This is the 7th year of our fantasy basketball league and I try to do a draft recap as before the season starts. It lets me put my full bias into my thoughts without any regular season stats tallied yet. You’ll see the usual for each round: what I like, what I don’t like, and what I was thinking. You can follow along with the draft order here: http://games.espn.go.com/fba/tools/draftrecap?leagueId=33535
Round 1: Can you go wrong with any of these guys?
What I liked: Obviously the Brow and Steph going 1 and 2. I like seeing LeBrick out of the conversation for #1 and seeing him fall to 6 is pretty good. I probably would even take the likes of Damian Lillard above LeBron in most fantasy formats. (Lillard could be MVP this year.)
What I didn’t like: Nothing. Statistically speaking, all 10 of these guys should stuff the stat sheet this year.
What I was thinking: Rodriguez had the first pick… but was also on his Honeymoon. Obviously, he had his priorities straight. Or did he? I had a hard time with the 2nd pick. I wanted Steph. I wanted KD. And to be honest, I almost pulled the trigger on Lillard. He’s probably the only one who will play all 82 games this year, and with Aldridge in San Antonio and the ball in his hands, he’s going to have HUGE games this year. I ultimately chose Steph because of his defensive abilities. And I love him, and his game.
Round 2: Possible 1st rounders
What I liked: You could make the case that some of these guys drafted in Round 2 could be drafted in Round 1. LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul George, and Melo are your typical borderline 1st rounders. Klay Thompson is only getting better, and Jimmy Butler was awesome last year.
What I didn’t like: Two words. Rudy. Gobert. Really, Willie? I know you love the Jazz. But round 2 is not a round for risk. Gobert has upside… but not #11 upside. Also, Luther passing on Paul George. Unexplainable for a guy who swears by his Indiana teams.
What I was thinking: I wanted either Melo or LA. Carmelo should lead the league in scoring (or close to it.) And he does enough in the other categories that I was happy with him at 19. Plus he’s a SF/PF combo.
Round 3: Where the draft is won.
What I liked: A lot of big guys flying off the board.
What I didn’t like: Draymond Green was my waiver wire pick-up last year. He was great. But without improving his 3PM, I don’t see him as a 3rd round pick. DeAndre Jordan. Gross. In a league that counts FT% and FT missed, Jordan is a plague.
What I was thinking: I wanted Vucevic all of last year. He is skilled offensively for a center, has great range and touch, and the Magic will run their offense through him. Marc Gasol probably has better defensive stats. But Vucevic will be an All-Star.
Round 4: Also where the draft is won
What I liked: A lot of great talent still available in this round. Rudy Gay has always been a favorite of mine, as he does a little bit of everything. Al Horford is apparently shooting 3’s this year.
What I didn’t like: This is OBVIOUS. I had my fingers crossed that KLove would drop to 39. I knew the chances were slim with Jared in front of me. But Mikey had no business grabbing Love. Completely uncalled for. I still don’t see KLove as a legit superstar, like he was in the past. But I still KLove him. (See what I did there?)
What I was thinking: I would have been ecstatic to get Love at 39. But I already knew chances were slim. I was happy with Lowry in round 4. I feel he’s extremely undervalued and is easily a 2nd round pick. He was my targeted PG in this years draft.
Round 5: Last chance to win your draft
What I liked: This is the round where we see the last of the really great fantasy players go off the board. Batum should be beastly in Charlotte this year. The Greek Freak is just fun to own.
What I didn’t like: Kyrie is coming off a major injury and probably won’t be the player he’s been in the past. Isaiah Thomas is coming off the bench in Boston.
What I was thinking: I love PGs. I already drafted Steph and Lowry. I felt Ty Lawson is going to have a huge year in Houston along side the Beard. Ty and James Harden have a similar style of play: fast. They both penetrate, attack the basket, and drive and dish. There’s plenty of that to go back-and-forth so I expect Ty’s assists and 3s to be high this year.
Round 6: A few question marks
What I liked: Karl-Anthony Towns could be the rookie of the year. Mike Conley is a great pickup at this point in the draft (there’s that PG love again).
What I didn’t like: A lot of question marks. Can Wiggins repeat on last years performance? Will Monta Ellis and PG13 coexist in Indiana? Is Reggie Jackson a legit starting PG? Does Dirk have anything left? Is Danny Green effected by Pops regimented playing time?
What I was thinking: The only sure-fire picks in this round were Mike Conley and Tobias Harris. I already picked point guards and I needed a PF. I had Tobias Harris on my team last year and he can do everything. He’s going to play a ton of minutes for Orlando and pairing him with Vucevic made sense. Plus he has SF eligibility.
Round 7: Former 1st rounders
What I liked: There were several former 1st round picks in this round. Tyreke Evans, DRose, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade. That made for some interesting justifications. When seeing these names, you can’t help but be tempted to pick them as you consider their past fantasy season greatness. C.J. McCollum. He could be in for a huge year starting along side Damian Lillard.
What I didn’t like: Tim Duncan. He’s old and slow and in Pops system. He’s not going to play every night.
What I was thinking: I was looking hard at Greg Monroe. He’s always been a solid fantasy player, capable of a double double every night. I saw DRose. (Curse my love for PGs!) It took me down to the last second to pick Derrick Rose. I know he hasn’t been healthy, and he got hurt in practice already. But it looks like he’s going to start the season opener. And sometimes you gotta take risks… on guys like Derrick Rose… for the 3rd season in a row…
Rounds 8-9: Potential Rock Stars
What I liked: Brandon taking ZBo again. DeMar DeRozan is probably the best SG value out of this group. Ryan Anderson is STILL the darling of our league. Thaddeus Young is a great pick here.
What I didn’t like: All the SGs. Probably the least valuable position in fantasy basketball, as players in other positions are starting to shoot further away from the hoop. I’m just not a fan of SGs in fantasy, especially when I can get a PG that qualifies as SG as well. (I still get 3s from PGs plus better assists and and defensive stats.) I still hate Kobe. And seeing Rajon Rondo anywhere near a basketball team is ridiculous. He’s going to destroy the Kings organization from the inside out.
What I was thinking: PGs. Like I said. I can get a lot of value from a PG. Especially someone like Michael Carter-Williams who is a triple-double threat. I think Emmanuel Mudiay could contend for Rookie of the Year honors as the starting PG for the Denver Nuggets.
Round 10-11: Draft strategy goes out the window
What I liked: It’s generally at this point I draft ‘flyers’. Guys I think should be really good, even though they might not. Trevor Ariza should be good again this year. Gortat is better than people think. Marcus Smart is starting for Boston.
What I didn’t like: Everything about round 10 (except for Ilyasova). JR Smith is terrible. Joakim Noah probably wont start this year. Terrance Jones, Robin Lopez, and Enes Kanter are all question marks.
What I was thinking: I panicked. I had one sleeper pick this year. Meyers Leanard. I could have drafted Gortat. But no… I freaked out and picked Leonard fearing someone else might snag him. (A young freak athlete that is a starting big man filling the hole left by LA and can shoot 3s.) We’ll see how long he stays on my roster. Jrue Holiday is supposed to be on a minutes restriction with his stress-fractured broken leg. But with Tyreke Evans out, I don’t see how the Pelicans can be competitive without Holiday. They need him to get back to the playoffs. He may get a full compliment of minutes sooner than January.
Round 12-13: The end of it all
What I liked: A lot of old, interesting players. Kevin Martin, Tony Parker, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Jeff Green, Luol Deng, Josh Smith. These guys used to be fantasy gold. Now? Who knows?
What I didn’t like: Patrick Beverly. Yuck. Josh Smith. Yuck.
What I was thinking: Once again. I freaked out. I was looking for Marcus Smart. I didn’t realize he’d been taken so I half-hazzardly grabbed Julius Randle and Alec Burks. Randle has a lot of upside as the starting PF for the Lakers. And Burks was the surprise of fantasy last year until he was injured, he’s just not a good 3pt shooter for a SG (which drives me crazy).
All in all, I hope everyone had fun. Should be a great year for basketball. I’ll see ya’ll in the playoffs. (Except for 2 of you). Overall I think I fared okay in my draft. 7 PGs is a bit much… but then again… maybe not. You never know.