5 often undrafted players in fantasy basketball who you should consider picking up for the 2021-22 NBA season

2019 Powerade Jam Fest - Cole Anthony & Tyrese Maxey
2019 Powerade Jam Fest - Cole Anthony & Tyrese Maxey

With the 2021-22 NBA season officially underway, the fantasy basketball drafts have been completed. Teams are set, but trades are probably already being offered and there are sure to be current free agents that grow into larger contributors than most expected as the year progresses.

More often than not, at least two of the players on your roster will either be replaced or forcefully moved to injury reserve. Being the first to recognize a potential breakout candidate is crucial to fantasy NBA basketball success.

Rostering these steals before your opponents is the type of marginal win that leads to an eventual victory come season's end.

Here are five often undrafted fantasy players to keep and eye on and consider rostering for the 2021-22 NBA season.

#5 De'Andre Hunter

Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks

De'Andre Hunter struggled with a knee injury for the majority of his sophomore campaign. He appeared in 18 games, sat for the following 23 Atlanta Hawks showings, and made a quick appearance in two games before being sidelined until right before the playoffs came around.

After five NBA playoff games of significant playing time, the Hawks announced that Hunter had suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. They said it would require surgery and lead to him missing the remainder of the postseason.

Before his struggles began, the 23-year-old former fourth overall selection seemed on the cusp of a breakout season. He averaged 17.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists on 51.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three in his first 17 showings. That includes a 33 points performance against an elite defense from the Milwaukee Bucks.

Hunter will have to find a role on this Bucks' roster that is coming off postseason success, but his potential is apparent. Keep a close eye on the start to his season and be quick to make roster space for himself if he shows continued progress.

#4 Cole Anthony

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets

Young players who were not clear top of the draft, NBA talents, are regularly left unrostered in standard single-season fantasy leagues. Their production is inconsistent, often because their playtime time deserves to be given the same adjective.

The outliers come from those on teams that are focused on developing their young talent rather than winning basketball games in the immediate future. Cole Anthony and the Orlando Magic fit that bill perfectly, and Cole's well-rounded stat sheet could be kind to fantasy NBA basketball owners.

The UNC product averaged 12.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in his rookie season. His impressive rebounding for a 6'2" NBA guard stands out and adds to his nightly fantasy total.

While adding Jalen Suggs to the roster alongside Anthony, Markelle Fultz and RJ Hampton could lead to a complication with playing time, just be aware of Cole Anthony's early production in Orlando.

#3 Tyrese Maxey

Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four
Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four

I promise this will be the last young player to make the list because I have them pegged as breakout candidates for the 2021-22 NBA season. The reasoning for Tyrese Maxey seems more sound than the aforementioned two names, with Ben Simmons' situation in flux.

It has been reported that Tyrese Maxey is getting run with the starters in training camp. Maxey also started eight regular-season games last year and two of the three 2021-22 NBA preseason games he was available for.

While his 2020-21 NBA season averages are not something that would attract the eye of fantasy basketball owners, the intrigue comes when you look deeper. In the seven games where his minute total surpassed 25, he scored at least 15 points in all but one showing and 30 or more twice!

The 76ers are in desperate need of perimeter creation, and Tyrese Maxey could fill that void sooner than most people seem to expect.

#2 Marcus Morris Sr.

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four
Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four

With the extended absence of Kawhi Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers will need improved production from a handful of their key players. Paul George is the obvious candidate, but Marcus Morris has shown an ability to increase his scoring output while remaining efficient.

In the 2019-20 NBA season as a member of the New York Knicks, Morris averaged 19.6 points and 5.4 rebounds over 43 total games. While that half-season is understandably viewed as an outlier for Morris, he has his moments of 30 point games as recent as last year in the NBA.

Again, Morris is a player that I will be monitoring closely throughout the infancy of the 2021-22 NBA season to see if there are signs of a scoring jump incoming.

#1 Patty Mills

Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets
Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets

The complications with Kyrie Irving playing for the Brooklyn Nets in the 2021-22 NBA season are well documented. James Harden has proven more than capable of functioning as a point guard and initiator on offense, but I'm not sure he should be asked to chase around the opposing small guards.

This is where Patty Mills fills in perfectly. Mills is a gifted off-ball NBA talent who can continuously run through screens and knock down threes off movement while remaining pesky on the defensive end of the court. His playing time in Brooklyn to fill the void of Irving could continue to grow with time.

After his 21 point performance, with a perfect seven of seven from beyond the arc, on opening night I wouldn't be surprised if so many fantasy owners are already finding ways to roster Mills.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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