• Hello everyone! This is a recap of a standard-sized 12-team, 9-cat, H2H mock draft. It was done a few weeks back over FB messenger as a slow draft with an 8-hour per pick time limit. The assumed roster spots to be filled were PG, G, SG, SF, F, PF, C, C, Util, Util, BN, BN, BN.

    In full transparency, I have to disclose that this is not a completely true mock, in the true sense of the word. Midway into the draft, one guy said, “Hey, let’s play this out and input the results!” The suggestion quickly seconded and a poll was made. Despite my pleas to keep as a straightforward mock draft, the fantasy addicts whom I invited to participate rabidly piled on the idea (like an infected in World War Z) of adding yet another league to their already-long laundry list of leagues and even added a $10 entry fee to make it interesting. They opted to make it a draft-and-go league, meaning no adds or trades. This impacts the results in the sense that those three BN spots are now effectively Util slots because they’re active.

    While the change does take away from the purity of the originally-intended mock, rest assured that these fantasy addicts are after success and bragging rights. The trash talk is real, so much so, that there was probably more chatter and jibes than actual player-picking in the group chat. With $10, pride, ego and self-esteem on the line, these guys did manage to put up a solid effort.

    Without further ado, let’s get it on!

    Round 1
    1 Giannis Antetokoumpo, SF/PF
    2 Karl-Anthony Towns, C
    3 Anthony Davis, PF/C
    4 James Harden, PG/SG
    5 Stephen Curry, PG/SG
    6 Damian Lillard, PG
    7 Nikola Jokic, PF/C
    8 LeBron James, SF/PF
    9 Kyrie Irving, PG
    10 Kemba Walker, PG
    11 Bradley Beal, SG
    12 Rudy Gobert, C

    Off the top, Giannis being selected first of all is something that can be considered either brave or foolish. For the most part, James Harden or Anthony Davis has been the consensus top pick, based on ADP data. That said, this is where I’d like to point out Giannis is still a solid pick in the 1-3 range. We’re still looking at the tip of his value iceberg.

    Another eye-opener in the first round was Damian Lillard getting picked at 6th, ahead of Nikola Jokic. On paper, we’ve seen Jokic pretty much locked in as a consensus mainstay as the sixth pick in drafts. That was me. I picked Lillard to shake things up and see what I could do with an alternative first-round pick at that spot. Now that it’s a play-and-go league, Jokic’s extra burn during the World Cup could make him a sit-risk later into the season. But since the Nuggets could be battling for placing, they’ll need him on the floor during the fantasy playoffs.

    Kemba feels a bit early here. It seems that 10th is normally where you’re looking at a Kawhi-Leonard pick. It appears that the meta here in the group is ”stay away from injury-prone/sit-prone guys” with Joel Embiid and the aforementioned Kawhi being absent in the first round. This is a rare situation, but a scenario that isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

    Round 2
    13 Andre Drummond, PF/C
    14 Jrue Holiday, PG/SG
    15 Trae Young, PG
    16 Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF
    17 Joel Embiid, C
    18 Paul George, SF/PF
    19 Nikola Vucevic, PF/C
    20 Myles Turner, PF/C
    21 Jimmy Butler, SG/SF
    22 Deandre Ayton, C
    23 John Collins, PF/C
    24 Pascal Siakam, PF

    For obvious reasons, Kawhi and Embiid falling to the second round are huge value picks. Their top-5 upside has been marred by fears of load management and injury-risk. Those risks have been mitigated by these draft spots. In fact, I’m of the belief that taking Embiid at 9th or even 8th imputes his risk. He’s just that explosive and dominant a player, who is still, by the way, improving and developing his ever-evolving game.

    Trae at 15th is a bit overly bullish in my opinion, but I can see the silver lining for sure. The only thing is that market forces have been so powerful in driving his ADP to this range that it’s almost surely priced in any chance of ROI.

    Personally, I like Siakam more than Collins, but that’s splitting hairs at this point and at this range, especially considering they both went back-to-back in the tail-end of this round.

    Round 3
    25 De’Aaron Fox, PG
    26 Ben Simmons, PG
    27 Russell Westbrook, PG
    28 Mitchell Robinson, C
    29 Luka Doncic, PG
    30 Buddy Hield, SG
    31 Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG
    32 Clint Capela, C
    33 Devin Booker, PG/SG
    34 Draymond Green, PF/C
    35 Zion Williamson, PF
    36 Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C

    Ben Simmons was a bit of a reach at 26, considering guys like Westbrook, Luka Doncic and even Devin Booker were still on the board.

    Zion at 35 is a fair price, considering his appeal and already sky-high hype.

    Both Mitch Robinson and JJJ’s draft spots are in-line with ADP trends but are on the aggressive side and frankly, still a bit too early for my tastes.

    I’m gunning hard for Buddy Hield in a lot of my leagues, but considering how early this draft was done, I’m surprised that there was someone who caught on. Oh yeah, that was my pick. Haha! Yeah, it was a bit reach-y but I think he’s still got a bit more ceiling to hit and explore this season. Thinking Bradley Beal-ish zone with fewer dimes and steals.

    Round 4
    37 Blake Griffin, PF/C
    38 Otto Porter Jr., SF
    39 LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C
    40 Tobias Harris, SF/PF
    41 Bam Adebayo, PF/C
    42 Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C
    43 Brook Lopez, C
    44 Jayson Tatum, SF/PF
    45 Robert Covington, SF/PF
    46 Chris Paul, PG
    47 D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG
    48 Mike Conley, PG

    Ah, Round 4. This is where things got a bit spicy. Some solid players fell to value-pick ranges in this round, namely Aldridge, Bam, RoCo, D’Angelo Russell and even Chris Paul and his broken-ass hamstrings.

    That brings me to the bit of advice I want to throw in this analysis. In standard-league drafts, be very conscious of who you’re picking and who you’re passing on. This is the reach-and-fall sweet spot, at least the first of a couple of landmark zones.

    The only ugly reach that made me cringe here was Blake Griffin. He touched his career high-point last season and this is too much of a honeymoon pick considering the injury and load management baggage he carries around.

    Round 5
    49 Josh Richardson, SG/SF
    50 C.J. McCollum, PG/SG
    51 Khris Middleton, SG/SF
    52 Jonas Valanciunas, C
    53 Kyle Lowry, PG
    54 Lauri Markkanen, PF
    55 Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG
    56 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG
    57 DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF
    58 Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF
    59 Thomas Bryant, C
    60 Jamal Murray, PG/SG

    Okay folks, buckle up. Things are going to get nasty and some furniture may be flung at walls. But first, the good. I like Kyle Lowry outside the top-50 as a pick. He has top-30 per-game upside but since he’s on a team that will soon realize that they’re lost without Kawhi Leonard and is a player that’s injury-prone, seeing him get taken at 53 is pretty good.

    With credit to that Lowry pick out of the way, I still give the value-pick of the round award to DeMar DeRozan at 57. He’s often dismissed due to his lack of threes and steals, but at the end of the day, DeMar brings value to the table thanks to his 21-6-6 line and rock-solid shooting percentages.

    SGA at 56 is just a rookie mistake. It’s a clear sign that someone’s been drinking the rabid-market Kool-Aid and has tipped over. Yes, that’s a realistic upside point for Gilgeous-Alexander, but actually paying for it defeats the purpose of drafting for value. Why pay retail, if you can get his production for cheaper? This is a good example of what NOT to do. Over-reaching is just as bad, if not even worse, than missing out on a breakout sleeper.

    Again, mind you, these drafters are volunteers and they have varying experience and skill levels. So this mock is a good slice of the various demographics you may encounter in your public or even private leagues. “Mr. Over-aggressive” here will draw the “oohs” and “wows” in the live draft chatbox, but in the end will fall short when the time comes to cash in the chips, especially if these kind of misplays are a pattern for him.

    Round 6
    61 Malcolm Brogdon, PG/SG
    62 Kevin Love, PF/C
    63 Zach Lavine, PG/SG
    64 Ja Morant, PG
    65 Lonzo Ball, PG
    66 Steven Adams, C
    67 Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF
    68 Ricky Rubio, PG
    69 Derrick Favors, PF/C
    70 Kelly Ourbre Jr., SF
    71 Julius Randle, PF/C
    72 Montrezl Harrell, PF/C

    As much as I loathe to own Kevin Love, having been burned by his injury-plagued seasons so many times before, I have to admit that seeing him get picked at 62 sat well with me.

    On the other hand, Ball and Rubio were too early for my tastes. That said, I can understand why they were taken. Two possible reasons can be pointed out as the culprits. Normally, at this stage in a draft, teams are scampering to fill either missing positions or categories. Second, seeing Brogdon, LaVine and Morant go in quick succession meant that there was an ongoing PG-run. When that happens, people tend to panic even more and jump on the bandwagon, resulting in reaches. Believe it or not, with the top-75, there’s no real need to be panicking to fill positions or categories just yet. Stay focused on value.

    Speaking of value, I like both those Randle and Harrell picks at the end, as both bigs slid a bit under the radar.

    Round 7
    73 Joe Ingles, SG/SF
    74 Marvin Bagley III, PF
    75 Wendell Carter Jr., C
    76 Miles Bridges, SF
    77 Al Horford, PF/C
    78 Delon Wright, PG/SG
    79 Terry Rozier, PG/SG
    80 Hassan Whiteside, C
    81 Larry Nance Jr., PF/C
    82 Dejounte Murray, PG
    83 Caris LeVert, SG/SF
    84 Aaron Gordon, SF/PF

    The value-pick of the round goes straight to that Al Horford selection at 77. That was sweet. I know a lot of people are wary of him playing alongside Joel Embiid, but at the end of the day he’s coming off a top-30 season, plus he’s going to thrive as a four. His high-I.Q. game will make him deadly on both ends. Also, the fact that he doesn’t need to bang bodies against bigger and younger centers in the league should do wonders for his in-season durability. Honorable mention goes to that WCJ pick but it’s more understandable that he fell this far considering how his rookie season got some of its luster rubbed off by his injury.

    I’m high on Bagley this year, no doubt about it. However, I personally would have preferred to see him go a little later. The same can be said of both Larry Nance Jr. and Dejounte Murray. All three of these players missed time last season due to injury, so that should allow most people to grab them a smidge later.

    Delon Wright and Terry Rozier’s values are priced in at this stage. The same goes for Miles Bridges.

    On the other hand, Aaron Gordon, who was selected to his 2018-19 ending value, provides for room to get a bit of ROI if you take into account his age and still-improving game.

    Round 8
    85 Gary Harris, SG/SF
    86 Derrick White, PG
    87 Domantas Sabonis, PF/C
    88 Marc Gasol, C
    89 Jeff Teague, PG
    90 Jarrett Allen, C
    91 Mikal Bridges, SG/SF
    92 Dewayne Dedmon, C
    93 Marcus Smart, PG/SG
    94 Jeremy Lamb, SG/SF
    95 Fred VanVleet, PG
    96 Lou Williams, PG/SG

    Gary Harris is a bit of an eye-opener in this round. He has some intriguing bounce-back appeal. His per-game numbers, when he’s healthy, are still fantasy-friendly – solid shooting efficiency with threes and steals. That said, GarHar has burned many an owner with tango with the injury bug over the last few seasons now. He just can’t seem to stay healthy enough to play close to a full season. He’s a divisive choice at this spot, considering his history. It’s either you’re a bounce-back believer or you’re repulsed by his constant DNPs.

    Derrick White was a hot pickup last season. However, the return of a now-healthy Dejounte Murray will surely eat into White’s upside. He’s a round or two early for me.

    We know Marc Gasol’s load will be managed this season. It’s a given. He’s no spring chicken. But like he showed the world in the FIBA World Cup, he’s still got a lot left in the tank. If you can live with the missed games, this spot is pretty solid for a Gasol pick.

    Fred VanVleet is a solid upside pick here. He’s ready to break out and the market knows it. That said, he’s not close to the top of the “hype list,” so his ROI is still on the positive side. The same goes for Mikal Bridges. He displayed a solid foundation last season and his sophomore campaign should be a good platform for him to showcase his improved 3-and-D game.

    Round 9
    97 Nicolas Batum, SG/SF
    98 Enes Kanter, C
    99 Gordon Hayward, SG/SF
    100 Javale McGee, C
    101 Josh Okogie, SG
    102 Brandon Clarke, PF
    103 Serge Ibaka, PF/C
    104 Terrence Ross, SG/SF
    105 TJ Warren, SF/PF
    106 Paul Millsap, PF/C
    107 Kevin Huerter, SG
    108 Brandon Ingram, SG/SF

    This round is filled with a lot of questions.

    Can Gordon Hayward return to even a fraction of his old form? Can Brandon Clarke’s strong Summer League performance translate into regular-season value? How will T.J. Warren fit with the new-look Pacers? Does Paul Millsap have anything left in the tank or have we heard him sing his fantasy swan song. How far will JaVale McGee fall from his career season in 2018-19, especially since an allegedly healthy and hungry Dwight Howard is competing for those minutes at center?

    Two picks in particular in this round made me cringe, Nicolas Batum and Brandon Ingram. Neither player should be taken this early in a draft. Ingram has still so many unfulfilled promises of upside that are less real than the population that disappeared when Thanos snapped his fingers. Batum is on the way down as he treads water on a team that’s oriented towards developing its youth.

    Round 10
    109 Taurean Prince, SF
    110 RJ Barrett, SF
    111 Kyle Anderson, SF
    112 Bojan Bogdanovic, SG/SF
    113 PJ Tucker, SF/PF
    114 Victor Oladipo, PG/SG
    115 Jerami Grant, SF/PF
    116 Alex Len, PF/C
    117 Kent Bazemore, SG/SF
    118 Tomas Satoransky, PG/SG
    119 Danny Green, SG/SF
    120 Willie Cauley-Stein, C

    Let’s call this round what it is, the Redemption Round.  Taurean Prince, Kyle Anderson, Vic Oladipo, Kent Bazemore and even to some extent Willie Cauley-Stein – though I add WCS a bit loosely here – are all up for a chance to redeem themselves from lackluster or disappointing 2018-19 seasons. Round 10 in a standard-league draft is a good spot for this kind of play.

    Danny Green, P.J. Tucker and Jerami Grant all provide similar output for teams this coming season. Not too high in points, but a good serving of threes, steals and low turnovers on the side.

    Bojan Bogdanovic is often underrated, due to the misconception that he’s just a 3-point specialist. He was a nice value-pick in this round.

    Round 11
    121 Will Barton, SG/SF
    122 J.J. Redick, SG
    123 Zach Collins, PF/C
    124 Collin Sexton, PG
    125 Robert Williams, PF
    126 Spencer Dinwiddie PG/SG
    127 Evan Fournier, SG/SF
    128 Nerlens Noel, PF/C
    129 Rudy Gay, SF/PF
    130 Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF
    131 Kyle Kuzma, PF
    132 Thaddeus Young, SF/PF

    I’d like to call Zach Collins a “sexy pick” here, but it’s more “ballsy” and “ambitious” than anything. He’s got a clear path to value, but can he make it come to fruition?

    Robert Williams is a reach here. Yes, he might start, but it’s too much of a speculative play at this point. I’d prefer to see him as a last-round flier in standard leagues at best.

    Nerlens Noel has sneaky-upside to him, especially if the Thunder find a way to offload Steven Adams.

    Andrew Wiggins and Kyle Kuzma represent the soured vanilla flavoring of this round. Still too early? As far as I’m concerned, yes.

    J.J. Redick and Thad Young are living off the residue of last season’s production. It’s good that expectations have been tempered and people are not expecting them to be the same solid role-players they once were.

    Believe it or not, as bad as Collin Sexton was in his rookie campaign, I don’t mind seeing him get picked this early. Assists and points are hard to come by at this point in the draft and I’m convinced that he’s got the opportunity for some significant growth. Good pick.

    Round 12
    133 DeAndre Jordan, C
    134 Darius Garland, PG
    135 Davis Bertans, PF/C
    136 Joe Harris, SG/SF
    137 Justise Winslow, PG/SF/PF
    138 Rui Hachimura, PF
    139 Dario Saric, PF/C
    140 Landry Shamet, PG
    141 Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG/SF
    142 Dwight Powell, PF/C
    143 Jarrett Culver, SF
    144 Dennis Schroder, PG

    Ah the 12th round, a point in the draft where people start busting out their sleepers. The guys did not disappoint in that regard here. While it’s not a mind-blowing crop of sleepers, we are, however, loaded with a nice crop of value-picks.

    Davis Bertans, Joe Harris, Dario Saric, Dwight Powell, even Dennis Schroder are all smart choices here.

    Landry Shamet is someone ignored in a lot of drafts, mainly because of the addition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the team. Still, I’m convinced that this kid is oozing with confidence and will still find a way to get his breakout going.

    Round 13
    145 Cody Zeller, PF/C
    146 Derrick Jones Jr., SF
    147 Eric Gordon, SG
    148 Kelly Olynyk PF/C
    149 Troy Brown Jr., SG/SF
    150 Patrick Beverley, PG/SG
    151 Kevon Looney, PF/C
    152 D.J. Augustin, PG
    153 Tyler Herro, SG
    154 Isaiah Thomas, PG
    155 Jaylen Brown, SG
    156 Harrison Barnes, SF/PF

    Hey, how did good old Eric Gordon fall this far? Wow. Nice snatch and grab for a 3-point specialist there.

    For breakout potential, I’m liking those roll-the-dice investments in Derrick Jones Jr., Troy Brown Jr., Kevon Looney and even rookie Tyler Herro – oh the memes this guy’s name is gonna help generate. Hahaha.

    Jaylen Brown has to have the highest ceiling among the guys here. He’s got a bright future and is still under 25 years old.

    -0-

    Whew! That was a lot. I’m intentionally not breaking down the team-by-team results. You don’t really need that in preparation for your draft. What’s important here is the snapshot of a contained metagame or market.  That, and my input of course.

    That said, I’d like to throw a shoutout to my nephews (inside joke) from the USTe League. Thanks for helping out and chipping in with your time and fantasy know-how to make this mock a reality.

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