Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! Hindsight is 20/20, so I thought it would be fun for the Rotoworld Hoops crew to go back and re-draft the first-round of 9-category leagues. What would you do different? Let me know on Twitter here!
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
1. Anthony Davis- The daily trips to the locker room keeps fantasy owners on their toes, but no one comes close to him in per-game value.
2. James Harden- There’s a strong argument to put Curry here, but the Rockets are going to be in catchup mode late in the season.
3. Stephen Curry- If he played for anyone else he’d be No. 2 on this list. The threat of DNPs looms, but the Warriors play five times in the sem-finals of Yahoo H2H leagues.
4. Kevin Durant- Has the same concerns as Curry, but hasn’t slowed down at all in his age-30 season.
5. Nikola Jokic- Was 4th after the break last season and the Nuggets have the best fantasy playoff schedule. 27/13/6 over last five games.
6. Karl-Anthony Towns- He’s the safest bet to play all 82 games and his value has stabilized with no more Butler.
7. Paul George- He’s having an MVP-Caliber season, but can he sustain it next to Westbrook?
8. Giannis Antetokounmpo- If you’re willing to punt a couple categories, you can still turn Giannis into a top-5 player.
9. Joel Embiid- Showing some signs of fatigue, but centers are a premium and The Process has shown top-5 upside at times.
10. Damian Lillard- The most consistent PG not named Curry, and Blazers will need him down the stretch in crowded West.
11. Kawhi Leonard- A fantasy dynamo after a nightmare 2017-18, but the Raptors have been giving him DNPs frequently.
12. LeBron James- Will be 34 in December but it certainly doesn’t look like it.
Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)
1. Anthony Davis - Always an injury risk, but head and shoulder above else
2. Steph Curry - Efficiency monster
3. James Harden - Averaging a ridiculous 41.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.8 dimes, 4.3 treys and 2.8 steals over Houston’s last four games.
4. Kevin Durant - Efficiency monsters version 2.0
5. Karl-Anthony Towns - Back to being the focal point in Minny with Jimmy Buckets in Philly
6. Kawhi Leonard - A happy Kawhi = happy fantasy GM’s
7. Paul George - Stuffing the stat sheet with points and plenty of defensive goodies every night
8. Giannis Antetokounmpo - The turnovers and lack of treys aren’t great, but 26/13/6!!
9. Damian Lillard - 27/5/6 makes Lillard Time lots of fun
10. Nikola Jokic - Playing time and production down slightly, but still delivering first-round value
11. Joel Embiid - A healthy Embiid = happy fantasy GM’s
12. Nikola Vucevic - One of the most pleasant surprises of the fantasy season, currently ranks seventh overall in nine-category fantasy leagues.
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Raphielle Johnson (@Raphiellej)
1. Anthony Davis: This feels like an “easy” choice given how much the Pelicans rely on him, and how efficient he is, despite the injury risk.
3. Kevin Durant: Durant’s raised his scoring average two points from last season to this, and his 7.7 FTAs per game are the most since his MVP season of 2013-14 (9.9). Also, tough to picture him shooting 35.5% from three all season long.
4. Stephen Curry: When healthy Curry’s among the NBA’s most efficient offensive players, and a three-point explosion can happen at any time.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo: While the turnover count (4.4 tpg) does need to come down some he’s reaped the benefits of playing in Mike Budenholzer’s system. The Greek Freak’s shooting 57% from the field on 17.1 attempts per game and averaging a career-high 6.1 assists per. You can account for his lack of three-point shooting with other picks deeper in the draft.
6. Paul George: George is looking quite comfortable in Oklahoma City this season, as he’s raised his scoring average nearly four points from 21.9 to a career-high 25.5. He’s also has career-best averages in three-pointers made (3.3), rebounds (7.9), assists (4.4), steals (2.1) and blocks (0.7).
7. Karl-Anthony Towns: Jimmy Butler’s departure has breathed new life into Towns, who looked downright depressed at times during the saga. He’s averaging 22.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.6 threes per game since the trade, with shooting splits of 50.8/35.4/80.7.
8. Damian Lillard: Lillard’s averaging 27.2 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game with shooting splits of 45.0/39.8/88.9. Can’t go wrong with that.
9. LeBron James: This may be a bit low for the King, as his scoring average (28.0) is his highest since the 2009-10 season. But the rebounding and assist averages have dropped ever so slightly, and he’s making free throws at a lower percentage than DeAndre Jordan (67.9% to Jordan’s 73.5%).
10. Kawhi Leonard: When healthy Leonard is incredibly good, as evidenced by his 26.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.8 three-pointers per game.
11. Nikola Jokic: Jokic is the best passing big man in the NBA, averaging 7.4 assists per night to go along with per game averages of 18.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals.
12. Joel Embiid: Getting used to playing alongside Jimmy Butler has been difficult at times for Embiid, but he’s still been really good. Since the trade he’s averaging 25.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.
Matt Stroup (@Mattstroup)
1. Anthony Davis — No explanation needed.
2. James Harden — On paper I give him the slight edge over Curry because of durability. In an actual draft I might take Curry before him.
3. Steph Curry — A season with many 5’s: 5.0 3s, 5.1 rpg, 5.3 apg, 50.1 percent from the field
4. Kevin Durant — Still hasn’t missed a game this season after playing in 62 and 68 the last two years.
5. Karl-Anthony Towns — Averaging career-highs in 3s (1.8) and blocks (1.8).
6. Paul George — Putting up an obscene 3.3 treys, 2.1 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.
7. Kawhi Leonard — I do worry about rest later in the season, so I’d gladly trade him for another top-10 player.
8. Damian Lillard — He’s been No. 9 in 9-category leagues after finishing 8th overall last year.
9. Nikola Vucevic — Will this be the highest that anyone ranks Vuc? He ranks 7th overall on the season (per Basketball Monster), showing no signs of slowing down.
10. Giannis Antetokounmpo — The high turnovers, shaky FT shooting and lack of 3s are all problems, but he has still been No. 7 overall the last month.
11. Nikola Jokic — Averaging 26.6 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 6.0 apg, 2.4 spg and 1.0 3s his last five games. With that said, the lack of blocks is somewhat frustrating (0.4 over his last 15 games)
12. Kyrie Irving — Putting injury concerns aside, he’s been the eighth-best player in 9-category leagues on the season.
David Leggieri (@legsanity)
1. Anthony Davis - He went to the locker room and returned to the game in the process of me writing this, but he's just too valuable to not take at #1, which is something I did and now regret.
2. Steph Curry - He missed some time, but he's just been too efficient to put anyone other than AD ahead of him.
3. James Harden - Fantasy monster and only slightly behind Steph because of efficiency.
4. Kevin Durant - Another uber-efficient star.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo - Shaky with turnovers and free throws, but I still believe.
8. Kawhi Leonard - Steady player, but the potential rest down the stretch concerns me.
9. Nikola Jokic - He hasn't been as efficient as last season, but he's posting a career-high 7.4 dimes so far.
10. Damian Lillard - The NBA's silent star and part-time newsbreaker.
11. Nikola Vucevic - The forgotten-Nikola has been the single most impressive player this season, vaulting into the first round discussion.
12. Joel Embiid - Would love to see him take better shots, but he's been an MVP-level player thus far.
Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)
1. Anthony Davis (50 games remaining, 10 games playoffs) - Even if locker room trips were a negative category (like turnovers), I’d still take him No. 1.
2. James Harden (52, 12) - NBA’s leader in usage rate (36.2), still super efficient at 63.0 TS%, and has caught fire lately.
3. Stephen Curry (50, 14) - Basically the guard version of AD, but more has even more risk with rest and injuries.
4. Damian Lillard (51, 13) - Durability is almost unmatched for his stat output. Already hot to start, routinely cruises to top six for post-break value and doesn’t rest.
5. Karl-Anthony Towns (51, 12) - Getting hot in December with 22.9 points, 10.9 boards, 2.9 dimes, 2.3 blocks, 1.1 steals and 1.7 treys. Was a monster post-break last year and you have to think Rose will fade a bit.
6. Nikola Jokic (52, 14) - The usage rate is surging since Millsap went down and it’ll likely stay there. KAT and Jokic get a little boost for position scarcity.
7. Paul George (52, 12) - Counting stats are insane and not because of Westy. Per 36 with RW: 26.0 points, 7.2 boards, 4.6 dimes, 2.0 steals, 3.3 treys on a 48/41/84 shooting line (24.8 USG%, 61.6 TS%).
8. Kevin Durant (50, 14) - The Warriors struggling a bit could keep rest down, but they’re still going to sit players regardless.
9. Giannis Antetokounmpo (52, 12) - Usage rate back up over last three (maybe he was worn down before his game off?), but you almost have to punt FT% with GA on the squad.
10. LeBron James (51, 12) - Auction team punting FT% with Giannis and LeBron would be awesome. No indication of his minutes being dialed back.
11. Joel Embiid (49, 12) - Truly one of the most dominating players this decade and per-36 stats are still awesome with Jimbo and Ben: 24.0 points, 14.5 boards, 3.2 dimes, 1.6 blocks, 0.5 steals and 1.3 treys on 47/29/84. Bumped down slightly because of 33 games already.
12. Russell Westbrook (52, 12) - To be clear, I would not draft him in a Roto league, but he could smash in H2H playoffs. He’s absolutely murdering percentages and turnovers, but he is just ridiculous in his last 13: 18.8 points, 11.8 boards, 11.2 dimes, 3.0 steals (!) and 1.5 treys. If I picked 12th, I’d love to pair with Kemba and hope he solves his horrible FT% woes this year. I also would not want to pick 12th at all.