Welcome to the 2009 Experts Roto Mock Draft. For the 6 of you who took part last year, welcome back , and for the 6 new guys (samo, plonden, Kal, DV, CF, and Red) who will be joining us for the first time, we're glad to have you guys on board. I have gathered a very experienced and knowledgeable group of savvy Cafe vets for this mock and am expecting a very solid showing from all of you and a great end result. Let the fun begin (on July 29).
For draft order verification, I entered the e-mails of Buser and myself when plugging the draft order into the ProFantasySports.com Draft Randomizer.
As to rules for the draft, there are a couple:
Pick Format: Participants will post their draft picks in the following format: 1.1 Gheorghe Mureşan (C - WAS)
Statements: Participants shall provide a brief statement with each pick explaining the reasons for the selection and any other thoughts they'd care to provide. This will aid observers of this mock draft in understanding why a player was taken at his respected spot. We are often able to see the raw results from a mock draft, but commentary will provide the mock with substance as well.
Time Limit: Even though this draft will only include experienced, active managers and we do not foresee many problems with inactivity and missed picks, there will be a 24-hour time limit enforced on each pick. When this time limit has passed, I will make the pick accordingly for the manager based on the best player available as well as any positional needs.
Alerts: After you post your pick, please PM the manager who is preceding you and let him know he is on the clock. This will help keep everyone on the same page and keep the draft going at a good pace.
(I'm unoffically starting the draft since I might not be around on Wednesday, and this choice is rather obvious.)
1.1 Chris Paul
He's been at the top the last couple of years. Only player last season to average 20+ ppg with 50+ fg% and 85+ ft%. In addition, he lead the league in two categories with 11 apg and 2.8 spg, and among PG, he was 2nd in rebounds with 5.5 rpg. Only Kidd had more, and Rondo was the only other PG with more than 5 rpg. The one concern I have with Paul is that he is the focal point on a team with little depth. NO might struggle this season to make the playoffs, and if this were a h2h draft, I'd be concerned that Paul's minutes would be reduced at the end of the season, given that the Hornets drafted a promising backup PG in Darren Collison.
In drafts with well informed fantasy basketball players, I don't think you'll see much deviation from Paul number one and James number two. Lebron's increased FT% last season makes him even more attractive in a ROTO league with TOs being his only true weakness, which is usually to be expected from a first round pick. The acquisitions that Cleveland has made this off-season might scare some off a bit, but Lebron has shown he can a be a defender, facilitator, or scorer depending on the situation and that bodes well for fantasy production.
The only other player I would even consider drafting at three would be Wade, but between the injury history and team, it becomes just a tiny thought.
(Past Year: 601)
Joined: 23 Jul 2005
Home Cafe: Basketball
Location: Fundamentals are the crutch of the talentless.
You really can't make a case for anyone other than Wade here because the body of work he put together last season just blew Dirk, Durant, Granger, and Kobe away. D-Whistle was tied with CP3 at #1 in per-game value post-ASB and made several appearances on the top-10 categorical leaderboards: first in scoring (30.2), second in steals (2.2), and eighth in assists (7.5). He also managed to set some new career-highs, playing 79 games (keep in mind only 1 of those 3 missed games was due to injury) and showing increased proficiency from beyond the arc (1.1 3PTM, 31.7% - both career-highs). The improvement of Beasley and Chalmers will only help take some off the pressure and defensive attention off of Wade.
Paul, James, and Wade are no-brainer top 3 picks. This year, Pick 4 is where drafters tend to get divided into two camps: established value (Bryant, Nowitzki) or upside value (Durant, Granger). Every now and then you're lucky and can get the best of both worlds: established-but-with-upside. Durant is one of those guys.
His numbers were good for top-10 last year, as a 2nd year player in the league. Even if he maintains those exact numbers, taking him at 4 is hardly a stretch. Considering he has shown a steady improvement over the past two years (it seems he improves with every passing month), most of his '09 numbers seem more like the floor for him, rather than the ceiling. Historically, players who end up being superstars in this league have a huge coming out party in their 3rd year. Things tend to gel all at once for them. I would be shocked if Durant didn't finish in the year top 5, with a chance at finishing as high as 2. Good chance of being in the 1/1/1 club and shoots great from the FT line at a high volume.
Plus: He's averaged 77 games over his first two years. Injuries really aren't a concern.
Accompanying strategy: Durant's main flaw is his bad A/TO ratio. To balance this out, consider drafting a high A/TO guy later in the draft. Guys like Billups and Rondo.
You certainly can make an argument for Dirk or Kobe here, as well, but I qualify as a Granger fan-boy. Robust contributions in a number of categories and not many weaknesses. One area where he still needs to develop is AST:TO - in 13 December games last season, he averaged 4.3 ast and 2.7 to; in his 17 games after the All-Star break, the numbers were 1.4 and 2.4. At age 26, don't put it past the reigning MIP to continue to improve as an overall player. His right knee should also be on the mind, but it's a good sign that he's chosen rest over participating in Team USA's mini-camp in Vegas.
As Matt stated, you really can't go wrong between Kobe and Dirk. Both have been fantasy first round stalwarts for years and barring injury, that won't change this upcoming season. Despite all of LA's weapons and drop in playing time for the second straight year, Kobe still posted top 5 fantasy value for 9 category leagues. This gives Kobe a slight edge over Dirk as the Mavericks (naturally if healthy) might take a few bites out of Nowitzki's overall line. Besides their potent lineup, I expect Dirk to lose a minute or two of playing time as Dallas has an easier time through the regular season.
I believe Dirk is a defensible choice anywhere between pick 3 and pick 7, depending how injury-averse a manager is with 1st Round picks. Dirk and Kobe are as close to "money in the bank" as fantasy hoops provides, and locking-in the positional scarcity of PF in Round 1 is a luxury. In my experience, getting Round 1 value in Round 1 does not itself win leagues, but a disappointing Round 1 pick can make it nearly impossible to win a league. With Dirk as a PF anchor giving value in 8 of 9 categories, a manager is in a good position to be flexible and cherry-pick value as a draft progresses.
And here, ladies and gentlemen, is where the mock draft starts to get interesting. The first seven picks this season are the "safe" picks. You may rearrange the order, but in a 9-cat roto league, those really should consistently be the top seven picks this season. After pick seven, you have the once were studs but coming off of major injury (Amar'e, AlJeff) or the not that much-of-an-upside picks (Bosh, Pau, Deron, etc). Also, despite it being roto, I briefly (read: very briefly) toyed with the idea of taking Dwight Howard here. I've seen punting done in roto leagues successfully but it is very difficult to do and requires near domination of all the counting categories and FG%.
In a league that was going to be played out, I would definitely hesitate more before selecting STAT 8th overall. But here, I don't have to live with the consequences and Stoudemire's SSoL-upside is too much to pass up.
1.09 Pau Gasol (PF, C - LAL) al-jeff is the best player here, but i wouldn't dare commit high pick to him until i get more positive news abut his recovery. 3 players plonden mentioned were 3 players i was considering. i hate it when my centers give me ~1bpg (bosh, gasol, last year) or when my point guards give me just 2 combined steals and 3s (deron). bosh is the least durable of the 3, so i used that to eliminate him first. then i decided to gamble on gasol getting those blocks back up and on odom signing with the heat which would make lakers rely more heavily on him this year. if odom remains in la i think it's a tossup between deron and gasol