This article is part of our NBA Draft Kit series.
With fantasy basketball draft season on the horizon, it's time for managers to begin deciding which rookies may be worth targeting.
Unlike last season's crop of rookies – which looks better now than it did at the time, for the record – the 2021 class is loaded with the kind of star talent evaluators begin raving about the year before they're even draft-eligible. Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley, the top three picks in July's NBA Draft, were long-awaited gems, while even Gonzaga standout Jalen Suggs would have been in the No. 1 pick conversation if he were transplanted into the 2020 class.
Of course, lofty pre-draft pedigrees don't always translate to success in the NBA. For all we know, Green is the next Bradley Beal. Or he could be the next Josh Jackson. Those possibilities exist with any elite prospect, though it bears noting that there's an undeniable sense of optimism around the top five players in the 2021 class – including Scottie Barnes, the Raptors' pick at No. 4.
Statistically, it's highly unlikely — if not outright unprecedented — that all five become All-Stars, but there's plenty of reason to believe each can find success at the NBA level. Of the group, Cunningham is easily the top fantasy target for 2021-22. Possessing both the highest ceiling and the highest floor, Cunningham likely won't put up Luka Doncic numbers as a rookie, but he's the best bet to offer positive values in the