For the first time in a long time, I participated in an NBA fantasy league draft with other members of the hoops crew at numberFire.
I’m not entirely sure how these draft fables go over with readers — whether or not they’re entertaining or completely useless — but here’s a trip through the snake drafting process of a novice with the second-overall pick in a 12-team head-to-head format.
And to better set the scene for strategy, the scoring format consists of nine categories: field goal percentage (FG%), free throw percentage (FT%), three-point shots made (3PTM), points scored (PTS), total rebounds (REB), assists (AST), steals (ST), blocked shots (BLK), and turnovers (TO).
Additionally, each roster consists of 13 guys: 10 starters and three bench spots.
Round 1 (Pick 2) – LeBron James
Not a whole lot of shock and awe going on here. I did contemplate taking longtime man crush Kevin Durant and fighting through the first 12-20 games of the season without him, but that was a tough maneuver given my experience.
It’s LeBron. He’ll get me some of everything. He’s durable. I’m pleased.
Round 2 (11) – Nicolas Batum
While Bron Bron was great in the first, I felt the wrath of the snake quite early, as I had to wait another 20 picks before turning in the card on my main man’s wingman.
Heading into the second round, my goal was LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, and John Wall — probably in that order. Unsurprisingly, Aldridge was gone at 2.4 and Wall was gone at 2.6. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting excited about the chance of Leonard falling to me.
Leonard goes at 2.9, then Horford, then I rebound with Nicolas Batum — a versatile running mate alongside James who gives me good minutes, points, rebounds, and decent assist numbers. Another pleasing pick here.
Round 3 (2) – Joakim Noah
Immediately after taking Batum, I felt a sense of urgency to go big in the next couple rounds. a
Marc Gasol was available here, and I also really, really thought about Brook Lopez. I ultimately sided with Noah for his rebounds and hustle on defense.
Round 4 (11) – Kemba Walker
There was no chance DeAndre Jordan would fall to me this late in the round, but I at least wished for it. In terms of what I thought even slightly possible, I targeted Chandler Parsons, Nikola Vucevic, Mike Conley if he happened to be there, and Tim Duncan.
Parsons, gone; Vucevic, gone; Conley, gone; and Timmy sniped a pick before me.
Pretty harsh feeling at that point — the timer ticking down and literally your entire target list long gone. The only silver lining I had in this situation is that I’d be picking again two spots later.
I landed Kemba Walker for his points and assists, also recognizing the loss in field goal percentage. And while he may not hit them at a great clip right now, I do like that Walker isn’t shy about chucking from beyond the arc (216 made threes over the past two seasons).
Round 5 (2) – Kenneth Faried
Derrick Favors was one of my pre-draft targets — a guy I felt good about and told myself I wouldn’t pass on if given the chance to take him.
In retrospect, I should’ve taken Kenneth Faried — another guy I really, really wanted — at the end of Round 4, then turned right around and drafted Favors to solidify a strong, youthful front court.
Nonetheless, I’m happy to have Faried on the House of Guards squad.
Round 6 (11) – Jamal Crawford
Round 6. The Round of the Sniper.
With Marcin Gortat taken at 6.5, I shifted focus to Greg Monroe, Jimmy Butler, and David Lee. Then Lee went at 6.7, Monroe at 6.9, and Butler, ever so fittingly, selected a pick before me at 6.10.
I’m not mad about landing Jamal Crawford. First guy off the bench or starter, the dude puts up points and buries three-pointers. I wanted (and also felt I needed) both.
Round 7 (2) – Nikola Pekovic
As much as I enjoy the Pekovic stat line, there was some concern surrounding this pick given the stuff I’ve read regarding the Timberwolves limiting Pek’s minutes due to some knee-itis type malarkey.
I took him anyway, expecting something like 16 points and 8 rebounds a night, as well as effective shooting from the field.
Round 8 (11) – Eric Gordon
This is where I felt things began to unravel for me. At the top of the eighth round, I planned on taking Tyson Chandler and felt good about his availability.
Targeting Chandler (and ONLY Chandler), however, ended up being my biggest downfall. Totally my fault.
Chandler was selected at 8.5 and I suddenly had no idea what I wanted to do. I liked the idea of another scoring type and thought long and hard about The Truth in Washington. Then I backed off and thought about going for another big.
Lost in space, I ended up with Eric Gordon.
I’ve crossed my fingers for Gordon to stay healthy since I made that pick more than eight hours ago.
Round 9 (2) – Enes Kanter
Paul Pierce was still an option here (he’d later go at 9.6), but I felt a strong need to address my front court after taking Gordon in the last round.
I’m not sure the rest of the crew agreed with Enes Kanter this high, but I viewed it as a pick with upside. He’s a full-time starter in Utah this season, and if rumors are true that he’s going to get some long-range looks, then bring ‘em on.
I like what Kanter can give me in the points department, as well as field goal percentage, and I think his rebounding numbers can/will improve to make him a steady double-double guy.
Round 10 (11) – Tristan Thompson
Entering the back end of the draft, I was looking for a guy with some double-double potential who could serve as a decent utility guy. I was really after Jeff Green, but he ended up going 11.11.
There’s probably not enough balls to go around in Cleveland, but I like the idea of Thompson’s athleticism paired with LeBron.
Round 11 (2) – J.J. Redick
I thought about Ersan Ilyasova here, but then remembered my pre-hypertension and figured his play throughout the season is a roller coaster best not experienced.
Then, as embarrassing as it may sound, I thought about Carlos Boozer here too.
Ultimately I ended up with the man/kid/dude I grew up loathing. And I mean that literally. I spent nearly my entire adolescence (and beyond) defiling J.J. Redick and anything having to do with his existence.
Setting emotions aside for a second though, I ended up with a pretty decent basketball guy if/when he can stay healthy. Going after a three-point shooter made sense at this stage in my draft too, so Redick it is.
Round 12 (11) – Terrence Ross
I had Marcus Smart sitting in my queue for quite some time, and I was confident in landing him at the end of the round. Instead, discussion heated up on the Google Hangout we had going on, this guy said “Smart”, that guy said “Smart”, and before I knew it, Smart was out of my queue and gone at 12.4.
That’s not bitterness of course. I’m not talking as if I’m some NBA draft pro that just lost the season because us guys decided to talk about a certain someone in the second to last round. I’m just saying, Marcus Smart would’ve been cool.
Good news for me: Terrence Ross is also cool. He finished last season averaging 11 points per game with 161 made three-pointers. He also added better than three rebounds and an assist every night in under 27 minutes.
Also noted: Once Smart was off the board, I was comfortable going with Alec Burks. He was taken two picks before me.
Round 13 (2) – Kevin Garnett
Matt Barnes was the smart pick here, but I favored a big man who could play the five.
And respect, of course. Respect for the Big Ticket and my duty as a basketball fan to never allow him to go undrafted in fantasy formats. Ever.
Speaking of which, what ever happened to the “Big Ticket” moniker? Was that considered an immature nickname?
Anyway, there was also the possibility of taking Dion Waiters to close out my draft, but with his recent slew of shit talking, I couldn’t stomach the move. Not to mention, the crew and I were giggling so much about Waiters through the previous 12 rounds that I didn’t want to be the guy that actually landed him. #BealOrDie
Not a terrible fiddle, I suppose. I was definitely outmatched by the other guys, who are extremely wise and savvy and absolutely worth your follow on Twitter (@weisband, @rustypedalbike, @gdula13, @bryan_mears, @HurmNF, @Real_Hauss, @BitterPackerFan, @GalinDragiev, @bRo14thekid, @Style_N_Out).
Again, things really seemed to go awry for me after the seventh round. The sniping rate was picking up, I wasn’t nearly as sharp as I should’ve been regarding intriguing late-round fliers, and I reached on a fair share I’m guessing.
Now onto the games!
- Klay Thompson went 3.1, otherwise that would’ve been hard to resist. (back)