Fantasy Basketball 2021: Position Rankings, Team Names for Upcoming NBA Season

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IISeptember 29, 2021

Fantasy Basketball 2021: Position Rankings, Team Names for Upcoming NBA Season

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    There are many reasons why it's always good when a new NBA season arrives. Among them is the return of fantasy basketball, which is a great way to stay invested during an 82-game season while having fun among your friends, family and others.

    The 2021-22 NBA season tips off on Oct. 19, so now is the perfect time to begin thinking about which players you may want to target when your fantasy league holds its draft at some point over the next few weeks. Without a strategy and rankings, it can be easy to get off track when you're drafting players.

    Heading into the season, here's a look at some early positional rankings, as well as numerous suggestions for your fantasy team's name this year.

Point Guards

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    1. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

    2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

    3. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

    4. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

    5. LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets

    6. De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

    7. Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks

    8. Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns

    9. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

    10. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers

             

    Luka Doncic is the clear top point guard for fantasy basketball because of everything he does on the court.

    And the 22-year-old may only be getting better entering his fourth NBA season. Last year, he averaged 27.7 points, 8.6 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting a career-best 47.9 percent.

    In the first round of your draft, Doncic, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard are likely to all come off the board. But there's some solid depth at the position this year, considering you can probably come away with somebody like Russell Westbrook in the third or fourth round.

    So it's OK to wait, although the top three are top-tier players who can carry your team all year.

Shooting Guards

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    1. James Harden, Brooklyn Nets

    2. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

    3. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

    4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

    5. Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors

    6. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

    7. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

    8. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

    9. CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

    10. DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

           

    James Harden and Bradley Beal likely won't be taken within the first three or four picks of your draft (there are more well-balanced superstars to target early).

    However, they're both players worthy of first-round consideration, as both are going to put up a lot of points and be leaders for their respective teams.

    Minnesota's Anthony Edwards just misses the top 10 here, but he could be a great player to target around the fifth round or so.

    The 20-year-old played well during his rookie season, and he could be poised to take a big step forward during the 2021-22 campaign.

Small Forwards

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

    2. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers

    3. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

    4. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

    5. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

    6. Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets

    7. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers

    8. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

    9. RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

    10. Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns

             

    Kevin Durant and Paul George are both players who should be targeted near the end of the first round.

    And if you're in a spot where you have to decide between the two, it's a difficult choice. But the edge goes to Durant, who is healthy and could be in position to play more than 35 games in a season for the first time since 2018-19.

    When Durant isn't injured and playing up to his potential, there's an argument to be made that he's the best player in the NBA. His scoring ability alone makes him a player who can anchor a fantasy lineup, which is why he's a strong selection around the Nos. 7-10 picks.

Power Forwards

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

    2. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

    3. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

    4. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

    5. Julius Randle, New York Knicks

    6. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers

    7. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

    8. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

    9. John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

    10. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

           

    Giannis Antetokounmpo will be one of the first players selected in most fantasy drafts again this year. So if you have a top-two selection (or maybe top three), that's the only way you'll have an opportunity to land him for your team.

    Expect another big year for the Bucks' leader as he seeks a second straight NBA title.

    Although Zion Williamson is currently recovering from foot surgery, don't let that stop you from taking him late in the first round or early in the second.

    The 21-year-old is likely to take another big leap in his third NBA season, as he continues to develop into one of the league's best players.

Centers

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

    2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

    3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

    4. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

    5. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

    6. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

    7. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns

    8. Christian Wood, Houston Rockets

    9. Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks

    10. Montrezl Harrell, Washington Wizards

               

    There are a few strong players to consider taking if you're fortunate enough to land the No. 1 overall pick in your draft. However, the clear top choice is Nikola Jokic, the reigning NBA MVP who again should be the most impactful player in fantasy basketball.

    Last season, the 26-year-old set career highs in points (26.4), rebounds (10.8) and assists (8.3) per game, while also shooting 56.6 percent from the field. He'll give fantasy managers a boost in so many stat categories that he's the clear No. 1 overall player in this year's rankings.

Suggested Team Names

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    The Zion King

    Beal or No Beal

    Too Good to Be Jrue

    CP3-O

    LaVine on a Prayer

    Durant Durant

    Go Harden in the Paint

    WebEmbiid

    Everybody Loves Draymond

    Keep it PG

    KAT in the Hat

    Jrue or False

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