The regular season approaches — fewer than three weeks before our lives finally have meaning again! My RCL had a draft last weekend, and I wanted to share the results with all of you wonderful readers as a fascinating case study and (perhaps) cautionary tale! This was an excellent draft– I think all managers were drafting live, making some ballsy and brilliant picks. I’ve included a grade and a few words on each of their teams after my pick-by-pick blow-by-blow. Off we go!
[editor’s note – we still have leagues open to join the RCL fun, plus we need more leagues! Hop over to the RCL sign-ups and start a league today!]
Drew’s Team: Oooooooooooooh
Round 1, Pick 11:
John Wall (PG)
Hail to the Wizards! Despite being saddled with the absolutely brutal 11th pick, I was thrilled to snag John Wall this late. Many thanks to Yahoo for ludicrously ranking him 21st! It was a massive relief to score early on an elite PG, since there are really only four of them this year. My own homeric tendencies notwithstanding, I think Wall is in for a massive year. If he starts hitting 1+ 3PTs this year, watch out!
Round 2, Pick 2:
Klay Thompson (SG, SF)
I’ll let you in on a shocking secret: my usual draft strategy is to snag an elite point guard and center with my first two picks. I was briefly considering Paul Millsap, but getting Klay Thompson in the 2nd round was just too good to pass up. Taking a wing in the 2nd round did hurt a little bit on the inside, but Klay’s 1.1 steals and 0.8 blocks per game made me feel MUCH better. Not to mention the insane 3.1 treys per game. Increase this young man’s allowance!
Round 3, Pick 11:
Chris Bosh (PF, C)
My first big man! Not exactly a great value here, but Chris Bosh is due for a solid bounce-back year, especially with Dwyane Wade (knees made of sand) probably only playing 50-60 games. The offseason reports on Bosh were uniformly positive, and this is pure speculation, but I think he comes back with a real fire (heat) in his belly. Despite averaging fewer blocks per game than Klay, I felt fine with taking Bosh at the end of the 3rd round.
Round 4, Pick 2:
Derrick Favors (PF, C)
Lost in the Rudy Gobert hype hurricane, Derrick Favors is a dependable young big man (with upside!) who checks all the necessary PF/C stat boxes. His 67% FT shooting hurts a bit, but the 1.7 blocks per game make up for it. I needed a “traditional” big man to shore up my rebounds and blocks, and Favors fits that description perfectly. The Jazz are everyone’s favorite Cinderella team this year, and I think Favors will play a huge role in their success. And if Gobert breaks his leg, I’ll be laughing (while crying) all the way to the bank!
Round 5, Pick 11:
Greg Monroe (PF, C)
Another non-blocking big man! You might think I’m crazy, but without any big-time shot blockers left on the board, Greg Monroe was a pretty safe pick at the end of the 5th round. I was originally planning to take a guard this round, and was hoping for Brandon Knight to fall to me here. Unfortunately Khang had similar thoughts and sniped him a few picks prior. Khaaaaaaang! Nevertheless I was totally happy taking Monroe here– he should be an absolute beast and double-double machine in Milwaukee, especially with Jabari Parker coming back slowly. Nothing wrong with loading up on big men early, as my grandmother used to say.
Round 6, Pick 2:
Monta Ellis (PG, SG)
Finally, another guard! While not a true PG, Monta Ellis, in case you haven’t heard, have it all. With John Wall tallying 10 assists per game, getting another big-time point guard was less important than snagging a high-quality all-around contributor. Monta’s 1.9 steals per game last year were downright filthy, and as one of the main focal points in Indiana’s offense, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get north of 20 points per game with a slight jump in assists as well.
Round 7, Pick 11:
Robin Lopez (C)
The definition of an unsexy pick, Robin Lopez is a favorite later-mid-round target of mine for that exact reason. No one sees it coming! I needed blocks, and Rolo will be a solid source of them this season. His percentages are sneaky good, and as the defensive anchor (and only “true” center) on a bumbling Knicks team, he should easily see north of 32 minutes per game. He managed 1.4 blocks per game last season while playing fewer than 28 minutes, so while his upside is certainly limited, it’s still there.
Round 8, Pick 2:
Kevin Martin (SG, SF)
I didn’t love this pick, but I needed some extra wing depth with Klay being my only other SG/SF. K-Mart is a bit injury prone, but he’s also an excellent scorer, a trey machine, and an elite FT shooter. He was one of the better wings left on the board, and I really didn’t feel like rolling the dice on Wesley Matthews and his “maybe Christmas, maybe not” timetable. This pick looks a little worse with the recent news of Zach LaVine getting the starting nod over Martin. Didn’t know that when I drafted him, whoops!
Round 9, Pick 11:
Deron Williams (PG)
Getting D-Will with the 107th overall pick felt like a steal– hopefully his paper-mâché ankles won’t come back to haunt me. But assuming he stays healthy (a big assumption, I admit) he’ll be an excellent backup PG. If not, getting him this late should cushion the blow of hopping back on the waiver wire.
Round 10, Pick 2:
Joe Johnson (SG, SF)
I was looking for another wing, and had my heart set on PJ Tucker until Team Woo promptly swooped in and sniped him with the pick right before mine. Joe Johnson isn’t a bad consolation prize though– he was a nice surprise last year, easily finishing in the top 100 in per-game value. Without a true PG in Brooklyn, I think Johnson’s assist totals could easily approach 5 per game, and he should shoulder more of the scoring burden as well. He also managed to play 80 games last year! Not a high-upside pick, but a dependable one.
Round 11, Pick 11:
Ed Davis (PF, C)
This was purely a play for more blocks– my relative lack of that rarest and most coveted of stats made the DC native an easy choice. I had Ed Davis on one of my teams for a while last year, and (minus the horrendous FT%) his high FG%/low TO game is surprisingly fantasy-friendly. Meyers Leonard certainly has more buzz going into the season, but his nonexistent AST/STL/BLK numbers make Davis the more appealing option for my team at this point.
Round 12, Pick 2:
Darren Collison (PG)
I’m fine with Darren Collison as my 3rd-string/D-Will insurance point guard. I was surprised he was still on the board this late, and I think this is a solid value for the pick. More than anything though, this is a vote against Rajon Rondo. Not that I have any real beef with the guy, but what are the odds that Boogie strangles him to death during a 20-point blowout loss? Better than zero!
Round 13, Pick 11:
Alex Len (C)
A total shot in the dark– I was really hoping for Zaza Pachulia or Brandan Wright as my last pick, but they were both scooped up earlier in the round. Realistically I’ll probably end up dropping Len for a hot free agent before the season starts unless some terrible injury befalls Tyson Chandler. Stranger things have happened!
Overall I’m happy with most of my picks, and I’d give my draft a solid B. My team lacks a bit of upside, but I think I’ve created a high-floor team that should have a decent playoff run, even if the ceiling is a little lower than I’d like.
The Worthy Opponents
Getting the first pick is never a bad way to start, and Bearsloths made probably the easiest decision of the entire draft, taking Anthony Davis first overall. After that, the picks were a little more questionable with reaches for Eric Bledsoe and Paul George. Getting Nicolas Batum in the 5th round was an excellent value, especially with the unfortunate news about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s shoulder. They finished strong, with an impressive youth & upside trifecta in Jabari Parker, Mason Plumlee, and Zach LaVine.
Some Type of Mudiay
With solid top three picks of Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, and Nikola Vucevic, SToM played it smart and ended up with a very solid team. Blocks will be hard to come by, but other than that I see no major weaknesses. Good picks of Isaiah Thomas and Khris Middleton in the 6th and 7th rounds, respectively.
Big Al’s Platoon
Big Al got some great value picks in the middle rounds, including Kenneth Faried at 70 and Dirk Nowitzki at 75. But does Al have something against point guards?? The only PGs he took were Rajon Rondo at pick 99 and Jerian Grant in the final round at pick 147. Perhaps this was a calculated move to punt assists? I suppose only Big Al himself knows…
Form a [email protected] Wall!
After nabbing Kevin Durant with the 4th pick, FAFW surrounded him with a strong supporting cast including Kemba Walker, Mike Conley, and Marcin Gortat. Oh, and Andre Drummond doesn’t hurt either! Aside from a questionable Patty Mills pick in the final round, FAFW had a very good draft and assembled a team with some quality break-out candidates in Aaron Gordon and John Henson.
Oldschool New Jacks
ONJ had a tough decision with pick number 5 and LeBron James still on the board– in the end ONJ went with Chris Paul, which I found to be a smart and brave choice. He reached a bit for Pau Gasol at 20 (slightly questionable in my mind, given Pau’s age) but nabbed Gordon Hayward at 29– an excellent price for a guy that could return first-round value. Impressively, ONJ managed to snag three separate members of the Lakers’ frontcourt: Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell and some guy named Kobe Bryant.
Solid picks of LeBron James and LaMarcus Aldridge in the first two rounds, and with the selections of DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard, it seems clear that Meadowlark is committing to the punt-FT% method. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! The team is quite thin at point guard, boasting only Derrick Rose, CJ McCollum and Tony Parker at the 1 spot– and I’m not sure punting two categories is the best recipe for success. But what do I know?? The Lemons might want to consider flipping one of his very talented big men for a mid-range PG.
Scored Russell Westbrook with the 7th pick, and nailed the following two picks by taking Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry. This team looks quite solid all around, and late-round fliers on Roy Hibbert, Trey Burke, and Zaza Pachulia could pay off big time. I don’t see any real weaknesses with this team, and I would imagine they’ll finish with one of the top regular season records.
Quality picks here, starting with the incredibly dynamic big man duo of DeMarcus Cousins and Paul Millsap. Triangle went for two impressive (but understandable) reaches: Danilo Gallinari at #41 and Nikola Mirotic at #56. These picks, especially Gallo, certainly have the potential to have a huge pay off. The PG position will again be an issue for this team (really just highlighting the glut of top-flight PGs) but aside from a few injury prone players, Triangle should be in for a competitive year.
Khang’s Okay Team
Far from just “okay,” Khang ended up with quite a formidable squad, taking Damian Lillard and Serge Ibaka in the first two rounds. He reached a bit for Reggie Jackson early in the 4th round (which could certainly pay off!) but otherwise Khang made a bunch of smart picks with a solid bit of upside in players like Otto Porter, Ty Lawson, and Patrick Patterson. Nabbing the perpetually underrated Luol Deng in the 12th round is a great value, and I think this team will be one to watch when the fantasy playoffs arrive.
Cock should have no problems scoring, taking Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, and Rudy Gay with their 2-3-4 picks. Kawhi Leonard was Cock’s first pick at #10, and assuming Pop doesn’t rest him every other day, you can’t go too wrong with him. I think Kyrie at 34 is a little high considering his injury and uncertain timetable, but it’s not a completely crazy gamble. I’m not crazy about the rest of Cock’s picks, as the first (healthy) point guard they took was Emmanuel Mudiay in the 9th round. Mudiay should be great, no question, but I wouldn’t feel great about having him as my first-string point guard. Some nice upside picks in the last two rounds though, taking Julius Randle and the great Latvian hope himself: Kristaps Porzingis.
Woo was clearly drinking the kool-aid when it comes to this year’s hyped-up big men, taking Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside in the 1st and 4th rounds respectively. It’s (in my humble opinion) a substantial gamble, but with a potentially massive payoff. Excellent picks of Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague in round 2 and 3, and Woo won the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes, nabbing him with the 60th pick. Woo also snagged Brandon Jennings with the final pick, and given the leagues have an IL spot, I think this is a deceptively smart and very low-risk bet. Maybe he comes back in January and averages 20/4/10! But yeah, maybe not.
Thanks for reading– please sound off in the comments! I’ll respond to all that I can and would love to field any fantasy draft questions you have or get called rude names or whatever!