This article is part of our NBA Draft Kit series.
Separating players into tiers is a popular method of draft prep, and it de-emphasizes the idea that you must draft a player because his projections come out slightly more favorably than those of another player. Often, the difference between a player ranked, say, 30th and a player ranked 45th is smaller than you think.
Tiers help account for those discrepancies by grouping together players with similar risk/reward profiles, empowering the fantasy owner to make the choice for themselves.
Some notes on methodology:
- Tiers take into account players with top-120 upside. Essentially, players that could reasonably come off the board in a standard draft.
- Players within tiers are not ranked in a specific order. Ideally, everyone in a tier has an argument to be taken over anyone else in that tier.
- Plenty of players are multi-position eligible, but to avoid confusion and redundancy, each player only appears at what we assume to be their primary position
- Tiers are based on 8-category, rotisserie scoring
Tier 1: Potential No. 1 Overall Pick
James Harden, Rockets
The MVP runner-up put together another dominant offensive campaign last season, winning the scoring title by more than eight points per game. Harden's 40.5% usage rate ranked second all-time, and he added 7.5 assists, 6.6 rebounds and career-best 2.0 steals per game. After another postseason flame-out, the Rockets swapped Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, which makes projecting the new backcourt duo a difficult task. At the end of the day, though, the Rockets are Harden's