Rasheed Wallace. Yep, I dared team Ballin Like Smush to do it and he is now the proud owner of ‘Sheed for $1 (until waivers on Thursday kicks in at least). This, in a way, shows the beauty of an auction. You can start nominating the top guys like LeBron James or try to squeeze a sleeper like Aaron Brooks past the other owners who aren’t sure how to spend just yet. In this post, I’m going to go over the draft from Monday, explain my strategy, and what I thought the steals and reaches were. Here are the results from the draft. (If you want to participate in your own draft, create a league and invite others to join the fun! – ed.)
My strategy going into the draft:
I go into my auction drafts with a general strategy that gets more specific as the draft wears on. This way you aren’t stuck thinking in a specific manner and then thrown off by some guy determined to bid you up on a particular player.
General Strategy (Stars and Scrubs): Option A. Get LeBron/Kevin Durant/Chris Paul if the price is right. Option B. If those 3 are too expensive, get as many of my Top 20 players as possible (attempt to get deals) while trying to save some money for the end game.
Man, that was complicated (sarcasm). The hardest thing to consider is: what is too expensive? The projected auction value for LeBron was $69 (from Yahoo!, #1 player). I repeatedly say projected values are garbage, but for the top players they can be used as a bare minimum for what they’re going to go for in the draft. It’s very similar to a snake draft where the Yahoo! projected ranking of a player may force you to take someone you love earlier than you were planning. So what I’m trying to say is, if you’re going to go after Bron, then you are going to be the market setter. That’s right, you have the power to control what the top of the market is. Every other player in the draft will be compared to what the top player goes for (OK, fine. You can argue that it is Bron or Durant). I usually let somebody else set the market with the top player and then jump in on the #2 guy (Bron or Durant) if the market is low. Anyway, with the minimum being $69, I decided that I would jump on LeBron if the price stayed below $80. He ended up going for $82 (IMO, I think that’s even money). The rest fell in line… Durant went for $81 and Paul went for $77. I could’ve gone after Paul but I didn’t think a $5 difference from the best player was a good enough value for me to bid on. So instead, I wanted to try and execute option B.
Along came James Harden, who I am very high on and put him top 10 in my bold 5-24 rankings. The bidding was fast and furious and eventually, I ended up the victor at nice price of $41. He’s my #1 SG and in my top 10 so getting him for HALF of what LeBron went for seemed like a pretty good deal. A similar deal happened with Carmelo Anthony (top 15), who I got for $40. For the price of $81, I got Anthony and Harden. Does Anthony + Harden = KD? Depends on the person.
Intermission 1: As I mentioned earlier, sometimes you can get sleepers on the cheap early in the draft. Obviously, opinions differ but here are some names thrown out early (First 20 nominations):
Goran Dragic ($30), Jonas Valanciunas ($3), Gerald Wallace ($20), Derrick Rose ($1), Aaron Brooks ($3), and Raymond Felton ($8)
I’m not saying any of these are great values, but if Aaron Brooks went at the end of the draft then he might’ve gone for more to a team that had some extra money laying around. Or maybe a team that was desperate for a PG. Same goes for Felton.
Now it’s time to get a little more specific. Build on strengths while attending to weaknesses. I managed to come away with Harden, Anthony, and Felton while spending $89. Looks like I’m trying to get strong in 3’s, PTS, and FT% while staying solid in assists, steals, and rebounds. Major weaknesses include FG% and BLKs. I want to target players that will add to 3’s or FT% while helping as many of the other categories as possible. I ended up with the next 3 players: Ty Lawson ($30, PTS, 3’s, FT%, FG%, AST, STL), Paul Millsap ($34, PTS, FT%, FG%, STL, REB), and Al Horford ($28, PTS, FT%, FG%, STL, REB, BLK). Does this fix the BLK problem? Absolutely not, but all 3 players are in my top 20 and help out a lot of other categories. Total money spent: $181. Now here’s the worst part. Sitting here and waiting for the end of the draft to roll around so I can fill out the rest of my roster. This is otherwise known as, yelling at your computer monitor because guys are going for great prices and you don’t have money to bid them up. It can be frustrating but this is the Stars and Scrubs strategy (“guaranteed” production + lottery tickets).
Intermission 2: The Jump Bid: Here’s a little risky strategy you can employ during the auction. About 40 nominations deep, PG’s were flying off the table (14 of ‘em gone) with Mike Conley going for $23 very recently. Up came Ty Lawson, a highly touted PG and beloved by me. Owner’s wallets were getting lighter and the bidding started out slow going up dollar by dollar. Around $18 I decided to do a jump bid by entering in a bid of $30. 10 seconds later, Ty Lawson was mine as the 27th highest paid player. If the bidding continued dollar by dollar, owners can get the mindset that it’s “only another 2 dollars” and therefore keep driving up the price in a bidding war. The jump bid makes the owner think in much larger numbers which can act as a deterrent. Is this effective? Sometimes. Other times you might end up paying more than you would normally have. Kyrie Irving went for $38 a couple nominations later, so maybe I made the right move. Or maybe everyone just loved Irving that much more than Lawson.
End Game: Find high upside guys. If they help out areas that you are weak in, that is a bonus. Do not simply go after guys to help out in one category. You will change your roster so many times over the course of the season, it is better to just go after guys who have a lot of upside/opportunity. If they don’t work out, then whatever. Add/drop the newest guy who went off. Any glaring deficiencies in your team will most likely be corrected via trade or the stud that always appears off the waiver wire. My upside guys: Jeff Green ($1), Glen Davis ($6), Kevin Seraphin ($6), Omer Asik ($1), Luke Ridnour ($1, while Ricky Rubio is out he should be owned). You may be like… what about the $3 you spent on Avery Bradley or $1 on Drew Gooden? I’d reply “Oops.”
Regrets – I really wish I had about $10 more in the end game so that I could make more sleeper bids (i.e. Nikola Pekovic for $7). I got stuck with only $19 heading into the end game because I couldn’t say no to Horford for $28 (the bid that took me to $19), a top 20 player for me. Shit happens.
So there’s my Stars/Scrubs strategy. Some of you may like my team and some may hate it (my team name is “Emilia Clarke“). For another approach, click on the results link and look at team “Cigar Smoking”, “Ron Swanson 4 Pres”, or “Clever Internet Meme”. They all took a more balanced approach. In the end, I’m pretty happy with my team. I have 5 guys I think are great to elite (looking at my bold prediction piece, I have my #8, 9, 10,11, and 13 ranked players) as well as an undervalued PG (Felton) to go along with a bunch of lottery tickets. Let’s hear it in the comments.
Steals of the Draft:
Brandon Jennings ($24) – I don’t love him like some people do but this was a nice steal.
Ryan Anderson ($17) – This price tag basically gives him no risk. Zero chance his value is below this, barring an injury.
Monta Ellis ($16) – Sometimes when a player is nominated late (#63), you see things like this.
Tony Parker, Chris Bosh ($12) – Unsexy names. Sexy Prices.
Brook Lopez ($7) – I paid $6 for Big Baby (albeit, later in the draft). ‘Nuff Said.
Reaches of the Draft:
Serge Ibaka ($42) – Was the 12th highest paid player. I just don’t like paying for blocks. Or backup centers on the Spanish Olympic team.
Paul George ($31) – I hate putting this guy here because I absolutely love the potential. However he hasn’t put up the numbers yet to justify the price. Could he make the leap and be a top 20 player? Yes.
Rajon Rondo ($33) – Bad in TO’s, FT%, 3’s, PTS, BLK, and FG%. I don’t think the awesome assists and steals are worth it (OK, fine. The rebounds are good for a guard). Much better in real life and might be an alien.
Glen Davis ($6) – Looks worse than it was cause it was near the end of the draft when owners start dumping the rest of their money. However, with Pekovic and BroLo going $7, I should have bid on those guys instead. I do like the opportunity Davis will be getting in Orlando though. The NBA will require them to field a full team.