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8-cat Expert Fantasy NBA Draft

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The Rotoworld hoops staff joined a few all-stars for an 8-category, head-to-head, expert hoops draft on September 17. We used Yahoo! and the entire draft took just 40 minutes, despite it being 12 teams and 13 rounds. You’ll find the results and some commentary below.

 

Participants and Draft Order:

 

Ryan Knaus – Rotoworld

Matt Stroup – NBCSports.com

David Klyce – HoopsKlyce.com

Steve Alexander – Rotoworld

Rick Kamla – NBA TV

Raphielle Johnson – NBCSports

Mike Gallagher – Rotoworld

Tommy Beer – Rotoworld

Jared Johnson – Rotoworld

Brian Rosenworcel – Rockstar, drummer for Guster

Jonas Nader – Rotoworld

Dalton Del Don – Yahoo!

 

Round 1

 

1. Anthony Davis – Ryan Knaus

2. James Harden – Matt Stroup

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo – David Klyce

4. Karl-Anthony Towns – Steve Alexander

5. Stephen Curry – Rick Kamla

6. Nikola Jokic – Raphielle Johnson

7. Damian Lillard – Mike Gallagher

8. Kevin Durant – Tommy Beer

9. Victor Oladipo – Jared Johnson

10. LeBron James – Brian Rosenworcel

11. Paul George – Jonas Nader

12. Ben Simmons – Dalton Del Don

 

There’s never a lot to say about Round 1 and any of the Top 4 could have gone No. 1 without causing a disturbance in the Force. Most would agree that Davis should be the No. 1 pick, and he was, but his history of going to the locker room every other game will always be hanging over his owner’s head. Lillard over Durant is interesting and LeBron James at 10 will turn heads, but I don’t love or hate anything that happened here.

 

Round 2

 

13. Joel Embiid – Del Don

14. Kawhi Leonard – Nader

15. Donovan Mitchell – Rosenworcel

16. Jrue Holiday – J. Johnson

17. Jimmy Butler – Beer

18. Kemba Walker – Gallagher

19. Russell Westbrook – R. Johnson

20. Bradley Beal – Kamla

21. Kyle Lowry – Alexander

22. John Wall – Klyce

23. Chris Paul – Stroup

24. Rudy Gobert – Knaus

 

Del Don scooped up Sixers Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid at the turn, which looks like a pretty good time. I was even a little jealous when he did it, and that could be a pretty regular theme in a lot of fantasy hoops drafts this year. DDD loves TTP! Jonas is rolling the dice on Kawhi Leonard, but with all the positive reports out there about him, I don’t blame Jonas for this one. And had he been there at 21, I would have taken him myself. Westbrook fell all the way to 19 in a league that doesn’t count turnovers, and I’m guessing Raph got one of the steals of this draft. Yes, Westbrook had his fourth surgery on his right knee, but I’m still down with Russ. I took Lowry here, and I hope Gallagher is correct when he keeps telling me Lowry’s going to have a great year. You have to start two centers in this league, and Ryan scooped up Anthony Davis at No. 1 and then got Gobert at No. 24. He’s all set with blocks.

 

Round 3

 

25. Devin Booker - Knaus

26. Andre Drummond - MS

27. Kevin Love - DK

28. Otto Porter Jr. - SA

29. Draymond Green - Kamla

30. C.J. McCollum - RJ

31. Khris Middleton - MG

32. Kyrie Irving - TB

33. Clint Capela - JJ

34. Marc Gasol - BR

35. Myles Turner - JN

36. DeMar DeRozan – DDD

 

Small forward is a tough position to get a stud at, so I went ahead and grabbed OPJ here, mainly because I love his all-around game and I already had a big and a point guard. There was also a run on centers, with Drummond, Love, Capela and Turner all going in Round 3. Had Drummond been available to me, I probably would have taken him. I was also hoping that Turner would fall to me in Round 4. Maybe I was lucky that he didn’t.

 

Round 4

 

37. LaMarcus Aldridge - DDD

38. Eric Bledsoe - JN

39. Klay Thompson - BR

40. Tobias Harris - JJ

41. Jarrett Allen - TB

42. Aaron Gordon - MG

43. Jamal Murray - RJ

44. Taurean Prince - Kamla

45. John Collins - SA

46. Nikola Vucevic - DK

47. Lauri Markkanen - MS

48. Will Barton – Knaus

 

Round 4 is when things tend to get interesting, and we saw old vets like Aldridge, Bledsoe, Thompson, Harris, Vuc and Barton all go, along with young up-and-coming studs like Allen, Gordon, Murray, Prince, Collins and Markkanen go. I love all the young guys taken in this round, and was just hoping Kamla wouldn’t take Collins. Then again, the fellow ATL resident took Prince, who was supposed to be my next pick, so whatever. Matt Stroup, another ATL homer, was pretty bummed to see both these guys fall off the board just before he snagged Markkanen.

 

Round 5

 

49. Ricky Rubio - Knaus

50. Gary Harris - MS

51. Mike Conley - DK

52. Josh Richardson - SA

53. Al Horford - Kamla

54. DeAndre Jordan - RJ

55. Deandre Ayton - MG

56. Blake Griffin - TB

57. Jeff Teague - JJ

58. Robert Covington - BR

59. Lonzo Ball - JN

60. Jayson Tatum – DDD

 

Mike Conley is due for a bounce-back season, I may have reached for Josh Richardson, but I love him, and a bunch of young guns went again in this round. With the centers disappearing quickly, Gallagher’s selection of Ayton was pretty great, and I am really interested to see what Lonzo Ball does this year. These were mostly safe picks, although the Rockstar is playing with the fire known as Robert Covington’s field goal percentage.

 

Round 6

 

61. D’Angelo Russell - DDD

62. Hassan Whiteside - JN

63. Paul Millsap - BR

64. Jonas Valanciunas - JJ

65. Gordon Hayward - TB

66. Jonathan Isaac - MG

67. Dwight Howard - RJ

68. Nicolas Batum - Kamla

69. Zach LaVine - SA

70. Brandon Ingram - DK

71. Kris Dunn - MS

72. Lou Williams – Knaus

 

Zach LaVine wants to be a leader for the Bulls and should come in fully healthy. I think he’s going to have a big year and was glad to get him here. I think Batum is going to have a nice year, and Lou Williams might have fallen a little farther than I thought he would. Gallagher got another young center, while Whiteside, Millsap, Valanciunas, Isaac and Howard all said goodbye in this round. Starting two centers elevates their value, supply and demand, but even so, Hassan Whiteside still makes me a little nervous.

 

Round 7

 

73. Kyle Anderson - Knaus

74. Nikola Mirotic - MS

75. Jusuf Nurkic - DK

76. Darren Collison - SA

77. Goran Dragic - Kamla

78. Joe Ingles RJ

79. Wendell Carter Jr. - MG

80. Luka Doncic - TB

81. Brook Lopez - JJ

82. Julius Randle - BR

83. Jaren Jackson Jr. - JN

84. Steven Adams – DDD

 

I went with Collison, who had a surprisingly nice year in Indy last season, Joe Ingles sat at the top of the draft board for seemingly ever, and Gallagher got his third straight young center in a row. Luka Doncic went ahead of Trae Young, as he should, and the last of the reliable centers went off the board in Round 7. Assuming the rookie bigs are going to be good.

 

Round 8

 

85. Harrison Barnes - DDD

86. Dejounte Murray - JN

87. Enes Kanter - BR

88. Tim Hardaway Jr. - JJ

89. Dennis Smith Jr. - TB

90. Jordan Bell - MG

91. Dario Saric - RJ

92. Jabari Parker - Kamla

93. Kyle Kuzma - SA

94. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - DK

95. Willie Cauley-Stein - MS

96. Mario Hezonja – Knaus

 

Harrison Barnes is Round 8 is solid to me, Dejounte Murray is going to get a heavy workload in San Antonio, I had Dennis Smith Jr. all queued up here, and Gallagher struck again with his fourth straight young center, in Jordan Bell. I wasn’t thrilled about taking Kuzma, but at least I know he’ll hit a bunch of threes, and is a really good basketball player.

 

Round 9

 

97. Buddy Hield - Knaus

98. Josh Jackson - MS

99. Kelly Olynyk - DK

100. Larry Nance Jr. - SA

101. Marvin Bagley III - Kamla

102. Andrew Wiggins - RJ

103. Isaiah Thomas - MG

104. Serge Ibaka - TB

105. Eric Gordon - JJ

106. Trae Young - BR

107. James Johnson - JN

108. Markelle Fultz – DDD

 

I thought about Trae Young here, who I’m really not a big fan of, but the lack of centers still on the board led me to Larry Nance. I’m also not a huge fan of him, but someone’s going to have to board, rebound, block and score in Cleveland without LeBron James. Hat tip to the In This League Podcast crew for planting the Nance seed in my head last week. Gallagher finally took someone who is neither young, or a center, and he rolled the dice on Isaiah Thomas, who will play backup combo guard in Denver this season. This seems like a really un-Gallagher pick to me, but if Thomas is healthy and back to form, it could be a steal. I also thought about Wiggins, but he’s just so one dimensional, and Serge Ibaka sat on the top of the draft board for a few rounds before being snagged by Beer. Ibaka’s going to see a  reduced role this season, but there’s not a lot of risk taking him this late.

 

Round 10

 

109. Evan Fournier - DDD

110. Jakob Poeltl - JN

111. Elfrid Payton - BR

112. Tyreke Evans - JJ

113. Collin Sexton - TB

114. DeMarcus Cousins - MG

115. Kevin Knox - RJ

116. De’Aaron Fox - Kamla

117. Jerami Grant - SA

118. Jeremy Lin - DK

119. Trey Burke - MS

120. Kristaps Porzingis Knaus

 

I am super intrigued by Jerami Grant and went ahead and grabbed him. Hopefully, either him or Nance go off this year. Trey Burke is quietly set to start for the hapless Knicks, and I really like the pick by Stroup here. I also am a big Kevin Knox fan, and Raph went ahead and grabbed him. De’Aaron Fox was way down the draft board at this point and Kamla dug him up and rolled him out. I wasn’t pleased that he took him right in front of me, as I had him all queued up (and think he’s going to have a big year). Rosenworcel took Elfrid Payton, despite the haircut, and Gallagher added to his stable of centers with one of the best players in the league in Boogie Cousins. I’m not drafting Boogie this season, as I think the Warriors are going to keep him mostly under wraps until the playoffs, but it’s possible he could have a big second half. Gallagher has enough centers he could probably pull off a pretty awesome trade if he needed to. I wasn’t pleased to see Sexton go here, and I’m pretty sure Gallagher had to switch gears after Beer snagged the rookie point guard.

 

Round 11

 

121. Danilo Gallinari - Knaus

122. Bogdan Bogdanovic - MS

123. Caris LeVert - DK

124. Avery Bradley - SA

125. Derrick Favors - Kamla

126. Malcolm Brogdon - RJ

127. Terry Rozier - MG

128. Thaddeus Young - TB

129. Mo Bamba - JJ

130. Jaylen Brown - BR

131. Mitchell Robinson - JN

132. J.J. Redick – DDD

 

Avery Bradley was terrible last year, and very injured, but I don’t see how he isn’t a much better player this season. Danilo Gallinari is always hurt and I’m not messing with him this year, but Ryan knows how good he is when he actually plays. And the risk is pretty minimal in Round 11.

 

Round 12

 

133. Josh Hart - DDD

134. Patrick Beverley - JN

135. Dennis Schroder - BR

136. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - JJ

137. Reggie Jackson - TB

138. Cedi Osman - MG

139. Carmelo Anthony - RJ

140. Rajon Rondo - Kamla

141. Danny Green - SA

142. JaVale McGee - DK

143. Kent Bazemore - MS

144. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Knaus

 

Danny Green is a fresh face in a new place (Toronto) and I’m hoping the change of scenery does him some good. Carmelo Anthony (Rockets) FINALLY came off the board in Round 12, which bummed me out. I was really hoping he’d go undrafted altogether. We were only 18 picks away when Raph snagged him.

 

Round 13

 

145. Nerlens Noel - Knaus

146. T.J. Warren - MS

147. Malik Monk - DK

148. Alex Len - SA

149. Domantas Sabonis - Kamla

150. Fred VanVleet - RJ

151. De’Anthony Melton - MG

152. Trevor Ariza - TB

153. Ryan Anderson - JJ

154. Kyle O’Quinn - BR

155. Pascal Siakam - JN

156. Dewayne Dedmon – DDD

 

I added another center in Alex Len, and he’s got some potential to make some noise in ATL this year. The Suns have T.J. Warren, Josh Jackson and Trevor Ariza to play SF, so I’m leery of all three of them. But the 13th round is a nice spot for Warren and Ariza. Jonas might have gotten a steal in Siakam this late. We shall see.

 

Here are a few thoughts from the guys in the Draft Room, and I’ll be adding more as they come in.

 

Matt Stroup: There are definitely areas where this team needs help (specifically, blocks), but overall I’m pretty happy with it. I worry about Chris Paul’s durability, but at No. 23 I couldn’t pass up on top-10 production on a per-game basis. As for Andre Drummond, I like him even if doesn’t start knocking down 3s this season. If he does, he’s going to be a borderline absurd fantasy option. Meanwhile, from the end of January onward (28 games), Josh Jackson averaged 18.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.7 bpg and 0.8 3s — and there’s a lot of upside here given that he’s still just 21 years old. One pick I may have reached on a little bit was Willie Cauley-Stein at 95, but there are two C spots in this league, and at least WCS isn’t completely boring. He averaged 12.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.1 spg and 0.9 bpg in a career-high 28 minutes a game last year.  

 

Raphielle Johnson: I entered the draft believing Nikola Jokic to be a top 5 player heading into the season, and luckily he was on the board at my spot (sixth). His being able to be used at the PF and C spots was key for me, in addition to his expected production as one of the top bigs in the NBA. Westbrook was available in the second, and while it is a risk given the recent knee procedure, I’m willing to take that risk and even if he misses some time early I’ve got other options. Didn’t expect to get both C.J. McCollum and Jamal Murray but things worked out that way, and inside I’m taking a chance on both DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard being able to do enough in areas such as rebounds and blocked shots to make up for their horrific free throw percentages. Getting Andrew Wiggins and Carmelo Anthony in the latter stages of the draft was a risk worth taking, even with my concern of what they can provide beyond scoring, and I may have pulled the trigger on Kevin Knox a little earlier than I should have. That being said, with Porzingis’ status for the start of the season still in question I can live with that. 

 

Mike Gallagher: I was hopeful to get Dame or Jokic and I was pretty sure I was going to take another PG in an eight-cat format on the way back, so I went for Kemba because I think Borrego takes him to the next level with smaller lineups. For round three, I was planning to take Myles Turner, but I couldn’t pass on Khris Middleton at 31. Tommy sniped me on Jarrett Allen, so I went with Aaron Gordon because it sounds ilke he and Clifford have built a strong rapport. I needed my first big man in round five and was happy to land he starting center on a team I project to lead the NBA in pace. My next three picks are guys I come away with in drafts a bunch, and I really wanted to rack up the defensive stats here. With the talk of Isaac playing SF on O, I couldn’t resist, and Wendell was too good in Vegas to slip past 80. In an eight-cat league, IT should go before 100 and I always wind up with him in these mocks in round nine. He needs just 20 minutes. With Jordan Bell around, Cousins makes a ton of sense with two IR spots. Rozier played next to Kyrie a lot last year and there’s no doubt Kyrie will miss time. I’m buying the Osman offseason and Melton possesses nice upside for treys and steals.

 

Ryan KnausWith the No. 1 pick in 8-cat or 9-cat this year, it's hard to avoid Anthony Davis. I love KAT (and the prospect of 82 games played) enough to strongly consider him here, but AD just gives you so much statistical leeway as you build out your roster. This is a two-center league, so I took Gobert at 24 and locked up blocks with a huge jump in FG% and boards. Booker followed at the top of Rd. 3 and I'm not super concerned about his hand surgery. Even if he misses a few weeks (which is uncertain), he'll be a monster when he's ready. I love Will Barton and will take him around No. 50 all day. Rubio was a bit of a reach but there was a massive run on PGs and I wanted to at least compete in assists, plus I love his steals. Lou Williams fell pretty far, Kyle Anderson is one of my preferred targets in the 75-90 range, Mario Hezonja is poised for a breakout year in New York, Buddy Hield has been a post-break monster and I'm banking on more consistency, Kristaps Porzingis at pick 120 was easy in a league with two IR spots, and that also made it easier to add injury-prone Danilo Gallinari a pick later. At 121 there's not much risk with the Rooster, especially on a team that really needs to feature him.  Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was my penultimate pick because I wanted a PG and am intrigued by his upside (now L.A. just needs to clear space in that backcourt), and I concluded with...Nerlens Noel. If he gets 20 minutes a game this could pan out. If not, I cut him and lose no sleep.

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for NBC Sports Edge and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-21 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for NBC Sports. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.