Bold predictions for the NBA season

Sometimes it takes an expert’s eye to see something before everyone else does, such as the monster rookie season Franz Wagner had in Orlando last season or Jordan Poole elevating his game like he did in Golden State on the way to the championship.

With that in mind, we gathered our fantasy basketball experts — André Snellings, Eric Moody, Eric Karabell and Jim McCormick — to explain their boldest fantasy basketball predictions for 2022-23.

Rise of Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis finishes as a top-10 player in category formats.

Just before the trade deadline last season, he was traded to the Kings for Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, and he went on to average 18.9 points, 12.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game while shooting 55.4% from the field in 15 games with Sacramento. There is a perception among fantasy managers that the Kings’ talent reduces his fantasy ceiling, but the opposite might be true. If he improves his defensive stats, Sabonis has a chance to actually exceed expectations. — Moody

Top options emerge from 2020 draft class

At least three members of the 2020 NBA Draft class will finish among the top-20 in fantasy points scored this season.

This class is both top-heavy and deep, with LaMelo Ball and Haliburton in my preseason top-25, Anthony Edwards and Desmond Bane in my preseason top-50, and others like Tyrese Maxey, Devin Vassell, Cole Anthony, Jalen Smith and Saddiq Bey having already established themselves as productive pros with upside. And that’s not even counting guys like James Wiseman or Patrick Williams, top-5 picks that missed most/all of last season injured. — Snellings

A new shot-blocking force in Utah

Utah Jazz rookie C Walker Kessler is going to lead the NBA in blocked shots, both per game and total.

Yep, I went there. Kessler had nearly as many blocks playing in the SEC last season as he did field goals, and he scored in double-digits. The Jazz are tanking/rebuilding and Kelly Olynyk shouldn’t be much impediment on playing time, if he’s even around after the trade deadline. Kessler can look statistically like the Pacers’ Myles Turner, but it seems few are thinking about him in fantasy. — Karabell

Sexton stars with the Jazz

Collin Sexton finishes higher on the Player Rater than Donovan Mitchell.

This one qualifies as bold given the sizable gap in ADP between these two and the fact that Mitchell finished 11th on the Player Rater last season among point guards and eighth among players eligible at shooting guard. Sexton is going to consume a massive workload for a lottery-bound Jazz team and is an ideal mid-round selection for any build, but especially those that invest heavily in the frontcourt it the early rounds. — McCormick

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