Like most of you fantasy nuts, I am starved for basketball this time of year and can’t wait to get started. I decided to take matters into my own hands and started a league. I wanted it to be realistic and meaningful, so I set the buy-in at $200. Thankfully, I was able to gather 11 knowledgeable players and we drafted last week. Most of these guys are sharp, so there weren’t many bargains. Here is a recap of how it went down.
Round 1: Karl Anthony-Towns
I lucked out and got pick 2. I considered James Harden, who will be great regardless of who he plays with, and Steph Curry, who is primed for a monster year, but Towns was the selection after AD went #1. In the end, I had to go with the safe choice, as Towns has finished top 3 in overall value the last three years, and is the most durable of the bunch.
Best Pick: Harden at 4 is a great start. Granted, the top 5 is a toss up, but any time you get Harden that late, it’s a steal of a deal.
Worst Pick: Kyrie Irving at 11 is a head scratcher. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Kemba Walker, and and Jrue Holidaywere all still on the board. Not sure how much better he will be in NJ, but that’s too early for me.
Round 2: Luka Doncic
Really wanted Trae Young with my second round pick, but he was sniped by the guy right in front of me! Ended up getting Luka with my second-round pick (#23 overall). I’m hoping he can take a big step forward this year and clean up those efficiency issues. I mean, Lebron only shot 41% in his rookie year, so there’s still hope yet! I also considered LaMarcus Aldridge at this point, but I was sure he would be there for my next pick.
Best Pick: I really like Trae Young at pick 22. He’s primed for a huge year and ready to join the elites. Missing out on him in the second round really hurt.
Round 3: LaMarcus Aldridge
I spent a good amount of time debating between Devin Booker and Aldridge for this pick. Booker is sexy, while Aldridge is safe. I went with Aldridge because of my sexy Luka pick earlier. LMA has finished in the top 20 the last two seasons, so I’m happy with this pick at #26. Booker went right after.
Best Pick: This was a tough round for me. There weren’t any picks that jumped out at me as exciting.
Worst Pick: Ben Simmons at pick 25 was questionable to me. He gets nice counting stats but there are too many holes in his game to be an elite fantasy player. With the addition of Josh Richardson and Al Horford, I can’t see him taking a big enough step forward to justify the pick, unless he somehow magically learns how to shoot.
Round 4: Draymond Green
Finally a pick that I can be thrilled with! So happy Draymond fell to me here. I was also considering DeMarcus Cousins, but thankfully I picked Dray instead! I believe he has a good chance of going back to the 2015-16 version, so getting him at 47 was a stellar deal. Chris Paul was also in the mix, but ultimately I went with the safer option.
Best Pick: I’d have to give this one to myself with the Draymond pick. Excellent value here.
Worst Pick: Khris Middleton at 38 isn’t bad, but it’s my least favorite one of the round. He probably could have been had a bit later.
Round 5: Kyle Lowry
I picked Lowry in early round 3 last year, so I was also very giddy with this pick. Again, I was considering Cousins and CP3, but thankfully they were both picked right before me. Lowry is 33 years old, so there is definitely a durability concern here, but he’s in a contract year so something tells me he’ll magically be healthy and awesome all year.
Best Pick: Once again, I give the award to me for picking Lowry at #50. He should far exceed his ADP this year.
Worst Pick: I’m going to cheat here and use hindsight, and give the worst pick this round to DeMarcus Cousins. Was really leaning towards picking him, but thankfully he was picked before me.
Round 6: Kelly Oubre Jr.
This was a slow draft, so there was a break in between my 5th and 6th round picks. I was going to reach for Oubre with my last pick, but couldn’t resist Lowry. I went to bed that night and actually had nightmares about Oubre getting sniped from me. Thankfully, the basketball gods were kind and he was still there at pick 71. My love for Oubre knows no bounds, so I was thrilled to get him here.
Best Pick: I really like Steven Adams at pick #65. He’s going to see a nice uptick in boards and FG% with CP3 in town to feed him easy baskets. He has a chance to approach Drummond-like numbers this year with Westbrook gone.
Worst Pick: Hassan Whiteside at 70 seems early to me. I’d take a chance on him at around the 100 mark. Sure, there’s a chance he might go back to dominating, but probably not. Didn’t like this pick at all.
Round 7: Terry Rozier
I was hoping that Adams would fall to me here, even though he doesn’t fit my team at all. Unfortunately, he was gone, so I went with Rozier. I can see him going for 20-5-5 with terrible percentages, but hey, that’s good enough for pick 74. Hoping I can trade him to a popcorn-loving manager once he strings a few nice games together.
Best Pick: Kevin Love is a risky pick at 75, but he could be well worth it. He’s not for me, but is good value at this point.
Worst Pick: Dejounte Murray at 73 is my least favorite pick here. The situation in SA is unclear, and at this point, there were still some goodies on the board with more certainty.
Round 8: Jeff Teague
Was really hoping for Wendell Carter Jr. to fall to me, but no such luck. I had Teague and Enes Kanter queued up, and went with Teague since I guessed that Kanter would still be there for my next pick. Teague had a down year and is sliding big in drafts this year. Don’t be shy to grab him at this point, as he has historically been very durable and consistent, and will bounce back this year.
Best Pick: Wendell Carter Jr. at 87 is my favorite pick here. He’s got the potential and the opportunity in Chicago, and should have gone higher.
Worst Pick: I like Jeremy Lamb a lot, but I don’t like him at pick 86. He could have been had a few rounds later and provided solid value.
Round 9: Enes Kanter
I’m fully expecting Kanter to put up top 50 value in Boston this year, so it blows my mind that he is ranked so low in the preseason drafts. He literally has no one to compete with for playing time, and should be a double-double machine. Very good value at pick 98.
Best Pick: I’ll have to give myself this one again, as Kanter at 98 is a steal. I was prepared to pick him a few rounds earlier.
Worst Pick: Jerami Grant had a great year last year, but I’m not sure how he’s going to fit into Denver’s crowded rotation. He could be worth a flier later on, but not in round 9.
Round 10: Will Barton
I was surprised he was available here, as he does have some sleeper hype this season. Denver’s rotation is very crowded, so there are no guarantees, but it’s worth the risk here. Barton is healthy and ready to go, so he should at least be worth owning.
Best Pick: RJ Barrett is in a great situation to produce, and is a fine pick at 118. He may not be efficient, but the counting stats will be there.
Worst Pick: Any time you pick Andrew Wiggins it’s a bad pick. Yes, I’m just bitter that Candian Lebron ended up being a huge disappointment.
Round 11: Dario Saric
Super Dario steps into the uptempo-no-defense system of the Suns, so that should work out perfectly for him! He’s a perfect complement to Deandre Ayton, and should be the unquestioned starter at PF. I’m happy to take a talented starter this late in the draft.
Best Pick: Saric finds himself in a great situation, and should garner enough minutes to make himself valuable. He’s proven what he can do with consistent minutes in the past, so make sure he’s on your radar later in the draft.
Worst Pick: There are no real bad picks at this point, as you’re pretty much throwing darts and seeing what sticks. However, Cedi Osman sticks out to me as someone who doesn’t belong with this group. I’d keep an eye on him, but wouldn’t draft him.
Round 12: Bogdan Bogdanovic
Would I be crazy if I said he was better than CJ McCollum? If you look at the stats closely, you’ll see that he is in fact not that far off. Ok, he’s not better than CJ, but the stats are very similar, with the exception of fewer points and more assists. He’s coming off the bench, but he can play three positions, so there’s a good chance he can scrounge together 30 minutes and improve on his stats from last year. I like this pick a lot.
Best Pick: This time last year, I recall hearing some analysts say that OG Anunoby was a better prospect than Pascal Siakam. Turns out they were wrong, but OG will be given every opportunity this year to prove himself. Definitely worth a flier at this point.
Worst Pick: At this point in the draft, I usually like to swing for the fences, instead of picking up usable players. Reason being is that if they don’t work out I can always cut them for a hot free agent. This is not the time to be picking a declining vet like Nicholas Batum, who is my choice for the worst pick of the round.
Round 13: Bobby Portis
I’ve always liked Portis when he’s not hurt or beating someone up. He’s a high usage player and can fill up the stat sheet in a hurry. It is rather crowded in the Knicks front court, but he’s the only one of the bunch who can stretch the floor, so I’d have to guess he’ll get his fair share of playing time.
Best Pick: I really wanted to pick Klay Thompson and stash him at this point, but someone beat me to it. Klay is projected to play about 30 games this season, so he should be back a few weeks before the fantasy playoffs begin. He’s a good pick late in the draft if your league has several IR spots available.
Worst Pick: Tyler Johnson. Same point as above for Nicholas Batum.
Well, there you have it folks: my very first draft of the year. The draft was tough, as the other owners were smart and well-informed. With a $200 buy-in, there was no monkeying around. Hopefully you found this helpful in your preparation for your leagues. Would love to hear your feedback on my picks!