September 29, 2019, 5:29 am
Let’s be realistic, none of us are about to log 10,000 hours in fantasy basketball drafts, and they carry the largest weight out of any two-hour window you are about to embark upon in a competitive fantasy basketball season. With this in mind, consider this 12-team standard 8-cat H2H mock draft analysis your little cheat sheet to bump up that hourly total with minimal wear and tear. Depending on how well we drafted, you could be knocking a solid 100 hours off that 10,000-hour goal by reading this alone!
As this is an eight category league we are operating sans turnovers. We had the usual 13 roster spots (three bench among them) and zero injured reserve openings. That should not really impact a smart manager’s strategy anyway, you need to plan on having injuries on your roster. If you want to draft Oladipo or Klay, don’t assume you’ve avoided a roster crunch just because your league offers an IR spot.
For each team I will offer four areas of analysis: Better you than me, FOMO, X-Factor and Stretch Run.
Better you than me: I’m not a fan of this pick. Thank you for saving me from this player.
FOMO: As in, Feeling Of Missing Out, FOMO. I wanted this player, you took him from me, and I will try to forgive you.
X-Factor: A player or set of players that is likely to make or break the roster.
Stretch Run: When I’m drafting I have title aspirations in mind, and good managers are familiar with the players that will carry you to the ‘ship in a playoff format. In addition to the usual season-long contributors, I find myself always desperately trying to hold onto my mid-to-late-round selection that is on the cusp of breaking out. I’ve had my wins over the years (Mitchell Robinson is my computer background) and my catastrophes (I’ve caught five different strands of the Dwightbola Virus). These guys always keep you up at night.
Team JT Jet
NO. Player ROUND 1 Anthony Davis LAL, PF 1 24 Jimmy Butler Mia, SG 2 25 Luka Doncic Dal, SG 3 48 Mitchell Robinson NY, C 4 49 D’Angelo Russell GS, PG 5 72 Robert Covington Min, SF 6 73 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander OKC, PG 7 96 Enes Kanter Bos, C 8 97 Gary Harris Den, SG 9 120 T.J. Warren Ind, SF 10 121 Spencer Dinwiddie Bkn, PG 11 144 Nicolas Batum Cha, SG 12 145 Rui Hachimura Wsh, PF 1
Better You Than Me: Luka Doncic
Luka is one of those guys whose game is memorizing to watch but that talent can’t be captured by our standard fantasy metrics. While I don’t doubt his ability to rack up assists and solid point totals, I’m not convinced his percentages will take a leap from being negatives last season, and a healthy Kristaps should detract from his scoring and rebounding figures. What’s Luka’s upside when you select him at 25th overall?
FOMO: Robert Covington
While RoCo does carry some injury stigma after only logging 35 games last season, the fact of the matter is he posted some excellent numbers during that span, which is the norm for him in fantasy. Minnesota should give him a nice runway this season, and he is returning healthy while still in his prime. When he’s on the court Covington is a top-40 asset — before last season he always logged 65-plus games.
X-Factor: Jimmy Butler
It is strange to call a second round selection an X-Factor, but you also don’t come across too many fantasy guys that could post top five numbers when healthy and going all out. Butler has that kind of talent, and I’d tie his fantasy success to the Heat’s record this season. If this team doesn’t break out under Jimmy’s tutelage, he is probably missing games during the second half of the year. On the other hand, if Butler’s search for happiness is finally successful in Miami you can take top-15 value to the bank.
Stretch Run: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai had no problem carrying teams last year as things wound down, and it is pretty easy to imagine a repeat performance once the Thunder begin to fade in a loaded Western Conference. If Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari are dealt, or if they simply get rested, Shai will have plenty of opportunity to shine. If SGA’s 3-point shot improves this season he will be the total package.
Sam Hinkie’s Interim Team
NO. Player ROUND 2 James Harden Hou, SG 1 23 Jrue Holiday NO, PG 2 26 Deandre Ayton Phx, C 3 47 Zach LaVine Chi, SG 4 50 Steven Adams OKC, C 5 71 Marvin Bagley III Sac, PF 6 74 Brandon Ingram NO, SF 7 95 Jarrett Allen Bkn, C 8 98 Larry Nance Jr. Cle, PF 9 119 Dejounte Murray SA, PG 10 122 Zach Collins Por, C 11 143 Kyle Anderson Mem, SF 12 146 Terrence Ross Orl, SG 13
Better You Than Me: Brandon Ingram
Ingram gets a reset in New Orleans, where he will be an afterthought as the team rebrands itself in the Zion Williamson era. He’s coming off a scary injury that appears to have passed, but he was never a top 100 8-cat guy, and he is still lousy shooter from the charity stripe and 3-point range. Combine those shooting pains with a lack of hustle stats (steals and blocks), and you have a player that is just hurting you in too many areas.
FOMO: Zach Collins
Currently in line to start at power forward for the Blazers, Collins is an enticing flier in round 11. He played well in the NBA playoffs, showing off the 3-pointer and blocks potential that makes for a great pickup at this stage of the draft. If his long range shooting takes a jump from last year’s 33%, this will be a huge steal.
X-Factor: Big Man Break Outs
This team has a nice foundation in the traditional guard areas with James Harden, Jrue Holiday and Zach LaVine leading the way. However, things are dicier with these power forwards and centers. Deandre Ayton was another target of mine. If last year was his floor, I’m thrilled to have him in the third round. After that I see real risk in the likes of Steven Adams, Marvin Bagley III, Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. In Allen and Nance’s case they have to compete with accomplished veterans, and Bagley will have plenty of competition on a deep Kings roster. I understand Steven Adams is now allowed to grab rebounds, but will that improve his plummeting free throw percentage, and how do I know he’s going to post 1.5 steals again? That’s a 25% increase from any previous season.
Stretch Run: Jarrett Allen
As DeAndre Jordan provides plenty of evidence over the first half of the season that he is not so useful on the basketball court anymore, Kenny Atkinson will probably start acknowledging that Allen is the better option if the Nets want to win basketball games. If he can get over the 26-minute hump from last season, Allen will be able to make impressive gains on last year’s 1.5 blocks average.
Team D Silly Papa
NO. Player ROUND 3 Giannis Antetokounmpo Mil, PF 1 22 Kemba Walker Bos, PG 2 27 LaMarcus Aldridge SA, PF 3 46 Jayson Tatum Bos, SF 4 51 Kyle Lowry Tor, PG 5 70 Marc Gasol Tor, C 6 75 Buddy Hield Sac, SG 7 94 Jusuf Nurkic Por, C 8 99 Paul Millsap Den, PF 9 118 Joe Ingles Utah, SF 10 123 Trevor Ariza Sac, SF 11 142 Evan Fournier Orl, SG 12 147 Nikola Mirotic Mil, PF 13
Better You Than Me: Marc Gasol (Nikola Mirotic is too easy)
I’m sorry to rain on Gasol’s two championship parades but I’m not convinced this well-deserving NBA champ is going to kill himself to carry the Raptors this season. After arriving in Toronto he only averaged 25 minutes over the remainder of the regular season and his counting stats went down significantly once he joined competent teammates. He’ll probably be a top-100 guy and his game remains efficient, but it is hard to see him pushing for mid-round value as the potential fourth option on offense.
FOMO: Buddy Hield
If ESPN’s rankings weren’t so crummy, and I did a better job prepping my queue, I totally would have grabbed Buddy. It’s crazy to get him at 75 when we’ve now had two years of evidence that this guy is a lights-out shooter. He went for over 20 points and 3.4 3-pointers last season with solid percentages for a long-range sniper. The next challenge for Buddy will be to enhance his playmaking (2.5 assists) and steals (0.7 steals). Either way, getting this guy in the seventh round is terrific value.
X-Factor: Veterans’ Last Stand
LaMarcus Aldridge, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Paul Millsap: these have all been top-20 guys in their heydays. This draft they all went in the top 100. We can’t expect them to produce like it is 2015, but if Lowry and Gasol are committed to defending the NBA title we can expect pretty strong fantasy campaigns. At the same time, the Raptors could decide to trade off the stars into lousy fantasy situations if they are a middling roster without Kawhi Lenoard. Paul Millsap took a dive to 27 minutes a game last season, can he even hold steady at that number? Aldridge has inherited the Tim Duncan mantle of being written off every season before delivering top-30 value as a Spur. Even LeBron broke down last year, can Aldridge run back top-30 value as a 34-year-old?
Stretch Run: Jusuf Nurkic
If Team D Silly Papa can display a fierce level of patience to let Nurkic make it back onto his roster he will most likely get a nice reward. A February return is in the cards, and Nurkic was rolling before the ugly compound fracture abruptly ended his season. By the time the fantasy playoffs arrive Nurkic could be in peak form.
NO. Player ROUND 4 Karl-Anthony Towns Min, C 1 21 John Collins Atl, PF 2 28 Zion Williamson NO, PF 3 45 Kevin Love Cle, PF 4 52 Domantas Sabonis Ind, PF 5 69 CJ McCollum Por, SG 6 76 Otto Porter Jr. Chi, SF 7 93 Lonzo Ball NO, PG 8 100 Dewayne Dedmon Sac, C 9 117 Elfrid Payton NY, PG 10 124 JJ Redick NO, SG 11 141 Coby White Chi, PG 12 148 Klay Thompson GS, SG 13
Better You Than Me: Domantas Sabonis
You have to respect the strides Sabonis has made with the Pacers over the last two seasons, but it is hard to imagine his field goal percentage topping 59%, and his steals and blocks remain underwhelming. I’m not sure how we see any more improvement here, and if either Pacer big man is to lose minutes, it is more likely Sabonis sits than Myles Turner as the season progresses. I’d rather land a steady player like Sabonis in the later-middle rounds.
FOMO: Otto Porter Jr.
Even without the turnover boost from 9-Cat settings, Otto was even better last season in Chicago than in Washington, and it looks like he’ll only be scoring more points and committing more turnovers for the Bulls anyway. He remains an outstanding shooter from anywhere on the floor, and when you combine that with his strong steal rate, there is a lot to like about this 26-year-old, especially when you land him at #76.
X-Factor: Strategy Alignment
This team has some nice potential to punt assists entirely and lock up stout percentages a result. Elfrid Payton and Lonzo Ball are two inefficiency headaches that his roster does not need. Trade them off if they get out the gates hot, and focus on the excellent efficiency you have in hand with Towns, Love, John Collins, Sabonis, and Zion Williamson.
Stretch Run: Zion Williamson
We couldn’t go through this team and not address Zion. I find it hard to imagine he’s not third-round talent this season. He can do everything on the basketball court, and that is going to translate into fantasy value at high levels. With his motor and natural instinct to share the rock I do not expect him to dominate offensively in the early going, but the Pelicans will most likely be on the playoff bubble, and Zion will gradually take on a larger offensive role as his obvious advantages come to the surface. Klay Thompson would be the other obvious nominee here of course, but I had to give Zion some love.
NO. Player ROUND 5 LeBron James LAL, SF 1 20 Ben Simmons Phi, PG 2 29 Blake Griffin Det, PF 3 44 Tobias Harris Phi, PF 4 53 Hassan Whiteside Por, C 5 68 Wendell Carter Jr. Chi, PF 6 77 RJ Barrett NY, SG 7 92 Willie Cauley-Stein GS, C 8 101 DeMarcus Cousins LAL, C 9 116 Derrick Rose Det, PG 10 125 Thaddeus Young Chi, PF 11 140 Jarrett Culver Min, SG 12 149 Bobby Portis NY, PF 13
Better You Than Me: RJ Barrett
I don’t know what ESPN is thinking putting Barrett so high in its rankings, and it looks like they sucked Team NBA in on this pick. RJ is in for a world of hurt in all likelihood this year, as he will be competing for touches with Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr., and Marcus Morris. It is safe to assume ball movement will not be at a premium with those types of teammates surrounding him, and that could put Barrett in a challenging situation to generate opportunities for himself. Set Barrett aside for a late-round selection.
FOMO: Wendell Carter Jr.
The 7th selection in the 2018 draft, Wendell Carter Jr. showed enough last season to earn some big expectations for his sophomore season. A 50% field goal rate with 80% free throw shooting, alongside a double-double and 1.5 blocks are very feasible expectations. The competition for center minutes is pretty thin with Robin Lopez off this roster.
X-Factor: Hassan Whiteside
This team suffers from some lousy roster construction overall. Free throws, 3-pointers and steals are all going to be problems coming out of the gate. Adding a combustible Hassan Whiteside to the mix is asking for trouble. His final season with the Heat was a microcosm of this guy’s career. 12 points and 11 rebounds with two blocks is a nice foundation, but we also saw Whiteside’s minutes continue to slide (23 mpg) and he shot a mind-numbing 44.9 percent from the charity stripe. I am not going to claim to know what Whiteside will do in Portland. If the Blazers’ superior culture is a thing, it is about to meet its greatest challenge in harnessing Whiteside’s considerable talent. If he does not fit as a Blazer, NBA Team won’t even be able to compete in blocks.
Stretch Run: Jarrett Culver
I doubt I’d have the patience to carry Culver past week two of the season, even if he is getting 20 mpg, but down the stretch once the Timberwolves are out of playoff contention, he seems like an enticing prospect. He posted a solid steals rate in college (1.5), and if he can develop a reliable 3-point shot we will have something to talk about.
NO. PLAYER ROUND 6 Stephen Curry GS, PG 1 19 Rudy Gobert Utah, C 2 30 Devin Booker Phx, SG 3 43 Kristaps Porzingis Dal, PF 4 54 Danilo Gallinari OKC, SF 5 67 Montrezl Harrell LAC, C 6 78 Bojan Bogdanovic Utah, SF 7 91 Jaylen Brown Bos, SG 8 102 JaVale McGee LAL, C 9 115 Tomas Satoransky Chi, SG 10 126 Andrew Wiggins Min, SF 11 139 Reggie Jackson Det, PG 12 150 Kevin Huerter Atl, SG 13
Better You Than Me: Danilo Gallinari
Don’t get me wrong, I had my shares of the Rooster just like you might of last season, but we drafted him 115th. To take Gallinari 54th overall I’m going to need more than one year of assurance that he is past his injury history. His “healthy” season saw 68 games, and he was a mid-round player based on his average stats. He smashed his previous highs in shooting with a 46.3 field goal percentage alongside a crazy 43.3 3-point percentage, and I am highly skeptical that he is going to come close to that 3-point percentage again. Besides his 28-game rookie season (44.4%), Gallinari has never topped 39% from deep in his prior nine seasons. It’s all just too good to be true.
FOMO: Tomas Satoransky
A regular stretch run staple on the Wizards, Tomas Satoransky is now manning the starting point guard role in Chicago, and we have plenty of evidence that a regular role will lead to mid-round value. Things get more complicated when you account for Coby White and Kris Dunn also competing for point guard minutes, but Satoransky just did some nice work for the Czech Republic in FIBA play, and I don’t see him getting pushed out of the picture completely in Chicago. The Bulls need a caretaker to allow their young bigs to flourish, Satoransky is primed for that role.
X-Factor: Health At The Top
A classic disaster scenario in fantasy basketball, you roll out the likes of Steph Curry, Rudy Gobert, Devin Booker, Kristaps Prozingis and a freshly bounced back Danilo Gallinari, you’ve got everything in that core five to serve as your foundational building blocks. However, two out of the five are out at all times as you fight to hang around all season before you inevitably get the gut-punch of a third guy going down just as you are about to ascend the playoff positing mountain. Steph didn’t top 70 games in either of the last two seasons, Gobert has a strange ’80 games every other year’ thing going on (GULP, it’s an off-year), the Suns don’t bother stressing Devin Booker once they are fighting for ping pong balls, Kristaps is coming back from an ACL tear and remains a fearless and scrawny 7’3″ with 240 pounds, and we just discussed Gallinari. Watch out.
Stretch Run: Kevin Heurter
Heurter may very well be the best 13th-round pick in this draft. He’s in line for a starting job this season, and after an inconsistent rookie campaign, should be line for more consistency as he operates next to Trae Young and John Collins for a full 82-game season this year. Heurter has the 3-point shooting and playmaking skills to earn minutes, and if the time he put into finishing at the rim this summer pays off he will be producing top 100 value.
Colonel Larry Sanders
NO. PLAYER ROUND 7 Nikola Jokic Den, C 1 18 Nikola Vucevic Orl, C 2 31 DeMar DeRozan SA, SG 3 42 Khris Middleton Mil, SF 4 55 Ja Morant Mem, PG 5 66 Jamal Murray Den, PG 6 79 Kyle Kuzma LAL, PF 7 90 Gordon Hayward Bos, SF 8 103 Goran Dragic Mia, PG 9 114 Dennis Smith Jr. NY, PG 10 127 Joe Harris Bkn, SG 11 138 Ivica Zubac LAC, C 12 151 Noah Vonleh NY, PF 13
Better You Than Me: Kyle Kuzma
Kuzma is following in the path of Jordan Clarkson’s Lakers career, plenty of points with swagger. Now if only that could translate into fantasy goodness. Besides the 18.7 points a game last season, Kuzma brought little else to the table. His 1.8 3-pointers were shot at a 30% clip, and Kuzma is about to play next a couple stat factories for a full season when LeBron and Anthony Davis are running the Lakers offense. Until Kuzma can show some progress in his shooting or hustle stats he is going to be an overrated player in fantasy circles.
FOMO: Dennis Smith Jr.
DSJ had an ugly sophomore campaign, but he is still a baby, and is certainly worth a flier in 8-cat as the starting point guard for the Knicks. If his free throw percentage can somehow not be a disaster he will end up being a useful fantasy option who chips in a little bit of everything without destroying you too badly with his lousy shooting. At #114 in the draft, it is certainly worth a shot.
X-Factor: Veteran Bounce Back
This is an odd roster construction in general, it’s pretty rare to see the only big men taken with the first two picks and last two picks in a squad’s draft. A lot depends upon the veterans looking for bounceback campaigns in the middle rounds. Gordon Hayward looking to rediscover the Jazz magic, Khris Middleton coming off a hefty contract extension from the Bucks, and Goran Dragic fighting to stay relevant as the Heat reimagine themselves around Jimmy Butler. They’ve all been top-30 guys in the past, but returning to that level could be tough as they compete on crowded rosters. Dragic may have the most opportunity in Miami, but he is also the most aged out of the three.
Stretch Run: Ja Morant
Snagging the second-best rookie at #55 is a bit aggressive for my liking, but Morant seems like the kind of player that will take a more assertive role as the season progresses for the Grizzlies. It may be a struggle initially as this team has few go-to scorers beyond Jonas Valanciunas, but with so much opportunity I’m imaging Morant putting his strong talent on full display as the season comes to a close.
Ibaka Flocka Flames
NO. Player ROUND 8 Clint Capela Hou, C 1 17 Russell Westbrook Hou, PG 2 32 Pascal Siakam Tor, PF 3 41 Julius Randle NY, PF 4 56 Jeremy Lamb Ind, SG 5 65 Rudy Gay SA, SF 6 80 Terry Rozier Cha, PG 7 89 Collin Sexton Cle, PG 8 104 Jerami Grant Den, SF 9 113 Mikal Bridges Phx, SF 10 128 Darius Garland Cle, PG 11 137 Seth Curry Dal, SG 12 152 Dwight Howard LAL, C 13
Better You Than Me: Clint Capela
This selection may have been the most bizarre of the entire draft. I have not seen anybody grab Clint Capela in the first round ever, he is more of a late-third or fourth-round option. Maybe this owner is related to him? I have no logical explanation for this one.
FOMO: Collin Sexton
He’s not about to light the NBA on fire but Sexton’s second half showed some real progress: 20.8 points, 2.4 3-pointers, and a 47.7 field goal percentage. He is well suited for 8-cat and I’m intrigued enough to see what happens in the 8th round. He clearly has a 3-point stroke already, and will only have more help with Darius Garland added to the roster and Kevin Love presumably playing more games.
X-Factor: Change Is Good?
The NBA in general is going through more turnover with shorter contracts for everyone, but this team really reflects the shifting landscapes. Some of these players will find success in their new homes — Julius Randle in New York, Dwight Howard should only be better for the Lakers than his disastrous stint in DC. Others will face more difficult fantasy environments — can Jeremy Lamb get as many touches on a team not named the Hornets, is Terry Rozier going to ride usage to fantasy glory, will Jerami Grant still have a large role on a talented Nuggets roster? I’m not so optimistic overall.
Stretch Run: Mikal Bridges
Mikal is not going to hurt your fantasy squad, but it is hard to say if he is going to do much that truly excites either. You can count on him delivering neutral stats in everything, alongside about 1.5 3-pointers and steals. Perhaps the rest of his game fills out this season as the Suns go on their annual tank swoon?
NO. Player ROUND 9 Joel Embiid Phi, C 1 16 Paul George LAC, SF 2 33 Lauri Markkanen Chi, PF 3 40 Mike Conley Utah, PG 4 57 Victor Oladipo Ind, SG 5 64 Aaron Gordon Orl, PF 6 81 Serge Ibaka Tor, PF 7 88 Lou Williams LAC, SG 8 105 Jeff Teague Min, PG 9 112 De’Andre Hunter Atl, SF 10 129 Danny Green LAL, SG 11 136 Cody Zeller Cha, C 12 153 Taj Gibson NY, PF 13
Better You Than Me: Lauri Markkanen
Two seasons into his career and I am still not feeling Lauri Markkanen. I realize he carries 20 point – 10 rebound potential with three 3-pointers at his peak, but the progress he made last season statistically largely corresponds to his minutes increase, and he’s still a middling 43% field goal shooter. The steals and blocks have not emerged yet, and he has missed over 40 games between his first two seasons of action. Useful player but not somebody I want to spend a third-round selection on.
FOMO: Jeff Teague
I know nobody out there loves Jeff Teague, but he will always have a place on my fantasy roster. Believe it or not, he is still only 30 years young, and he has never missed more than 12 games until last season’s disaster. Basically everything slumped besides Teague’s assist figures. Teague is still too young and has been too good historically to not get things sorted out this year. Derrick Rose, Tyus Jones and Jimmy Butler are long gone. Teague should be motivated to prove he still belongs in the starting point guard conversation. He’s looking like a top-75 player that you can grab around 100.
X-Factor: Active Roster
Have to go with a repeat but it is simply the reality for this team. When you draft Joel Embiid to start things off and pair him with Paul George and Victor Oladipo you have a ton of risk. Taking Oladipo in the fifth round is way too soon for my comfort level, and let’s not forget Mike Conley is on this team as well as the already-addressed Lauri Markkanen. Playing time is the name of the game in fantasy basketball.
Stretch Run: Mike Conley
While everyone gushes about Donovan Mitchell, I’m still imaging the Jazz give the ball to Mike Conley to generate the best looks when the playoffs roll around. Conley should still be able to lead this team offensively with more efficiency, and as the Jazz battle for playoff seeding down the stretch I can foresee Conley asserting his control as the lead option when it most matters.
Goobs (Your writer extraordinaire!)
NO. Player ROUND 10 Damian Lillard Por, PG 1 15 Kawhi Leonard LAC, SF 2 34 Donovan Mitchell Utah, SG 3 39 Chris Paul OKC, PG 4 58 Jonas Valanciunas Mem, C 5 63 Jaren Jackson Jr. Mem, PF 6 82 Brook Lopez Mil, C 7 87 Josh Richardson Phi, SF 8 106 Kelly Oubre Jr. Phx, SF 9 111 Derrick White SA, PG 10 130 Fred VanVleet Tor, PG 11 135 Kent Bazemore Por, SG 12 154 Harrison Barnes Sac, SF 13
Better You Than Me: Derrick White
Naturally enough, I do not have too many qualms with how my draft turned out. At the end of the action I was pretty annoyed that I was stuck with four point guards if I wanted both Derrick White and Fred VanVleet, plus I still had to grab a power forward with my final pick. I’m liking VanVleet’s chances to be a go-to scorer for a very pass-heavy Raptors squad over White’s position battle with Dejounte Murray for the Spurs. I could’ve used a power forward before Harrison Barnes at the end of my draft.
FOMO: Brook Lopez
Thankfully I was able to land Brook Lopez at the end of the seventh round. He has no right sliding that far in the draft — he posted mid to early-round value last season on the strength of 2-plus 3-pointers and blocks. No reason the Bucks won’t execute the same Brook-heavy strategy this season after it worked so well throughout the previous regular season.
X-Factor: Something Old And Something New
Chris Paul continues to be a dominant fantasy basketball player, and he enters the season with an excellent setup as the lead dog for the Thunder. No more sharing the ball with James Harden or even Blake Griffin. CP3 is going to have plenty of usage. He has a 47% field goal percentage to his name, if the 42% from last season gets close to that career norm he will easily exceed the 39th selection. Donovan Mitchell is not quite the top-20 guy some were hoping for last season, but he can make some important efficiency strides with Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic giving him more space to operate with. If these two deliver strong shooting seasons that will be a big boost for my roster.
Stretch Run: Damian Lillard
I was pumped to land Lillard with the 10th overall pick, and he has always been a strong finisher in fantasy circles. The Blazers will most likely be battling for playoff positioning and Dame has always had the clutch gene to rise to the occasion. One of the most reliable early-round selections in fantasy, I will enjoy riding Dame’s 25 points, six assists, and three 3-pointers all year long.
NO. Player ROUND 11 Bradley Beal Wsh, SG 1 14 Trae Young Atl, PG 2 35 Draymond Green GS, PF 3 38 Derrick Favors NO, PF 4 59 DeAndre Jordan Bkn, C 5 62 Al Horford Phi, C 6 83 Malcolm Brogdon Ind, SG 7 86 Ricky Rubio Phx, PG 8 107 Caris LeVert Bkn, SF 9 110 Kevon Looney GS, PF 10 131 Cedi Osman Cle, SF 11 134 Patrick Beverley LAC, PG 12 155 Amar’e Stoudemire Mia, PF 13
Better You Than Me: Malcolm Brogdon
A lot of folks are high on Brogdon, but I don’t buy into the hype. He is currently a useful glue guy for percentages, and the Pacers are going to slide him into the starting point guard role. Aaron Holiday or T.J. McConnell are backup options if Brogdon falters, but I’m more concerned with all of the more aggressive players around Brogdon. I don’t see him busting out in the assist department, and Jeremy Lamb, T.J. Warren and Damontas Sabonis are going to be putting up points until Victor Oladipo returns.
FOMO: Ricky Rubio
Ricky should be appreciated on a Suns team that has been lacking in quality point guards ever since the Eric Bledsoe got stuck at that hair salon. After seeing just 28 minutes a night Rubio should be able to top that figure and produce more assists in an up-tempo Suns attack. It is not much, but Rubio has been able to shoot over 40% from the field for the last three seasons. That is progress from his early years.
X-Factor: Derrick Favors
People are stoked for an unleashed Derrick Favors that is no longer overshadowed (literally) by Rudy Gobert. Despite getting just 23 mpg last year, Favors produced 11.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, coming on a 58.6 field goal percentage. If we up that playing time to 30 mpg the sky is the limit, potentially. Nonetheless, there is a degree of mystery with how large a role Favors will fill. Jrue Holiday is the lead dog, J.J. Redick is going to score and so is Brandon Ingram. Does Zion become the latest big man that takes touches away from Favors?
Stretch Run: Draymond Green
It is pretty rational for anyone to get lazy when you dominate the league, and that is what the Warriors were doing for the past five years. This season is going to be different, and we all know that a motivated Draymond Green is a top-20 fantasy player. If the Warriors want to be in the playoffs when Klay Thompson returns in the spring they will need Draymond to go much harder in the fall and winter. That should only continue as the Warriors jockey for playoff seeding in a loaded Western Conference.
NO. Player ROUND 12 Kyrie Irving Bkn, PG 1 13 Andre Drummond Det, C 2 36 De’Aaron Fox Sac, PG 3 37 Myles Turner Ind, C 4 60 Bam Adebayo Mia, C 5 61 Eric Bledsoe Mil, PG 6 84 Jonathan Isaac Orl, PF 7 85 Thomas Bryant Wsh, C 8 108 Marcus Smart Bos, SG 9 109 Miles Bridges Cha, SF 10 132 Delon Wright Dal, PG 11 133 Kelly Olynyk Mia, PF 12 156 Dario Saric Phx, PF 13
Better You Than Me: Andre Drummond
I’m not going to claim you can’t take Drummond at the start of the second round, but Biscayne Buckets’ squad, which is pretty strong overall, did not need to swallow this free throw-killing player. When you can pick up Myles Turner, Bam Adebayo, as well as Thomas Bryant later in the draft, it speaks to how deep the center position is going this season.
FOMO: Miles Bridges
A lot of good choices on this roster but I’ll highlight Bridges in the 10th round, who is going to get a bright green light this season with the Hornets entering a post-Kemba Walker era. The post All-Star break numbers over 25 games indicated a lot of across-the-board potential: 9.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks, 1.1 3-pointers, 49.0% FG and 83.3% FT. With a rising usage and a nice raise in minutes, Bridges is setup for nice counting stat improvements.
X-Factor: Center Spotlight
I really like how this team turned out. It’ll need to work on scoring and 3-pointers a bit, but that scoring margin could close quickly if his sleeper picks break out as expected. Two guys that are rising in draft position are Bam Adebayo and Thomas Bryant. They are both in line for starting spots and we have seen them produce mid-round value with that sort of opportunity in the past. If they both pop this team will have a center stats surplus.
Stretch Run: Andre Drummond
While I don’t care for his fit with the roster, Drummond’s game always seems to pop up in the second half of fantasy campaigns. Once Blake Griffin begins to slow down with injuries the Pistons run through Drummond’s post game, and he is an effective distributor when called upon. Take into account the Pistons most likely landing on the playoff bubble, and you have a nice stage for Drummond to post first-round value as the playoffs approach.
And there we have it everyone! If you have survived this long you have my thanks for your dedication. You may not be a 10,000 hour master of fantasy basketball due to this mock draft recap alone, but I hope it gives you an extra 100-hour edge you will need on draft day. Best of luck.