Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Essential Breakdown of My 2014-2015 Fantasy Basketball Draft

After wrapping up the longest fantasy baseball story ever told, I figured that if there was one thing that my loyal readers needed, it was more fantasy talk. But fear not,  my friends, as I have at least moved onto basketball. If you have not had your draft yet, this actually might be helpful, as I will highlight my best and worst picks while highlighting my own thinking on my picks in the round. We can trade draft picks in the league I am in, so just a heads up, I have 4 of the first 14 picks in the draft, and I am going to throw the world's biggest hissy fit if my team doesn't win the championship.

ROUND 1
1 LeBron James, Cle SF      The Outsiders
2 Anthony Davis, Nor PF   Flint Tropics
3 Kevin Durant*, OKC SF   The Outsiders
4 Stephen Curry, GS PG     Butt Stuff
5 Chris Paul, LAC PG         The Kid From Thunder Struck
6 James Harden, Hou SG     For the love of the game
7 Russell Westbrook, OKC PG Wennington Baseline
8 Blake Griffin, LAC PF     Team Agan
9 John Wall, Wsh PG           Team Roy
10 Carmelo Anthony, NY SF Team Ehrecke
11 DeMarcus Cousins, Sac C   The Outsiders
12 Serge Ibaka, OKC PF       Team schneider

Best Pick: Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo is about as much of a guarantee that you can get in the top ten. He has always been healthy, and he always finishes in the top 10. Worst case scenario is that you get the tenth most valuable guy at the ten spot. Carmelo may not be a winning player in real life, but he is one in fantasy. I was very disappointed that he got taken one spot ahead of me.

Worst Pick: Blake Griffin
It's tough to fault any of the picks in the first round, but you are taking a gamble that Blake is going to take a step forward this season. He definitely could, as everybody has been raving about his progress in the offseason, but even if he takes a step forward, he'd still only max out around the eighth most valuable player in the league.

My Pick(s): LeBron James, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins
I took LeBron #1, even though I doubt he is the number one rated guy at the end of the season. He is the safest guy to take that will guarantee be a top five guy, and I traded for so many top basketball picks that a safe pick here made total sense, especially with my second pick. Most people may think this is too high for Kevin Durant, but I am in a special situation where I can manage having him on my IR spot while he recovers and still be strong early on in the season. When healthy, he is the best fantasy player to have, so playoff time, I'll be ready to destroy people. Finally, I took DeMarcus Cousins. I would have liked Melo to fall to me, but I am totally good with Cousins, especially since he is just fun to cheer for. I definitely thought about Ibaka here, but in a toss-up situation, I'm going to take the guy I like more.

ROUND 2
13 Damian Lillard, Por PG   Team schneider
14 Kevin Love, Cle PF          The Outsiders
15 LaMarcus Aldridge, Por PF Team Ehrecke
16 Kawhi Leonard, SA SF    Team Roy
17 Ty Lawson, Den PG         Team Agan
18 Kyrie Irving, Cle PG        Wennington Baseline
19 Al Jefferson, Cha C          For the love of the game
20 Derrick Rose, Chi PG      It's Not The Same Macklemore
21 Dirk Nowitzki, Dal PF     Butt Stuff
22 Chris Bosh, Mia C           Flint Tropics
23 Kyle Lowry*, Tor PG      Team Marcysquirts
24 Goran Dragic, Pho PG     Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Derrick Rose
This is because I am a Bulls homer, but did you see him against the Cavs the other night? It was magical. D-Rose is BACK. If just one of my predictions for this year comes true, I want it to be me cruising to a fantasy championship, but if two of my predictions can come true, this is the one I am hoping for the second most.

Worst Pick: Kyrie Irving
The other guy on the Cavs is someone I'm not as sold on. He is going to have to work without the ball in his hands, and I don't see him adapting nearly as well as Love. Also, he does have injury issues, and I would not trust his health enough to invest a mid-2nd round pick.

My Pick: Kevin Love
Kevin Love is consistently a top-5 fantasy player when healthy. I understand he is no longer the number one option, but he is still going to be a huge focal point for that offense. With LeBron and Kyrie alongside him, he will get more open three opportunities, but can also hang out near the rim and get more chances for offensive rebounds and putbacks. I actually had him ahead of Cousins on my list but figured I could wait on Love as worst case, I would probably end up with Ibaka. Love fell, and I am very happy to have him.

ROUND 3
25 DeMar DeRozan, Tor SG Flint Tropics
26 Andre Drummond, Det C Team Marcysquirts
27 Dwight Howard, Hou C    The Kid From Thunder Struck
28 Nicolas Batum, Por SF     Butt Stuff
29 Monta Ellis, Dal SG         Team Ehrecke
30 Marc Gasol, Mem C         For the love of the game
31 Kenneth Faried, Den PF    Wennington Baseline
32 Joakim Noah, Chi C         Team Agan
33 Mike Conley, Mem PG    Team Roy
34 Kemba Walker, Cha PG   Team Ehrecke
35 Klay Thompson, GS SG   The Outsiders
36 Victor Oladipo, Orl SG    Team schneider

Best Pick: Joakim Noah
This was a tough one, but Noah provides so much in every category but three pointers that he may end up being the best big guy in this round despite being the last one taken. The other guy I would make an argument for is Mike Conley who is usually pretty healthy and will provide strong point guard numbers. He probably won't be a whole lot better than 33rd overall, but it is unlikely that he is much worse.

Worst Pick: Victor Oladipo
He put up solid numbers last year, but he had the ball in his hand a lot more than he will have it in his hands this year with the addition of Elfird Payton. He's a fine player, but I feel like his best case scenario is being around mid-30s at the end of the year, and if his shooting doesn't improve, he could be about twenty spots worse.

My Pick: Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson provides on the scoring stats, because the dude can shoot. But his defense has improved over the last few years, and I think he might improve some of his other counting stats as he has shown a more well-rounded game each year he has been in the league. He was a safe choice, who has some upside, but probably won't be too much more valuable than 35, and he does add value as shooting guard is a very shallow position in the NBA.

ROUND 4
37 Paul Millsap, Atl PF         Team schneider
38 Al Horford, Atl C              The Outsiders
39 Eric Bledsoe, Pho PG       Team Ehrecke
40 Rudy Gay, Sac SF            Team Roy
41 Kobe Bryant, LAL SG     Team Agan
42 Dwyane Wade, Mia SG    Wennington Baseline
43 DeAndre Jordan, LAC C   For the love of the game
44 Jabari Parker, Mil SF       It's Not The Same Macklemore
45 Nikola Vucevic, Orl C     Butt Stuff
46 Thaddeus Young, Min SF The Kid From Thunder Struck
47 Jrue Holiday, Nor PG       The Outsiders
48 Gordon Hayward, Uta SG Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Eric Bledsoe
I love Eric Bledsoe, as he could easily be a top 15 fantasy player if he stays healthy throughout the season. The issue with him is health and likely reduced playing time with the addition of Isaiah Thomas. Still, if he does stay healthy, he will outperform his draft slot and be a very valuable guy who can play both guard positions.

Worst Pick: Jabari Parker
With any rookie, there are going to be growing pains. Jabari is very talented, but he is not a generational talent, as he wasn't even the first pick in the draft. I do think he will likely be the best rookie, but considering some of the other talent available on the wings at this point in the draft, it was too much of a reach for my liking.

My Pick(s): Al Horford and Jrue Holiday
Al Horford is incredible at basketball. His pectorals are incredible at tearing in half. Did I take the wrong injury risk by going with him over Bledsoe? Possibly, but I am going to trust in Horford's talent and assume that pectorals will not constantly rip in two. When he's on the floor, he's one of the best big men in the league, and I have no doubt that he will outproduce his teammate, Paul Millsap, who was taken one pick before him. Also, I love Jrue Holiday. He is a really good point guard who has the talent around him to make plays. Health was a concern last year, but if he would have been healthy last year, he would probably be taken in the early third round. Without him, the Pelicans struggled, but they could make a huge leap with him running the show for the whole season.

ROUND 5
49 Ricky Rubio, Min PG              The Kid From Thunder Struck
50 Chandler Parsons, Dal SF        The Outsiders
51 Deron Williams, Bkn PG         The Kid From Thunder Struck
52 Derrick Favors, Uta PF            Butt Stuff
53 Brandon Jennings, Det PG          It's Not The Same Macklemore
54 Brook Lopez*, Bkn C              For the love of the game
55 Nerlens Noel, Phi C                 Wennington Baseline
56 Wesley Matthews, Por SG             Team Agan
57 Jeff Teague, Atl PG                  Team Roy
58 Josh Smith, Det SF                   Team Ehrecke
59 Pau Gasol, Chi PF                    Team Marcysquirts
60 Michael Carter-Williams*, Phi PG Team schneider

Best Pick: Wesley Matthews
Matthews has quietly turned into one of the best shooting guards in the league as the guy can flat out shoot. If you told me his stats at the end of the year were exactly the same as Klay Thompson's, I wouldn't be surprised (although as a Klay Thompson owner, I'd be slightly disappointed). He's just a really solid player. He won't be great, but he'll probably outperform his draft spot by about ten positions. A similar guy is Jeff Teague who was doing some great things when Horford was still healthy at the beginning of last year. In a completely different vein, Josh Smith has enough upside that his risk is worth it at this point.

Worst Pick: Michael Carter-Williams
He is coming off a serious injury so he will likely not be playing at the beginning of the season, and he is someone who was great at the beginning, but then really struggled while having a few bounceback moments at the end. His big question was his shooting, and I don't know if he really answered whether he can shoot. Making it worse is that Rajon Rondo was sitting there, who is better than MCW in just about every conceivable way. I hate Rondo, but I'd draft Satan for a fantasy championship.

My Pick: Chandler Parsons
The worst case scenario for Parsons is that he matches his Houston numbers, but I do think he has a good chance to improve on what he has done in the past. Having Dirk stretching the floor gives him an opportunity to penetrate where he is very good at finishing. Also, there are likely going to be some open three opportunities with Dirk on the outside and Monta driving to the hole. I was actually hoping for Gordon Hayward to fall a couple spots to me, but I was totally happy to still get Parsons.

ROUND 6
61 Tim Duncan, SA PF         Team schneider
62 Andrew Wiggins, Min SG Team Marcysquirts
63 David Lee, GS PF            Team Ehrecke
64 Rajon Rondo*, Bos PG    Team Roy
65 Terrence Jones, Hou PF    Team Agan
66 Luol Deng, Mia SF           Wennington Baseline
67 Tony Parker, SA PG        For the love of the game
68 Zach Randolph, Mem PF It's Not The Same Macklemore
69 Joe Johnson, Bkn SG        Butt Stuff
70 Bradley Beal*, Wsh SG   The Outsiders
71 Lance Stephenson, Cha SG Flint Tropics
72 Jonas Valanciunas, Tor C Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Rajon Rondo
Our league has a lot of Bulls fans, so that means we are required to hate Rondo, and that showed in our draft, as he was only drafted as high as he was because the guy who picked him didn't show up and auto-drafted his team. Still, Rondo is good in fantasy basketball situations, so it was probably the best pick of the round. But as a Bulls fan, Rondo is the worst.

Worst Pick: Andrew Wiggins
I think Wiggins will be solid this year, but the guy is raw. He can definitely have some 30 point performances, but consistently, I don't see him getting it done to the level of some of the other guys drafted in this round.

My Pick: Bradley Beal
This is me taking advantage of having many early picks and having the luxury to stock a talented player on my bench for first month or so. Beal is awesome, and I would have taken him two to three rounds earlier if he had been healthy. I could see him making a big step forward this year with his name being just behind James Harden's for best shooting guard in the league.

ROUND 7
73 Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mil SF Flint Tropics
74 Tyreke Evans, Nor SF              Team Marcysquirts
75 Marcin Gortat, Wsh C              It's Not The Same Macklemore
76 Kyle Korver, Atl SG                 Butt Stuff
77 George Hill, Ind PG                 It's Not The Same Macklemore
78 Trevor Ariza, Hou SF              For the love of the game
79 Greg Monroe, Det PF               Wennington Baseline
80 Brandon Knight, Mil PG          Team Agan
81 Markieff Morris, Pho PF          Team Roy
82 Ryan Anderson, Nor PF           Team Ehrecke
83 Elfrid Payton, Orl PG               Team Marcysquirts
84 Jeremy Lin, LAL PG                Team schneider

Best Pick: George Hill
Somebody has to put up points for the Pacers; why can't it be George Hill? The other options are not all that appealing. Hill will have the ball in his hands a lot more, and that alone should mean that he sees an uptick in his production.

Worst Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Everybody loves Giannis, but he has a long ways to go before he is a truly valuable fantasy option. He will show brilliant flashes throughout the year, but he is still raw. I think he takes a step forward, but taking him this early requires him taking a leap forward, and he is at least a year away from that.

My Pick: No Pick
This was a good round to not have a pick, as the talent is starting to get pretty uninspired.

ROUND 8
85 Tobias Harris, Orl PF       Team schneider
86 Reggie Jackson*, OKC PG Flint Tropics
87 Arron Afflalo, Den SG     Team Ehrecke
88 David West, Ind PF          Team Roy
89 Nikola Pekovic, Min C    Team Agan
90 Jose Calderon, NY PG     Wennington Baseline
91 Robin Lopez, Por C                 For the love of the game
92 J.J. Redick, LAC SG        It's Not The Same Macklemore
93 Jeff Green, Bos SF           Butt Stuff
94 Danilo Gallinari, Den SF The Kid From Thunder Struck
95 Darren Collison, Sac PG   Team Marcysquirts
96 Larry Sanders, Mil C        Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Larry Sanders
I feel like Sanders will bounce back from the year when everything went wrong. Him putting up 10-10 for points and rebounds while adding a couple blocks a game seems like a likely scenario.

Worst Pick: Tobias Harris
This was a really tough one, because none of these picks were really bad. They were mostly middle-of-the-road picks who are all kind of varying degrees of fine. The reason I picked Harris is because the Magic drafted Aaron Gordon who is also a fringy forward who can play either spot, and they are going to give him minutes to see what he can do. Oh yeah, and they added Channing Frye to soak up some minutes as well. Otherwise, I think Tobias Harris is a pretty solid player who I enjoyed having on my team at the end of last year.

My Pick: No Pick
This was kind of an uninspired round, so I didn't really have any regrets.

ROUND 9
97 Isaiah Thomas, Pho PG    The Outsiders
98 Roy Hibbert, Ind C           The Kid From Thunder Struck
99 Jimmy Butler*, Chi SG    The Kid From Thunder Struck
100 Kevin Martin, Min SG     Butt Stuff
101 Jared Sullinger, Bos PF    It's Not The Same Macklemore
102 Patrick Beverley, Hou PG    For the love of the game
103 Alec Burks, Uta SG          Wennington Baseline
104 Eric Gordon, Nor SG       Team Agan
105 Jordan Hill, LAL PF        Team Roy
106 Jamal Crawford, LAC SG Team Ehrecke
107 Tyson Chandler, Dal C         Team Marcysquirts
108 Omer Asik, Nor C            Team schneider

Best Pick: Roy Hibbert
This was an inspired round as there were a lot of high upside guys taken that could pay off. Hibbert was dominant at the beginning of last year, and I think he will be much closer to that than he will be to the guy who looked like a statue down the stretch and in the majority of the playoffs. He could easily lead the league in blocks. By the way, I liked a lot about this round as Butler was a nice value pick. Beverly is now a full-time point guard. Jordan Hill will put up counting stats on a terrible team, and Asik will get consistent minutes again to be the defensive anchor for the Pelicans.

Worst Pick: Kevin Martin
What is the benefit of giving Martin minutes over Wiggins and LaVine? Anyone? Anyone at all? Yeah, I think he will see a big decrease in minutes and production. He's also a likely trade candidate for a contender to have even less of a role off the bench.

My Pick: Isaiah Thomas
I love Isaiah Thomas this year. He was int he top 20 in fantasy production last year. He did switch teams, but the Suns have said they are planning on rotating all three of them in the game, so he can still expect to get 25-30 minutes, with the majority coming with the bench unit where he will have free reign to score at will. His numbers will drop, but not to the point where he should have fallen to this spot. I'm not sure if there was a player I was targeting harder than Thomas.

ROUND 10
109 Avery Bradley, Bos SG    Team schneider
110 Anderson Varejao, Cle C Team Marcysquirts
111 Trey Burke, Uta PG         Team Ehrecke
112 Mario Chalmers, Mia PG Team Roy
113 Andrew Bogut, GS C       Team Agan
114 Taj Gibson, Chi PF          Wennington Baseline
115 Nene Hilario*, Wsh PF    For the love of the game
116 Spencer Hawes, LAC C         Team Ehrecke
117 J.R. Smith, NY SG           Butt Stuff
118 John Henson, Mil PF       The Kid From Thunder Struck
119 Paul George*, Ind SF       The Outsiders
120 Julius Randle, LAL PF     Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Trey Burke
Man, I really wanted Trey Burke too, but it made sense that he didn't fall to me. I think Burke will take a significant step forward this year, and considering that Mario Chalmers went one pick after him, how good of a value must Burke be? Like, Burke could play the year with Ebola and still probably outproduce Mario Chalmers.

Worst Pick: Mario Chalmers
Let me just repeat this: Trey Burke could outproduce him with Ebola.

My Pick: Paul George
It's a keeper league, so Paul George in the 8th next year is incredible value, especially since he has already been seen knocking down jumpers. He might be back by Thanksgiving, who knows? But yeah, he'll hang out on IR this season, and next year, I get first round talent in the 8th.

ROUND 11
121 Dion Waiters, Cle SG      Flint Tropics
122 Doug McDermott, Chi SF   The Outsiders
123 Terrence Ross, Tor SG     The Kid From Thunder Struck
124 Enes Kanter, Uta C          Butt Stuff
125 Andre Iguodala, GS SF    It's Not The Same Macklemore
126 DeMarre Carroll, Atl SF         For the love of the game
127 Draymond Green, GS SF Wennington Baseline
128 Ersan Ilyasova, Mil PF     Team Agan
129 Josh McRoberts*, Mia PF Team Roy
130 Bojan Bogdanovic, Bkn SG Team Ehrecke
131 Jameer Nelson, Dal PG         Team Marcysquirts
132 C.J. Miles, Ind SF            Team schneider

Best Pick: Ersan Ilyasova
We're getting late in the draft, so it's going to be tough to find great picks. Ilyasova might get back to where he was a few years ago. It is at least a possibility.

Worst Pick: Dion Waiters
I do not like Waiters's chances of fitting in on this new-look Cavs team. I very much think he will find the doghouse quickly, and his best case scenario is getting traded to a bad team for a second round pick where they will not mind him throwing up ridiculous shots while teammates who are wide open slump their shoulders in disgust.

My Pick: Doug McDermott
He's kind of been doing a little bit of everything this preseason. I think his minutes will increase as the season goes on, and he will score no matter what. He's not great, but I think he can add top-100 value.

ROUND 12
133 Gorgui Dieng, Min C       Team schneider
134 JaVale McGee, Den C      Team Marcysquirts
135 Amir Johnson, Tor PF      It's Not The Same Macklemore
136 Matt Barnes, LAC SF     Team Roy
137 Marcus Smart, Bos PG      Team Agan
138 Tim Hardaway Jr., NY SG Wennington Baseline
139 Danny Green, SA SG       For the love of the game
140 Carlos Boozer, LAL PF         It's Not The Same Macklemore
141 Miles Plumlee, Pho PF     Butt Stuff
142 K.J. McDaniels, Phi SF    The Kid From Thunder Struck
143 James Ennis, Mia SF        The Kid From Thunder Struck
144 Paul Pierce, Wsh SF         Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Paul Pierce
Pierce still has old man game (old man game that he has had since age 16), so he should at least be a solid late round addition, especially early on with Beal out. That's not bad for the end of Round 12.

Worst Pick: James Ennis
Who is James Ennis? I am nearly positive he is a rookie, because his name sounds familiar. Did he play at Syracuse? Maybe. But I don't know who this is, and I know over 50 NBA players, so I will assume he is not good.

My Pick: No Pick
I cannot identify all of the players in this round, so I'm not too worried about missing out.

ROUND 13
145 Aaron Gordon, Orl PF      Team Marcysquirts
146 Otto Porter Jr., Wsh SF    The Outsiders
147 Nick Young*, LAL SG         The Kid From Thunder Struck
148 Andrea Bargnani, NY PF Butt Stuff
149 Channing Frye, Orl PF         It's Not The Same Macklemore
150 Timofey Mozgov, Den C For the love of the game
151 Anthony Morrow, OKC SG Wennington Baseline
152 Tony Wroten, Phi PG         Team Agan
153 Wilson Chandler, Den SF Team Roy
154 Jodie Meeks*, Det SG         It's Not The Same Macklemore
155 Dante Exum, Uta SG         Team Marcysquirts
156 Evan Turner, Bos SG         Team schneider

Best Pick: Channing Frye
Yeah, he is hurt to start the year, but he can be a nice fantasy addition when he comes back. They paid him a lot of money, so he will get minutes, and that is a nice asset in the final round.

Worst Pick: Jodie Meeks
If you hold onto Jodie Meeks until he gets healthy, you have a very sad fantasy basketball existence.

My Pick: Otto Porter Jr.
Beal is out early, so I am going to hope that Porter has discovered offense after struggling with injuries in his rookie year. He has a 50/50 shot of surviving two weeks on my roster.

When it comes down to it, my team is the heavy favorite, but Team Ehrecke and Flint Tropics both have a lot of talent on their rosters (Weirdly, two of my favorite picks from those teams play in Utah with Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward). If my team stays healthy, I'm untouchable, but I highly doubt that will happen, so the key will be filling out the back end of my roster, as there are definitely some changes on the horizon. Best of luck to everyone in your own fantasy basketball leagues, and if you can acquire 4 of the first 14 picks, do that; it will make things so much easier.

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