I was fortunate enough to be invited to Earth’s most classy and famous expert league – the FakeTeams Hoops Tournament.  The league has 14 teams consisting of three FakeTeamers (the hosts of this shindig), two guys from ESPN, one from Canada’s The Basketball Jones, one rep from Give Me the Rock, one from Fox Sports, one from Dime Magazine and fbasketballblog, RotoWorld, Damn Lies and Statistics, Life is Just a Fantasy … Basketball Blog and a partridge in a pear tree (I’m either the partridge or the tree, I’m not sure). You may recognize most of those stellar publications from their permanent presence on the right blogroll, or their ethereal presence everywhere else.

The format is a 14 team, 9 category, H2H, snake draft with the following roster format:  PG/SG/SF/PF/C/G/F/3 UTIL/3 BENCH

I happened to have scheduled another draft 30 minutes before this one, so at one point, I felt like a fancy Wall St. trader scanning from one monitor to another, only I was wearing frog pajamas, which I’m assuming most Wall Street traders don’t do.

Everyone’s strategy is to draft as good of a team as possible. Usually, that manifests in picking three players with similar skill sets in the first five rounds and deciding that THAT is their team’s identity. Me? I wanted a balanced team. From round to round, I wanted the players that filled the most stats cats that I had neglected the round or two before it.

Overall, I think ol’ Razzball has a shot at this thing.  I got one of the most well-rounded point guards in the game (Evans), the number one pick in the draft (Durant) added to a lock for FT% with Martin and the Bumpus Hounds (West and Hibbert) as my deadeye bigs. We also have a few exciting upside guys like Hickson, Hill, Anderson, Udoh and Shumpshump mixed in with glue guys like Odom and Jamison. Running the team’s rosters against my projections, no one’s catching this team in PTS and FT% and I finish top 3 in 3PT, AST (almost everyone on this team tosses out assists) and TOV.  This team might be in trouble with BLKs and FG% (which is lucky, because those two categories are often connected). The draft is the first step and I avoided tripping and cracking a tooth on the pavement, so that’s nice.

David Pincus over at FakeTeams, our league commissioner, did a nice write-up on the draft, which you can read here if you’re into it. He’s also compiling every owner’s thoughts on how they drafted. Check that out over the next week. I mostly babble about going completely neurotic alone in a room lit only with the twinkle of Christmas tree lights. Pulitzer, here I come!

Anyway, let me know what you think of the team …

  1. Tony says:

    any word on curry’s ankle yet? about sick of this guy being hurt and the year hasnt even started….

    Also- are the pacers really just going to bench Psycho T, every time the guy gets mins he puts up mad stats, whats your thoughts on him? I know they just signed west and west didn’t play much last night, but hansborough put up 24-13-3-2? I have the potential to keep him at $7, thinking about keeping Paul George right now, and im pretty comitted to Dar-Co already, too many pacers!!!!

  2. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Tony: I haven’t heard an update on Curry since last night, though it looks as if this man has the weakest ankles in league history. As far as Hansbrough goes, at this point, he looks like the Pacers’ sixth man over Paul George.

  3. Tony says:

    @Adam: ha great, so im looking at a $38 weak knee’d keeper in Curry, and i’ve got 4 pacers on my team, dumping David West, but still i have to choose between Collison $16, George $10 and Psycho T $7…. lol keepers due Tomorrow. Whats your thoughts now Adam? Still Keep Curry $38, David Lee $29, and then what cluster of those pacers? Collison $16 and Psycho T $7?

    I had it narrowed down to basically curry, lee, collison and george but now im changing my mind.

  4. Tony says:

    @Tony: “weak ankled curry” not knees…. god i hope the knees are ok lol

  5. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Tony: Hehehe. What free agent pickups are available? You said Durant and Nash, right? I’m still leaning toward keeping Curry, although if you drop him you’d HAVE to lock down Durant and make a real go at Nash. I’d also wait until the last minute to turn in those keepers, allow as much Curry news to trickle in as possible.

  6. Tony says:

    @Adam: Its tough to tell who is going in for sure to Free Agency, keepers arent in yet haha. There are 3 teams players going in for sure though so i KNOW durant, amare, , JJ hickson, evan turner, tim duncan, gallinari, ray allen, stuckey are for sure going in…. Looking at some other teams im guessing jason kidds going in, nash, possibly pierece of igoudala……

    not alot, its a large keeper league and lots of money, not enough players so guys hold players with a death grip.

    If i throw curry in at $38, he’ll go for well over that, and the two guys im wanting outta the above list DURANT and AMARE are going for $65+ each I’d guesstimate. So there’s almost no way i’d get two of them even if i have a good stack of money going into the draft.

    But owning a $38 hurt all year curry isn’t a great situation either.

  7. Tony says:

    boozer hurt going into last yr went for $33

    Oden got $14 Odom $35?

    jason richardson went for $44?

    lol u see what im saying.

  8. Tony says:

    adam- what do u think of offering Curry38+Paul George10 and maybe throw $5 draft cash in for an owners $10 Lawson?

    my keeps would be david lee29, collison 16, lawson 10, and psychoT$7, and it would give me $143 for the draft.

    I could spend $80 on durant AND maybe even be able to afford nash at $55 ish…. buy my last couple guys for a few bucks but have a starting line up of Durant, Nash, David Lee, Dar-Collison, and Psycho T plus two others.

    Obviosuly still gotta see what the curry ankle situation is, but going cheap keeps is key. If you’re wondering why i’d throw the guy $5 cash too and give him those players it’s doubtful he’d give me a $10 lawson if i dont. Giving up that cheap of a solid keeper would in the long run cost him more to keep other people, i still dont even know if he’d do this, depends more than anything if he’s interested in George at 10.

  9. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Tony: Wait, you’d give him a top 10 player (same age as Lawson) and another young possible breakout star and the $5 is to ensure he accepts the offer? Why wouldn’t he accept just a straight Curry for Lawson deal? Curry MAY be hurt, he’s not retired.

  10. Mikey Boy324 says:

    Adam who’s a better stash udoh or mcroberts?

  11. Tony says:

    @Adam: Its tough to understand, but I do the trade on paper and if i dealt him JUST curry for Lawson, its a $28 difference, so that’s $28 more dollars he has to spend in order to keep curry, yes its the better player, but by how much? I’ve got curry scoring 63 fpts per game in this format and lawson scoring 52….. plus he’s risking keeping/trading for a guy at $38 that might be hurt half the season.

    He’s looking for cap relief and dealing a valuable $10 Lawson for a $38 guy that isn’t above and beyond better doesn’t make a ton of sense. If I got lawson, I couldn’t keep Paul George so I’d toss him back into the draft anyways.

    IDK, i can always start with a curry for lawson offer, but i doubt it happens. With the injury risk and dollar differential, its not real enticing.

  12. Tony says:

    a trade happened before the draft just last week that was:

    monta ellis 32 paul millsap 20 for Al Jeff 34 and Lowry 5

    I was thinking at first why in the hell did the one guy deal Monta at 32 bucks, but Lowry at 5? that right there might be the most valuable player in the league. Tough to envision, but…..

  13. mauledbypandas says:

    this is my team, feel pretty good about it, but not really dominant at anything. PG/SG/SF/PF/2xC/F/G/3 util
    normal cats 12 team h2h

    Andrew Bynum, LAL C
    Tyson Chandler, NY C
    Dirk Nowitzki, Dal PF
    Russell Westbrook, OKC PG
    Paul Pierce, Bos SF
    Paul Millsap, Uta PF
    Gerald Wallace, Por SF
    Ty Lawson, Den PG
    Channing Frye, Pho PF
    Jose Calderon, Tor PG
    Tony Allen, Mem SG
    Rodrigue Beaubois, Dal PG
    Kendrick Perkins, OKC C

    Wasn’t looking for pierce or Wallace, but they went for way too cheap so I had to pounce. Feel like I might be light on scoring

  14. Yoni Rechtman says:

    I just got offered steph curry and k-love for D-rose and gortat. Is there any reason I shouldn’t accept it?

  15. mauledbypandas says:

    also, what is the general feeling on Westbrook? everyone in my auction seemed to think he was overrated, so I guess I got a huge bargain. Always loved his game aside from the no 3’s and bad FG%

  16. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Tony: Okay, I get it. That makes sense. I still wouldn’t panic until you know that Curry is even going to miss one game. He was hurt all last season, but still performed at a high level and still only missed eight games. If you can afford to wait, I’d wait. If he’s hurt, dump him, save the money and go buy Durant.

    @mauledbypandas: I think Westbrook as a second or third pick is appropriately rated. He’s a top 25 guy, not a top 10 guy … unless he improves at least one of the weaknesses you mentioned. You don’t really have an offensive gunner. Actually, your team is very well balanced. If everyone plays up to their projections, you should be fine. Your biggest problem is that you have guys whose roles and values aren’t totally defined (Wallace, Lawson, Bynum, Frye). Still, between L.A.’s depleted bench, Lawson’s track record, the lack of depth in Phoenix and Gerald being Gerald, I’d bet that you’ll be fine).

    @Yoni Rechtman: Gortat broke his thumb last night, might miss time, might force a time share with FroPez. Curry left last night’s game on crutches due to yet another ankle injury. It’s a crapshoot, but I’d prefer Curry/Rose. I’d also sit on the trade offer until more details about both injuries surface today or tomorrow.

  17. byrone says:

    aside from your team’s success being tied so closely with indy’s, i think you have a great squad. durant/kev martin/tyreke evans is huge.

  18. Adam

    Adam says:

    @byrone: Thanks. I feel pretty good about it. I’m a little nervous about my centers. Hibbert and Hickson have tremendous potential, but if given the opportunity to bet on them both reaching that potential this season, I’d keep my wallet in my pocket.

  19. Adam — I have similar 14 team H2H league settings as you used in your draft, but we also use FGM and FTM — so, I was curious to see where you guys picked players and various strategies used. Pretty good draft by most people.

    Generally, here are my observations about your squad:
    * really like the 1st 3 picks given the #1 slot and the settings. My only slight criticism is rather than the ‘Tyreke with your 2nd pick, who is pretty suspect with the nagging foot and not much of a 3 pt shooter/FG% guy, I would have probably gone a BIG like David Lee, to solidify your REB/FG% – then went Kevin Martin with the 3rd pick for 3’s, FT%, pts and steals, so you would have been a little more solid across the board except light in assists. I have found assists are a category more readily available in the mid-rounds, plus ‘Tyreke doesnt give you but 5/6 dimes a night.

    * your 4th round pick is a bit curious to me – David West coming off a serious injury, new system and more importantly, no CP3. Not much in Blocks, but great %’s and 18/8 is pretty much a given. I realize there were a dearth of quality Bigs at that slot especially since Bogut, Nene, Gortat, Bynum and Javale all went before you… (Hence my #2 overall pick question) but, did you at all consider chasing Marc Gasol, Cousins, Blatche — simply for a few more blocks, steals category? I realize you snagged Hibbert next – but just want to hear your logic there…

    In my mocks, Ive been draft a little bigger early (Bigs with good FT%), I did this last year in my 14 teamers and had a lot of success. Then going smaller later (PG like Conley, Devin Harris, Jennings, Collison, Parker, Douglas or SG like Afflalo, Thornton, Matthews, Crawford usually available later) — but just wanted to get your take on the strategy you employed here.

    *BTW, really like Odom, Hickson and Jamison picks later. Thought you might take Afflalo in the 7th, but you have K.Martin, so that would be somewhat redundant given the makeup of your team…

    *Bullish on Shumpert as well. Liked that a lot… Good job overall.

    * sharper criti

  20. Adam

    Adam says:

    @El Burro: Thanks for your thoughts. It’s funny you mention David Lee. As you’ll read in a near-future post about my drafting, I was deciding between Lee and Evans for the full 90 seconds, went with Evans, then freaked out and grabbed Martin and left Lee for someone else. I’m convinced, not necessarily that I made a poor decision, but that Lee is going to have a huge comeback season. But I went with Martin for the same reason I went with West – I always seem weak at FT%. Not both percentages, mind you, just free throws. I certainly took care of that problem this season. Also, I find it easier to replace bulk counting stats (like boards and blocks – boards especially) than percentages, which is why I wanted to go with more finesse bigs than powerful ones. We’ll see …

  21. Gotcha — good explanation; I too tend to side on the side of soft Bigs (finesse, FT% guys) vs. tough Bigs. Cause I like the percentage plays and maybe slide in a D’Andre or a Javale because they actually dont have many FT attempts, all things considered — so there isnt a ton of damage done unlike Dwight in the FT%.

    Appreciate the insight.

  22. d2bnz says:

    I’m not a big fan of HTH ……just thought I’d get that out of the way first ….I love that you have ryan anderson in the reserves it will be handy to plug him in against lineups that include Chauncey , Gallinari ,or D Wright
    I think the squad has strengths in points scored and FT%…..weaknesses in FG% and steals………and thats my two cents.

  23. ringo says:

    What do you think of Baron Davis? News seems to get better by the day, and the starting PG for the Knicks is a pretty lucrative position. Drop Fields, Kirilenko, Blair, or Teague for him?

  24. jared says:

    This is my first year in fantasy basketball. the scoring methods are afg%/oreb/dreb/ast/stl/blk/to/pf/dd/pts. do i look particulary weak at any of these categories? i was thinking i should pick up tyrus thomas to get some extra blocks but wasnt sure who to drop, or if that was even my biggest concern. Thanks

    PG Raymond Felton,
    SG Eric Gordon,
    SF LeBron James,
    PF Pau Gasol
    C David Lee,
    G Stephen Jackson,
    SG/SF Michael Beasley,
    PF/C Greg Monroe,
    Bench Elton Brand,
    Bench Nick Young,
    Bench Rodney Stuckey,
    Bench Boris Diaw,

  25. Hey Adam —

    Let me know your thoughts…

    H2H, 14 teams, 11 categories (standard 9 + FTM,FGM), 15 guys/squad. Pretty deep league.

    *general strategy was to punt assists. Think Im OK with pts, fg%, ft%, ftm, fgm, 3pm, BUT think Im a little light in blocks, steals and have a few too many “upside” guys — daye, crawford, casspi, etc.

    g- devin harris
    g- kevin martin
    g- arron afflalo
    f- lebron
    f- carlos boozer
    f- demarcus cousins
    c- brook lopez
    c- kendrick perkins
    util – omri casspi
    util – jamal crawford
    util – jordan crawford

    bench – austin daye, jason thompson, gary neal, klay thompson

    Thanks in advance.
    – EL BURRO

  26. barker says:

    18 team keeper first three are keepers — cats off / def / tot reb , ast/to ratio to, fg%, ft%, 3ptm, 3pt% plus standard cats
    i know you hate kidds age but i wanted steady assists and prolly gonna have to drop big Z but otherwise what do you think ?? and drafted before i knew about hayes’ heart thing do you think he plays at all??

    1. (1) Deron Williams PG
    2. (36) Al Horford PF,C
    3. (37) Rudy Gay SF,PF
    4. (72) Andrew Bogut C
    5. (73) Jason Kidd PG
    6. (108) Chuck Hayes PF,C
    7. (109) Chase Budinger SG,SF
    8. (144) Vince Carter SG,SF
    9. (145) Marcus Camby C
    10. (180) Evan Turner SG,SF
    11. (181) Gordon Hayward SG,SF
    12. (216) Troy Murphy PF,C
    13. (217) Jermaine O’Neal C
    14. (252) Ekpe Udoh F,C
    15. (253)Bismack Biyombo PF
    16. (288)Zydrunas Ilgauskas C

  27. Adam

    Adam says:

    @d2bnz: Thanks. I, too, worry about those steals. There are a couple rookies with potential in that category I’m keeping a close eye on.

    @ringo: I’d drop Fields or Blair if you need a PG, but if you look at his track record over the last two seasons and the fact that the Knicks have four guys that could bring the ball up the floor, Davis is a longshot to be a huge acquisition. Both in fantasy basketball and New York basketball. Also, I still think he’s hurt. I’m taking the under on his over/under of 56 GP this season.

    @jared: How deep is your league? I ask because if it’s 10-of-fewer teams, you might want to add assists. Beasley and Jackson worry me on the PF foul front, but really, I think just blocks and assists are where you need to focus.

    @El Burro: The problem with punting assists is that you’re punting the guys that can also get you other categories (usually FT% and STL). I’d shed Jason Thompson, Neal and maybe Perkins and focus on finding cheap assists – or more specifically – undervalued PGs.

    @barker: Yeah, you’re going to want to drop Big Z and Hayes. Even if he does play this year, it won’t be for a while and he won’t be in the same shape as everyone else. But both of those drops are fine because your last picks (Biyombo and Udoh) should make up for the production you’d have gotten from the other two. My biggest worry with your current roster is scoring. After your three keepers, the next three picks are guys that don’t really look to put the biscuit in the basket or shoot with much accuracy. Look for a waiver addition who shoots fairly well and racks up points. Someone like Ben Gordon or Nick Young (I’m sure neither are still available in your league, but someone LIKE that).

  28. Jared says:

    Its 10 teams, and I just found out we wont have playoffs and whoever has best overall head to head record gets all the money if that changes anything.

  29. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Jared: Well, it means that you need to nip your weaknesses in the bud sooner than later. Other than that, I’d go a-hunting for blks and asts.

  30. @Adam:

    Hi adam:

    Happy holidays to you in he great midwest… Last few days has been interesting for my hoop squad. Curious on your opinion of my trade and new squad makeup. Tried to address my deficiencies in steals, blocks departments….Again, 14 team H2H league. 11 categories (standard 9 + FTM and FGM)

    * lost Brook Lopez day after my draft;
    * traded my Lebron, Jamal Crawford and Kendrick Perkins FOR his Dwight Howard, Ray Felton and David West. Squad now looks like:

    g – kevin martin
    g – ray felton
    g – arron afflalo
    f – david west
    f – carlos boozer
    f – omri casspi
    c – dwight howard
    c – demarcus cousins
    utl – devin harris
    utl – jordan crawford
    utl – austin daye
    bnch – brook lopez, jonas jerebko, james johnson, gary neal

    El burro

  31. Adam

    Adam says:

    @El burro: Losing a second or third-rounder is tough and giving up your first-rounder is tricky, but you got solid value out of him. ASTs and STLs might be a problem.

  32. Yeah I hear ya… Not exactly the way I wanted to start the season especially in a 14 team, 2 center league. Painful…I’m also fairly certain that Lebron will likely have his best season ever, but in a league that counts FGM/FTM, i think D.Howard is likely Top 5… My strategy will be to try to play “big” trying to win boards, blocks, fg%, and then couple that with specific guards – 3s, pts, steals, ft% types… Challenging, but I like where i am more today than when B.Lopez news came out a few days ago.

    Thanks for the take.

  33. Adam

    Adam says:

    @El burro: Tread water ’til February. Then *poof* Brook Lopez!

  34. Treading water for sure…. Just doing the eggbeater with a brick on my head.

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