Way-too-early 2024-25 fantasy basketball top-12 rankings: Victor Wembanyama climbs to the top

Now that the 2023-24 fantasy basketball season is over, it’s time to start looking ahead. There’s no better way to send off the last season than with an early look at potential first-round picks heading into 2024-2025.

It will be many months before fantasy basketball drafts get underway and so much can change. We have the NBA Playoffs, followed by the NBA Draft, free agency and the Paris Olympics. Still, this list provides a handy guide for die-hards wanting to start early on next season’s planning.

Read on as we discuss the top players heading into next season.

It’s worth noting that because the default for Yahoo Fantasy basketball is points leagues, I’ve blended the list of rankings to account for points and category formats.

Wemby exceeded lofty expectations in his rookie campaign, putting up some of the best numbers we’ve seen from a rookie in the past 50 years. He has the highest ceiling in all of fantasy hoops, and you’ll regret not taking this phenom with the top spot in your draft.

With so much potential for stocks and crazy stat lines, I think we have a new undisputed 1.01 in fantasy hoops.

The most reliable and consistent player for the previous four seasons, the Joker might be the best second option in recent memory. I wouldn’t be mad if anyone didn’t trust taking a second-year player (Wemby) with the first overall pick, knowing that Jokić played more than 69 games in every season of his career.

He’s always a threat to lead the league in triple-doubles, so again, Jokić at two is one helluva consolation prize.

SGA had another MVP-worthy season and remains one of the most efficient guards in the league. He fills up the box score in every category and averaged over 30 points per game for the second season in a row.

He should be a top pick in any format for his unique combination of scoring, efficiency and ability to rack up a ton of stocks as a guard.

Dončić led the league in scoring this season, and with no scorers on the Mavericks outside of Kyrie Irving, Luka will continue to sport one of the highest usage rates in the game.

His gaudy stat lines and improved accuracy from the charity stripe have me more interested in him than some of the oft-injured centers to follow him here.

If we could turn injuries off, Embiid would be considered a top-three selection. He’s that dominant. When healthy, he destroyed opponents in just three quarters. He averaged 31/11/4 in seven games, playing less than 30 minutes.

Embiid can post Shaq-like numbers, but his health is concerning entering his ninth NBA season.

The Greek Freak gets a slight bump from me heading into next year because he’s such a beast in points leagues. Damian Lillard’s arrival didn’t deter him from averaging a cool 30 points, 11 rebounds and 6.5 assists with two stocks. Like Embiid and Dončić, Antetokounmpo will be in the top three in usage rate annually, and if you punt free throws effectively, Giannis is a guy you can build around and be successful.

Let’s hope his calf is okay, and he doesn’t risk further damage in the playoffs or the Olympics later this summer.

The Celtics were the best team in the NBA, and they’ll likely continue to run the Eastern Conference as long as Tatum is their lead guy. Like Jokić, Tatum rarely misses games and is firmly in his prime.

His scoring dipped slightly from 2022-2023, but there’s no reason to think that Tatum can’t return to a 30-point bucket-getter nightly — even with one of the deepest starting lineups in the game.

The two-time All-Star led the league in assists for the first time this season and was one of two players to average at least 20 points with 10 dimes. As the point guard of a top-two team in Pace and possessions per game, Haliburton will continue to be a top-tier guard for fantasy when you include his efficiency and defensive output.

I had Hali in my early top-five last season, but his production trailed off in 2024 after a hamstring injury and Pascal Siakam’s arrival.

The 65-game mandate to qualify for NBA awards and All-NBA teams unexpectedly impacted a few players. Davis played a career-high 76 games this year after not playing more than 54 in the previous three seasons. And unsurprisingly, he was great, finishing as the only player to average at least 24 points with 12 rebounds, one steal and two blocks this season.

Davis is the only player to post those numbers in the last twenty years (and he’s done it three times). Since he’ll go to the locker room at least once a game, there will always be some injury risk associated with Davis.

The double-double machine is also one of the best passing bigs in the game. Sabonis dished out over eight assists per contest (a career-high), which helped Sabonis lead the league in triple-doubles. He’s durable and offers fantasy managers just about everything except blocks, threes and free-throw percentage, but his consistency makes him one of the most reliable centers in fantasy.

Like Giannis, he’s a points-league savant too.

Durant continues to have an ideal fantasy game laced with efficiency. Somehow, even after an Achilles injury, he’s still torching his peers, scoring 27 points a night with 52/41/86 shooting splits. Durant gets after it defensively, too, averaging over two stocks per game for the third time in his previous four seasons.

He’ll be 36 this year, and a potential deep run in the playoffs, plus an Olympic journey in Paris, could open up some questions about load management heading into next season. Still, I’ll wait to see how that shakes out. Until then, Durant is a top-12 option.

1.12: Chet Holmgren – PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder

My boldest selection in the top 12 goes to Chet Holmgren. I was between Stephen Curry and Trae Young, and I’ll undoubtedly adjust if either Trae Young or Dejounte Murray are traded, but I can’t deny the upside with Holmgren.

He finished fifth in the NBA in blocks and joins Wemby and AD as the only other players to average at least 16 points with seven rebounds and two blocked shots this year. The high block rate and efficiency from the field at such a young age have me intrigued enough to move him aggressively up the ranks heading into his second NBA season.

Don’t believe me? Getting six stocks in your first playoff game is different.

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