• I had the privilege to host a 14-team mock draft with some of our most loyal readers and it was a great time. We laughed, we learned, and had some fun at my expense. Thanks to everyone who participated, it was fun to banter with you all.

    You know the drill. I’ll go through all 13 rounds of the 14-team, 9-cat H2H Yahoo league that drafted on Thursday, October 3rd. I’ll throw in some general comments and thought process as the draft unfolded.

    Round 1
    1. Anthony Davis (LAL – PF,C) Reynaldo R.
    2. Stephen Curry (GS – PG,SG) Joseph
    3. James Harden (Hou – PG,SG) Manager-less
    4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil – SF,PF) PH best punter
    5. Karl-Anthony Towns (Min – C) Beastball
    6. Nikola Jokic (Den – PF,C) @JoshMillman
    7. Joel Embiid (Phi – PF,C) Fantasy JODA
    8. LeBron James (LAL – SF,PF) Jay
    9. Damian Lillard (Por – PG) Sugar
    10. Bradley Beal (Was – SG) Tim
    11. Kawhi Leonard (LAC – SG,SF) Game. Blouses
    12. Kyrie Irving (Bkn – PG,SG) My Amazing Team
    13. Russell Westbrook (Hou – PG) Rip City
    14. Rudy Gobert (Uta – C) Pench

    Based on the pure luck of draft randomization, the theme of NBA fantasy season thus far has been:

    Pick 1-5: (Takes off pants. Runs into street screaming)

    Pick 6-7: Meh

    Pick 8-11: Oh Crap

    Pick 12-14: WHAT REMORSELESS EMPEROR COMMANDS ME? I NO LONGER GOVERN MY SOUL. I AM COMPLETELY IMMERSED IN DARKNESS. AS I TURN MY BODY AWAY FROM THE SUN.

    That holds true in this draft. There were very few surprises in the top 5/6. How the top-5 go ultimately depends on how you value them, but you’re going to be happy no matter what. I have yet to hear anyone complain that someone took Steph Curry at 2 so I had to choose between James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Poor baby.

    Joel Embiid at 7 throws a wrench into things as 7 has typically been the home of Damian Lillard. Instead, Dame slips to 9th in this draft. Picks 10-14 ultimately come down to who you value more, how you want to build your team, and how much risk are you willing to stomach early.

    My pick: Nikola Jokic is pretty uninspiring as a 6th pick. I’d kill to have a healthy Kevin Durant as the easy pick here for both fantasy and Nets purposes, but my crotch needed an extra kick for this draft. I have no idea where he improves statistically on a Denver team that is deeper than it was last season. He’s got no chance of suddenly playing 35-36 minutes rather than his typical 31-32. Mike Malone has also hinted that Jokic might rest here and there.

    The positive side is that he’s been top-10 in total 9-cat value the last two seasons and is as safe as they come. I chose safety because I think there’s increased value in that the deeper the league gets. I’ll take the excellent scoring, boards, out-of-position assists and figure out blocks elsewhere.

    The Rundown: I’m getting the sense that Anthony Davis is solidifying himself as the #1 overall pick. Can’t argue with Reynaldo’s decision at all. No one comes close to his ceiling. Steph Curry goes #2 to Joseph and while I think he’s going to have another phenomenal year, I don’t believe he’ll hit those Supernova Steph numbers from 15-16 going into his age-32 season. Sadly team #3 was a manager who pulled out last minute and we got stuck with an autodraft team. Sucks, but we’ll persevere and I’ll keep analysis on this team to a minimum. Harden at #3 though is easy.

    Giannis goes to PH Best Punter and let’s just say he makes great use of his namesake. FT% is The Freak’s weak point and that will be a theme to come. Beastball makes the easy pick of Karl-Anthony Towns at 5. Towns is iron doors, laser grids and thousands of layers of encryption levels of safe.

    Joel Embiid is the first real surprise of the night for Fantasy JODA, but I can get behind it. We may not have seen his ceiling yet, Philly is loaded, and Embiid is very conscious about playing fuller seasons for more accolades. 70 games of a motivated JoJo could be a top-5 player.

    Jay’s pick of LeBron James at 8 is another surprise, but the kind of surprise that might make children cry and dogs wail. The FT% issues are well established, but with Davis on board, there’s no need for LeBron to carry the load as much. The Lakers are going to have load management built in because long offseason or not, there’s still a lot of tread on the tires. It’s still possible The King puts up near triple-double averages except they might dip with him knowing full well that he doesn’t need to exert as much energy on opposing defenses with Davis on his team.

    Damian Lillard falling to 9 is a gift for Sugar. 9th pick feels like exactly where Dame will end up at the end of the season.

    I’ve been super bullish on Beal for some time now and like him at 10 for Tim. Beal was a damn top-10 monster once Wall was shelved and now he gets a full season without him. I tend to not overthink the playoff aspect of things when picking a guy like Beal. I get that trade rumors might swirl around him all season, but it’s a factor completely out of an owners control.

    Really like Kawhi Leonard at 11 to Game Blouses. I’m starting to believe that The Klaw can get to 70 games between Paul George being out early, LA being his choice of team, and the Clippers needing wins in a fierce conference. There are no holes in his fantasy profile if not for the rest concerns.

    I’m also bullish on Kyrie so 12th overall to My Amazing Team is a solid pick. He was 9th per game last season and he’ll find the Nets’ up-tempo offense to his liking. There’s motivation to prove he’s grown beyond the Boston issues and the Nets will need him at his best without Durant.

    It took until pick 13, but our first ‘Yikes’ moment is with Russell Westbrook. Perhaps having Harden helps Russ to become less of a tornado, but Rip City needs to hope for the best-case scenario. Russ is a percentage and turnover killer and hard to see him changing even with a new home.

    Rudy Gobert rounding out the first to Pench is just a C-grade by me. I like Gobert as a player and premier shot-blocker. However, he played in 81 games last year so any step back from that means he probably struggles to hit this value given that he is going to hurt in four categories.

    Round 2
    1. Jrue Holiday (NO – PG,SG) Pench
    2. Andre Drummond (Det – PF,C) Rip City
    3. Nikola Vucevic (Orl – PF,C) My Amazing Team
    4. Kemba Walker (Bos – PG) Game. Blouses
    5. Jimmy Butler (Mia – SG,SF) Tim
    6. Trae Young (Atl – PG) Sugar
    7. Paul George (LAC – SF,PF) Jay
    8. Myles Turner (Ind – PF,C) Fantasy JODA
    9. Deandre Ayton (Pho – C) @JoshMillman
    10. Devin Booker (Pho – PG,SG) Beastball
    11. Ben Simmons (Phi – PG) PH best punter
    12. Luka Doncic (Dal – PG) Manager-less
    13. John Collins (Atl – PF,C) Joseph
    14. Draymond Green (GS – PF,C) Reynaldo R.

    Round 2 doesn’t feel as surprising as some other mocks I’ve seen, and most of the players picked are aligned in this round one way or another.

    My pick: My plan was to go Big/Big since I think there are a number of quality options in round 2 and I like them more than the PGs going in this area. Sadly, I was hoping Myles Turner would fall to me to pair with Jokic, but sniped already! I picked Deandre Ayton because I believe the Suns will improve with their offseason additions and under new coach Monty Williams. Ayton flirted with top-30 value as a rookie and believe he can improve to a top-25 finish in his 2nd season. I couldn’t bring myself to take Mitchell Robinson here and Yahoo’s way of dealing with player eligibility prevented me from taking Collins, who I was also leaning towards. Still, I’m happy with Ayton and think he’s safe with some upside.

    The Rundown: As I was saying, the PGs in this area of the draft to me carry more risk than the slew of big men available. Look, I know how good Trae Young was in the last couple months of last season, but he could still crush you in FG% and TOs. He’s absolutely going to show flashes of a potential top-10 player, but in H2H he’s also going to have weeks of abysmal shooting and carelessness. Same with Luka Doncic. The percentages can and should improve, but there were too many instances of empty calories last season. Will he really need to take 16.5 shots a game with Kristaps Prozingis, Delon Wright and Seth Curry playing with him?

    Jimmy Buckets looks like easily the best value on the board at 19. He may grind himself into dirt to carry this Miami Heat team and go right back to being a usage monster. It’s easy to forget, but before he got his wish to be shipped out of Minnesota, he was a top-10 player with barely a hole in his stat set.

    I’d normally call Ben Simmons the worst pick here, but PH Punter is in punt mode and his build can make this work.

    So I’ll give the nod to Devin Booker, who has yet to finish in the top-40 as a player on a per-game basis. He’s a dynamite scorer, but he might need to get past 30 per night for top-25 return with Ricky Rubio now the starting PG in Phoenix to take away some of his assists. That’s probably unlikely now that there’s some other competent scorers around him should the Suns can get healthy seasons out of Kelly Oubre Jr., Mikal Bridges, and Dario Saric.

    Round 3
    1. Chris Paul (OKC – PG) Reynaldo R.
    2. De’Aaron Fox (Sac – PG) Joseph
    3. Pascal Siakam (Tor – PF) Manager-less
    4. Mitchell Robinson (NY – C) PH best punter
    5. Donovan Mitchell (Uta – PG,SG) Beastball
    6. Buddy Hield (Sac – SG) @JoshMillman
    7. Kristaps Porzingis (Dal – PF,C) Fantasy JODA
    8. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Mem – PF,C) Jay
    9. Zion Williamson (NO – PF) Sugar
    10. Otto Porter Jr. (Chi – SF,PF) Tim
    11. Clint Capela (Hou – PF,C) Game. Blouses
    12. Mike Conley (Uta – PG) My Amazing Team
    13. Jayson Tatum (Bos – SF,PF) Rip City
    14. Khris Middleton (Mil – SG,SF) Pench

    Round 3 is where we start to see more risks being taken, but at the same time, there aren’t too many egregious picks among this group.

    My picks: I am a big believer in Buddy Hield and with two bigs already in tow, I wanted who I felt was the most dependable guard available. Hield is already one of the best shooters in the league, but I think can establish himself as one of the best overall scorers in the league. As long as Luke Walton lets Buddy and Fox keep their dynamic duo routine running, he can boost his numbers even further. Remember when the league had a collective conniption when the Kings shipped off DeMarcus Cousins and all they got back was Buddy and spare parts? Times can change quickly.

    The Rundown: I get that Chris Paul’s per-game numbers are still excellent, but staying on the court remains an issue and it’s a tougher pill to swallow in H2H. Now his situation is worse with his role potentially being reduced unless another trade out of OKC happens for him. However, with Davis and Draymond already on the team, it’s a very calculated risk for Reynaldo. I will bet the under for both 60 games played and 30 minutes a night. I get the CP3 ADP for Roto, but the risk is too much for me in H2H. Mitchell Robinson falling to 32 means that PH Punter can fulfill his punting dreams. Punter’s 3s and FT% may be a mess, but my god is he going to be a machine in FG%, REB, and BLK.

    Oddly enough picks 36-42 just feel right across the board. My only issue is that at 36, it feels like Triple-J is being drafted at his ceiling. Love the player, but there doesn’t feel like a lot of room for profitability if Memphis doesn’t want to risk his health in a rebuild.

    Porter, Capela, Conley, Tatum and Middleton just feel like money in the bank. All are very worthy in this area and easily have top-50 credentials at worst.

    I also feel like mid-30s is absolutely right for Zion. He can do so many things on a high-octane team, but rookie percentages can be rough and there’s some risk mitigation built into this spot if his FTP doesn’t improve and his defense metrics drop off from his Duke days. Sugar started safe with Dame, but he’s swinging for the fences with Trae and Zion alongside him.

    Round 4
    1. Bam Adebayo (Mia – PF,C) Pench
    2. CJ McCollum (Por – PG,SG) Rip City
    3. Lauri Markkanen (Chi – PF) My Amazing Team
    4. Eric Bledsoe (Mil – PG,SG) Game. Blouses
    5. LaMarcus Aldridge (SA – PF,C) Tim
    6. Kevin Love (Cle – PF,C) Sugar
    7. D’Angelo Russell (GS – PG,SG) Jay
    8. Blake Griffin (Det – PF,C) Fantasy JODA
    9. Kyle Lowry (Tor – PG) @JoshMillman
    10. Brook Lopez (Mil – C) Beastball
    11. Jonathan Isaac (Orl – SF,PF) PH best punter
    12. Robert Covington (Min – SF,PF) Manager-less
    13. Zach LaVine (Chi – PG,SG) Joseph
    14. DeMar DeRozan (SA – SG,SF) Reynaldo R.

    Now, we’re talking. The tougher part of a 14-team league is that it starts to get pretty thin pretty quickly. You’re almost forced to make some tough choices and the risk/reward factor increases much earlier on in the draft. This round exemplifies that with choices of Bam Adebayo, Kevin Love, D’Angelo Russell, Blake Griffin, and Jonathan Isaac. All of these players can beat expectations or completely burn you. Any number of outcomes are possible.

    My pick: With a number of my wildcard picks going around me, I feel like I’m getting a great value with Kyle Lowry at 51st overall. It’s been six years since Lowry left the top-50 and think he gets there for a 7th consecutive season. The usage Kawhi leaves behind has to go somewhere and I’ll buy the legacy narrative for Lowry. Even if his minutes get reduced, the increased usage in Nick Nurse’s offense can help offset that. There’s still plenty of talent around him in Toronto where his numbers can remain roughly the same and possibly better.

    The Rundown: I don’t think we can call Bam a secret at this point. The industry has hyped him to hell and it’s raising his ADP to Snoop Dogg levels of high. And in Pench’s situation at the turn, you either need to grab your guy and hope he fulfills his promise or watch him pass by.

    Tim’s team was loaded up at the wings so he shifts his focus to bigs and gets massive value with LaMarcus Aldridge. People keep waiting for the wheels to fall off and they just never do. Absolutely nothing in his profile suggests there’s a decline from a top-30 player coming.

    I went into some depth on Twitter about wildcards so I won’t go too deep on them now but there’s a mountain of things that can go both right and wrong with Kevin Love and D’Angelo Russell. With a core of LeBron, PG-13, Triple-J, and D-Lo, Jay has built a team with a ton of potential and a ton of risk as well.

    Jonathan Isaac has absolutely looked like the breakout is coming and I just hope the Magic don’t screw this up for everyone.

    Round 5
    1. Jonas Valanciunas (Mem – C) Reynaldo R.
    2. Derrick Favors (NO – PF,C) Joseph
    3. Tobias Harris (Phi – SF,PF) Manager-less
    4. Wendell Carter Jr. (Chi – C) PH best punter
    5. Malcolm Brogdon (Ind – PG,SG) Beastball
    6. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC – PG,SG) @JoshMillman
    7. Jamal Murray (Den – PG,SG) Fantasy JODA
    8. Aaron Gordon (Orl – SF,PF) Jay
    9. Danilo Gallinari (OKC – SF,PF) Sugar
    10. Al Horford (Phi – PF,C) Tim
    11. Thomas Bryant (Was – C) Game. Blouses
    12. Marvin Bagley III (Sac – PF) My Amazing Team
    13. Kelly Oubre Jr. (Pho – SF) Rip City
    14. Julius Randle (NY – PF,C) Pench

    It’s getting tougher and tougher to stick to plans at this point. The teams know what they’re doing and it’s now 10-20 picks deeper in a 14-team draft in the 5th round than that of a 10-12 team league. Some picks are throwing caution to the wind, but there’s still plenty of value on the board if you know where to find it.

    My pick: He’s not quite as exposed as the breakout bigs like Triple-J or Bam, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been the darling of draftniks everywhere. He checks off nearly every category, delivered a top-75 final two months of his rookie season, and now has a mountain of opportunity in front of him as the key part of the Paul George trade and the Thunder rebuild. After playing it largely safe for the first four rounds, Shai Gorgeous is where I wanted to plant my flag.

    The Rundown: This is where that second tier of bigs goes on its run in most drafts and that is the case here too. Derrick Favors looked the part late last season and has the Pelicans’ center spot to his lonesome, but has a history of knee and back issues which required the lower minutes in Utah. It’s a big risk reward spot, but with Steph, Collins, Fox, and LaVine Team Joseph has core to take the gamble that Favors can hit the way back machine to be a top-50 shot-blocking menace.

    Wendell Carter Jr. has a ton of potential, but is the first pick of PH Punter’s that caught me off guard. Doesn’t really fit the build he was going for earlier, but Carter could turn out to be really good even though I would prefer Horford or Bryant ahead of him in drafts. H

    orford will be his usual ho-hum value and Tim’s team of mostly older gentleman would make Dan Besbris quite proud. Thomas Bryant’s worst case scenario on a crap Wizards team probably returns top-75 to top-100 value.

    I’m also pretty anti-Aaron Gordon short of him falling toward the end of the top-100. I’ve seen way too many weeks were the bottom falls out on him from hoisting up ill-advised 3s, his percentages become atrocious, and is just interfering with Jonathan Isaac’s breakout.

    I also have no idea why Tobias Harris has an ADP above 50. I get that Philly’s starting five is loaded, but Harris is easily their best outside shooter and they are going to have to depend on him since Ben Simmons isn’t about to turn into Steph Curry this season. Harris can sleepwalk into top-50 value on this team.

    Round 6
    1. Josh Richardson (Phi – SG,SF) Pench
    2. Hassan Whiteside (Por – C) Rip City
    3. Domantas Sabonis (Ind – PF,C) My Amazing Team
    4. Miles Bridges (Cha – SF) Game. Blouses
    5. Terry Rozier (Cha – PG,SG) Tim
    6. Gordon Hayward (Bos – SG,SF) Sugar
    7. Steven Adams (OKC – C) Jay
    8. Victor Oladipo (Ind – PG,SG) Fantasy JODA
    9. Marc Gasol (Tor – C) @JoshMillman
    10. Ricky Rubio (Pho – PG) Beastball
    11. Larry Nance Jr. (Cle – PF,C) PH best punter
    12. Ja Morant (Mem – PG) Manager-less
    13. Lonzo Ball (NO – PG) Joseph
    14. Joe Ingles (Uta – SG,SF) Reynaldo R.

    Sadly, I think this is where things started going off the rails. Hence the Oladipo pick here. We ended up with a couple more teams going on auto, which is good for the rest of us, but probably doesn’t provide the best picture for mocks. But again, it happens, and even in your home leagues you might get a schmuck or two who disappear and allow the computer to give cover to their incompetence so perhaps it’s relevant.

    My Pick: (SELF-PLUG ALERT!) As the author of the Hoop-Ball High Mileage report, I have a growing affection for Marc Gasol. Like Kyle Lowry, he will get to soak up the usage Kawhi left behind. The majority of Gasol’s stat rates stayed the same from his Memphis days to when he moved to Toronto, but it was his usage that took a nosedive. I’m betting that a full offseason with the Raps minus Kawhi and the opportunity at one last contract will keep Gasol’s floor at a top-75 level.

    The Rundown: Josh Richardson is a steal here also. With so many questions on the Sixers bench, they could stagger J-Rich and Simmons where he gets some backup PG minutes to keep his counting stats high.

    Domantas Sabonis is too high at 73. His stats remind me of a poor man’s Enes Kanter. He’s a great scorer and rebounder, be shot 59% and still couldn’t crack a top-100 per game. I’ll pass.

    Miles Bridges is a guy I’ll have no qualms trying to grab in this area. Charlotte was falling apart late last year too and he was turning in top-50 value. This isn’t just turd mining either, he looks like he won’t kill you in any particular category with obvious room to grow.

    Rubio, Nance Jr., Ja, and Smokin Joe are all solid picks here and I won’t rag on the Lonzo selection. He was 77th per game his rookie season and last year’s Laker team was a mess. If his stroke has in fact improved and New Orleans gives him a break from the drama with his family then he could wind up being a sneaky play. With assists scarce late in a deep draft, why not?

    Round 7
    1. Jeff Teague (Min – PG) Reynaldo R.
    2. Enes Kanter (Bos – C) Joseph
    3. Dejounte Murray (SA – PG) Manager-less
    4. Marcus Smart (Bos – PG,SG) PH best punter
    5. Jarrett Allen (Bkn – PF,C) Beastball
    6. Montrezl Harrell (LAC – PF,C) @JoshMillman
    7. Fred VanVleet (Tor – PG) Fantasy JODA
    8. Lou Williams (LAC – PG,SG) Jay’s Team
    9. Caris LeVert (Bkn – SG,SF) Sugar
    10. Delon Wright (Dal – PG,SG) Tim’s Team
    11. Derrick White (SA – PG,SG) Game. Blouses
    12. Jeremy Lamb (Ind – SG,SF) My Amazing Team
    13. Mikal Bridges (Pho – SG,SF) Rip City
    14. J. Warren (Ind – SF,PF) Pench

    Beyond the auto-pickers I like many of the picks here as well. There’s just so much value to be had from 50-100 this season. Plenty of players in this area that either have shown the ability to play at top-75 to top-100 levels or have a new opportunity to do so.

    My pick: I was in a staredown with Beastball all throughout the mock and he thought he was using my Nets fandom against me with Jarrett Allen, but Montrezl Harrell was my target here all along. He was a top-75 beast last season and even with Kawhi and PG-13 in the fold, his role isn’t going to change. He’s going to go ham again on the league’s second units and doesn’t need minutes beyond the mid-20s to do his damage.

    The Rundown: Jeff Teague is the last of the dependable starting PGs out there and is criminally undervalued this year because of recency bias. I’m chalking up last season to an injury-plagued disaster for him because during his previous seven seasons he never left the top-60. Reynaldo got himself one hell of a Cliff Paul insurance policy for Chris Paul.

    Enes Kanter should have no issue delivering value because he’s playing for a professional basketball team as opposed to the Knicks. Yeah, defense, but we know he has no issue getting his points, boards, and great percentages in a 20-25 mpg timeframe and Boston needs his size.

    I also think people are overreacting to Jarrett Allen not quite breaking out last year and DeAndre Jordan now in Brooklyn. Kenny Atkinson isn’t stupid and Allen can still easily hit value even if his minutes never get into the 30s, especially if he can get his mojo back at the stripe. Jordan will help Allen handle the bangers, not steal from his development. There’s some caution built into Lamb and Warren’s draft prices because we’re not sure when Victor Oladipo will return, but I’ll eat my laptop if either of them don’t return top-100 value.

    Round 8
    1. JJ Redick (NO – SG) Pench
    2. Zach Collins (Por – PF,C) Rip City
    3. Dwight Powell (Dal – PF,C) My Amazing Team
    4. Serge Ibaka (Tor – PF,C) Game. Blouses
    5. JaVale McGee (LAL – C) Tim
    6. Dewayne Dedmon (Sac – C) Sugar
    7. Tomas Satoransky (Chi – PG,SG) Jay
    8. Kyle Kuzma (LAL – SF,PF) Fantasy JODA
    9. Gary Harris (Den – SG,SF) @JoshMillman
    10. Bojan Bogdanovic (Uta – SG,SF) Beastball
    11. Kevon Looney (GS – PF,C) PH best punter
    12. Nicolas Batum (Cha – SG,SF) Manager-less
    13. Joe Harris (Bkn – SG,SF) Joseph
    14. Bogdan Bogdanovic (Sac – SG,SF) Reynaldo R.

    There are plenty of gems to unearth and here is where the HB knowledge base can come in handy. If you know who to expect in the top-100 then you can get the jump on your competition over the next couple of rounds.

    My Pick: It’s unfair to expect Gary Harris to be a top-50 asset again, but even with Denver’s depth and his injury history I think it’s reasonable to expect a top-75 to top-100 season for him. He’s got some well-established 3-and-D skills with the ability to deliver great percentages. I don’t believe those player traits just up and disappeared. Denver is also committed to him long-term so they’re not going to phase him out of the rotation either. He’s part of their core and I expect him to be treated as such.

    The Rundown: In full transparency I didn’t even want Harris, but Pench, Rip City, My Amazing Team, Tim, and Sugar are all up on HB knowledge so Reddick, Collins, Powell, Ibaka, JaVale, and Dedmon, all of whom I was hoping would fall to me in this round, got snatched ahead of me. Well done all. I think all of those players are viable starters and all easily have a chance to exceed their draft capital.

    PH Punter has now drafted every big man available, but even with DeMarcus Cousins and potentially Willie Cauley-Stein out of the Warriors picture, I don’t think Looney plays enough to meet his draft price if Draymond plays the small-ball five. I love me some Joe Harris and Joseph has built a team that should dominate 3s and still have competitive FGP.

    Round 9
    1. Collin Sexton (Cle – PG) Reynaldo R
    2. Brandon Ingram (NO – SG,SF) Joseph’s Exp
    3. DeAndre Jordan (Bkn – C) Manager-less
    4. Kyle Anderson (Mem – SG,SF) PH best punter
    5. Patrick Beverley (LAC – PG,SG) Beastball
    6. Spencer Dinwiddie (Bkn – PG) @JoshMillman
    7. Terrence Ross (Orl – SG,SF) Fantasy JODA
    8. Rui Hachimura (Was – PF) Jay
    9. Alex Len (Atl – PF,C) Sugar
    10. Brandon Clarke (Mem – PF) Tim
    11. Kelly Olynyk (Mia – PF,C) Game. Blouses
    12. Dario Saric (Pho – PF,C) My Amazing Team
    13. Andrew Wiggins (Min – SG,SF) Rip City
    14. Evan Fournier (Orl – SG,SF) Pench

    Holy crap, we’re still picking starters. At least some of us are. The deeper the league, the harder it is to find viable starters this deep into a draft, but you can find ways to plug in categories you might be deficient in.

    My Pick: Spencer Dinwiddie struggled at times when he played alongside D’Angelo Russell, but think he and Kyrie Irving will figure things out. He put up a top-100 season with 38% shooting so there’s a way for him to get back because his minutes aren’t going to change on this Nets team. PGs can be a bit of a dice roll late so it’s nice to have a bit of a sure thing late in a deeper league and I now feel way better about my assists with a point guard rotation of Lowry, SGA, and Dinwiddie.

    The Rundown: SloMo Anderson just keeps adding to the PH Punt squad, he just needs to stay healthy.

    I was surprised by the Rui Hachimura pick, but I have no idea who else the Wizards are going to trot out on a regular basis. He could hit value just on pure minutes played alone and the need for Wizards fans to have any glimmer of hope whatsoever.

    My HAWT TAEK ALERT in the draft room was that I think Andrew Wiggins is now undervalued. We forget he’s still young and can score 20 PPG while chipping in other counting stats and scoring can start to dwindle late in drafts. Yeah his percentages are god awful, but we’ve seen the light bulb turn on late for a number of prospects. If you’re betting on upside, why not take a chance on someone who is at least a proven scorer and will be on the court for a bagful of minutes?

    Round 10
    1. Eric Gordon (Hou – SG) Pench
    2. Kevin Huerter (Atl – SG) Rip City
    3. Rudy Gay (SA – SF,PF) My Amazing Team
    4. Kent Bazemore (Por – SG,SF) Game. Blouses
    5. Paul Millsap (Den – PF,C) Tim
    6. Jaylen Brown (Bos – SG,SF) Sugar
    7. OG Anunoby (Tor – SF,PF) Jay
    8. Cody Zeller (Cha – PF,C) Fantasy JODA
    9. Taurean Prince (Bkn – SF) @JoshMillman
    10. Harrison Barnes (Sac – SF,PF) Beastball
    11. Ish Smith (Was – PG) PH best punter
    12. Willie Cauley-Stein (GS – PF,C) Manager-less
    13. Landry Shamet (LAC – PG) Joseph
    14. Danny Green (LAL – SG,SF) Reynaldo R.

    Time to start really finding that value. Again, there are still starters being drafted here so we’re not in total flier territory. You need someone who can deliver on his draft capital while still giving you the chance at top-100 upside.

    My Pick: Taurean Prince isn’t going to fly under the radar if Nets Twitter has anything to do about it. Prince spent some time with the Long Island Nets during his rookie season and naturally Atkinson and his team took a shine to the kid. Sure, the Nets traded for Prince while dumping a big salary to sign Irving and Durant, but they knew what they were doing by grabbing him. He’s an outstanding 3-point shooter and perimeter defender, just like the previous occupant of his position, DeMarre Carroll. Except he’s eight years younger and far better at this stage in the game. Prince was once a darling of this here website. Sometimes you can get a second chance at love.

    The Rundown: Out of the picks in this round, I think Kevin Huerter has a chance to grow from a promising rookie season. The Hawks and their pedal to the metal pace should provide plenty of fantasy opportunity for him and Cam Reddish needs time to develop and be healthy before he threatens Huerter’s minutes.

    Kent Bazemore has clear top-100 potential, but hopefully he won’t need to compete for minutes with Rodney Hood and Mario Hezonja.

    My note on Andrew Wiggins also applies to Jaylen Brown. He’s still only 22, has gobs of talent, a ton of opportunity on a very different Boston roster, and he’s playing for a possible extension. Getting the FT% to just to sniff 70% could be a huge difference maker in his final value.

    Round 11
    1. Davis Bertans (Was – PF,C) Reynaldo R.
    2. Will Barton (Den – SG,SF) Joseph
    3. Justise Winslow (Mia – PF) Manager-less
    4. Jakob Poeltl (SA – C) PH best punter
    5. Goran Dragic (Mia – PG,SG) Beastball
    6. Nerlens Noel (OKC – PF,C) @JoshMillman
    7. Thaddeus Young (Chi – SF,PF) Fantasy JODA
    8. Reggie Jackson (Det – PG,SG) Jay
    9. Darius Garland (Cle – PG) Sugar
    10. J. Tucker (Hou – SF,PF) Tim
    11. Bobby Portis (NY – PF,C) Game. Blouses
    12. Jerami Grant (Den – SF,PF) My Amazing Team
    13. Cedi Osman (Cle – SF,PF) Rip City
    14. Dennis Schroder (OKC – PG) Pench

    Ok, now we can start to throw crap on the wall and see what sticks. Again, you can go category hunting or just use the next few picks to swing and if you miss, just try to hit the wire ahead of your competition.

    My pick: I’ll take a gamble on the cheap blocks. Nerlens Noel looked great in limited minutes for the Thunder and some initial quotes out of Thunder camp suggest that he’s in line for more. It’s hard to believe he is a former #6 overall pick sometimes, but the defensive athleticism is still there and he just needs an opportunity in a functional situation. Steven Adams will only be a roadblock for as long as the Thunder brass don’t feel the need to tear it all down.

    The Rundown: Of the picks in this round I like Jakob Poeltl and Jerami Grant the most. Perhaps I was a year too early anointing Poeltl since he spent half of last season in Pop’s doghouse, but he looked the part late in the year. He probably won’t get enough time as long as LMA stays on the court, but Poeltl can swat with the best of them and that alone gives him potential.

    Jerami Grant is the heir apparent to Paul Millsap with the only issue being that Millsap is still there. The tools are there for a perfect fit in Denver, but he might get lost in the crowd early on.

    Honorable mention here to P.J. Tucker who was absurdly a top-50 total value player last season. He’s a 3-and-D specialist and is a boost to teams in need of those categories, but the other categories of his are ghastly on paper. He’s a roto delight, but just a plug and play for H2H.

    Round 12
    1. Jordan Clarkson (Cle – PG,SG) Pench
    2. Mohamed Bamba (Orl – C) Rip City
    3. Dwayne Bacon (Cha – SG) My Amazing Team
    4. Seth Curry (Dal – PG,SG) Game. Blouses
    5. J. Augustin (Orl – PG) Tim’s Team
    6. Tristan Thompson (Cle – PF,C) Sugar
    7. Dwight Howard (LAL – PF,C) Jay
    8. RJ Barrett (NY – SF) Fantasy JODA
    9. Tyus Jones (Mem – PG) @JoshMillman
    10. Klay Thompson (GS – SG,SF) Beastball
    11. Dennis Smith Jr. (NY – PG,SG) PH best punter
    12. Maxi Kleber (Dal – PF) Manager-less
    13. Ivica Zubac (LAC – C) Joseph’s Exp
    14. Marvin Williams (Cha – SF,PF) Reynaldo R.

    We’re getting to the latter rounds where it’s veterans who could still provide some solid burn from time to time and rookies and young guys who might have some upside.

    My Pick: Because the Grit and Grind Grizzlies are no more, new coach Taylor Jenkins sounds like he’s ready to push the ball. And yes, Ja Morant is going to be first in line to do that, but the Grizzlies also signed Tyus Jones to a three-year deal and I don’t think it’s to just be a caddy to the future of the franchise. Dillon Brooks and Grayson Allen don’t inspire confidence at the 2 so perhaps there’s room for Tyus and Ja to run together.

    The Rundown: But again, I wasn’t looking at Tyus Jones as my pick. I was leaning toward Seth Curry and RJ Barrett. The younger Curry is an outstanding 3-point shooter and was a top-100 player when he was playing in Dallas. Guess what, he’s playing in Dallas again and hasn’t forgotten how to shoot.

    Barrett will have the Knicks stench all over him, but he’s a talent and guys who average 22/7/4 at Duke on 45% shooting in their freshman year should probably make you take notice. The risk with Barrett is that the Knicks roster is a giant clusterfuck and no one will trust David Fizdale when it comes to appropriately managing a consistent rotation.

    Jay went for the lulz with Dwight Howard right as the chat room started talking about him. It was getting to that point in the mock.

    Beastball’s pick of Klay makes sense provided our rules allowed for an IR spot. Technically ours didn’t so the obvious lesson is, if you are thinking of picking someone who is expected to miss half the season, then make sure your league has an IR spot. If it does, go nuts. If it doesn’t and you have a bench that’s only three spots like this draft, then I advise against it. If you lose a player or two to injury you could be forced to drop Thompson just to grab a healthy body.

    Round 13
    1. Norman Powell (Tor – SG,SF) Reynaldo R.
    2. Robert Williams (Bos – PF) Joseph’s Exp
    3. Tyler Herro (Mia – SG) Manager-less
    4. Mason Plumlee (Den – PF,C) PH best punter
    5. Rajon Rondo (LAL – PG) Beastball
    6. Marcus Morris (NY – SF,PF) @JoshMillman
    7. Derrick Rose (Det – PG) Fantasy JODA
    8. Tim Hardaway Jr. (Dal – SG,SF) Jay
    9. Markelle Fultz (Orl – PG,SG) Sugar
    10. Luke Kennard (Det – SG) Tim
    11. Rodions Kurucs (Bkn – SF) Game. Blouses
    12. Elfrid Payton (NY – PG) My Amazing Team
    13. Jarrett Culver (Min – SF) Rip City
    14. Kevin Knox (NY – SF,PF) Pench

    And we’ve reached the end. For these guys, well, your guess is as good as mine.

    My Pick: Ugh, bad Josh. Granted the last pick is typically the one where you just take one last swing and if it doesn’t work out you just play the wire. Picking a Morris twin is like trying to lay down a sac bunt and popping it up to the catcher. You’re going to get some stares from the crowd.

    But if I were to spin it, Marcus Morris has long been a top-150 per game player and was in the top-100 for most of last season. Even in the Knicks’ mess of a frontcourt I think Morris can carve out 25 minutes. The Knicks are going to lose a lot of games, but this year they’re going to go down swinging. Morris has the personality type to make that happen.

    The Rundown: We all know Enes Kanter can’t play defense so Robert Williams could find his way onto the court a bunch if that becomes increasingly problematic for Brad Stevens.

    In the span of a summer Rodions Kurucs went from being compared to Andrei Kirilenko by his head coach, to possibly being on his shitlist from getting into legal trouble and for openly clamoring for more ballhandling responsibility. Atkinson wouldn’t commit to his role during media sessions.

    Markelle Fultz and Luke Kennard are exactly the kind of players you take late in a deep league and go ‘ah, what the hell.’ That’s what I should have done with my pick.

    Actually, I saw M. Morris and thought it was Monte Morris, not Marcus Morris. Yeah, let’s go with that.

    So my team ends up looking like this:

    1. Nikola Jokic
    2. Deandre Ayton
    3. Buddy Hield
    4. Kyle Lowry
    5. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    6. Marc Gasol
    7. Montrezl Harrell
    8. Gary Harris
    9. Spencer Dinwiddie
    10. Taurean Prince
    11. Nerlens Noel
    12. Tyus Jones
    13. Marcus Morris

    I typically go into drafts preaching balance. I try to take some safe picks, but also take some risks. I try to look at each category as equally as possible also. Granted this is a mock draft and the season won’t be played out, but I approached it thinking about the season. I have the ability to see where I might be good in some areas and crappy in others and adapt accordingly.

    My snap judgement on this team is that it’ll be competitive, but have some flaws. I think I have a number of very good scorers, but no one really elite in that department so I may struggle against the Hardens and Currys of the world.

    I’m going to get demolished in blocks and some of the other traditional big guy stats. It is what it is. I’m hoping Noel can see more minutes and Harrell doesn’t take a step back, but that’s about it. There are some really strong teams in big man categories so it would be tough to compete against their strengths should hypothetical matchups arise.

    However, I do feel good about assists, steals, FT% and TOs. I think I’ll be able to win most of these categories with the team I assembled, which means I would just need one more to break my way on a weekly basis. Jokic makes a massive difference in dimes in addition to Lowry’s elite assists and Dinwiddie, SGA, and Tyus Jones should also be net positives in that category.

    I have seven players drafted who averaged at least one steal a game last season and three more who came pretty darn close.

    I don’t have any real percentage killer either. Lowry is my one player who could struggle from the field with high volume and Trez is the only guy who could do that to me at the line. The rest are all, at worst, solid for their respective positions in those departments. Only Lowry, in what is going to be another usage increase, is my only significant risk in turnovers.

    As far as some of the other mockers go, I happen to like Reynaldo’s team. Having the 1st pick is just gravy when you can build around Anthony Davis and Reynaldo did that well. As long as Chris Paul stays healthy he could dominate assists and steals. There also isn’t a single free throw anchor on this team. Davis alone will help him be solid to great in points and blocks as well.

    Sugar played some very calculated small ball. He’s got elite point guards in Dame and Trae with some excellent shooters in Gallo, Love, and Hayward. Defensive stats are probably going to be hard to come by and the FG% is going to be hit or miss most weeks.

    PH Punter lives up to his name and put together one of the most punt-tastic teams I’ve ever seen. He’s going to dominate boards, FG%, blocks and steals. But hoo boy he’s going to get crushed in points, 3s, and FT%. It’s going to come down to assists and turnovers and hopefully Ben Simmons will be enough to help him in one and not crush him in the other.

    Beastball also has an interesting counter to PH Punter. There are gobs of points, 3s, and assists on this team between Booker, Mitchell, Brogdon, Rubio, and Bojan Bogdanovic.  Defense and big guy stats are going to be tough to come by beyond Towns.

    Tim’s team could wind up as a nice balanced threat as well. Beal, Butler, LMA, Otto, and Horford all represent good values where Tim picked and he was able to fill in other stats nicely late in rounds between players like McGee, Rozier, Wright, and Tucker.

    Thanks again to everyone who participated and hopefully there will be another mock before the season starts. In the meantime, keep studying, mocking and getting yourself prepared to dominate your league.

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