The start of the NBA season brings new beginnings for NBA Fantasy managers all over the world. For those of us in the Any1SeenMyDime? fantasy basketball league hosted by ESPN, we couldn't be more excited.
So to celebrate the start of the season, I've decided to do what they've done on ESPN: analyze my picks and my opponents' picks, and give insights to how the draft shook-out. In other words, I'm going to give you expert analysis by a non-expert: me.
To my opponents, I say: You may or may not agree with how I analyze you...I really don't care. Just know that you are going to lose, and at the end of this season, you will be a part of the mediocre rubble on which I stand.
I was the first one in the draft room this year. I was certain I was due for an improvement when it came to the randomized draft order… but sometimes certainty can fail a guy. I was 5th… again. Now, while I was slightly upset that I wasn’t one of the top two (I think we can all agree that there is a HUGE drop-off in Fantasy brilliance after KD and LeBron), I realized it could have been worse. I could have been 10th. (Yes, that’s a dig at Rodriguez. Ha).
Here's the link to our Draft Recap, you can follow along, if you'd like. http://games.espn.go.com/fba/tools/draftrecap?leagueId=33535
Round 1: Who do you like?
What I liked: Every team actually picked players I would consider top 12 fantasy players. Seriously. It was good to finally see Josh Smith get the attention he deserved in the first round after being relegated to the sloppy-second rounds for years.
What I didn’t like: Didn’t Mike Holmes and Will Harnish have the 1st and 2nd picks last year? Super lame-gay. (And yes, I AM using gay to mean stupid, because that’s what my generation does and it’s OK.) I was surprised that Rodriguez took Kobe. A die-hard Spurs fan picks Kobe Bryant? My fingers feel dirty just from typing that sentence.
What I was thinking: I was actually right where I wanted to be IF I wasn’t going to be 1st or 2nd. I was going to be perfectly content with whoever fell to me at 5. (That’s a lie.) In reality, I wanted Kevin Love. He was projected 3rd pick overall BEFORE his injury, and the guy stuffs the stat sheet with excellent percentages. Willie made a comment that Curtis would take Love while on auto draft, and I freaked out a little bit. I was MORE than relieved to see Love wasn’t taken before I had the chance. Although I did hesitate and consider taking DWill. Even if it was only for a second. But I knew I wanted Kevin Love, and if I waited until the 2nd round there’s NO WAY I’d get him. You’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about KLove as the season progresses.
Round two is interesting because it gives some managers the chance to get players that could easily be first rounders. Normally, Al Jefferson, Dirk Nowitzki, and Pau Gasol could easily be included in this category. But there were a LOT of new faces in round 2, and I didn’t like it one bit!
What I liked: Team Little pairing Melo with Rondo. I really don’t like Rondo, but I can’t deny the production. The only other think I liked: Al Jefferson and Pau Gasol. These two guys are always borderline 1st rounders, always consistent and predictable. That’s what Fantasy is all about.
What I didn’t like: All the new faces in round 2. Maybe I’m just getting old, but this seems crazy that almost all of these guys were late rounders last year and are 2nd rounders this year: Ty Lawson, Kyrie Irving, Serge Ibaka (really, Mike?), James Harden (obviously theres upside with Harden now that he’s a Rocket, but that’s still a giant mystery… he’s a bench player. Doesn’t any of this remind you of 2009, when Houston took Trevor Ariza from the Lakers? Yeah, that didn’t turn out well.) I also hate the fact that Willie drafted Goran Dragic BEFORE Steve Nash. Are you kidding me? You have some serious explaining to do, because that’s ridiculous. A lot of unproven players were drafted this round. It will be interesting to see who pans out. And of course, Mike Holmes drafting Steve Nash. I don’t get what it is that people don’t understand when I say “If you draft Steve Nash, you will get punched in the balls.” Mike, I was nice to you by letting your brother join this year. I thought we were on good terms. Apparently not.
What I was thinking: Nash was ranked in the 30’s and I had the 29th pick in the 3rd round. That’s when I would take him. So I had to settle on a big man. Al Jeff and Pau were sitting right there… but I’ve never really like Big Al… and I was sick of having Pau on my team (two years in a row). I needed something different. DeMarcus Cousins? Really? Ugh… I guess.
The third round is still a great time to get great players. David Lee and Dirk Nowitzki were once first-round picks. If you can grab one of them here, you'll do well for yourself.
What I liked: Honestly, I think a lot of these guys will end up being 2nd rounders. N’Dongers paired the Gasol brothers together via autopick, and Brandon picked up Al Horford (who I covet). The fact that Mike Conley and Monta Ellis are grabbed this round is tasty.
What I didn’t like: That Kobe didn’t drop to the 3rd round like last year. I like what Mike Harnish said in the draft room: “I blame Steve Nash.” Another thing I didn’t like: Anthony Davis. Really Willie? You’re killing me. I honestly don’t see what the hype is about. Yay, he has a unibrow… big deal.
What I was thinking: I was still a little flustered that Nash was gone. I was fully expecting to get him in the 3rd round, where he belongs. Now I had to adjust, and rethink my entire draft strategy. It really came down to Rudy Gay or Al Horford. With OJ Mayo completely out of the picture in Memphis, Rudy will be back to his dominating ways. Plus, I like a SF that can rebound, defend, and shoot threes.
Round 4: Effeciency
What I liked: There were a lot of players picked this round that used to be borderline 1st rounders: Steph Curry, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Danny Granger. If you were able to snag any of these guys, I salute you. I love that Gortat is up here.
What I didn’t like: Ryan Anderson. Not that he doesn’t belong, just that he can’t be my LAST pick of the draft like he was last year. Nice grab, Josh. I feel like Willie really stretched to grab Kenneth Faried (he claims it is of necessity because of his draft position, I’m just not sure he’s worth it)
What I was thinking: What can I do to piss off Mike Holmes? Haha Just kidding. I knew I wanted another big, and Brook Lopez seemed like my best bet. I have made this same bet several times before and lost. Why is he such a terrible rebounder??
Round 5: Fantasy Gold
What I liked: This is the round that really resonated with me. A lot of really solid fantasy players were drafted, guys with high upside and loads of talent. Batum, Tyreke, Holiday, Gallinari, Afflalo, Bargnani. These are names I like!
What I didn’t like: STAT. It’s just sad. The guys got $60 million for the next 3 years and yet he doesn’t seem worth it. Guys get paid and then lay eggs. It’s the sad truth.
What I was thinking: Luol Deng has to be one of the most underrated players in fantasy basketball. He can do everything on the court and with Derrick Rose possibly out for the season, he’ll be the man in Chicago. I expect a career year, Deng it!
Round 6: ? marks
What I liked: Kyle Lowry is in Canada, even though Jose Calderon is still in town. ZBo to team Little, who at this point is having a quietly stellar draft. Gerald Wallace feels like a steal here.
What I didn’t like: Curtis drafting Ginobli. With the new anti flopping rules, Manu is going to run out of money. Mike Harnish being “a sucker for Boozer,” as his brother Willie put it. And Tyson Chandler picked by newcomer Daniel Holmes. Chandler is soooo 2011.
What I was thinking: It was the 6th round, and I still hadn’t drafted a PG. Unheard of. So then I looked at the list… and John Wall was just sitting there. He should be back by Thanksgiving, and he’s better than Goran Dragic. (Oh… burn, Willie.) I would know, I WAS a Suns fan.
Rounds 7-8: Shooting Guards Galore
What I liked: Team Little grabbing Scola and Mayo (so predictable!), while Shai pairs Jason Terry and Chauncey. Willie finally made two picks that make sense: Glen Davis and Nikola Pekovic. And Josh grabs MKG. Deliciousness!
What I didn’t like: Michael Beasley in round 8. Mike Holmes dropped way down to grab one of the most overrated, inconsistent, and underachieving fantasy players ever. (Mostly, I was looking at grabbing him in round 9.)
What I was thinking: I was looking for a shooting guard… but didn’t see any that I liked. Then emerged Lou Williams. A PG/SG combo guard that can score in bunches and might actually get to start this year. He’s another guy I expect huge things from. I still needed another PG and there really was only one other on my list: Ricky Rubio. He’s hurt but will be back at some point this season. Hopefully its sooner rather than later. In hind sight, I should have drafted Beasley and then grabbed Rubio in the 9th. But whatever.
Rounds 9-13 Garbage Time
I picked Jonas Valanciunas (coolest name of the draft), DJ Augustin, Jeff Green, Brandon Roy, and Kirk Hinrich, respectively. I was happy to grab BRoy, a former borderline 1st rounder in round 12. Definitely a high-risk, high-reward move. And Hinrich should be in for a solid year since Derrick Rose may not even play this year.
The best pick of the draft was the last one, when Team Little won the Kwame Brown Lottery and was burdened with human garbage/ an idiot face. A tip of the hat to Team Little, for making our draft complete.
As to analyzing who had the best draft… this is a little tough. I don’t think Mike Harnish helped his chances of making his team name a reality. And I’m still baffled by Willie’s early round choices (although it doesn’t really matter because he has KD, and the Durantula will make him relevant by himself). Sean and Curtis were waylaid by the auto draft, and while the Holmes brothers started out strong, they seemed to fade in the late rounds. Josh took a lot of chances by drafting 3 rookies. Ryan, Shai, and Brandon’s teams all look solid… and my team won’t be competitive until Kevin Love gets back from injury. That leaves Team Little as my pick as having the best draft this year, with the 12th pick in the draft! Every person on his team will start and log big minutes. Proof that you don’t have to be one of the top two to assemble a quality team through the draft.