I’ve been running the same fantasy basketball league with roughly the same players for nearly a decade now and a while back we converted it into a keeper league. This past Tuesday we had our fantasy draft. We are like most leagues in that there are a few players nearly always on the top and the rest of the league is a mixture of people who don’t care nearly as much or are just novices trying to learn. If you’re in a casual league, it probably looks a lot like this.

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is a KEEPER league, and as such 41 of Yahoo!’s top 50 players were kept and unavailable to be drafted. You’ll see them pop up in rounds much later, in most scenarios, as they were kept on the cheap. It’s a 9-cat H2H league as well with nothing to play for but a trophy we have engraved every season. We added two more teams this season that did not play at all last season and held an expansion draft before the actual draft, and we replaced one manager who decided to focus on his life instead (which is totally okay and encouraged, btw.)

It’s also important to note that COVID screwed us up, as it did with everything. Since we didn’t really finish the season, there was no champion last season and we had to randomize the draft order to make it fair (we put it to a vote and that option won). We always give new players the first picks. Here were the standings from last season when the pause happened:

1st Team #7 (My Team)
2nd Team #11
3rd Team #2 (New Owner)
4th Team #4
5th Team #5
6th Team #8
7th Team #9
8th Team #10
9th Team #6
10th Team #12
11th Team #1 (DNP)
12th Team #3 (DNP)

The Team # corresponds with the pick gifted that team via random order. Keepers are designated with a “K.”

Round 1

Draft Pick Team Player
1 Team 1 Joel Embiid
2 Team 2 Damian Lillard (K)
3 Team 3 LeBron James
4 Team 4
5 Team 5
6 Team 6
7 Team 7 (My Team)
8 Team 8 Nikola Jokic (K)
9 Team 9
10 Team 10
11 Team 11 Paul George
12 Team 12

Solid start. Mostly good and some bad. The Joel Embiid pick was fine as Embiid was the best talent available at the draft. We had a kind of snowball effect with almost everyone keeping their top pick as everyone slowly realized how few players would be available early in the draft.

Good Picks: Steph Curry is going to have an absolute monster year in Golden State without Klay Thompson, so being able to snag him at position 12 and then turn around and pick again is huge. There’s not a lot that surprises me here though, that’s just a nice strategy and a good position to be in.

Questionable: Burning a first-round pick on Zion Williamson isn’t really advisable. He’s a stud in real life and a lot of fun to watch, but his lack of defensive stats coupled with injury concerns means he’s a risk to not hit that value, leaving your team without a true first-rounder. He’s also currently sitting at an ADP of 27.7 on Y!, so you can probably snag him somewhere in the third round, which feels right. Russell Westbrook is a bit questionable this early also, as there are better options, but if your goal is to demolish the competition in points, assists, and steals while punting turnovers or something, it’s not the worst pick.

My Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns could easily be taken number one in the draft and no one would bat an eye. Keeping him with the 7th pick was a no-brainer for me as it’s highly unlikely I’ll get anyone even close to the same caliber with so many players being kept.

Round 2

Draft Pick Team Player
13 Team 12 Jayson Tatum (K)
14 Team 11 Jusuf Nurkic
15 Team 10 Kyrie Irving
16 Team 9 Jaylen Brown
17 Team 8 Chris Paul
18 Team 7 (My Team) Clint Capela
19 Team 6 John Wall
20 Team 5 Kawhi Leonard (K)
21 Team 4 Jrue Holiday
22 Team 3 Jimmy Butler (K)
23 Team 2
24 Team 1 Rudy Gobert (K)

A really good round without anything too surprising.

Good Picks: I love backing up Steph Curry with Jayson Tatum and Team 12 is looking SOLID so far. Getting Kawhi Leonard with pick 20 is a nice value, as is Rudy Gobert. The biggest risk here is John Wall. He’s back and looking like he’s still going to be very good, but the second round is probably the best-case scenario for Wall, especially since he will likely be load managed. There wasn’t a ton of other options here in our draft, unfortunately, so the risk/reward actually makes sense. It’s entirely possible he returns to elite status and puts up insane numbers.

Questionable: Only John Wall, but given the situation and the available talent, it was maybe worth the gamble. There were other guys who were snagged in the third round that could produce second-round value though.

My Pick: Pick number 1, here we go! I was PSYCHED to get my boy Clint Capela who should play a key role on a Hawks team that will be a lot of fun to watch. I was hoping Jusuf Nurkic would slip to me by some miracle, but alas the cat is out of the bag on the prolific big. Nurkic is going 35.2 on average on the Y! platform right now and savvy owners are grabbing him much sooner. Grabbing bigs is advisable across all formats and another name I considered here was Myles Turner for his elite blocking. At the end of the day, I went potential over proven talent (because of my keepers, which you’ll see later). Capela has yet to play with the flashy Trae Young yet, but if Capela’s time in Houston was any indication then the lobs are coming in bunches which should help me in field goal percentage and points. He’ll be an elite source of boards and blocks too and he just edged out Turner for what I needed to win. Capela’s current ADP is 59.9, but owners who are readily punting free throw percentage will look to grab him much, much sooner.

Round 3

Draft Pick Team Player
25 Team 1 Bam Adebayo (K)
26 Team 2
27 Team 3
28 Team 4
29 Team 5
30 Team 6
31 Team 7 (My Team)
Jaren Jackson Jr.
32 Team 8
Michael Porter Jr.
33 Team 9 CJ McCollum (K)
34 Team 10 Myles Turner
35 Team 11
36 Team 12 Eric Bledsoe

Yet again very solid and this is where the available talent pool basically drops off a cliff as managers start to look for potential over proven numbers, for the most part.

Good Picks: Bam Adebayo was stolen from me in the expansion draft, and I don’t like it. Getting him for a third-round value is pretty legit. The Dejounte Murray pick is a very strong one. He was poised for a breakout a few seasons ago before his injury and he’s looking like a steal now that he’s added more three-pointers to his game. Not sure if he’ll hit third-round value, but it’s possible. Robert Covington is a perennially overlooked talent and snagging him here is a real steal. Michael Porter Jr. is going in the fourth or fifth rounds in some competitive drafts I’ve followed, so getting him here is HUGE. Myles Turner, as mentioned before, is a valuable pick where he landed in this draft.

Questionable: Kristaps Porzingis may very well put up second-round numbers when he returns, but his return date is unclear. After a little bit of discussion, it was pointed out that KP wouldn’t be available by the time the owner’s next pick rolled around, which is probably true. Still, it’s a bit too early to pull the trigger on him in this draft. Eric Bledsoe is also a bit questionable this early, though the fast pace in New Orleans may benefit his high octane style of play. If he can stay on the floor and return to posting elite steal numbers, it’s not the worst pick.

My Pick: Keith gets his top pick again! Theoretically, Myles Turner is higher on my pre-draft “target list” but here’s a learning moment: You have to be adaptable. The stats that Turner would have gotten me are already covered by Capela, so I’m going to jump on Jaren Jackson Jr. instead because, on top of the points, rebounds, and blocks, he also hit an insane 2.5 three-pointers per game last season from the center position. I couldn’t pass on that, so I let Turner slide to get my guy. JJJ will start the season on the bench, but come playoff time he’ll be a boon and I plan on being there in this league. If you can guess what kind of build I’m going for here, you’re probably better than the average fantasy player, and thanks for reading!

Round 4

Draft Pick Team Player
37 Team 12 Al Horford (K)
38 Team 11 Kemba Walker
39 Team 10 Jamal Murray (K)
40 Team 9 Victor Oladipo (K)
41 Team 8 Lonzo Ball
42 Team 7 (My Team) Aaron Gordon
43 Team 6 Tyler Herro
44 Team 5 Deandre Ayton (K)
45 Team 4 Bradley Beal (K)
46 Team 3
47 Team 2 Devin Booker (K)
48 Team 1 Khris Middleton (K)

Some of these dudes are not like the others… Some of these dudes just don’t belong. By this point, we’re starting to get into the most exciting thing about the league, which are the super valuable keepers. There are some nice ones here! Alas, there are head-scratchers as well.

Good Picks: Deandre Ayton, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker are the name of the game here. They are really fantastic values for 4th round picks. The Draymond Green pick is also big as I’m personally expecting a big bounce-back season from him this year, especially without Klay. Lonzo Ball is a very nice value pick here for the PG slot, though you have to be wary of the field goal percentage.

Questionable: While I think Al Horford will have a nice season in OKC, you’d have to imagine he gets sat in favor of the young talent as that team tanks to make their million draft picks more valuable. When he plays, he should be an okay value here, but there are just too many question marks about his role. I’m personally out on Kemba Walker unless you can snag him much later in your draft, so this felt early. It’s another situation of “if he plays” which may have been worth the risk to the owner who snagged him. I don’t think he surpasses 4th round value though, at best, on the season. In the weeks he plays, he should easily. Victor Oladipo has looked awful all preseason and betting on a bounceback by burning a 4th round pick isn’t advisable. This is far too early to snag Tyler Herro, though he’s going to have some nice stretches.

My Pick: Here’s where my best-laid plans got a little muddled. My plan here was to take Thomas Bryant of the Wizards and just be done with the center position completely. However, Aaron Gordon was higher on my target list and he looked really appealing to me as a nice “glue guy” that will contribute across multiple stats. This pick took much longer than my other picks because I kept going back and forth. I think I made the right selection though, which you’ll understand a bit later… Aaron Gordon’s current ADP on Y! is 83.5, which is a really nice value. He doesn’t hurt you anywhere, contributes everywhere, and he’ll theoretically see decent usage. He’s by far my least sexy pick though. I could have snagged a PG here and it might have been better, so this may be the one not-so-great pick I had all draft…. I hope… I guess we’ll see!

Round 5

Draft Pick Team Player
49 Team 1 Mikal Bridges
50 Team 2 Ben Simmons (K)
51 Team 3
52 Team 7 (My Team) (via Team 4) Thomas Bryant
53 Team 5 Nikola Vucevic (K)
54 Team 6 Julius Randle
55 Team 7 (My Team)
56 Team 8
57 Team 9 Andrew Wiggins
58 Team 10 Steven Adams
59 Team 11 Mike Conley
60 Team 12 OG Anunoby

Some great keeper value here and some very solid picks. I get two picks because of a trade from last season.

Good Picks: Ben Simmons and Nikola Vucevic are stone-cold steals in round 5 for a keeper cost. Both of these guys are 2nd or 3rd round players, though Simmons does require a bit of a specific build given his lack of threes and awful free-throw shooting. With Drummond on that same team though, it’s not a bad pairing. I love the OG Anunoby snag at the end of this round and he was surely one of my targets. OG is going to play a pivotal role on the Raptors and has a lot of upside still if he can put together some offensive consistency. I rostered him last year and he should have probably been one of my keepers if I wasn’t an idiot. Team 12 is lookin’ kinda nice, no doubt.

Questionable: It seems kind of early, still, for a Hassan Whiteside pick, even as a keeper. His role in Sacramento is entirely up in the air and Richaun Holmes has played well throughout the preseason. That said, Whiteside only needs 22-25 minutes per game to really carve out fantasy value and is perpetually slept on, but my guess is he could have been taken later if he hadn’t been kept. Julius Randle is really the king of empty stat lines, and his lack of defensive stats really makes him an undesirable fantasy target this early.

My Picks: Woo! Two picks! I was super conflicted here because at this point I had three center-eligible players already on my team, and I really hadn’t expected Thomas Bryant to fall to me. I couldn’t pass on it though and after his last few preseasons, I’m looking pretty good so far. He’s a bit of a forgotten man in Washington since he missed so much time last season, but the upside is huge and his only competition for minutes really is Moritz Wagner. Robin Lopez is also there now, but he will be a non-factor as long as TB doesn’t fall off a cliff. Devonte Graham wasn’t my first choice here but I knew by this point I’d need to snag a PG to join the two I kept (more on that later). I had high hopes for Malcolm Brogdon to slip this far, but alas the people in my league aren’t idiots and he went a whole two rounds earlier. I would have also settled for Lonzo Ball here, but I’m pretty content with Graham who should have a solid role for the Hornets. Gordon Hayward’s arrival does dampen the offensive upside a bit, but hopefully, he can improve on his 38.2% shooting. I’m betting on it because otherwise, he may wind up being a drag. He’s probably my worst pick in this draft… and I just read my above blurb. That’s two oopsies! They aren’t gameplan-breaking though, and they aren’t bad selections at all.

Round 6

Draft Pick Team Player
61 Team 12 LaMarcus Aldridge (K)
62 Team 11 Markelle Fultz
63 Team 10
Wendell Carter Jr. (K)
64 Team 9 Ja Morant (K)
65 Team 8 Seth Curry
66 Team 7 (My Team) Danilo Gallinari
67 Team 6
68 Team 5 Ricky Rubio
69 Team 7 (My Team) (via Team 4) Kyle Lowry (K)
70 Team 3 Jerami Grant
71 Team 2 Luka Doncic (K)
72 Team 1

Keeper value really starting to come into play here and some nice “let’s see” picks.

Good Picks: Obviously, Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are going to crush their spots in this draft. The value on both of those guys here is unbelievable and Luka could very well end up in the top 5. Ja Morant is primed for a breakout season and really there’s nothing to stop him, but he’ll still have to prove it. LaMarcus Aldridge this late is nice value as well on the keeper front. Markelle Fultz is a savvy pick this late in the draft. He’s a nice source of dimes and his shot really seems to be coming around. The Bogdan Bogdanovic pick is nice too as he should see a bit of a numbers boost in the high octane Atlanta Hawks offense led by Trae Young.

Questionable: Wendell Carter Jr. has plenty of upside, but he probably could have been scooped up later in the draft. He looked nice in the Bulls’ last preseason game though, so we’ll see. Jerami Grant is going to have plenty of opportunities, but as the preseason has shown he’s not the most gifted offensive player. He may just wind up being a drag on field goal percentage when all is said and done.

My Picks: This is another scenario where I kind of held my nose while clicking the “draft” button, but he was actually my top target for this round. I like him as a stabilizing veteran force in the second unit for Atlanta, and if he can stay healthy he will be a fantastic source of points and threes, which are two categories I need to win and happen to be weak on at the moment. Kyle Lowry was probably a mistake, but it was a really safe pick out of my keepers from last season. He’ll have no problem beating 6th round value, but there’s just not a lot of upside, and Fred VanVleet is really starting to look like the man in the backcourt to have over there. Still, Lowry will have a great season and will play a lot of minutes as Nick Nurse sticks to his 9-man rotations all season. He won’t really hurt me anywhere and he’s a totally decent point guard to have on my squad.

Round 7

Draft Pick Team Player
73 Team 1 Norman Powell
74 Team 2 PJ Washington
75 Team 3
76 Team 4
77 Team 5 Brandon Clarke
78 Team 6 Blake Griffin
79 Team 4 (via Team 7 (My Team)) Brook Lopez
80 Team 8 Marc Gasol
81 Team 9
82 Team 10 Kevin Love
83 Team 11
84 Team 12 LaMelo Ball

Only one keeper this round, and it’s a doozy. Some nice and safe value picks and a few nice upside picks. I don’t have a pick as I traded it away. 🙁

Good Picks: Love the PJ Washington pick here as the Hornets will definitely need his presence in the frontcourt. The talk of playing him at center in a small ball lineup with Miles Bridges is real, so scoop him where you can. Love, love, love the Brandon Clarke pick. It’s going to be tough when JJJ gets back to see where exactly he fits, but even in limited minutes, he’s primed to be a fantasy machine with elite field goal percentage. Blake Griffin can be sneaky good here, especially if he stays on the Pistons all season. They’re utilizing him almost entirely as a point forward, which means he’s going to rack up the assists in career numbers if he can stay healthy. The Brook Lopez pick is huge value here as most likely the best center left on the slate and a very, very nice source of threes from the center position. Domantas Sabonis is obviously a huge value with a 7th round pick. His ADP on Y! currently is 41.8.

Questionable: Marc Gasol may be able to turn back the clock on the Lakers, but let’s face it: he’s really just hanging onto LBJ’s coattails and hoping for a championship. He won’t produce great numbers for fantasy purposes but he’s a solid get for that team in real life. LaMelo Ball has an ADP of 94.6 on Y! right now, which is still too high and he’s drafted too early here. He’ll have weeks where he pops off and he’s looking like a special talent, but he’ll have slumps too where he’ll shoot 1-for-10. The preseason was exactly like that. For season-long leagues, he’s not the most solid choice outside of a later round selection. In dynasty leagues, reach away.

Round 8

Draft Pick Team Player
85 Team 12 Serge Ibaka
86 Team 11 Klay Thompson
87 Team 10 Caris LeVert
88 Team 9 Trae Young (K)
89 Team 8 T.J. Warren (K)
90 Team 7 (My Team) Derrick White
91 Team 6
92 Team 5
93 Team 4 Otto Porter Jr.
94 Team 3 Evan Fournier
95 Team 2 Nerlens Noel
96 Team 1 Montrezl Harrell (K)

Not a ton to get excited about here outside of one keeper. Maybe the most boring round?

Good Picks: Trae Young, obviously, is the steal of the round. He’s a top 15 player with top 10 upside and an elite offensive weapon for fantasy purposes. He’s playing on a young and hungry team that finally has some stable veterans, so it should be a lot of fun. I’m also a fan of the Nerlens Noel pick, especially if a team has Mitchell Robinson. It’s a very nice handcuff and Thibodeau already loves the big man who has elite potential in the defensive categories.

Questionable: Caris LeVert is pretty iffy here since his role with the Nets is so unknown at this point. Taking a chance on him isn’t the worst thing, but there are probably safer options. The Klay Thompson selection came as a bit of a surprise, but once I talked to the owner it made a lot of sense. We have two IL spots and getting to potentially keep Klay next year with a round 8 cost was too good to pass up. Our league’s last winner is always playing the long game, gotta love it.

My Pick: Super pumped to get Derrick White here since he was a target the previous round for me. His injury probably scared off a few people, but he’s going to be huge for the Spurs playing alongside Dejounte Murray. That gives me all the point guards I’ll need as I have four now and can focus on the swing position next. Scary Terry Rozier was my backup plan here and I’m pretty glad I didn’t have to go to it since I already have Graham.

Round 9

Draft Pick Team Player
97 Team 1 Danuel House Jr.
98 Team 2
99 Team 3 Jarrett Allen
100 Team 4
101 Team 5 RJ Barrett
102 Team 6
DeMarcus Cousins
103 Team 4 (via Team 7 (My Team))
104 Team 8 Chris Boucher
105 Team 9 Richaun Holmes
106 Team 10 Fred VanVleet (K)
107 Team 11
108 Team 12 Derrick Rose

A few nice keepers. A few very nice shots in the dark. I don’t pick again. 🙁

Good Picks: The keepers here, Brandon Ingram and Fred VanVleet, are easy money. The Marvin Bagley pick is a nice upside pick for a man who is far past being hyped but still has potential. If he can stay healthy, he can be a big steal here. RJ Barrett is going to be very good, it’s just a matter of when. The DeMarcus Cousins pick looks better and better as it’s becoming more clear that Harden is on his way out of Houston. It’s just a matter of whether or not he can stay healthy. Chris Boucher is a per-minute monster and should have a solid role on a Toronto team that has very tight rotations. Don’t sleep on him as one of the best late-round fliers.

Questionable: Spencer Dinwiddie is a bit of a head-scratcher, but he is a nice handcuff for Kyrie Irving if you have him. He’s probably best left as waiver wire fodder until that happens though, despite starting. He has a lack of defensive stats and two big dogs in town that will need to eat.

Round 10

Draft Pick Team Player
109 Team 12 Marcus Smart (K)
110 Team 11 Kelly Oubre Jr. (K)
111 Team 10 Buddy Hield (K)
112 Team 9 Daniel Theis
113 Team 8
114 Team 7 (My Team) Cam Reddish
115 Team 6 Kevin Durant (K)
116 Team 5 Rui Hachimura
117 Team 4
118 Team 3 P.J. Tucker
119 Team 2 Darius Bazley
120 Team 1 Nemanja Bjelica

A long term play comes to fruition. We start to see if players have done their homework as the high upside picks start in earnest.

Good Picks: Kevin Durant was held all last year for a reason and now that owner gets to reap the benefits of burning a 10th round selection on the former MVP. Kelly Oubre is going to be great in Golden State. Not sure he’ll be an early-round guy, but a solid mid-round guy for sure. Buddy Hield should have every opportunity here, but he’s been a disappointment year after year so far. Can he break the cycle? D’Angelo Russell is a nice late value. Josh Richardson is staring down a bounce-back season in Dallas and is perhaps the smartest actual pick of the round. Darius Bazley is the best high upside pick of the round as he’ll have ample opportunity on the offensive end. He’s going to have his ups and downs though, especially shooting the basketball.

Questionable: Honestly, none of these guys are questionable selections.

My Pick: I’m not super surprised no one pounced on Cam Reddish. He’s still relatively unknown, and it’s not certain if he’ll be starting or coming off the bench to begin the season. Coming off the bench may actually be a boon to his value though as he sees his usage climb in the second unit, but starting is fine too. Anyone who owned him down the stretch last season knows what he’s about and he’s already putting up nice stat lines in the preseason. One of my favorite late-round fliers and someone I rostered last year too but didn’t keep. I’m happy to get him again where I ended up snagging him.

Round 11

Draft Pick Team Player
121 Team 1 Kevin Huerter
122 Team 2 Elfrid Payton
123 Team 3 Collin Sexton (K)
124 Team 4
Aleksej Pokusevski
125 Team 5
126 Team 6 Aron Baynes
127 Team 7 (My Team) Christian Wood (K)
128 Team 8 Patrick Williams
129 Team 9 Jaxson Hayes
130 Team 10 Goran Dragic
131 Team 11 Tobias Harris (K)
132 Team 7 (My Team) (via Team 12) Coby White (K)

Houston… I’m seeing a lot of drop candidates. I’m also seeing some crazy great value with keepers.

Good Picks: Collin Sexton is going to be the man in Cleveland until further notice. Drummond complicates things a little bit, but it remains to be seen if he’ll stick around. Tyrese Haliburton is a nice late-round flier. Patrick Williams is looking better by the day and was already worthy of a flier as well. Tobias Harris is a mid-round guy acquired at a dirt-cheap price.

Questionable: Kevin Huerter, Elfrid Payton, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Killian Hayes look like drop candidates out the gate. I was actually high on Payton this offseason, but with the rapid emergence of Immanuel Quickley and the tendency of New York to pressure a team to play certain players based on hype (see: Linsanity), the situation is getting murkier and murkier. Poku is a potential stud in a few years, and he may even start to turn that corner at the end of this season, but he’s going to struggle and just take up space until the Thunder go full tank mode somewhere near the break. In a dynasty league, you absolutely should be targeting him. If you haven’t seen the highlights of this 18-year-old kid yet, go check them out. He’s a 7-foot guard.

My Picks: Ah yes, here are all those players you’ve been craving to know about. I have two of the hottest commodities as dirt cheap keepers and that makes me smile for sure. Christian Wood looked phenomenal in his preseason debut, which is no surprise to any of us who have followed the NBA closely for years. Coby White is a bit more surprising to me, but he’s going to have ups and downs as a young and developing player. Still, he’s been scoring at will and looks extremely confident in his three-point shot. It would be nice if he put up a few more assists, but I’m not complaining. Wood’s current ADP of 47.7 is too low, and White’s ADP of 74.3 seems about right and keeps climbing every time I check. I got them at 127 and 132 respectively.

Round 12

Draft Pick Team Player
133 Team 12 DeAndre Jordan
134 Team 11
135 Team 10 Darius Garland
136 Team 9 Justise Winslow
137 Team 8 Maxi Kleber (K)
138 Team 7 (My Team) John Collins (K)
139 Team 6
140 Team 5 Lou Williams
141 Team 4 Davis Bertans (K)
142 Team 3 Miles Bridges (K)
143 Team 2 Delon Wright
144 Team 1 Joe Ingles

Keepers and not much else. There are some nice late value picks here.

Good Picks: Let’s hype the keeps first. Donovan Mitchell has been a multi-year keeper for this manager, who was onto him first in our league. He’s the main reason the manager has been successful. Davis Bertans is a really nice grab at this cost. He’s going to have mid-round value all season, no matter who the point guard is. Huge value in three-pointers. Outside of the keepers, the best two picks are probably the last two. Delon Wright should get ample run in Detroit and he’s a nice source of points, assists, and rebounds at the guard spot. His greatest value is his contributions in steals as he averages 1.9 per 36 minutes during his career. Derrick Rose is a constant injury concern and is a likely trade candidate anyway, so Wright’s minutes should be safe and he should produce sneaky good value all season long. Joe Ingles isn’t sexy, but he’s super consistent and plays in every game. Nice late source of threes and assists.

Questionable: DeAndre Jordan is tough because he has a lot of potential in shot-blocking, but he’s going to tank your free throw percentage, where he’s a career 47.4 percent shooter. Snagging him late to screw over someone trying to punt free throw percentage might be an okay play, but unless you’re following that strategy he just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t look like Team 12 is going for that kind of build. Talen Horton-Tucker was fun in the preseason, but he went off when virtually all of the Lakers sat. He might have some more outbursts when the Lakers rest their guys, but he just doesn’t have a lot of opportunity in L.A. In a best-case scenario, he’ll produce value here, but the future is definitely bright.

My Pick: Congrats to me for being the first to sniff out and buy a ticket for the John Collins hype train. Some people are put off by the added weapons in Atlanta, but you shouldn’t be. He’ll still be heavily featured and he’ll be a beast. His current ADP is 24.3, so getting him at pick 138 is okay, I guess. 😉

Round 13

Draft Pick Team Player
145 Team 1 Donte DiVincenzo (K)
146 Team 2 JJ Redick
147 Team 3 De’Aaron Fox (K)
148 Team 4 Pascal Siakam (K)
149 Team 5 Obi Toppin
150 Team 6
151 Team 12 (via Team 7 (My Team)) Larry Nance Jr.
152 Team 8 Zach LaVine (K)
153 Team 9
154 Team 10 Jae Crowder
155 Team 11
156 Team 12 Will Barton

Insane keeper value again, and some waiver wire fodder. But look at Mr. Irrelevant! I don’t have a last round pick this season.

Good Picks: De’Aaron Fox should have a nice bounce-back season and his current ADP on Y! is 39.5. He has a great chance of being a steal there. Pascal Siakam should rebound from a terrible show in the bubble as well. His ADP is about right at 32.2. Zach LaVine jumps in ADP every year, it seems, and currently sits at 31.2. He’ll have another very nice season for the Bulls. I’m still aboard the Mitchell Robinson hype train, personally. His per-minute production is elite in blocks, but of course, he needs to battle the foul trouble and now Nerlens Noel being in New York. He eked out mid-round value last season in limited minutes and this year is shaping up to be the same, but the potential is forever there for him to leap into early-round value on his field goal percentage and blocks. The flyer on Obi Toppin is nice as he’s shaping up to be a fan favorite on a team that tends to play those guys. Mr. Irrelevant is a super nice pick here as Will Barton consistently puts up mid-round value when he plays. He just needs to stay healthy this season to be a steal here. His ADP is 132.7 and he’s absolutely a steal there if you can get him late.

Questionable: Carmelo Anthony and Tristan Thompson are best left to the waiver wire. Carmelo is worth a stream if he gets hot for a bit and puts up nice points and boards, but with RoCo there now his role will be even more diminished. RoCo does everything Melo does and more on the court IRL. TT will have to battle Robert Williams for backup minutes in Boston. He’ll be a nice source of boards in deep leagues, but if you’re going to take a flier here Time Lord is more promising for his ability to block the basketball.

Overall Grades

I took each team and ran them through Razzball’s Team Assessor Tool. After that I arranged each team from best to worst in each category, graded on a curve, and assigned each a draft grade. Grain of salt time: This is mostly for fun. It’s more of an educated guess than anything. Projections are great… until they aren’t right. Here’s looking at you, 2016.

Team 1

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 1
Joel Embiid (Phi – PF,C)
2 24
Rudy Gobert (Uta – C)
3 25
Bam Adebayo (Mia – PF,C)
4 48
Khris Middleton (Mil – SF,PF)
5 49
Mikal Bridges (Pho – SG,SF)
6 72
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Atl – SG,SF,PF)
7 73
Norman Powell (Tor – SG,SF)
8 96
Montrezl Harrell (LAL – PF,C)
9 97
Danuel House Jr. (Hou – SF,PF)
10 120
Nemanja Bjelica (Sac – PF)
11 121
Kevin Huerter (Atl – SG,SF)
12 144
Joe Ingles (Uta – SG,SF)
13 145
Donte DiVincenzo (Mil – PG,SG)

Strengths: FG%, TO

Weaknesses: 3PT, PTS, AST

Borderline: STL, BLK

Final Draft Grade: D+

Analysis: Very strong in two categories, but will have to stream to make up the rest which is difficult to do. Rebounding should be decent week after week as well. 

Team 2

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 2
Damian Lillard (Por – PG)
2 23
Andre Drummond (Cle – C)
3 26
Kristaps Porzingis (Dal – PF,C)
4 47
Devin Booker (Pho – SG,SF)
5 50
Ben Simmons (Phi – PG)
6 71
Luka Doncic (Dal – PG,SG)
7 74
PJ Washington (Cha – SF,PF)
8 95
Nerlens Noel (NY – PF,C)
9 98
Marvin Bagley III (Sac – PF,C)
10 119
Darius Bazley (OKC – SF,PF)
11 122
Elfrid Payton (NY – PG)
12 143
Delon Wright (Det – SG,SF)
13 146
JJ Redick (NO – SG)

Strengths: REB, AST, STL, BLK 

Weaknesses: FT%, TO

Borderline: FG%

Final Draft Grade: A+

Analysis: The big winner of the draft. Pretty impressive for a new manager. Of course, this takes into account that Porzingis is playing, but the way KP is trending is promising. The four strengths of the team look like a lock to win week after week, so only need to stream for one category.

Team 3

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 3
LeBron James (LAL – PG,SG,SF)
2 22
Jimmy Butler (Mia – SF,PF)
3 27
Dejounte Murray (SA – PG,SG)
4 46
Draymond Green (GS – PF,C)
5 51
Hassan Whiteside (Sac – PF,C)
6 70
Jerami Grant (Det – SF,PF)
7 75
Duncan Robinson (Mia – SG,SF)
8 94
Evan Fournier (Orl – SG,SF)
9 99
Jarrett Allen (Bkn – C)
10 118
P.J. Tucker (Hou – PF,C)
11 123
Collin Sexton (Cle – PG,SG)
12 142
Miles Bridges (Cha – SF,PF)
13 147
De’Aaron Fox (Sac – PG)

Strengths: AST, STL

Weaknesses: FT%, PTS

Borderline: FG%, BLKS, TO

Final Draft Grade: C

Analysis: Not bad. They’ll have to pick a direction while scooping people off the waiver wire. It looks like they’d be best off targeting bigs. 

Team 4

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 4
Anthony Davis (LAL – PF,C)
2 21
Jrue Holiday (Mil – PG,SG)
3 28
Gordon Hayward (Cha – SG,SF)
4 45
Bradley Beal (Was – SG,SF)
5 76
James Wiseman (GS – C)
6 79
Brook Lopez (Mil – C)
7 93
Otto Porter Jr. (Chi – SF,PF)
8 100
Brandon Ingram (NO – SF,PF)
9 103
Dennis Schroder (LAL – PG)
10 117
Josh Richardson (Dal – SG,SF)
11 124
Aleksej Pokusevski (OKC – SF)
12 141
Davis Bertans (Was – PF,C)
13 148
Pascal Siakam (Tor – PF,C)

Strengths: FT%, 3PT, BLK, TO

Weaknesses: FG%

Borderline: PTS

Final Draft Grade: B-

Analysis: Not as much as a lock as Team 2 in the four categories, but very, very solid. Looks like they’ll be scraping the barrel for points most likely, which isn’t the worst category for which to hunt.

Team 5

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 5
James Harden (Hou – PG,SG)
2 20
Kawhi Leonard (LAC – SG,SF)
3 29
Robert Covington (Por – PF,C)
4 44
Deandre Ayton (Pho – C)
5 53
Nikola Vucevic (Orl – C)
6 68
Ricky Rubio (Min – PG)
7 77
Brandon Clarke (Mem – SF,PF)
8 92
Jonas Valanciunas (Mem – C)
9 101
RJ Barrett (NY – SG,SF)
10 116
Rui Hachimura (Was – SF,PF)
11 125
Tyrese Haliburton (Sac – PG,SG)
12 140
Lou Williams (LAC – PG,SG)
13 149
Obi Toppin (NY – SF,PF)

Strengths: FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, STL

Weaknesses: 3PT

Borderline: BLK

Final Draft Grade: A+

Analysis: The second best draft, but they’re set up to win 5 whole categories. I’m sure they’re hopeful that Harden’s situation gets worked out quickly. None of these guys are huge gambles, which makes them all great floor plays, thus the high ranking.

Team 6

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 6
Zion Williamson (NO – PF)
2 19
John Wall (Hou – PG)
3 30
DeMar DeRozan (SA – SG,SF)
4 43
Tyler Herro (Mia – PG,SG,SF)
5 54
Julius Randle (NY – PF,C)
6 67
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC – SG,SF)
7 78
Blake Griffin (Det – PF,C)
8 91
Anthony Edwards (Min – SG)
9 102
DeMarcus Cousins (Hou – PF,C)
10 115
Kevin Durant (Bkn – SF,PF)
11 126
Aron Baynes (Tor – C)
12 139
Talen Horton-Tucker (LAL – SG,SF)
13 150
Carmelo Anthony (Por – SF,PF)

Strengths: PTS

Weaknesses: 3PT, STL, BLK, TO

Borderline: AST

Final Draft Grade: D

Analysis: There are quite a few big swings here, so maybe it will pay off. There’s nothing set in stone obviously, so we’ll see.

Team 7 (My Team)

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 7
Karl-Anthony Towns (Min – C)
2 18
Clint Capela (Atl – C)
3 31
Jaren Jackson Jr. (Mem – PF,C)
4 42
Aaron Gordon (Orl – SF,PF)
5 52
Thomas Bryant (Was – C)
6 55
Devonte’ Graham (Cha – PG,SG)
7 66
Danilo Gallinari (Atl – SF,PF)
8 69
Kyle Lowry (Tor – PG)
9 90
Derrick White (SA – PG,SG)
10 114
Cam Reddish (Atl – SF,PF)
11 127
Christian Wood (Hou – PF,C)
12 132
Coby White (Chi – PG,SG)
13 138
John Collins (Atl – PF,C)

Strengths: FG%, 3PT, REB, BLK, TO

Weaknesses: AST, STL

Borderline: FT%

Final Draft Grade: B

Analysis: And here it is. The data is a little skewed as I went hard into the “punt” strategy with assists and thus steals as well. I’ll handily lose both of those categories each week, but the five listed should be very solid and points are another one that I can target. I’m liking my set up.

Team 8

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 8
Nikola Jokic (Den – PF,C)
2 17
Chris Paul (Pho – PG)
3 32
Michael Porter Jr. (Den – SF,PF)
4 41
Lonzo Ball (NO – PG,SG)
5 56
Lauri Markkanen (Chi – PF,C)
6 65
Seth Curry (Phi – PG,SG)
7 80
Marc Gasol (LAL – C)
8 89
T.J. Warren (Ind – SF,PF)
9 104
Chris Boucher (Tor – PF,C)
10 113
D’Angelo Russell (Min – PG,SG)
11 128
Patrick Williams (Chi – SF)
12 137
Maxi Kleber (Dal – PF,C)
13 152
Zach LaVine (Chi – SG,SF)

Strengths: FT%, 3PT, STL

Weaknesses: FG%, REB

Borderline: TO

Final Draft Grade: C-

Analysis: Usually the baseline team, and it makes sense here as well. It looks like they’ll be set up to go 5-4 or 4-5 week-to-week and probably end somewhere in the middle of the pack unless some of the upside swings pan out. 

Team 9

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 9
Russell Westbrook (Was – PG)
2 16
Jaylen Brown (Bos – SG,SF)
3 33
CJ McCollum (Por – PG,SG)
4 40
Victor Oladipo (Ind – SG,SF)
5 57
Andrew Wiggins (GS – SG,SF)
6 64
Ja Morant (Mem – PG)
7 81
Bojan Bogdanovic (Uta – SF,PF)
8 88
Trae Young (Atl – PG)
9 105
Richaun Holmes (Sac – PF,C)
10 112
Daniel Theis (Bos – C)
11 129
Jaxson Hayes (NO – C)
12 136
Justise Winslow (Mem – PF)
13 153
Tristan Thompson (Bos – PF,C)

Strengths: AST

Weaknesses: REB, BLK

Borderline: 3PT, PTS

Final Draft Grade: C-

Analysis: Going to be a struggle to eek out wins. Will have to scout the waiver wire to find big upside picks, but it could pan out.

Team 10

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 10
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil – PF,C)
2 15
Kyrie Irving (Bkn – PG)
3 34
Myles Turner (Ind – PF,C)
4 39
Jamal Murray (Den – PG,SG)
5 58
Steven Adams (NO – C)
6 63
Wendell Carter Jr. (Chi – C)
7 82
Kevin Love (Cle – PF,C)
8 87
Caris LeVert (Bkn – SG,SF)
9 106
Fred VanVleet (Tor – PG,SG)
10 111
Buddy Hield (Sac – SG)
11 130
Goran Dragic (Mia – PG,SG)
12 135
Darius Garland (Cle – PG)
13 154
Jae Crowder (Pho – SF,PF)

Strengths: 3PT

Weaknesses: FG%

Borderline: REB, AST, BLK

Final Draft Grade: C+

Analysis: The auto-draft is real with this kid. He forgot or something, but the system did an okay job. If the manager puts in the work, they could slip into the playoffs where anything can happen.

Team 11

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 11
Paul George (LAC – SF,PF)
2 14
Jusuf Nurkic (Por – C)
3 35
Malcolm Brogdon (Ind – PG,SG)
4 38
Kemba Walker (Bos – PG)
5 59
Mike Conley (Uta – PG)
6 62
Markelle Fultz (Orl – PG,SG)
7 83
Domantas Sabonis (Ind – PF,C)
8 86
Klay Thompson (GS – SG,SF)
9 107
Spencer Dinwiddie (Bkn – PG,SG)
10 110
Kelly Oubre Jr. (GS – SF,PF)
11 131
Tobias Harris (Phi – SF,PF)
12 134
Donovan Mitchell (Uta – PG,SG)
13 155
Mitchell Robinson (NY – C)

Strengths: FT%, PTS, AST

Weaknesses: BLK (kind of)

Borderline: 3PT, STL

Final Draft Grade: B

Analysis: Our reigning champion isn’t weak anywhere, which is impressive. It looks like they’ll be scouring the waiver wire for guards too, which is opposite of most of the league so they should find what they’re looking for. Going to be another solid season.

Team 12

Round Selected Overall Pick Player Name
1 12
Stephen Curry (GS – PG,SG)
2 13
Jayson Tatum (Bos – SF,PF)
3 36
Eric Bledsoe (NO – PG,SG)
4 37
Al Horford (OKC – PF,C)
5 60
OG Anunoby (Tor – SF,PF)
6 61
LaMarcus Aldridge (SA – PF,C)
7 84
LaMelo Ball (Cha – PG,SG)
8 85
Serge Ibaka (LAC – PF,C)
9 108
Derrick Rose (Det – PG,SG)
10 109
Marcus Smart (Bos – PG,SG)
11 133
DeAndre Jordan (Bkn – C)
12 151
Larry Nance Jr. (Cle – PF,C)
13 156
Will Barton (Den – SG,SF)

Strengths: REB, TO

Weaknesses: PTS (kind of)

Borderline: FG%, 3PT, AST, STL

Final Draft Grade: B-

Analysis: This is a very impressive showing for a guy who wound up in last place last season. This team should fight for a playoff spot if they are healthy, and may even end up a top 4 team. Not really any weaknesses, so each statistic is basically in play. 

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2 years ago

Hey man, could you expand a bit on taking Capela in 2nd round?!? And Gordon in 4th? Something doesn’t add up for me right there.

2 years ago

Hey Keith,

very interesting read and format!

I was wondering how did you utilise the Team Assessor Tool, considering that by default it takes only up to 10 players? Did you expand it to take 13 players as input (and if so, I would be very interested in the way you achieved it) or did you simply use only the top-10 players of every team?

Thanks in advance!