A group of well-known industry insiders got together on Monday, Sep. 19 for a fantasy hoops draft using the ESPN league manager site. The full results will soon be in the Rotoworld NBA Draft Guide, but here is a sample of what went down in the draft. I’m basically going to cover one owner and one pick from each round here. It was a 12-man, 13-round H2H, nine-category draft, and here are the owners and the randomly selected draft order. Click on each owner’s name to follow him on Twitter. Which I highly recommended if you want to win your league!
1. Jonas Nader – Rotoworld
2. Jared Johnson – Rotoworld
3. Tommy Beer – Rotoworld
4. Steve Alexander – Rotoworld
5. Tom Carpenter – ESPN
6. Rick Kamla – NBA TV
7. Kyle McKeown – Basketballmonster.com
8. David Klyce – HoopsKlyce.com
9. Bogman & Welsh – In This League Podcast
10. Ryan Knaus – Rotoworld
11. Dalton Del Don – Yahoo!
12. Mike Gallagher – Rotoworld
I (Dr. A) got Stephen Curry with the No. 4 pick, and he’s a guy I probably would have taken with the No. 1 pick. Not much to say here. He’s the reigning two-time NBA MVP and still a stud, even with Kevin Durant (who went No. 1) in Golden State. I feel like I got a steal and Rotoworld has him ranked much higher than ESPN. Side note - McKeown took Giannis Antetokounmpo at No. 7, and he’s not even a Rotoworld employee, which should tell you that Giannis is going to be a first-rounder almost everywhere this season. Who goes No. 1 (Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant) all depends on who holds that pick in your draft. It really is a personal decision this year.
LeBron James fell all the way to the 14th pick. He’s a steal there in my opinion, but Del Don will miss him when he’s likely resting for the real playoffs during the fantasy playoffs, as usual. But DD probably feels pretty good starting off his draft with Paul George and LeBron. Small forward is a pretty thin position in fantasy hoops, and DD doesn't have to worry about it after starting his draft with two of the best ones.
Knaus took Klay Thompson with the 34th pick. That’s too rich for my blood, as I foresee him being nothing more than a 3-point specialist with Durant in town. But he’s still Klay Thompson and still a splash brother. I’d just rather target him in Round 4 or 5, personally.
Kamla was late to the draft and got three solid guards on auto-pick before showing up just in time to non-auto draft Nicolas Batum with the 43rd pick. I wasn’t happy, as Batum was at the top of my queue. Batum is solid and just as an FYI – Kamla loves his team despite the three auto-picks to start it off. Apparently we all like our teams, as we’re going to actually play this league out, but Kamla was especially thrilled with his. You can see the entire draft in the Rotoworld NBA Draft Guide (coming soon).
Beer took Lakers PG D’Angelo Russell with the 52nd pick. Russell is a popular target this season, as most of us seeing him emerging as a potential stud. The Lakers have a No. 2 overall pick invested in Russell, and despite his shortcomings (FGP, TOs), Russell is going to have the ball in his hands a ton this season and could take a big step forward. Beer obviously thinks it’s coming, or at least hopes it is.
I love Zach LaVine. I did not get Zach LaVine. I was going to wait one more round, but Gallagher ended that dream by taking him with the first pick of Round 6. It was probably payback for me taking Myles Turner in the third round, assuring Gallagher wouldn’t get one of his boys.
Klyce took a bit of a gamble on PG Jrue Holiday with the 80th pick. Don’t get me wrong – I love Jrue. Sadly, his wife is dealing with a brain tumor and they have a newborn child, leaving Holiday set to miss “an indefinite period of time during the regular season” while caring for them. Yes, it’s possible he could miss the whole season. And best-case scenario appears to be a chunk of it. Round 7 is too early for that gamble for me, especially with quality players still on the board who should play a bulk of the season. As Klyce said in the chat room during the draft, “Get well soon, Mrs. Holiday.” And he’s right. Get well soon, indeed. Holiday’s situation is so much bigger than basketball.
Bogman & Welsh jumped on SG Gary Harris with the 88th pick, stealing the top player from my queue, as well as (I’m assuming) Gallagher’s. Harris is a bit of a no-name to the ill informed, but had a very nice season in Denver last year. And there’s no reason to suggest he won’t do it again this season. I’d also like to add that Ryan Anderson went to Del Don with the 86th pick. And I only mention it because I was mad I forgot to queue him, or I probably would have taken him a round earlier. Oh well. I think a big season is coming for Ryno. Check out the boys’ podcast here.
Jared Johnson took another big risk in this draft by taking Chris Bosh with the 98th pick. Bosh missed the last ¼ of the season with more blood clot issues, but all reports out of Miami have been positive heading into this season. If you believe everything you read, Bosh is good to go. But he has a life-threatening illness and has missed 67 games over the last two seasons. But if the reports are true and he’s good to go, he’s going to be a steal here. He might be this season’s ultimate risk vs. reward player.
Nader made a move of interest by taking Philly C Joel Embiid with the 120th pick – the last one of Round 10. He missed his entire rookie season with a foot injury and now has to deal with a crowd at center that includes Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. All three players are talented and the timeshare is going to be a mess, but Embiid has enough talent to take this late if you are desperate for a potential starting center. I don’t love it, and I certainly don’t hate it. If you’re going to draft an unknown entity, doing so in Round 10 makes sense. Just keep in mind that he may not be cleared to play in back-to-back games anytime soon, if at all this season.
I’m going to end this by breaking from the previous format for this column and talk about Carpenter’s and McKeown’s 11th-round picks. Carpenter took rookie guard Buddy Hield out of Oklahoma with the 125th pick, and McKeown took SG Eric Gordon, who now toils for the Houston Rockets, at 127. Hield is one of everyone’s favorite rookies this season and should get a solid opportunity for the Hornets – especially with Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday both dealing with ‘stuff.’ It seems like a great spot for Hield. Gordon is a huge injury risk and also has to deal with playing behind James Harden, the No. 3 pick in this draft. However, he should also play some decent minutes alongside Harden when the Rockets go small and should have a lot of open looks with Harden getting so much attention. Either way, Round 11 for either of these guys seems about perfect.