What offseason? The NBA had a huge week with a big trade, the Cavs getting rid of their general manager, LeBron James tweeting about that, and now today we're getting news that Kristaps Porzingis could be traded. Buckle up.
I thought it would be fun to do a mock draft now to see what changes from now to next month with the draft and free agency. In case you missed it, here is the first half of the mock for rounds one to seven.
I'll go through each round with some analysis, I'll explain my pick, and I'll hit on my favorite value pick from the other owners. This is a nine-category league for head-to-head.
|R. 8||Owner||NBA Player|
Best value: Clint Capela could see a nice increase in minutes. There’s little doubt Nene is either going to lose more playing time or not even be back with the Rockets. Plus, Montrezl Harrell isn’t exactly gaining ground on Capela, so the Swiss big man should be looking at minutes in the upper 20s. He should be close to a double-double with top-10 blocks per game. He also doesn’t go to the line too much, so that 53.1 percent from the charity stripe doesn’t hurt too bad.
My pick: I was pleased to land Marquese Chriss here. He has the chance to average 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals per game as his playing time increases. He could also score in the teens, flirt with double-digit rebounds and add some treys. The Suns losing P.J. Tucker opened things up for Chriss while he saw some minutes at center. Sure, he can’t shoot consistently yet, but he gets enough dunks to buoy his low jumper shooting percentage. By the way, I liked the T.J. Warren pick as long as the Suns go with a guard.
Analysis: The Celtics continue to be tough to target in this draft with free agency just around the corner. Crowder has been outstanding for fantasy for three years now and he did barely crack the top 50 for nine-cat leagues last year. If the Celtics don’t add anyone like Gordon Hayward, this could be a nice bargain. Seth Curry had a breakout year and there really shouldn’t be much competition for minutes, especially after the Mavs admitted they were tanking late. Even if they draft a point guard, Curry should still get big minutes at SG. I thought Willy was an interesting pick, but Melo may have to head out of NYC for him to have a breakout year. I didn’t really like Eric Gordon going in this round, especially with Lou Williams taking away shots and minutes.
Update: The Porzingis trade rumors helps Willy a ton here.
Best value: We love to rule out Marvin Williams and say a big year is a fluke. After almost a decade of underwhelming stats with the Hawks, Williams has found a home with the Hornets. He was surprisingly a second-round player after the break last year and was a top-30 player for total value in 2015-16. Yes, his 2016-17 second half had a little to do with some injuries to the Hornets, but coach Steve Clifford sliding Frank Kaminsky over to the five helps Marvin.
My pick: There was a player I was really planning to take here, but I had to to grab Air Gordon. He almost cracked the top 30 after the break thanks to coach Frank Vogel finally playing him at the four spot. Gordon tweeted he is really going to work on his jumper, and he’s also expected to run the offense a little more. Yeah, we heard about the Paul George comparisons last year, but that didn’t work at small forward. The Magic should be a more fantasy-friendly offense now that they’re not going to use their two-center lineups anymore.
Analysis: Nobody really swung for the fences in this round with basically all the picks shooting for a better floor than a ceiling. I thought Taurean Prince was a fun pick, and it’s also a nice hedge for Stroup after his Millsap selection. If Sapper is gone, Prince could be really good. I also kind of liked the Jeremy Lin pick. Yes, he missed 46 games and the Nets are going to be cautious. However, they didn’t rest Brook Lopez and it's important to remember Lin was hurt for most of the year. If he’s healthy, he could be sneaky good in a very fast offense.
|R. 10||Owner||NBA Player|
Best value: I liked the Josh Richardson pick a lot. After an injury-plagued first half, Richardson was almost a top-50 player after the break. He will need a few things to go his way, including Dion Waiters heading elsewhere and the Heat whiffing on free agency. Still, he should be looking at 24 minutes as his floor on playing time. If someone sniped me on my guy, I had J-Rich as the No. 2 guy on my board.
My pick: I am all in on Jamal Murray. If Aaron Gordon and Marquese Chriss weren’t there on my last two picks, I would’ve taken Murray right there in round eight. Denver’s offense should be a top-three unit, and it’s obvious coach Mike Malone wants to play Murray. The fact that he wanted Murray to grow during a playoff race just shows his confidence in him. Huge upside here.
Analysis: I’m all about upside when we get to double-digit rounds, so I was surprised to see so many high-floor picks in this round. I wouldn’t say The Homie Dario, Wade, Pau and Wilson Chandler were bad picks, but I’d just rather go for upside. I tend to avoid 76ers when they slide, but I thought Richaun Holmes was an interesting pick. Also, if you draft Joel Embiid, you have to reach on Holmes as a handcuff. There’s also some talk Holmes plays power forward — he was a power forward at Bowling Green, too. Greg Monroe could opt out and head to a different team, so he could get a boost that way.
|5||Matt||Tim Hardaway Jr.|
Best value: I was really hoping Evan Fournier would get drafted because it would’ve made my decision tough one pick later. As said above, the Magic should be a better offense and Fournier’s playing time should be fairly safe, assuming the Magic draft a perimeter player. He should have no problem hitting value for this draft spot.
My pick: I needed some blocks and I’d prefer to go young in the second half of drafts, so I had all eyes on Zupac. He did have some major fouling issues, but coach Luke Walton and president Magic Johnson like Zubac. The Lakers aren’t expected to make a splash in free agency and they’re just going to wait for PG-13 to walk next summer. Hit 'em up.
Analysis: This round was kind of all over the place. A couple stashes come off the board here, Zach LaVine and Rudy Gay, which I thought was a tad early considering there is so much talent out there still. We get a little bit of a rookie run late in the round ,too. These picks were made before the trade on Saturday, so Jackson has lost some value since that time. I think Lonzo Ball was a good value here as he’s likely looking at a decent role regardless of his team. MKG was also a solid value, especially after he finally showed he can add some defensive stats rather than just shutting down players while also turning in good percentages. Matt Stroup loves him some Hawks with his fourth ATL player so far.
|R. 12||Owner||NBA Player|
Best value: Dirk in round 12 is kinda crazy. Sure, he is probably going to lose a lot of value in the second half of the season and his fantasy owners won’t be able to trade him to a non-patsy owner, but he should meet that 12th-round value with just first-half playing time alone. He has to stay healthy, of course.
My pick: I’m all about my #brand, so I had to take Caris LeVert. He should enter next season at 100 percent and he probably won’t get a minutes limit. He should add a little of everything in an Otto Porter-esque role. Coach Kenny Atkinson also let him run the offense a little late in the season.
Analysis: Besides Dirk, Thaddeus Young in round 12 is an awesome value, especially with Steve tanking on FT%. De’Aaron Fox could wind up being the starting point guard for the Kings, so he may actually turn out being the best 2017 draft pick for fantasy. As bad as Brandon Ingram was in his rookie season, he is expected to play multiple positions and the Lakers calling him untouchable has to work in his favor. I thought T-Ross and Bazemore were fine picks here, too.
|9||Steve||Dennis Smith Jr.|
Best value: If the Bulls do bring back Mirotic, he could be a nice value here. He came on late in the year and the Bulls may actually get younger and more athletic.
My pick: I absolutely loved what I saw out of Dejounte Murray. He’s also expected to work with Kawhi Leonard this summer, so establishing that rapport could be huge. Of course, the Spurs would have to swing and miss on a PG for this pick to work out. In round 13, I was fine with that. He should be a stud in Las Vegas, as well.
Analysis: Holy rookie run. This round had four straight rookie picks — Teodosic may not come over, though. In the 13th round, it makes a lot of sense to grab a rookie to see where they land. If they land in a bad spot, cutting them isn’t a big deal. I thought Justise Winslow was a really nice pick. He was expected to be a bigger part of the offense, but an injury and not playing well caused him to slide here. He could be sneaky good as long as the Heat don’t add depth. I also was surprised Skal Labissiere fell to where he did. He flourished late in the year and the Kings are almost certainly going for a guard in the draft.
|R. 14||Owner||NBA Player|
Best value: I was waiting and waiting for Derrick Favors to go. He has said he was basically playing on one leg last year, so basically 2016-17 was a lost cause. By the way, Chandler Parsons was not even drafted, which is also kind of wild. I would've taken him with my next pick.
My pick: I can’t believe everyone let me have Boban. Aron Baynes is going to decline his player option, and coach Stan Van Gundy said Boban will be getting playing time this year. This guy only needs 18 minutes to have value, so he is likely going to have no problem hitting that mark. If Drummond struggles or even gets dealt, Boban could be a monster.
Analysis: I was also kinda surprised so many people went for veterans here. Maybe it’s just my style that makes me the weirdo, but I want a guy who can be a difference maker. I do like the Thon Maker pick because who doesn’t love a good Muscle Watch? Maker has been lifting a lot and has been working his tail off.