For draft order verification, I entered Buser's e-mail when plugging names into the 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 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 picks after 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.
Let's be clear. There are only two serious candidates for the first overall selection this season: Lebron James and Kevin Durant. Considering this is a rotisserie league, the choice is simple imho: Durant. If it were a head-to-head league, I would have a more difficult decision ahead of me. Even though Durant is still the better player overall in H2H, LBJ makes for a fun and versatile team build. If I had the second pick in this draft, and assuming Durant was off the board, I would take LBJ and look to grab Dwight Howard later on and go for a punt strategy. I know this is a controversial strategy in roto leagues but I have seen it done effectively in highly competitive leagues. In fact, this strategy is only effective in a roto league if all of the managers are both active and competitive. This league would clearly be both.
But enough about Lebron. Why Durant?
KD had a historic season last year, averaging 28.1 PTS, 51 FG%, 90.5 FT%, 1.7 3PTM, 7.9 REB, 4.6 AST, 1.4 STL, 1.3 BLK, 3.5 TO. First, let's address Durant's only weakness: turnovers. In the first round, I'm not overly concerned with turnovers. Most of the guys in the first round are high usage guys. Usage correlates somewhat with turnovers, which can be justified so long as a player brings enough to the table. Let's examine the positives then. Durant not only came in second in the scoring race, but he also notched his third three/steal/block season and his first 50 FT%/40 3PT%/90 FT% season. With efficiency at a premium in roto leagues, Durant gives you the most flexible first round pick. Oh, and he is only 24 years old with additional room for improvement.
At the 2/3 turn, I'll be looking for a point guard who provides lots of assists and a relatively efficient big man. If there happens to be an efficient big scorer left on the board I might alter my plan to establish really solid base in my percentages.
Well, that was easy. There are indeed two guys at the top of the fantasy pecking order, and while I do prefer Durant for roto, I'll happily settle for James with the second pick. James is a more complicated player for roto than Durant is, but he's still all kinds of awesome. Let's start with the downside, since that's really the short bit. James is a drag on FT%. Not because he shoots .750-ish, but because he shoots seven or eight freebies a game at .750. You can make that up, no sweat, or you can punt FT% as mentioned by plonden above, either is a fine strategy. And ... that's really it for downside with LeBron, aside from TOs, which are actually quite reasonable for a guy who does as much playmaking as he does. So, on to the upside...
The FG%. Great googly-moogly is James helpful here. Having a guy at SF shoot .565 on 17 shots a game like LeBron did last year is a hall pass to winning that category unless you drop the soap two or three times later in the draft on terrible volume FG% guys. The percentages are overlooked in fantasy sometimes, but don't make the mistake of wasting what you're getting from the King here.
The Ast. Let me be clear, I love out of position assists. Love them. There's no one in the game more helpful than LeBron in that regard either, so make sure it's a category you lock up. Getting seven assists out of your SF slot means you should be able to lock things up with a couple of solid PG picks in the first four or five rounds. I have 14 PGs ranked in the top 50, so that's something that shouldn't be to hard to sort out. As with the FG%, build on LeBron's strengths rather than letting him float his good cats for you while you build elsewhere.
The rest. LeBron nets you great return pretty much everywhere else that I haven't mentioned, so you're free to build pretty much as you see fit after you draft him. I'll be drafting next at the end of round two, and I'll probably be looking for a PG and a big of some sort. You'll note that's essentially the same strategy proposed for Durant above, which is correct - that's the plan when you draft a wing player in the first round.
Juggled between Paul and Harden here, but there was some major factors that made me side with Harden. I noticed CP3s mpg dropped to a career low last season since they were trying to rest him for the playoffs. With the big drop in mpg, his scoring took a big hit. Plus you cannot look past Pauls injury history, and the fact that hes missed 34 gms the last 2 seasons.
The other major factor is obviously Dwight. If you were to look at the effect he had on Kobe's stats last year, I dont see why Harden wouldnt have a more efficent year with D12 around. Now one can obviously argue that Kobe's Kobe, and he can't really be compared to other players. Still, Harden is a superstar that's emerging near that level, so i think the comparison is reasonably fair.
Another factor was the fact that Harden seemed to tire as the year progressed, and his numbers took a hit for that. People can argue that nba tms simply adjusted their gameplans around him, but I believe it was mostly due to fatigue. Harden was used to the 6th man rule, and hadnt played such heavy minutes before. I think this offseason is gonna be very beneficial to his game.
I also feel like that there are plenty of good pgs to be had thoughout the first few rounds, so i think asts can be made up as i go along. I feel like building around Hardens great values in ft% and ppg wil be alot easier to build around than Pauls efficient game. If Harden boosts his fg% to 45 next year (which i certainly expect him to), then his only weakness will be to's, which i could care less about. I like this pick mostly because I know what im getting with Harden, and their is still room for upside with him.
I fully expected that I would be debating Harden or Curry with the fourth pick. While partially a homer pick, I am also comparing the second half seasons between Curry and Paul. With a top pick in roto league, I also want top notch scoring. A prime fantasy Curry will be a prime fantasy Arenas with better percentages. I also feel of the two, Paul is the greater injury concern. Maybe one more year is needed to put the ankle issues to rest, but Curry played 78 games out of 82 regular season games last year.
By the way, this would've been in my case for Curry over Harden :
Honestly don't think in most drafts you'll see Paul slide past number four. I can see some arguing for Harden at 3 and Paul at 4, but for Paul to fall to five was just a total blessing.
Does anyone put up a more solid ROTO line? The 2.3 TOs for a PG who dishes 9.5+ and steals more balls than he turns over is crazy. Look at Z scores for all players and you'll realize that Chris Paul's worst is in Blocks, which is still the best worst Z-Score in all of basketball. What does that mean? Huge Flexibility in team building from here on out with no glaring immediate weakness that needs to be rectified immediately.
And don't even get me started on how bad Vinny Del Negro was as a coach. For a player to be ranked 3rd in per game and still have room for improvement and minutes played is a great find.
Paul does have some injury concerns, but when you can put up the 5th highest cumulative value in only 70 games it doesn't really hurt that much. I'm more in the mindset that I'd rather take the sure bet on Paul missing a dozen games a season (averaging 69 over 8 season) then the possibility of Curry's ankle bothering him all season. The likelihood of Curry playing 78 games again is very minimal and though I think Golden State is better as a team, adding Iggy might take away from some of the overall stats.
(Past Year: 564)
Joined: 23 Jul 2005
Home Cafe: Basketball
Location: Fundamentals are the crutch of the talentless.
Am I comfortable with Love's injury risk as my first round pick? No not really.
Was I able to come up with what I considered to be a better option overall at this spot? Obviously not.
Is it easier to make this pick in a mock than a 'real' league? Absolutely.
Does Love have more 9-cat upside than anyone else available to help me at least possibly compete with the Durant/Lebron teams? Of course. Kyrie is the only other one anywhere close imo but he has injury risk of his own.
Am I going to phrase my comments for every pick in this question/answer/repeat format? Oh geez I hope not.
The 7th pick feels like a spot where we start the second tier of players. There are several interesting ways one can go, but Westbrook seems safest. Expected to make a full recovery in time for the season after knee surgery, Westbrook, the consensus No. 5 pick a year ago, should resume putting up huge numbers for the Thunder. Before his injury, he played in every regular season game for the fifth time in five seasons. He might need a bit more rest this year, but I wouldn't bet against him dragging himself out there for another 82. After trading James Harden, then losing Kevin Martin this offseason, the Thunder will need Westbrook to be extremely aggressive and carry the offensive load alongside Kevin Durant. In 2012-13, Westbrook improved his assists from 5.5 to 7.4, set a career high with 1.2 threes per game, and even cut his turnovers by a hair. If this were an eight-category league I'd feel a lot better about this pick, which would obviously become a lot more shaky should Westbrook suffer any setbacks in camp with his knee.
Last March, Irving was putting up top 10 numbers, until a sprained shoulder derailed the rest of his 2012-13 campaign. A bad April knocked him down to 15th and many were left wondering whether he'd be a perpetual headache. We're all aware of the injury prone label attributed to him, but is it 110% justified?
Nah, not in my book. Irving will be 21 years of age for much of the upcoming season. That's right, only 21. In his first two seasons in the NBA, his body hasn't been able to sustain the punishment for several reasons. One, he hasn't reached peak physical maturity. Two, he hasn't yet fully dedicated to conditioning his body to sustain the rigors of a long NBA schedule.
This upcoming season, he'll be one step closer to passing his injury nexus. Moreover, the Cavaliers claim they are ensuring he'll spend a considerable amount of time in the weight room this off-season. The talent is undoubtedly there. Fantasy owners only need for his body to catch up. At pick #8, I'm buying him all day long.
Let's be real, when you pick ninth, you have to take chances to win a league. Derrick Rose has the highest upside of any player left. He was an emerging fantasy star and NBA MVP in 2010-2011 before blowing out his knee in the playoffs in 2011-2012, and I'll take the gamble that he returns to form this year.