PG: Kemba Walker (PG - CHA) 2.11 - Emerged last year and don't see much downside. Did you know his shooting percentages suffered in 2nd halves, especially when the game was within 10? Yep, poor guy tried to do too much and ended up hurting his stats. CHA bringing Jefferson aboard gives me hope there might be some upside that gets tapped this season.
SG: Bradley Beal (SG - WAS) 5.06 - By now, many are aware of the improvement in his numbers coinciding with Wall's return. While I do believe some of that is justified, did you know his numbers fared slightly better with Wall off the court (after he returned)? That's called improvement which is something I'll reach for a bit everytime. Worthwhile fact:
Here's the list of NBA players who averaged more than Beal's 13.9 points per game before turning 20: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving and Stephon Marbury. Getting to the NBA at a young age shows you're good; putting up these kinds of numbers once there shows you could be great.
G: Victor Oladipo (SG - ORL) 6.11 - Betting he'll be the only rookie to post top 100 value this season. While he likely starts the game from the bench, I think that changes at some point in the regular season. Seems primed for excellent stl, 3pt and FT% numbers that will offset much of the downside in the TO's and FG% departments.
SF: Jimmy Butler (GF - CHI) 7.06 - Love this kid and all arrows point up. Performed really well in the 2012 Summer League but Thibs, not surprisingly, buried him in the rotation at the start of last season. Injuries changed that and he showed some real improvement, especially in the long distance shooting department. He's not going to be anywhere near the top option, but his ability to contribute rebounds, steals, 3's and good efficiency have me hopeful he'll have a Danny Green type of jump up the rankings.
PF: Kevin Love (FC - MIN) 1.06 - While the broken hand seems flukish, he has dealt with a myriad of injuries in his young career. This season, I'm banking he's lessened the probability of injury with a rigorous off-season training program.
F: Matt Barnes (SF - LAC) 9.06 - Some are negative on him - Dudley and Reddick coming on board + coming off a career year. I'm on the other side of the spectrum. Lamar Odom is gone and Mullens isn't going to fill those shoes. Doc Rivers isn't anywhere close to sticking to traditional lineups like Del Negro and has even gone on record about forming a small ball team on the Clips. Lastly, Barnes is their best wing defender, Rivers won't be able to get enough of the tenacity.
C: Tim Duncan (FC - SAS) 3.06 - Fell to me in the draft but couldn't pass on him despite the fact I was gearing up the punt blocks. Don't have any illusions he repeats last season, but something close shouldn't be out of the question. Duncan rededicated himself like no other big man and I trust last year's difficult Finals loss will have him motivated to give it another shot.
C: Derrick Favors (FC - UTA) 4.11 - When Duncan landed on my team, I knew I had to nab another good shot-blocker and Favors topped the list. Yes, fouls will be a problem and will result in a few dud lines, but it'll be worth the ride. Utah has gone all in on the youth movement and Corbin doesn't have many veterans on the team anymore.
UTIL: John Henson (FC - MIL) 8.11 - Every year, I like to pick a guy who seemingly comes out of nowhere and breakthroughs, and Henson is the guy this year. His PER 36 numbers are great, so even with playing time in the 23-26 minute range, he'll have value. Other factors: not sold on Ilyasova's future in MIL (especially if he gets off to yet another slow start), Bucks consider Henson one of the core so he'll get development time, Henson's commitment to MIL and the weight room this off-season.
UTIL: Reggie Jackson (PG - OKC) 10.11 - OKC needs to fill their scoring sixth man role off the bench and I'm betting on Jackson over Lamb. Although Lamb makes more sense as the prototypical choice, I don't think he'll be ready to fill this role yet. On the other hand, Jackson showed plenty with his playoff performance after Westbrook's injury. Also, hoping Jackson's gym-rat nature helps fix some of his woeful 3PT shooting issues.
BN: Harrison Barnes (SF - GSW) 11.06 - Plenty of positives have surrounded him this summer -- from his Team USA practices/showcase game to looking great in GSW pre-training camp performances. Bringing Iggy in doesn't bother me, not at this draft position. Remember Jack and Landry are gone + Barnes handled the PF slot rather well in the playoffs. Jackson will find ways to get him on the court at both forward spots and a 6th man mentality might benefit his production. If there is one guy I'm mildly concerned about, when considering ADP, it's Klay Thompson.
BN: Francisco Garcia (GF - HOU) 12.11 - After getting traded to HOU, he was largely bench fodder, until injuries forced McHale to play him more down the stretch. We know some opportunity exists with the departure of Delfino, but did you know he saw more action than Delfino in the playoffs? McHale realized Garcia was a better fit. His 3 and D ability were more valuable on a team with ball dominating wings. Now that they've got a center joining the mix, Garcia should see consistent time. Look for McHale to play Parsons quite a bit more at the 4, considering their lack of an apparent 30 min PF.
BN: Anthony Bennett (PF - CLE) 13.06 - When's the last time a #1 pick fell this far in a fantasy draft? Worth a gamble to say the least when players like Andrew Bynum and Anderson Varejao occupy the roster. Hoping Kyrie and Jack take a liking to having an offensively talented big man on the floor.
BN: Jordan Farmar (PG - LAL) 14.11 - Last pick (#219) so this ones more of a shot in the dark. Things in his favor: D'Antoni's offense, Nash's age, Blake's slowness and Kobe's achilles. Could possibly emerge as a very important piece on that roster as he seems to fit like a glove.
Following up Oleh's assessment of his team, with one on mine:
Round by round (overall draft number in parentheses):
1.07 (7) Dwight Howard (C – Hou) From the start, I decided to go for the Howard-build, which meant FT% is placed in the toilet. A risky move for sure, but in a deep (16-team) h2h league, I am willing to take an immediate punt strategy. The only other player (and a completely different direction) I considered here was Irving.
2.10 (26) Larry Sanders (PF/C – Mil) Sanders came immediately to mind at this point when looking at the available players. My options were either to build on the dominant categories from Howard or to build other categories. With a team anchored by Howard, you definitely look to be strong in the big man categories of rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentage. Points and steals are two other categories he contributes above average for his position. Sanders definitely added to Howard and I had rated several spots higher than 26. After that pick, I looked to build some combination of points, threes, assists, and steals.
3.07 (39) Monta Ellis (PG/SG – Dal) I was hoping for Rubio with this pick so I can build up assists and steals. He wouldn’t be much of a contributor in points or threes, but had he been available, threes could be made up throughout the rest of the draft, but I would have made points a secondary punt category. As it played out, Rubio was gone and I felt any other point guard at this time would be too early. So my pick was Ellis to build up points and steals. He also hits enough threes and gets enough assists that I don’t close out those categories. While I don’t project him for 20+ points per game this season, I felt that he was one of the better players left with that potential. Also considered here was Rudy Gay, who went with the next pick.
4.10 (58) Jeff Green (SF/PF – Bos) As this pick was coming up, a number of PGs (Teague, Dragic, Holiday, Calderon), who I would have considered, were selected. This basically cemented a decision to make assists a secondary punt. With Howard and Sanders, I still had a firm foundation in the big man categories, so I turned to an across-the-board contributor in Green who has a lot of potential for this upcoming season. With Boston’s dearth of go-to talent, Green seems to be obvious candidate to take the number one scoring duties. Whether he is capable is definitely a question, but my team could use another contributor in points, plus Green has the potential to give 1-1-1 in threes-steals-blocks, along with solid boards from the SF position. My preseason projections have him rated higher than where I drafted him.
5.07 (71) Andre Drummond (PF/C – Det) There are several “obvious” players that should be drafted when you have Howard, and Drummond is one of them. 10+ rebounds and 2+ blocks per game are lofty but not unreasonable expectations for this big man. My only question was whether this was too soon or not, but I was not the only team punting FT% as So-Tex’s team had drafted the combo of Blake Griffin and Josh Smith. In a punt FT% build, my projections had Drummond easily in the top 30. Other players who would fit here were Andre Iguodala and Rajon Rondo (the next two picks by So-Tex). In the case of Rondo, I didn’t want to take on the injury and fit with a new coach (and basically, team) situation.
6.10 (90) OJ Mayo (SG – Mil) After taking Drummond, I wanted to continue building up points, threes, and steals, and to me, Mayo was best on the board. As the main threat in Milwaukee, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that he could match his best years in Memphis and finish around 20 spots higher than where I drafted him.
7.07 (103) Eric Gordon (SG – NO) There definitely is upside in what Gordon can give you but the injury risk is substantial. His play was lackluster last season when healthy, and the Pelicans have a number of players who are ball dominant. A speculative add at this point, but another contributor in points, threes, and steals to balance my big men, though one of the drawbacks is the hit in FG%. The plan now for my team is to work on 5 categories (points, threes, rebounds, steals, blocks) while maintaining above average numbers in FG% and TOs.
8.10 (122) Andrew Bogut (C – GS) The glowing pre-camp reports on Bogut along with his fit in a Howard-build, made Bogut a good choice here. A healthy Bogut (which sounds like an oxymoron) could land in the top 100, and cement my team’s performance in rebounds and blocks, while boosting fg%.
9.07 (135) Iman Shumpert (SG/SF – NY) He certainly had a sophomore slump coming back from an injury. A fully recovered Shumpert can return on the promise he showed in the second half of his rookie season. Shumpert will at the least provide a boost in threes and steals for my team. He should be off to a good start this season with JR Smith coming back from an injury and being suspended for his first 5 games.
10.10 (154) Avery Bradley (PG/SG – Bos) I have Bradley projected lower than this spot, based on a rather poor season, but given that he will likely start in place of Rondo, I was willing to take a chance, as I wasn’t looking for assists. I did need another player with PG eligibility so Bradley was a positional pick who I liked for his defense.
11.07 (167) Jerryd Bayless (PG/SG – Mem) I think Bayless is locked in as the 6th man. He came off a poor start in Memphis to finish strong after Gay (and Ellington) got traded. To quote dcdoorknob from the Café 2013 Mock Draft:
Ok, so the first several months of last season for Bayless were downright awful, but for fantasy and in his real life effectiveness on the court. But he got noticeably better as the season went along, and Memphis and Bayless both figured out how to utilize his strengths better (trading Ellington to open up more backup SG minutes helped alot too).
This year he's back in almost the same situation (by choice for Bayless, having exercised his player option), with both he and the coaching staff presumably having learned their lessons from the start of last season. I'm expecting him to be able to pick up more or less where he left off towards the end of last season, which isn't a bad pickup this late as a bench guard.
12.10 (186) Jared Sullinger (PF – Bos) His rookie year looked promising but was cut short due to a back injury which is always concerning. The playing time situation is crowded has Boston has a number of players that they can play up front. I went with Sullinger after a succession of swing men to get a boost in rebounds as I felt he was one of the more promising rebounders left on the board.
13.07 (199) Terrence Jones (SF/PF – Hou) Undoubtedly, I like his potential. I almost picked him over Sullinger in the previous round and have drafted in the 160’s in other drafts. Why? I will use this quote from a poster over in Sleeper thread at RealGM:
One deep sleeper to watch is Terrence Jones. He played only 8 games of 20min or more last year, but put up 10.8pts, 16.9reb, 1.2stl and 2blk a game...Not sure if he'll start, but he's got talent and minutes available if he wants it enough.
14.10 (218) Shane Battier (SG/SF – Mia) I was looking for threes, he puts up threes, and this was the 218th pick in the draft. What else can I say?
1. (5) Stephen Curry (G - GS): Told the other Cafe guys before the draft that I hoped CP3 and Harden would go 3/4 so I could get my hands on Steph. Have him #3 on my board behind KD and LeBron, and the reason is simple - he's the only player who can potentially match their per-game impact. Over the final two months, KD posted a per-game value of +0.81. Steph? +0.80. I believe there's still room for growth (playoffs, anyone?), which is downright scary. Acknowledge there's injury risk here, but Steph gives me the best shot to win, which is all I care about.
2. (28) Paul Millsap (PF - ATL): Planned to go traditional small ball here with another PG like Ty Lawson, but the possibility of punting TO's, boards, AND blocks didn't sit well with me at all. Love Millsap this year in Atlanta alongside Al Horford - have him inside my top-20 - and getting 2.8 apg from the PF slot is an added bonus. With this pick I planned on rebounds being one of my team's strong points, with blocks being average to handily beat the punt-block build teams.
3. (37) Eric Bledsoe (G - PHO): A little bit earlier than I would've hoped, but a lot of things led me to take him at this spot: 1) there were 22 picks between this pick and my next, and knowing my competition, there was little to no chance he was making it back, 2) I sensed an impending PG run was coming - which happened - so it was important I take one here or risk having to reach for a PG I didn't like next round, and 3) I have him projected to outperform the remaining PG's on the board (Parker, Teague, Monta, Calderon, Dragic, Jennings, Lillard). This may seem like I gambled just to gamble, but to me it was a small reach necessitated by the league size and positional scarcity. For more on why I like Bledsoe and his massive upside, here's my pick statement from the Cafe mock.
4. (60) Thaddeus Young (F - PHI): Didn't fit my punt-TO build necessarily, but he was too good of value here to pass up on. Down J-Rich, Bynum, and Jrue, the Sixers will lean heavily on the trio of Turner, Thadd, and Hawes to keep them in games. Expect a slight efficiency hit with more usage, but the gains in counting stats should more than offset that. Believe another top-35 finish is in the cards. And to clarify - I strongly encouraged Jimmy, George, and Oleh to take him before I did.
5. (69) Paul Pierce (SF - BKN): Fits right into my (semi)punt-TO build. After taking two relatively low-point, and low-three point options in Bledsoe and Thadd, I needed a wing who could give me a boost in those two categories as well as dish. Pierce hit the nail on the head. I get the concerns about him playing less and potentially sitting games, but at this point, his per-game production outweighs any of those concerns. At ~70, I'm drafting him at his floor. Very little downside here, with potential top-55 to -60 upside.
6. (92) Spencer Hawes (C - PHI): A blessing in disguise as George sniped Mayo from me and I was left re-considering my options. I just drafted Hawes around 70 in the Champions ROTO draft, so in retrospect this seems like crazy value to me. A lot of what I said about Thaddeus above applies to Hawes here. Really happy to get him at 92 to fill out my C1 spot.
7. (101) Brandon Knight (G - MIL): When you punt turnovers, you end up having to make picks like this that you would never make otherwise. PG's who put up solid three-point and assist totals are few and far between at this point in the draft. What I will say is that it takes young PG's a few years at least to really learn how to play the position. Year 3 and age 22 is as good a time as any for him to make a leap of some sort. This is my only real glimmer of hope.
8. (124) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF - CHA): Genuinely believe in this kid. His work ethic is simply incredible, and though his rookie season was fairly disappointing, it's important that we have some perspective and realize he's just 19. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he showed significant growth this year and finished just inside the top-100.
9. (133) J.J. Hickson (FC - DEN): The chatter about McGee potentially playing 35 mpg is complete nonsense, and I expect Faried/McGee to top off at 60 mpg max (likely 58 mpg). That leaves plenty of minutes for Hickson as the Nuggets' third big man off the bench. The center crop was extremely thin at this point, with my only other real option being Amar'e. Just couldn't stomach the minutes cap and injury risk, so happy to lock down a serviceable and steady C2 who will get me about 12-9 a game.
10. (156) Mike Dunleavy (GF - CHI): A general rule of principle I follow when building teams is to keep my %% intact, so I was targeting a three-point shooter who wasn't a big FG% drain. Dunleavy is a very underrated defender in his own right, and with Rose back, surrounding him with quality floor spacers is of utmost importance. Projecting 26.5 mpg with him backing up both wing spots.
11. (165) Patrick Beverley (PG - HOU): I know he'll be backing up Lin initially, but he's: 1) a much better fit next to Harden, 2) far cheaper, and 3) puts up elite per-minute numbers. Per-36s of 1.8 threes, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.1 blocks are far better than anything you'll find in this range, and ranked him 28th among qualifiers. If he can get some consistent minutes, which I think he will, he'll deliver big on this draft slot.
12. (188) Patrick Patterson (FC - SAC): Yes the Kings went out and spent $27M on Landry, but my money is on Patterson to start at PF alongside DMC. His ability to shift over to SF on offense and give them much needed, legit three-point range is huge. He's not a great defender, but neither are the Kings' other PF options - Thompson and Landry. Strongly considered taking Patterson at 165, but figured others weren't as high and he'd fall. Glad to get him as my third center here and avoid other dreadful alternatives such as Andray Blatche.
13. (197) Brandon Rush (SG - UTA): Don't think it'll be very long until Rush replaces Alec Burks in the starting lineup. Rush is just a better fit for what they need from the 2 spot - a floor spacer and solid defender - while Burks is best served as a spark plug scorer off the bench. The only concern here is obviously Rush's health, specifically his knees.
14. (220) DeMarre Carroll (F - ATL): High energy player who will back up both wing spots with Lou Williams potentially out through January. Flashed nice per-minute potential in Utah last year, and the combo of per-36 upside along with established PT is all I'm looking for with my last pick.