If there’s one thing better than a good thing, it’s a pair. Peanut butter is great on its own, but it’s even better when paired with jelly. Eggs are good, but they’re even better with bacon. And in the world of fantasy basketball, the right pairing can take a team from good to great. The Rotoworld crew recently did a two-round mock draft to explore some potential first and second-round pairings that could lead to season-long success.
1. Nikola Jokic and 24. Lauri Markkanen
When it comes to drafting your first-round pick, it’s not too difficult to find a standout player. But the second-round pick can be a bit more challenging. In this mock draft, we paired Nikola Jokic, who excels in all categories, with Lauri Markkanen, who may not contribute much in steals and blocks, but offers solid production in other areas.
2. Joel Embiid and 23. Jaren Jackson Jr.
Joel Embiid is a dominant force in fantasy basketball, but he has his weaknesses, such as turnovers. Pairing him with Jaren Jackson Jr., one of the best shot blockers in the league, can help balance out Embiid’s high turnover numbers. Jackson also has room to improve in rebounding, which could make him a valuable asset alongside Embiid.
3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and 22. Kawhi Leonard
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was one of the biggest surprises in fantasy basketball last season, while Kawhi Leonard finished just outside the top 12. Both players benefit from punting rebounds or three-pointers, but a punt rebounds strategy offers more versatility. Gilgeous-Alexander is a reliable pick at number three, and Leonard can be a top-12 player if he can stay healthy.
4. Tyrese Haliburton and 21. Karl-Anthony Towns
If you’re looking to pair Tyrese Haliburton with another player, focus on rebounds and blocked shots. While Karl-Anthony Towns may not be a dominant shot blocker, he offers solid rebounding numbers and has the potential for more. Haliburton provides assists and takes care of the basketball, making this pair a strong choice.
5. Luka Doncic and 20. Mikal Bridges
Luka Doncic is one of the best players in fantasy basketball, but his high turnover numbers and low free throw percentage limit his value in certain formats. Pairing him with Mikal Bridges, who excels at the free-throw line and minimizes turnovers, can help offset Doncic’s weaknesses.
6. Jayson Tatum and 19. Jimmy Butler
Jayson Tatum is a scoring machine, but he lacks in blocks. Jimmy Butler also struggles in blocks, making this pair ideal for a punt blocks strategy. Both players offer solid assists, rebounds, and steals, making them a reliable tandem.
7. Stephen Curry and 18. Devin Booker
Stephen Curry is a high-level scorer with great percentages, but his assist average may be impacted by the arrival of Chris Paul. Pairing him with Devin Booker, who has the potential to serve as a primary playmaker, can help make up for Curry’s potential dip in assists.
8. Giannis Antetokounmpo and 17. Kevin Durant
Starting your draft with two top-five talents like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant is a strong strategy. Durant’s elite shooting can compensate for Giannis’ lack of three-pointers and poor free-throw percentage.
9. Anthony Davis and 16. Domantas Sabonis
Pairing Anthony Davis with Domantas Sabonis is a dream scenario. Davis was one of the top players in fantasy last season, and Sabonis had a breakout year. Combine their talents, and you have a formidable pairing that can dominate multiple categories.
Emily Turner is your source for everything NBA. As a dedicated basketball enthusiast, she offers insights into NBA games, player highlights, trade rumors, and the league’s evolving dynamics. Emily’s love for the sport shines through in her comprehensive NBA coverage.