – San Antonio Spurs)

35) Kyle Lowry (PG – Toronto Raptors)

36) CJ McCollum (SG – Portland Trailblazers)

37) Clint Capela (C – Houston Rockets) 

38) Eric Bledsoe (PG – Milwaukee Bucks)

39) Otto Porter (SF – Washington Wizards) 

40) Jayson Tatum (SF – Boston Celtics)

41) Jamal Murray (PG – Denver Nuggets) 

42) Tobias Harris (PF – Los Angeles Clippers)

43) Gary Harris (SG – Denver Nuggets) 

44) DeMar DeRozan (SG – San Antonio Spurs)

45) Joe Ingles (SF – Utah Jazz)

46) Aaron Gordon (PF – Orlando Magic)

47) Will Barton (SG – Denver Nuggets)

48) Gordon Hayward (SF – Boston Celtics)

49) Mike Conley (PG – Memphis Grizzlies)

50) Robert Covington (SF – Philadelphia Sixers)

51) DeAndre Jordan (C – Dallas Mavericks)

52) Myles Turner (C – Indiana Pacers)

53) Jeff Teague (PG – Minnesota Timberwolves)

54) Nicolas Batum (SG – Charlotte Hornets) 

55) Ricky Rubio (PG – Utah Jazz)

56) D'Angelo Russell (PG – Brooklyn Nets)

57) Paul Millsap (PF – Denver Nuggets)

58) Nikola Vucevic (C – Orlando Magic)

59) DeMarcus Cousins (C – Golden State Warriors)

60) Dwight Howard (C – Washington Wizards)

61) Luka Doncic (SG – Dallas Mavericks)

62) Zach LaVine (SG – Chicago Bulls)

63) Dario Saric (PF – Philadelphia Sixers)

64) Jusuf Nurkic (C – Portland Trail Blazers) 

65) Nikola Mirotic (PF – New Orleans Pelicans)

66) Josh Richardson (SF – Miami Heat) 

67) Deandre Ayton (C – Phoenix Suns)

68) Lonzo Ball (PG – Los Angeles Lakers)

69) Julius Randle (PF – New Orleans Pelicans)

70) Enes Kanter (C – New York Knicks) 

71) Evan Fournier (SF – Orlando Magic)

72) Harrison Barnes (PF – Dallas Mavericks)

73) Derrick Favors (PF – Utah Jazz)

74) Lou Williams (SG – Los Angeles Clippers)

75) Steven Adams (C – Oklahoma City Thunder)

         

First-Round Mock Draft

1) Anthony Davis (C – New Orleans Pelicans)

This is a no-brainer pick. There's no one in the league more capable of putting up video game stats on a nightly basis. Your 2K MyPlayer playing on pro difficulty wishes he could be Anthony Davis. Now entering the full prime of his career and posting two straight healthy seasons, Davis should be the top pick in every draft—especially with him projecting to continue developing his three-point game.

Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo are neck and neck in my picks to win MVP this season.

          

2) James Harden (SG – Houston Rockets)

It's a little weird to call the reigning MVP an unsexy pick, but here we are. We know what Harden is going to do at this point—and it's pretty amazing. He's going to get you 28-30 points a night, seven to nine assists and a handful of rebounds. He's going to jack up threes at an insane rate and help your free-throw percentage with his high efficiency, high volume and stay generally healthy. 

Good pick, foundational pick, but everyone will just go "yeah, duh" and move on when you take him on draft day. 

      

3) LeBron James (PF – Los Angeles Lakers)

I'm lower on LeBron this season than most. I genuinely think this is a bit of a punt season for LeBron and the Lakers. The ongoing Twitter joke about LeBron going to LA so he could "retire" from basketball and be a movie star is tired, but there are real concerns here basketball-wise.

LeBron is playing with the youngest of his prime by a significant margin; some of his teammates are closer to Bronny's age than his own. An old guy playing with a bunch of young-pup teammates sounds like an...adjustment period waiting to happen. There's almost no way he makes it through all 82 games again. 

But he's also LeBron James playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. He's going top-three. 

        

4) Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF – Milwaukee Bucks)

A jumper remains the only thing holding Antetokounmpo back from being arguably the best player in basketball. He does everything else well, is a physical marvel and plays for a team where he's the unquestioned star.

The good news: Giannis has taken a major step forward in every one of his NBA seasons. If he takes another leap in 2018-19, he may be the best player in the sport.

       

5) Kevin Durant (SF – Golden State Warriors)

That would, unfortunately, mean Durant continues his legacy as the greatest player in NBA history to never actually be the best player in the NBA. 

Durant's Durant and awesome at everything. Getting him at No. 5 is a good start, provided he stays healthy. 

6) Russell Westbrook (PG – Oklahoma City Thunder)

The guy has averaged a triple-double in two straight seasons and is an unapologetic stats-chaser. Watching Russ go for 6-20-19 in the final game of the season to chase a triple-double might be a little weird from a basketball perspective. But as a fantasy owner, Westbrook is the type of stats-stuffer you desperately want on your roster.

Even if the shooting percentages can wane. 

7) Steph Curry (PG – Golden State Warriors)

Have you ever had Steph on your fantasy team and watched this man knock down a handful of threes in about 0.8 seconds?

It's the basketball version of chugging five Red Bulls. It's hard to pass that up. (The Steph thing. Please do not drink five Red Bulls...that...could be bad.)

8) Karl-Anthony Towns (C – Minnesota Timberwolves)

With Jimmy Butler almost certainly heading elsewhere before opening night, Towns could wind up being the No. 1 or No. 2 player in fantasy this season. He was already a monster playing with Butler last season, averaging 21.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks while knocking down 42.1 percent of his threes.

The scoring should inch closer to the 25.1 he averaged in 2017-18, which will only increase his foundational potential.

    

9) Joel Embiid (– Philadelphia 76ers)

Nikola Jokic is probably the better option here, but Embiid is more fun. People tend to draft more on likability than logic, and there's no more fun player than Embiid. Given two relative equals, Embiid is going to go ahead of Jokic in a lot of drafts despite being a bigger injury risk.

10) Nikola Jokic (C – Denver Nuggets)

Then the next person will take Jokic and have a better team for it—because fantasy rewards logic and not Twitter followers.

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