As California Dreamer Chris Liss already noted in our electronic pages, Team RotoWire conducted an NBA mock draft Thursday, based on an 8-category league with 1 PG, 1 SG, 1 G, 1 SF, 1 PF, 1 F, 2 C, 2 Util and 3 bench players.
In what follows, I intend to provide commentary on notable picks. In this case, "notable" has no meaning other than just that – notable.
Player:Chris Paul, New Orleans
Owner: Matt Gelfand
Comments: Though there were a numbers of indications during the course of our draft that Mr. Gelfand had enjoyed maybe one or seven beers before the event commenced, there are reasons not to criticize this selection. The first is this: Chris Paul was generally considered either the first- or second-best fantasy player entering drafts last season. So, that's one thing. The other is that, even with the injuries and stuff, Paul was the third-best player overall on a per-game basis. Finally, there's this last point: selecting first overall, Gelfand's next selection wasn't until 24th overall. If Gelfand really wanted Paul – well, he had to take him first. (Although, allow me to add: I think Gelfand was probably just crunked.)
Player:LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland
Owner: Dalton Del Don
Comments: Whether it's good practice or not, I basically never question 3D's fantasy moves – whether they be draft picks, waiver wire adds, or a very different sort of "fantasy move" that's too explicit to mention here. As such, I'm very willing to entertain the notion that Aldridge is worth a a sixth-round pick. Still, one must acknowledge the fact that, with Portland's panoply|STAR| of injuries last season – in particular, to their big men – that Aldridge was uniquely situated to excel. Even then, he was ranked only 70th on a per-game basis (and 60th on a cumulative one) on the season. Aldridge looks, to this pair of eyes, like a player who's unlikely to improve.
|STAR|Yeah, that's right: I said "panoply."
Player:Terrence Williams, New Jersey
Owner: Matt Gelfand
Comments: As Ubiquitous Internet Presence Eno Sarris noted recently over at Hoop Data, Williams' advanced stats suggest potential for fantasy excellence. Williams posted an 11.4 Total Rebounding Rate (compared to an average 9.3 TRR for small forwards) and an assist rate of 21.0 – much better than the average small forward's rate of 12.4. Essentially, he's good at those things, is the point. Nor have the early preseaon returns suggested anything different. Through two games, averaging 26.5 minutes per, Williams is doing this: 18.5 PTS, 4.0 REB, 6.5 AST. The concern fantasy owners will have in re Williams is his shooting. His is definitively NOT a great outside shooter. The problem is shot selection. Sarries writes that "Williams took far too many long twos last year. 23.8|PERCENT| of his field goal attempts were from 16-23 feet, and the spot on the floor that produces the worst field goal percentage across basketball produced a 22|PERCENT| field goal percentage for Williams."
Player:Ray Allen, Boston
Owner: Andre Snellings
Comments: If the reader has had a chance to peruse the draft results, he might recognize that I, Carson Cistulli, picked Marcus Camby 82nd overall. I actually don't think it's a terrible pick; Camby's really good, and was a top-20 fantasy play last year on a per-game basis. But I should also note that it was a bit of a panic pick. You see, I had Ray Allen queued up and then, just to spite me, Snellings took him. Though he's a boring pick – older, on a dominant team – Allen is a hot, hot deal at 81st overall. He finished in the high-40s on a per-game basis last year and right about 40th overall cumulatively last season.
Player:Nicolas Batum, Portland
Owner: Dan Roemhild
Comments: It's possible – possible – that Roemhild actually likes Batum enough to take him 84th overall. Much more likely, however, is that Roemhild looked into my heart and saw that I was just about to draft Batum (with the 87th pick). Instead, I was forced to take Evan Turner – which, like the Camby pick, it could work out, but it wasn't part of the Cistulli Master Plan.
Player:Josh Childress, Phoenix
Owner: Charlie Zegers
Comments: Even while playing just 30.3 minutes per game with Atlanta in 2007-08, Childress still managed to rank 83rd overall on a per-game basis – largely on the strength of a 57.1|PERCENT| field-goal percentage. He reached those heights not because of excellent jump-shooting (his career three-point numbers are generally unimpressive), but because of his ability to get to the rim. Per Hoop Data, Childress averaged 7.2 field-goal attempts "At Rim" per 40 mins in 2007-08. That ranked third among non-big men with 25-plus minutes per game, behind only Carmelo Anthony (8.0), LeBron James (also 8.0), and Gerald Wallace (7.3). That's impressive company to keep. Of course, one wonders: will he get those 25-30 minutes in Phoenix? Truly, we don't know yet. He's played about 19 per game through Phoenix's first couple preseason games, but to say that that's hard evidence one way or the other would be foolish.
Player:Jason Thompson, Sacramento
Owner: Chris Liss
Comments: Though he basically said the same thing after every single one of his picks, Liss stated with particular vigor after picking Thompson, "He's gonna be a beast this year!" That may or may not be the case (I'm thinking it won't be), but it's not Thompson himself about which I care to comment. Rather, it's the confidence/enthusiasm displayed by Liss with regard to this and other selections. I think it's important to derive unusual joy from one's picks – not just because it's fantasy basketball and because fantasy basketball is just a game, but because success in fantasy sports requires exercising one's faculty of intuition. When one find himself valuing a player more highly than his opposing drafters, then, necessarily, one's reputation/good sense is conspiciously tied to the success of said player. It's a fact: only the mother-child relationship is stronger.
Player: Various Kings
Comments: Kyle McKeown suggested in the comment section of Liss's post that he wouldn't care – beyond Tyreke Evans – he wouldn't care to roster even one King this year. Knowing how these McKeowns operate, it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that Kyle's primary intention was merely to stir the proverbial pot, but let's take him at his word. Surely, fantasy owners took note of DeMarcus Cousins' 16 and 16 performance in Sacramento's home opener. Is that not roster-worthy? Certainly, Mr. Charlie Zegers thought so, taking Cousins at 74th overall. Here are the other Sacramento picks (with overall pick number in parentheses): Beno Udrih (109), Jason Thompson (124), Samuel Dalembert (127), Carl Landry (151), and Omri Casspi (154).
Three Probable Values
Player:Jamario Moon, Cleveland
Comments: "The Garbage Man Cometh" isn't the name of a movie, but if it were, Moon would have a shot at the lead role.
Player:Mike Miller, Miami
Comments: His skills – rebounding, passing, three-point shooting – complement his teammates' wicked hard.
Three Likely Reaches
Player:Tim Duncan, San Antonio
Comments: Is literally turning 54 years old this year. You can look it up!
Player:Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers
Comments: He scores and does alright in threes, but he's more like a top-100 pick, not top-50.
Player:Elton Brand, Philadelphia
Comments: His year-by-year production forms a perfect bell curve. Oops.
Note: All rankings are courtesy of Basketball Monster.