2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Draft Preview: Sleepers, Breakouts, Bounce-backs, And Busts

by Desrick Rhooms Jr.
2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Week 19 Waiver Wire

Welcome everyone to the 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Draft Preview, where we will preview the four types of players to help navigate your draft: sleepers, breakouts, bounce backs, and busts. After all the storylines that we've heard over the summer, the NBA season is finally approaching us.

How will Durant and the Nets fare this season? Will the Warriors repeat? How will the Russell Westbrook drama play out in Los Angeles? These are just a few of the questions that we look forward to seeing the answers to.

As part of the 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Draft Preview, I will be going over a few players I believe will be sleepers, breakout, bounce back and bust players based on their ADP on ESPN and Yahoo.

Sleepers are players I felt who are vastly under-ranked in either platform and they have a high chance of outplaying their ADP.  These players you can draft late or trade for at a discounted rate in most leagues. The breakout players I selected are young players that will take the next step in their game and raise their fantasy stock this season.

The next category is bounce-back players, who suffered injuries and underperforming seasons which have these players looking to change the narrative around their name.

Bust players aren't players who are terrible but I feel are over ranked and there are other players I would rather have at their ADP.

2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Draft Preview: Sleepers, Breakouts, Bounce-backs, And Busts

Sleepers

Monte Morris, Washington Wizards

Yahoo ADP:131 ESPN: NR

We start off our 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Draft Preview with Monte Morris. Morris stepped up admirably in the absence of Jamal Murray (due to a knee injury), averaging 12.6 points and 4.4 assists. I believe his assists will increase this season after leaving Nikola Jokic in Denver and now playing alongside All-Star Bradley Beal.

He has improved his scoring and 3-point percentage each season and is a pass-first point guard. This will be his first season to be the main facilitator.  Morris has also shown the ability to play off the ball and cut, as he displayed last year playing alongside MVP Nikola Jokic.

Morris is an average point guard but his role should be expanded this season with the Wizards. There is no way that players such as Seth Curry, Devontae Graham, and Alex Caruso should be ahead of him.

Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets

Yahoo ADP: 112 ESPN:122

Hayward took a step back last season in the scoring department and again failed to stay healthy. He has yet to play over 50 games in a season since leaving Boston three seasons ago. Now that I have my disclosure out the way, let me tell you why I have him as a sleeper. 

Miles Bridges’ off-the-court troubles will have him off the court for a while, freeing up minutes and usage at the forward position. Hayward should be the third option behind LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier (who I will talk about shortly). The months of February and April hurt Hayward’s numbers but he averaged about 17 points before that point.

The Hornets will need Hayward's offense and I can see him averaging about 18 points and 4 assists per game. Hayward will still fill the stat sheet with points, rebounds, and assists. The only question is his health, but I would rather have him over guys such as Mikal Bridges, O.G Anunoby, and Harrison Barnes.

Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic

Yahoo ADP: 166 ESPN:113

Suggs disappointed as a top-five pick in last year's draft but I think he will have a better season this year. With the Magic selecting Paolo Banchero he will have another scoring threat to play alongside with.

I view Suggs as more of a role player and he should thrive in that role with the injury of Markelle Fultz. Suggs averaged about 12 points per game last season but shot the ball terribly. Coming off an injury that limited him to 48 games I expect him to have a much better season.

He is currently being drafted after guys such as Mike Conley, Lonzo Ball, and Malcolm Brogdon.

Despite playing only half the season, Suggs showed flashes in multiple categories averaging 1.2 steals and 4.4 assists per game.

Tre Jones, San Antonio Spurs

Yahoo ADP:114 ESPN: 127

It’s clear the Spurs are tanking. They will battle the Jazz and possibly OKC for the shot at Victor Wembanyama. 

The Spurs don’t have another point guard to battle Jones and while it will be a committee, he has the upper hand. Last season he averaged 13 points and 7 assists per 36 minutes. I expect the Spurs to allow Jones to go through growing pains as they don't have many expectations. 

The Spurs played at a top-five pace last season so Jones should have solid numbers. I like him over guys such as Kyle Lowry, John Wall, and Mike Conley.

Bounce Backs

Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets

Yahoo ADP:80 ESPN:53


The last time we saw Murray he was averaging over 21 points and 5 assists per game, both career highs. Although an ACL tear is serious, we’ve seen players bounce back due to modern medicine.

The Nuggets will ease Murray at the beginning of the season but I expect him to be playing with no restrictions around the all-star weekend.  We saw last year that the Nuggets desperately needed a scorer to compliment Jokic. He could be a top-40 player depending on how the Nuggets handle his playing time. 

Yahoo and ESPN have him behind guys such as Tyrese Maxey, Jalen Brunson, and D'Angelo Russell. Expect Murray to bounce back to that range or better.

James Harden, Philidelphia 76ers

Yahoo ADP: 10 ESPN:8


There’s no excuse for what he did in Houston or Brooklyn but I don't see him doing that under best friend Daryl Morey. 

Harden had a bad series against the Heat but with the reported weight loss, I think we’ll see more of the old Harden. There was a lot of talk about him being washed last season but I don’t think that’s the case. He averaged 21 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds with the 76ers. 

I don't think Harden's hamstring injury gets enough attention. With a full offseason with the 76ers under his belt look for Harden to prove he belongs in the top 10. Joel Embiid is known to miss time, if he misses stretches of games it only elevates Harden's ceiling. 

After shooting career lows from the field and behind the arc, I expect the Beard to return back to MVP-candidate form.

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets

Yahoo ADP: 82 ESPN:57

He will be playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, easily the best offense he's been a part of in his career. It will be interesting to see how the Nets use him on and off the ball due to his shooting concerns. Even with his lack of shooting, he is still averaging 16 points per game for his career. 

Ben will fill the stat sheet as he is an all-defensive player as well. After missing a full season he will probably start off with some sort of restriction. 

A fun fact that I found is that he's finished in the top 50 in category leagues in three of the four full seasons he's played. I think Simmons is out for revenge this season after that traumatic Hawks series.

Breakout Players

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

Yahoo ADP:17 ESPN:37

We start off the Breakouts section of our 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Draft Preview with Tyrese Haliburton. Since leaving Sacramento, Haliburton has averaged 18 points and 10 assists with the Pacers. And he's done it efficiently way as well, averaging 41% from behind the three and 50% from the field. The Pacers are clearly in the rebuild phase and will build their future around him.

Halliburton has always been a great passer but I think this is the year that he becomes more aggressive. With the Pacers trading Malcolm Brogdon away, the backcourt is his. He should be a lock on most nights for a double-double, and always a threat for the triple-double.

After improving his points and assists after the all-star break I expect a career year out of Halliburton. He also finished last season second in total steals and fourth in assists.

Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets

Yahoo ADP: 73 ESPN:96

Sengun started to make a name for himself last season after flashing potential as a versatile big man. With the Rockets trading Christian Wood in the offseason, he should get all the minutes he can handle. His game reminds me of a younger Pau Gasol with his footwork in the paint and passing ability. 

The Rockets continue to play at a fast pace so Sengun will have plenty of opportunities to rack up peripheral stats.  In the six games where he played more than 30 minutes, he averaged 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists.

There's no way he should be drafted behind guys such as Jonas Valucinuas, John Collins, and Christian Wood.

Sengun has been a common sleeper before this season so it's shocking to see him so low on ESPN.

Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder

Yahoo ADP: 56 ESPN:72

Giddey had a lot of hype coming out of Australia but he didn’t disappoint. He averaged 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists per game and arguably should’ve been on the All-Rookie 1st Team.

With Chet Holmgren already going down for the year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Thunder tank again by midseason. With Giddey still so young and under his rookie contract I think the Thunder play him as much as possible to develop and see what they have in him. The ball should be in his hand a lot more this season and he can stuff the stat sheet.

There have already been reports of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being injured which allows more usage for Giddey. Giddey's usage increased by 4 points (25.8%) when he played without SGA.

Giddey should start the season with similar usage and I can easily see him increasing his scoring up to 15 ppg. He should easily outperform his ADP as he is behind guys such as Jordan Poole and Desmond Bane. Despite missing more than 20 games due to a hip injury he still finished 10th among guards in rebounds and 29th in assists.

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers

Yahoo ADP: 103 ESPN:76

Simons came on to the scene winning the dunk contest last season but he quietly had a great season overall. He averaged a career-high 17 points and 4 assists per game. In games he played with Damian Lillard he only averaged 12 points compared to 22 without Dame.

After missing most of last season, Dame will be back but the C.J McCollum trade will allow more usage for Simons. Lillard has already shown that he can play alongside another guard.

Simons proved to be a great shooter last season and should have more open looks with Dame and Jusuf Nurkic back. He finished last season among the top 20 in three-pointers made among guards despite missing over 20 games.

Busts

Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns

Yahoo ADP:62 ESPN:98

Bridges is a great player to have on your team in real life, just not fantasy-wise. He has the reputation of a 3 and D wing but he's average at best from deep. He shot 36% from deep which is about his career average and he doesn't really offer rebounds and assists.

Yahoo and ESPN have similar rankings for the most part but there's a big disparity between the two on Bridges. I agree more with ESPN, as he will potentially be the fourth or fifth option fighting with Cam Johnson for opportunities.

Yahoo has him picked before Franz Wagner, Keldon Johnson, and R.J Barrett. All three of those players have more upside than him.

Tobias Harris, Philidelphia 76ers

Yahoo ADP: 64 ESPN:65

Harris has averaged less than 20 ppg over the last four seasons and I don't see that changing this season. Harris is the fourth option in this offense and will now split minutes with P.J Tucker.

He doesn't do much outside of scoring and his rebounds and assists will only drop this season.  He doesn't have an upside in what is projected to be a 5th-6th round pick; you can find better at this spot. I would rather have guys such as Lauri Markaneen, Keldon Johnson, and Michael Porter Jr.

With Maxey emerging, and Harden and Embiid being high-usage guys, I just don't see Harris as anything more than a stand-in-the-corner option.

Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks

Yahoo ADP:19 ESPN:24

Murray had a breakout season, averaging career highs in every statistical category. He averaged 21 points and 9 assists as the main ballhandler on a rebuilding Spurs team. With DeMar DeRozan being traded, the Spurs' offense was Murray or bust.

Murray also had a career-high in usage at 27.3% which will be lowered playing alongside Trae Young. Neither he nor Young has proven that they can play off the ball and I think it hurts Murray more than Young.

He isn't a great scorer but was great on fantasy because of his triple-double potential. That's limited with Young being a playmaker and the big men the Hawks have crashing the boards.

He's currently being drafted in the second round, ahead of guys like Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Anthony Edwards. He shouldn't be.

Christian Wood, Dallas Mavericks

Yahoo ADP:55 ESPN:51

Recent reports have come out that Wood will start the season coming off the bench. There are questions about his defense and that’s one of my issues with him as well. He’s an average rebounder at best and not really a shot blocker.

Also, the Mavericks play at one of the slowest paces in the league so I’m interested to see how that affects him. I would take guys such as Jakob Poeltl and Jusuf Nurkic before Wood. 

Last year he averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds, but I don't see him doing that splitting time with Javale McGee and Maxi Kleber.

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers

Yahoo ADP: 23 ESPN:21


We all knew it was only a matter of time before Mitchell got traded but nobody expected him to be suiting up for Cleveland this season. He averaged 26 points and 5 assists last season, with the fourth-highest usage rate in the league.

Playing alongside Darius Garland I don't see him maintaining that level of scoring this season. The Cavaliers will have a more balanced attack with this backcourt and Evan Mobley, so he won't have the green light he had in Utah.

Spida's draft projection is the same as if he was still in Utah, there is no way I would get him in the second round. I would go for players with higher potential such as Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and Bradley Beal.

 

That brings us to the end of our 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Draft Preview: Sleepers, Breakouts, Bounce-backs, And Busts. Hope you are as excited about the upcoming season as we are!


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1 comment

Jay October 9, 2022 - 9:51 pm

Great list!

Reply

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