Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reviewing My Fantasy Basketball Draft - Part 1

My annual fantasy basketball draft was held this past Tuesday, and as opposed to a free-for-all with everyone having a chance to take home a title, this is more a ceremony, almost a coronation, if you will, as I have yet again acquired a ton of basketball assets to put myself in prime position to take home another fantasy basketball championship. Since we can trade between leagues, I had an extra first and fourth round pick as well as a couple prime keepers. But, just for fun, we'll take a look at the draft, and see who has the best chance of coming in second place this year. Today will be rounds 1-5, with the rest coming next week.

ROUND 1
1             Anthony Davis, Nor PF     The Kid From Thunder Struck
2             Stephen Curry, GS PG       The Outsiders
3             LeBron James, Cle SF       Flint Tropics
4             James Harden, Hou SG    The Outsiders
5             Kevin Durant, OKC SF       Team Autoprick
6             Russell Westbrook, OKC PG          For the love of the game
7             Serge Ibaka, OKC PF         Wilson Chandler Bing
8             DeMarcus Cousins, Sac C               Kissing Cousins
9             Chris Paul, LAC PG            Butt Stuff
10           John Wall, Wsh PG           For the love of the game
11           Blake Griffin, LAC PF        Unleash the Dragic
12           Damian Lillard, Por PG     Wennington Baseline
Best Pick: Damian Lillard
Lillard was a top-10 fantasy player last year, and now LaMarcus Aldridge is gone, so I really can’t see him taking a step backwards. I would have strongly considered him as high as pick six, as I have Westbrook, Cousins, Wall, and him all rated very close together. He won’t supply much on the defensive side of the ball, but his offense will more than make up for it, and it really wouldn’t shock me if he took a leap into that Steph Curry/James Harden fantasy guard monster group.

Worst Pick: Serge Ibaka
What? For a second, I thought the ESPN Fantasy Draft room was having a glitch and forcing everyone to take Oklahoma City Thunder players. I was fully expecting Enes Kanter to go #8 off the board, but alas, it was just an…interesting pick. I am lower than most on Serge as he didn’t step up last year with Durant out, and his numbers are going in the wrong direction. As a guy who depends on his athleticism more than most, I don’t really see those numbers rebounding, as he’s only going to get less springy with age.

My Picks: Stephen Curry and James Harden
Steph Curry was a no brainer with the #2 pick. He had ankle issues earlier in his career, but he’s shown he can stay healthy, so I’m not too concerned about the injury bug popping up again. He was the best fantasy player last year, and I think there is a good chance he has a repeat performance.

James Harden was the pick that I struggled with. Before the draft, I knew I wanted either Harden or Durant with this pick and figured one of them would be off the board at #3. Since LeBron went at 3, I had to think about everything that I have read about Harden and Durant. Durant has the higher ceiling, but that foot injury terrified me. James Harden started hanging out with a Kardashian, and his minutes may go down now that Houston has an improved bench. But I also heard that Harden is pissed about not winning the MVP last year and has something to prove. I went with the safer choice in Harden as even if he takes a step back, he’s probably a top-8 fantasy performer and considering the assets that I acquired for this draft, the safe choice was the right choice for me.

ROUND 2
13           Klay Thompson, GS SG     Wennington Baseline
14           Carmelo Anthony, NY SF Unleash the Dragic
15           Kawhi Leonard, SA SF      Duncan's Donuts
16           LaMarcus Aldridge, SA PF              Butt Stuff
17           Paul Millsap, Atl PF           Kissing Cousins
18           Eric Bledsoe, Pho PG        Wilson Chandler Bing
19           Rudy Gobert, Uta C          For the love of the game
20           Nikola Vucevic, Orl C       Team Autoprick
21           Victor Oladipo, Orl SG     oladipOOOOYEA YOURHOT!!!!!!
22           Gordon Hayward, Uta SG              Flint Tropics
23           Chris Bosh, Mia C             The Outsiders
24           Andre Drummond, Det C The Kid From Thunder Struck
Best Pick: Carmelo Anthony
I am a sucker for Carmelo. The dude is just so naturally gifted at basketball. He’s just so smooth and effortless out there. If he’s healthy, I don’t see how he’s not a top-10 guy, and really, who else is putting up numbers on the Knicks? The Knicks added enough talent to help facilitate Melo without really making a dent in his numbers.

Worst Pick: Rudy Gobert
As you can tell from my best and worst picks, I am a points whore, so I’m not huge on the defensive specialists that either barely add or hurt your offensive categories. Also, Gobert has a fairly limited sample size of success, so I’m not fully ready to buy in on the guy in the second round.

My Pick: Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh is super good at basketball. Had he stayed healthy, he would have been a top-15 guy. The blood clots are not a long-term issue, so I don’t see why he can’t pick up where he left off last year. Miami does have some more weapons this year, so there could be a slight dropoff, but my team is focused on winning the small ball categories, and Bosh is a guy that fits in perfectly with my fantasy philosophy.

ROUND 3
25           Rudy Gay, Sac SF               The Kid From Thunder Struck
26           Al Horford, Atl C               The Outsiders
27           Kevin Love, Cle PF            Flint Tropics
28           Hassan Whiteside, Mia PF             oladipOOOOYEA YOURHOT!!!!!!
29           Marc Gasol, Mem C         Team Autoprick
30           Chandler Parsons, Dal SF For the love of the game
31           Jeff Teague, Atl PG           Wilson Chandler Bing
32           Kyle Lowry, Tor PG           Kissing Cousins
33           Pau Gasol, Chi PF              Butt Stuff
34           Brook Lopez, Bkn C          Duncan's Donuts
35           Goran Dragic, Mia PG      Unleash the Dragic
36           Nerlens Noel, Phi C          Wennington Baseline
Keeper: Nerlens Noel

Best Pick: Kyle Lowry
I came very close to drafting Kyle Lowry. He has gotten in really good shape, which I know is bogus a lot of the time, but dude looks like he lost 20 pounds of fat off of his body. With a slimmer body, there is a better likelihood of him holding up throughout the entire season, which has really been his only question mark these past few years. He’s a menace on defense, and he sets the table on offense. I had him rated much higher than the other point guards taken in this round.

Worst Pick: Hassan Whiteside
I promise that I will not only pick big dudes who block shots on my list of worst picks, but I definitely have a type I don’t like, and it seems to be those guys. But honestly, if Whiteside does what he does, then this is a totally fine pick. The problem is that the guy has had troubles off the court, and even when he was successful last year, he still made poor decisions that got him in trouble. There’s a little upside with Whiteside, but there is tremendous downside with him, and that’s why I would have stayed away this early in the draft.

My Pick: Al Horford
I love Al Horford. This is the third straight year me and Al are going to pair together to dominate a fantasy basketball league. The first year he was doing great until he got injured for the year. The second year he did exactly what he was supposed to do and was great all year long. There is very little difference between Horford and Millsap, but Horford was rated criminally low by ESPN. In Yahoo, he was rated as the 13th best player. I think that’s a little high, but I will gladly take him twice as late as that, as I do think he will be a top-20 player.

ROUND 4
37           Reggie Jackson, Det PG   Wennington Baseline
38           Kenneth Faried, Den PF   Unleash the Dragic
39           Kyrie Irving*, Cle PG         Duncan's Donuts
40           DeAndre Jordan, LAC C   Butt Stuff
41           Derrick Favors, Uta PF     Kissing Cousins
42           Nicolas Batum, Cha SF    Wilson Chandler Bing
43           Monta Ellis, Ind SG           For the love of the game
44           Jonas Valanciunas, Tor C               Team Autoprick
45           Brandon Knight, Pho PG                 The Outsiders
46           Karl-Anthony Towns, Min C           Flint Tropics
47           Bradley Beal, Wsh SG      The Outsiders
48           Al Jefferson, Cha C           The Kid From Thunder Struck
Best Pick: Jonas Valanciunas
Valanciunas was the 40th ranked player last year, and he’s a young Center who has gotten better every year. I think he continues to get better and could become a top-30 guy. It is stupid that this is my favorite pick, since this guy didn’t even show up, and he just got an autopick of Jonas when he probably would have taken somebody stupid.

Worst Pick: Reggie Jackson
I think Reggie Jackson is worthy of this pick to start the season, but Brandon Jennings is going to be coming back, and I don’t know what that means for Reggie Jackson. I think Jackson remains the starter, but I have to think he’ll be giving some of the ball handling responsibilities to Jennings by the end of the year which could diminish him for the playoffs.

My Picks: Brandon Knight and Bradley Beal
Brandon Knight is my guy for this year’s draft. That guy that I am way obsessed with and was going to throw a hissy fit if he didn’t end up on my team. There are a few things that really stand out for me with Knight. The Suns acquired him and got rid of Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic, so that means that they believe that Knight will not only fit in their system but flourish. Next, all Suns guards put up big time fantasy numbers, so that is pretty sweet. Finally, point guards take some time. It’s rare for a guy to set the world on fire right away. His teammate, Eric Bledsoe, is a great example. So is former Sun, Goran Dragic. So is John Wall, and that last name is the one that has me excited. Knight is super talented, and although he’s not John Wall, I could see him making a big step forward and getting into the conversation along with some of the top guards in the league. I love me some Brandon Knight.

Bradley Beal is a guy who always ends up on my team, always fails me because of injuries, and yet I can’t quit him. I’m probably putting too much stock in his playoff run last year, but he has that sort of elite talent, and if he’s healthy, then he should be able to show that. Washington needs scorers, and Beal is the type of guy that can put up 20 a game while also helping out in a lot of other categories. Come on Brad Beal, this is the year.

ROUND 5
49           Andrew Wiggins, Min SG The Kid From Thunder Struck
50           Mike Conley, Mem PG     The Outsiders
51           Ty Lawson, Hou PG          Flint Tropics
52           Giannis Antetokounmpo*, Mil SF Flint Tropics
53           Khris Middleton, Mil SF    Team Autoprick
54           Tobias Harris, Orl PF        For the love of the game
55           Tyreke Evans*, Nor SF     Wilson Chandler Bing
56           Derrick Rose, Chi PG        Kissing Cousins
57           Kemba Walker, Cha PG   Butt Stuff
58           Tim Duncan, SA PF            Duncan's Donuts
59           Dwight Howard*, Hou C Unleash the Dragic
60           Greg Monroe, Mil PF       Wennington Baseline
Keeper: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Best Pick: Andrew Wiggins
If I didn’t have a strong obsession with Bradley Beal, Wiggins would have been a really nice pick for my team. But he’s a nice pick for any team. He was good last year and showed glimpses of the potential to be great. The big question with him is scoring, but he’s a freak of an athlete, so everything else will get better and better these next few years.

Worst Pick: Dwight Howard
Surprisingly, this was the toughest round I had in finding a worst pick. It’s at the level where you’re not super excited about guys, but they all seem pretty good, and I could imagine any of these guys giving top-40 production. I probably should have gone with Derrick Rose, but I can’t do that to D-Rose, so I’ll go with another guy with injury issues and say that Dwight is probably not going to get a ton of minutes this year as they try to preserve him for the playoffs and take advantage of their bench depth. Also, even when healthy, Dwight is trending downwards, and I don’t see that reversing.

My Pick: Mike Conley
I have never had Mike Conley, but I’m excited to give it a try. I was a huge fan of his back in his Ohio State days, and he is one of the better examples of my Brandon Knight theory where point guards take a while to mature into great basketball players. I do think that Ty Lawson has a higher upside, but Mike Conley made sense in that he provides very little downside and provide in the categories where I need him to excel.

That's all for today. We'll hit up Rounds 6-10 on Monday before finishing up the final rounds and overall predictions on Tuesday.

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