Fantasy Basketball 2020: Position Rankings, Team Names for Upcoming NBA Season

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IDecember 15, 2020

Fantasy Basketball 2020: Position Rankings, Team Names for Upcoming NBA Season

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Maybe you're planning on taking two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo with the first-round pick in your fantasy basketball draft. Or you're trying to add budding superstar Luka Doncic, three-time defending scoring champion James Harden or NBA champion Anthony Davis.

    No matter which of those names you draft in the first round, you're getting a talented player to anchor your team for the 2020-21 season.

    In order to have fantasy success, however, you have to build a strong roster from top to bottom. Even though this season has been shortened to 72 games, that's still a long period of time, so your depth will be tested. Therefore, make smart decisions during your entire draft, which is likely taking place soon (if it hasn't already).

    Here's a look at some position-by-position rankings heading into the season, followed by some clever team names to consider for this year.

Point Guards

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    Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

    1. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

    2. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

    3. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

    4. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

    5. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

    6. Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards

    7. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

    8. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

    9. Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks

    10. Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets

             

    Ja Morant has the potential to quickly ascend these rankings if he builds off his impressive rookie season. In 2019-20, he averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 67 games, nearly helping the Grizzlies reach the playoffs.

    Only 21, the Murray State product is likely to be a fantasy basketball star for years to come. His scoring ability and playmaking skills make him a valuable asset to start at point guard, and you can likely wait to draft him until after some of the top ones come off the board (such as Doncic, Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry).

    However, don't be surprised if Morant puts up numbers closer to some of the top point guards in the league and even better than the ones he produced last season. This might be the last preseason in which he comes in this low in the preseason rankings.

Shooting Guards

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    1. James Harden, Houston Rockets

    2. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

    3. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

    4. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

    5. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

    6. Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors

    7. DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs

    8. CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

    9. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

    10. Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers

           

    It's possible Harden will be the only shooting guard to get selected in the first round of your league's draft, depending on how many managers there are. If that's the case, then Devin Booker is a player you should try to scoop up in the second round, as he could be poised for huge things in 2020-21.

    The 24-year-old has already put up impressive numbers in recent seasons. Not only did he average 26.6 points per game for the second straight year in 2019-20, but he also averaged 6.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest while shooting a career-best 48.9 percent from the field. It may even be worth taking him in the first round to ensure you have his services for what could be an even better season.

    The Suns will look to carry over the momentum from last season, when they went 8-0 in their seeding games in the NBA bubble. Now, they have veteran point guard Chris Paul in their lineup, which could provide a boost to Booker's numbers in 2020-21.

Small Forwards

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    1. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

    2. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

    3. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

    4. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

    5. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers

    6. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

    7. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

    8. T.J. Warren, Indiana Pacers

    9. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers

    10. Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets

          

    Last season, Gordon Hayward proved he can still be a standout player when healthy. And as long as he stays on the court in 2020-21, he could be a valuable asset for your fantasy team if he is still on the board a few rounds into your league's draft.

    The 30-year-old will likely be relied upon as a veteran scorer in Charlotte's young lineup. He averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 52 games for Boston last season, and don't be surprised if he does a bit of everything again in his first season with the Hornets.

    While some of the young players in Charlotte's rotation continue to develop, Hayward should be poised to put up strong numbers and potentially give a big boost to a fantasy team.

Power Forwards

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

    2. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

    3. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

    4. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

    5. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

    6. Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks

    7. John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

    8. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers

    9. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

    10. Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers

             

    We only got a glimpse of what Zion Williamson was capable of during his rookie season, but it was special. Now, the forward isn't going to be restricted, so he should become a fantasy star.

    In 24 games in 2019-20, the 20-year-old averaged 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest while shooting 58.3 percent from the field. It's possible he'll put up even better numbers as he plays more minutes and gets into a rhythm while playing the course of a full season.

    There's a reason Williamson was the clear-cut top prospect in the 2019 NBA draft class, and if he keeps living up to that potential, he's going to be a top player in the league who many fantasy managers are going to want to try to acquire.

Centers

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    Phil Long/Associated Press

    1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

    2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

    3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

    4. Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers

    5. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

    6. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

    7. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix Suns

    8. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

    9. Steven Adams, New Orleans Pelicans

    10. Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies

                  

    Andre Drummond didn't get too much of a chance to play with the Cavaliers last season. He was traded from Detroit on Feb. 6 and played only eight games for Cleveland before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the league (and the Cavs weren't invited to the season restart).

    Still, the 27-year-old is likely to keep up the same level of production he had with the Pistons. Each of the past two seasons, he's averaged more than 17 points and 15 rebounds per game. And Cleveland has some young players who could miss a decent amount of shots, allowing him to clean up the boards even more.

    If you miss out on one of the top three centers on this list, Drummond is capable of putting similar production, even in new surroundings. He should be set for another big year.

Suggested Team Names

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Here are some clever team names to consider for your league:

    Beal or No Beal

    Wall Don't Lie

    The Zion King

    There Goes My Herro

    A Wiseman Once Said

    Tacko Tuesday

    Too Good to Be Jrue

    Gobert or Go Home

    CP3-O

    Kawhi 5-0

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