So the draft is over. Thought I'd give an analysis of my team's goals/motivations as well as a brief breakdown of some other teams. Hopefully everyone can do the same about their own teams.
Keeper core: Dwyane Wade David Lee Chris Bosh Darren Collison Manu Ginobili
Draft picks: Marcus Camby Ray Allen Jamal Crawford Tyrus Thomas Luis Scola Mike Miller Carl Landry Thaddeus Young Linas Kleiza
Trades: Jamal Crawford --> Trevor Ariza Marcus Camby, Ray Allen --> Josh Smith Trevor Ariza --> Jason Terry
Like my favorite team, the Celtics, I only care about winning now. I don't care much about youth, future, or closing windows of opportunity. It killed me that I lost to jason and sal last year. I came into this draft wanting to get immediate returns on my picks so that I can hopefully take the title this year. That's not to say that I didn't also try to nab guys who I thought were good values, who happened to have upside (e.g. Tyrus Thomas, Thaddeus Young, and even Luis Scola to a certain extent).
Through a stroke of luck, Collison landed in a great situation and I was able to keep him, reinforcing the long-term value of my core. Though I don't care much about the future, I feel pretty confident in Wade, Bosh, Lee, and Collison putting up long term value, allowing me to take veterans in every re-draft, hopefully having a contending team year in and year out. My Camby, Ray, and Crawford picks aligned with that veteran strategy. Midway through the draft, however, an opportunity presented itself that ran counter to it: I was able to get Josh Smith for Camby and Allen. Though I think the trade made my team a bit unbalanced and probably hurt me in the short term, Smith is still a great value, and the 2 for 1 allowed me to move both Scola and Mike Miller into starting roles, which I was happy with. I hate having guys rot on the bench. Further, though I was confident in 4 of my guys, Manu is getting long in the tooth; being able to switch him out with Smith next year makes my core young and solid all-around. My team is definitely not a finished product, especially in light of the imbalance the Smith trade created. I tried to remedy that a bit my moving Ariza for Terry, but I still have areas of concern.
Like I've been saying all along, I think the league has a lot more parity this year. I think there are several legitimate contenders, with a couple dark horse candidates. No team is clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the league. The title will most likely go to the manager who is most active in FAs and trades, and who happens to have the best injury luck. My guess is the top 4 teams will be separated by 5 points this year.
Briefly, I think the contenders are (in no particular order):
- saldogg: Kevin Durant. LeBron James. Rajon Rondo. Dwight Howard. Derrick Rose. Amazing core. I hate you saldogg. Sal could draft 8 Harlem globetrotters and he'd still contend, with that core. I don't think he hit a homerun with his draft (took too many young guys, for one) but he still has that amazing core and Sal always finds a way to pull off great trades throughout the season. - Lilstinkylynx: He has two bona fide 1st rounders, one of whom may be the best player in fantasy by year's end, and another (Curry) who may end up top 5 this year. That's a scary backcourt. Add in good-floor-with-incredible-upside guys in Kirilenko, Thornton, Randolph, and Batum, coupled with Stinky's machine-like activity, and you have a team that has a great chance at winning. Honorable nods to Amir Johnson, JJ Hickson, and Ben Gordon, one of whom should blossom this year. - jasonuoft: If I had a gun to my head, I'd pick jason as the team to win this year, by the slimmest of margins. He came in 2nd last year, and his team just got better. Good core with Nowitzki, Billups, and Gasol. I wasn't a fan of his Nene for Marc Gasol swap but hey, I won't fault him for wanting both Spaniards on his team. If two of Baron Davis, Caron Butler, and Luol Deng have good years -- which is very possible -- jason's team is very strong and balanced. - barrec: The dude got Paul Pierce in the re-draft. Enough said. Getting Camby and Allen also helped balance out his team a lot. I personally think Brandon Roy and Kevin Martin will have huge years. His potential undoing may be his relatively weak bench, especially since he has a pretty injury-prone starting squad. If he lucks out with injuries though, this team definitely has a great shot at winning. - CavemanDoctor: Excuse the use of the third person. In spite of the fact that my team isn't as balanced as I'd like it to be, I think I have a good amount of overall value, which I can hopefully mold into a more balanced team throughout the season. It hurt to have Bosh and Wade lose value with The Decision but, on the flipside, that allowed me to get Mike Miller late, who I'm pretty high on. I also like Scola and Tyrus Thomas this year. Guys I think will drop in value: Terry and Ginobili a bit. I'm also a little afraid of Lee.
Dark horses: - Tyrants: He didn't inherit the best of keeper cores last year but he's done a lot since then. I really liked his draft, but liked his two trades even more (swapped Gasol for Nene, and Boozer for Bargnani). You can never count him out because of his activity and savvy in-season managing. I would not be surprised if he won this year. - Nene: Hard to argue with two first-round studs, Bryant and Granger. Add in Noah, the huge upsides of Millsap, Blatche, and Gallinari, and you have a potentially monstrous team.
The other teams seem to be mostly rebuilding. In that regard, I like what phx_2008_champs is doing; realizing he can't win now, so he's opting to take as many young talents as possible. Good strategy. No sense in trying to merely keep your head above water.
PG: John Wall SG: Evan Turner G: Jrue Holiday SF: Andre Iguodala PF: Carmelo Anthony F: Trevor Ariza C: Kevin Love C: JaVale McGee UTIL: Anderson Varejao UTIL: Wesley Johnson Bench: Darko Milicic Bench: Jarrett Jack Bench: Dorell Wright
I'm really surprised that I was able to grab Turner at 3.1 in the draft and I'm happy with the youth and upside that I was able to snag throughout. I've got about 8 guys who could be keeper worthy next year and I'm hoping to trade value this year for picks next year...where I'm fully expecting to be in contention. Deciding who to roster is going to be agonizing for a while with all these talented rookies, though. At least it looks like I've got a good shot at the number 1 draft spot again next year.
Top Teams – Saldogg, Jasonuoft, and Cavemandoctor Fringe Teams – Lilstinkylynx, Barrec, Nene, and Tyrants Bottom [Rebuild] Teams – Baller7037, EvoVII, and Phx_2008_Champs
Round 1 Best Pick – John Wall: For a team that is in rebuild mode, this upside pick makes the most sense. Wall has all the tools to make an impact in the years to come. Although this pick may not pay off this season, if Phx_2008_Champs is planning on following Saldogg’s model of drafting a great rookie [i.e. Durant] and waiting patiently three seasons later to reap the rewards, I am a huge fan of this pick. Patience will be key with this pick. Worst Pick – Brandon Jennings: Not that I am not a fan of Jennings or the fact that I do expect him to improve on this past season, based on team makeup and the quality of players that were available to Baller7037 to help build his team into a contender this season [after the gift that was Amare], Baller7037 again went against the grain and drafted a player who had no business being taken in the first round of this year’s draft.
Round 2 Best Pick – Andrei Kirilenko: Two words “Contract Year” Not to mention AK really does fit the makeup and strategy for what I was trying to do with my team. Build on percentages and ignore or punt my weakest cat which was points. Worst Pick – Demarcus Cousins: Seeing that I just gave Saldogg mad props in regards to drafting a rookie in my Round 1 analysis, I have to bash him here for this pick. Saldogg already had a very competitive and youthful team and did not need to take any chances on trying to go young yet again. With his team makeup currently, there are definitely some deficiencies that could have been addressed by drafting a more reliable fantasy option. Too early… too soon... are thoughts that come to mind.
Round 3 Best Pick – Eric Gordon: A round which was dominated by shooters, of all those taken, I think Eric Gordon will outperform the others comes year’s end in regards to per game value. Worst Pick – Nicolas Batum: A better version of Shane and a great glue guy for the team I am trying to build, there are just too many players in Portland that will cut into Batum’s playtime and production. Uncertainty is the problem here. Did I reach a round too early for this kid… probably. Would he have been available come my next pick… probably not. Sometimes we need to reach and hope for the best.
Round 4 Best Pick – Anthony Morrow: Starting around this round is where players of great potential and good scenarios begin to fall off the board and get drafted. Barrec recognized that and selected Morrow who fits the bill for both scenarios to a tee and should have a great season even away from Nellie’s fantasy friendly system. Worst Pick – Louis Williams: Bad situation. Bad situation. Bad situation. Williams was tearing it up prior to his injury last season, and that was all it took for Jrue Holiday to step in and swoop away the starting job. All signs point to Jrue having a breakout season. Coach and organization are in love with the kid. Williams will have a great season seeing that he is the team’s best 6th man but I am just not a fan of the pick. Sometimes we can’t just pick based on last year’s standings and this is one case where that may have happened.
Round 5 Best Pick – Mike Miller: Drawing on Boston’s model of the big three and what occurred, I expect a lot of blow out games and that means that one, if not all, of the big three in Miami will get lots of rest. Who is there to pick up the slack and reap the fantasy rewards… Mike Miller. Worst Pick – Mike Conley: Kid is always average and just doesn’t seem to want to take that next step. I am probably just bitter since I have drafted him the past two seasons hoping he would amount to something.
Round 6 – Round 8 [Upside Time] Hard to pick a best or worst at this point since these players are meant to be inserted only if necessary and are drafted purely on upside.
Thanks for great reads caveman and stinky, great points. thanks for the credit caveman. now i am upset with stinky for not giving me one single best pick! anyone can win in this league , the draft is just the beginning. i agree with your top picks. I had a safe draft, as i always do. I have to defend my trade for the other Gasol tho, it's a fair value swap, but i needed a hard-nose center to anchor my boards and blocks. Sad to let go Nene's unique skill set. will see how it turns out at the end. Let the games begin.
Keepers: Chris Paul Stephen Curry Kevin Love Anthony Randolph Marcus Thornton
2.4 Devin Harris 2.7 Andrei Kirilenko 2.12 Chris Kaman 3.9 Nicolas Batum 5.2 J.J. Hickson 5.12 Amir Johnson 6.1 Serge Ibaka 7.5 George Hill 7.9 Ben Gordon
Kevin Love + Picks for Troy Murphy + Picks Devin Harris + Picks for Andrew Bynum + Picks Andrew Bynum + Chris Kaman + Picks for Russel Westbrook + Robin Lopez + Picks Robin Lopez for Picks
PG: Chris Paul SG: Marcus Thornton G: Stephen Curry SF: Andrei Kirilenko PF: Amir Johnson F: Nicolas Batum C: Anthony Randolph C: Troy Murphy UTIL: Russel Westbrook UTIL: J.J. Hickson Bench: George HIll Bench: Ben Gordon Bench: Serge Ibaka
Based on my keeper core, going into the draft I knew I had a very balanced team with no particular huge strengths in any of the 9 cats. One obvious thing that stood out to me was that I did not have any elite scorers and the additional fact that my first pick wasn’t until the 2nd round really made it evident that my team would be deficient in that cat going forward. As a result, I decided the best strategy when building my team was to punt points and build a balance team based on the remaining 8 cats. Furthermore, the fact that the league had really become more balanced helped me to believe that punting one cat would not be detrimental to my chances for taking the crown this season. [Will have to see if I was right on making that assumption.] The luxury in punting points was that I would inevitably build a team that would be very competitive if not top of the league in regards to TO’s.
Now, onto the trades I made. I always focused on either improving my draft position to help me improve my chances of obtaining the best player/value available or getting the best player in the deal whether it was based on statistical production or keeper potential. My trade for Westbrook really thinned out my roster in regards to the big men stats due to me giving up both Bynum and Kaman. This resulted in me reaching for big men with potential later on and the drafting of JJ Hickson, Amir Johnson, and Serge Ibaka. I am banking that one of them will have a good season and round out the deficiencies in my roster that resulted from the trade. Free agency and hopefully my eye for players with breakout potential will be key in my taking the leap back into the top three.
Jason, you had the best draft of the group without having the best pick in any of the rounds. I think that says a lot more. KUDOS.