• It is mock draft season, so to add a little fuel to the fire that is already raging I will covering a real draft that I took part in this summer. The league is a 30-team, H2H, 9-cat dynasty league generously hosted by Kevin So with the Fantasy Unicorns. The league has quite a few industry folks in it from most of the big-name fantasy hoops sites, so everyone needed to bring their A-Game to this draft (Though I’d probably give myself a C- grade to be honest).

    Before we begin breaking down this draft, it is really important to understand the format of this league. The first and second rounds may not be particularly informative for standard dynasty snake or auction drafts, but I loved the idea for a 30-team league!

    The ground rules for the first round were that no two players from the same team could be selected. For example, As soon as Embiid came off the board, that meant that Ben Simmons was off-limits until the second round. As you will see below, this made the back end of the first and early second round pretty wacky. To help those teams out at the back end of the first round, the remainder of the draft would run in reverse order of the first. So if you were pick 30, not only would you get pick 31, but also pick 61, 91 etc.

    It is pretty hard to break down the first round  given the unconventional nature of the start of this draft, so instead I’ll break down sections of the first round and discuss who I think should have gone where in a standard draft.

    Editors Note: A * next to a player’s name indicates that they are a rookie.

    First Round

    1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
    2. Karl-Anthony Towns
    3. Anthony Davis
    4. James Harden
    5. Nikola Jokic
    6. Zion Williamson*
    7. Luka Doncic
    8. Joel Embiid
    9. Stephen Curry
    10. Jaren Jackson Jr.
    11. Bradley Beal
    12. Devin Booker
    13. Damian Lillard
    14. Paul George
    15. Trae Young
    16. De’Aaron Fox
    17. Jayson Tatum
    18. Kyrie Irving
    19. Andre Drummond
    20. Rudy Gobert
    21. Russell Westbrook
    22. Nikola Vucevic
    23. Pascal Siakam
    24. Mitchell Robinson
    25. Myles Turner
    26. Lauri Markkanen
    27. Jimmy Butler
    28. DeMar DeRozan
    29. Miles Bridges
    30. Kevin Love

    Picks 1-10

    Picks 1-5 are pretty chalk. You could justify swapping out Harden and Jokic, but this looks about right. You could also justify swapping KAT and Giannis, but a lot of that comes down to team-building preference.

    Zion at pick 6 is pretty early. If you want Zion in a startup, you will likely need to be prepared to spend a top-12 pick, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable pulling the trigger on him much earlier than pick 10 or 11.

    Luka, Embiid and Curry are all probably about right in terms of how I would rank them for a startup draft. Embiid’s “load management” games are going to keep going, and will be annoying, so I can understand picking Luka and Curry above him in H2H.

    Jaren Jackson Jr. at pick 10 is very aggressive. I love JJJ like he is my fantasy son, but this is probably too steep of a price, even for me. It all comes down to preference, but I’d probably consider Damian Lillard, Trae Young ahead of JJJ. If you are targeting JJJ, you should be able to land him between picks 15-20 in most drafts.

    Picks 11-20

    Bradley Beal at 11 is probably a bit early as well. I think you could target him in that same 15-20 range in most drafts. I’d generally have Booker and Lillard at least ahead of Beal.

    Devin Booker and Damian Lillard at picks 12-13 is fine, and probably pretty close to what you would expect in most startup drafts.

    I’ll discuss my Paul George pick in greater detail below, but it was one that I ultimately came to regret. I think he is fine in this range, but the shoulders seem like more of a concern than was originally reported at the time we were drafting. With this injury, you could probably get him in the 18-25 range now.

    Trae Young at 15 is a good value. He will likely go in the 10-15 range in most drafts, and I wouldn’t be afraid to pull the trigger on Young once Lillard is off the board.

    De’Aaron Fox took a big step forward last year, but drafting him inside the top-20 in startup dynasty draft is asking for disappointment. Fox is ranked number 25 in the Hoop-Ball Dynasty 150, in same tier as guys like Myles Turner, LeBron James and Andre Drummond. To cut the pick some slack, I’m sure the reason Fox was selected at this point is because guys like Deandre Ayton, John Collins and Kawhi Leonard were unavailable for selection due to the format.

    Jayson Tatum at 17 is fine and perfectly justifiable, I’m just not super high on him (he is ranked at 34 on the Dynasty 150). He could turn into a top-20 guy, but I’m skeptical that he ever reaches the value of this pick. I probably would have gone with Donovan Mitchell, Kyrie Irving or Myles Turner with this pick.

    There isn’t a whole lot to critique with Kyrie Irving at 18. He will probably go in the 15-20 range in most startup drafts. That is a pretty good value for a guy that is still only 27 years old and is a top-10 player on a per-game basis when healthy. Of course, “when healthy” is always the catch with Kyrie, but I like the selection here.

    Andre Drummond at 19 is another fairly safe pick. He is still pretty young and showed some progression at the line over the second half of last season. If he can hover around the 65 percent mark like he did down the stretch last season he moves out of punt territory.

    Rudy Gobert at 20 closes out this selection of picks with three pretty safe plays in a row. It was an interesting selection in that this team chose Gobert over Donovan Mitchell, and I can’t say I completely disagree. Depending on what you value in team building (stability vs. upside, or anchoring blocks/efficiency early) I can see the justification for this pick. Conventional wisdom would say that Mitchell gives you more value from this draft spot, but with Conley in town now it may take him a few more years to hit his ceiling.

    Picks 21-30

    Pre-trade Russell Westbrook at 21 is an interesting choice. I’m out on him as an early-round asset (I have him ranked 53rd in the Dynasty 150) at this point in his career. Granted, there were not a ton of options left given the format, but with guys like Vucevic, Siakam, Myles Turner on the board I think this is a questionable pick.

    Nikola Vucevic at 22 makes perfect sense given the format, but I continued to be surprised how far Myles Turner was slipping. I would have gone Turner here if it were me, but I can’t knock the pick too hard as Vucevic continues to be written off and he just keeps delivering big seasons. Last year was probably the peak, but he still should stay around the top-20 for the next few seasons. Turner does have a few more question marks next to Sabonis.

    Pascal Siakam at 23 is another solid pick that is hard to argue against given the circumstances. I would expect him to go in the 30-40 range in standard drafts. I’m a bit worried about some regression this year from Siakam, and he is likely older than many think at 25 years old. It is hard to see him maintaining 55 percent efficiency from the field on the likely extra volume this season. I doubt he falls too far as the efficiency decreases should be offset by extra counting stats.

    Mitchell Robinson at 24 seems pretty fair. In fact, considering his redraft ADP it is practically a steal! While he will likely improve this season, there are still concerns about fouling and general Knicksiness that may lead to a disappointing season considering the expectations. I’m calling it now, he will be a great buy-low guy in dynasty at multiple times this season after frustrating stretches.

    Myles Turner at 25 is solid value. There are still some questions around his value and the impact of Sabonis on his fantasy production, but he seemed to start putting the pieces together last season. I was surprised he fell this far.

    Lauri Markkanen at 26 is an interesting choice. Given the format, you are essentially choosing between Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen at this spot. I probably would have gone with Carter as I think his fantasy ceiling is ultimately higher (plus I’m a sucker for blocks), but I get that Markkanen has more of a proven track record. Markkanen may never be much of a defensive stat collector, and I see some red flags with early career injuries, but a fine choice.

    Jimmy Butler at 27 is actually the last pick that is somewhat rational before things just get silly due to the nature of the format. We know that the per game stats will be solid when Butler plays, but injuries are always the issue. He should have a big year as the man in Miami, but I’d be shocked if he misses less than 10 games.

    I’m not going to spend much time on these because they are obviously terrible spots to draft these players, but driven out of necessity due to the format. DeMar DeRozan will be a mid-round guy again, but as the Spurs’ backcourt gets stronger around him don’t be surprised to see a drop in production soon. I love that this team went with Miles Bridges over Terry Rozier. Bridges had a huge finish and has a pretty solid chance to pick right back up where he left off with a real lack of talent on this team. Kevin Love… he might as well have contracted fantasy leprosy given some of the reactions I have heard when trying to trade him. He probably will surprise some people this season with a top-35ish campaign on a per game basis. The questions are, does he play over or under 50 games, and does he finish the season as a Cavalier?

    My Pick

    Paul George – Full disclosure, we ran the first round of this draft before the news of PG13’s likely absence to start the season was out. I was aware of the surgeries, but the reporting at the time was that he was expected to be ready to go for game one.

    Ironically, my strategy in selecting PG13 was to play it safe with a proven and incredibly consistent top-15ish player while maximizing games played (he’s played 77, 79, 75 and 81 games over the past few seasons). In a 30-team H2H league, top-tier talent has such an outsized impact on matchup results, so my goal with my first two or three picks was to get guys that will play as close to 82 games as possible and provide consistent and predictable value.

    Sure, I expected some of Kawhi’s load management to rub off, but the fact that Kawhi will almost certainly sit for a number of games made George a more appealing option. If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have grabbed Trae Young, or considered Kawhi more strongly, but such is life in an early offseason draft. I’m committed to the grind and ready to build around PG13.

    Second Round

    1. Ben Simmons (31)
    2. Donovan Mitchell (32)
    3. Deandre Ayton (33)
    4. Kawhi Leonard (34)
    5. Kristaps Porzingis (35)
    6. John Collins (36)
    7. LeBron James (37)
    8. Kemba Walker (38)
    9. Wendell Carter Jr. (39)
    10. Jrue Holiday (40)
    11. Mike Conley (41)
    12. D’Angelo Russell (42)
    13. Jamal Murray (43)
    14. Bam Adebayo (44)
    15. Marvin Bagley (45)
    16. Julius Randle (46)
    17. Tobias Harris (47)
    18. Clint Capela (48)
    19. Jarrett Allen (49)
    20. Ja Morant* (50)
    21. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (51)
    22. Buddy Hield (52)
    23. Khris Middleton (53)
    24. Kevin Durant (54)
    25. Victor Oladipo (55)
    26. Otto Porter Jr. (56)
    27. LaMarcus Aldridge (57)
    28. Zach LaVine (58)
    29. Lonzo Ball (59)
    30. Steven Adams (60)

    Value Picks

    It is hard to find “value picks” for this round in the traditional sense given the format of the first round, but there are still a few picks that stand out.

    John Collins at 36 is highway robbery, but he was only available because other Hawks were off limits once Trae came off the board in round one.

    Lonzo Ball at 59 overall seems like a very solid upside play with his new situation. The percentages will probably continue to be problem, and the injuries are a serious concern, but he is one of the better true “upside” picks in this round. If he pops, he is a legit top-25 fantasy player in the right build, so I like the value there. It is a bit of an odd pairing with KAT, but I like that Kevin went with the best available player from a long-term dynasty value perspective.

    Kevin Durant at 54 is a total dart throw. If he comes back for even a few more years as a top-25 guy that will be a steal, but it is a huge risk in a league this big.

    Reaches

    Jarrett Allen was probably drafted around pick 50 last season when the hype was much higher. Now, DeAndre Jordan is in town and he is coming off a relatively disappointing sophomore season. It is not that I don’t think Allen can and will likely be a top-50 player at some point in his career – I definitely do – it is more that I think he could have been had at least 20 picks later given the factors referenced above.

    Julius Randle jumps out to me as a reach in this range. He finished barely outside of the top-75 last season in 30.6 minutes per game on the Pelicans (one of the fastest paced and most fantasy-friendly teams out there). He now lands in Knicks purgatory with about 1000 other forwards competing for touches and shots. Randle is without a doubt the best of the bunch, but that hasn’t stopped Fizdale and Knicks brass from toying around with rotations before. Even if he gets 32 minutes a game in New York, I’m not sure that he breaks the top-50 this season without some major progression as a defensive stat collector.

    Mike Conley probably could have been had a round later, but after a big run on win-now guys with LeBron, Kemba and Jrue went I can see why he was taken here. As I will discuss in more detail below analyzing my pick of Tobias Harris, it is so important to nail these early-round picks in a startup dynasty draft and make sure that you are squeezing as much value as you can out of each pick. Given some of the other names left on the board, this team probably still could have committed to a “win-now” team build and gotten a bit more value out of their pick.

    My Pick

    Tobias Harris is about as boring as it gets in this range. Tobias was a top-30 player on the Clippers last season, but fell off in a big way once he got to Philly. He won’t be an alpha again, but with Jimmy Butler out of the picture Harris was one of the safer options on the board with the 47th overall pick. I was giddy at the prospect of getting Bam Adebayo or Jamal Murray, but they fell in rapid succession almost immediately before my pick.

    I strongly considered Capela, SGA and Hield, but I like the well-rounded stat set of Harris more. In addition to picking guys early that could be considered “safe,” I also like to build out the most balanced team possible in super deep leagues despite the head-to-head format. The rationale there is, a punt strategy can go sideways quickly with a few injuries, and the effects of that are magnified as league size increases.

    I’m already strong in threes with PG13, and I’m not sure how much more upside is there, so I moved on from Hield’s thinner stat set. I didn’t want to go in a free throw hole with Capela so early (though I probably should have followed Kevin’s lead with Lonzo and gone pure best available and figured team build out later), and I couldn’t quite convince myself to swing for the upside with on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

    Ultimately though, I got tunnel vision with this pick and missed out on picking the player with the best overall value in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. You only get one shot to maximize the value in each pick during a dynasty startup. Team composition and an overall strategy is important, but if a player falls to you that is going to be a higher valued player on the dynasty marketplace, nine times out of ten it is wise to pick that player regardless of team build. Given Shai’s combination of youth, hype and upside, he would likely fetch a higher price on the trade market than a serviceable, but admittedly “meh” option in Tobias Harris. I missed on this one in my panic to secure the “safest” option.

    Third Round

    1. Domantas Sabonis (61)
    2. C.J. McCollum (62)
    3. Blake Griffin (63)
    4. Thomas Bryant (64)
    5. Derrick Favors (65)
    6. Aaron Gordon (66)
    7. Robert Covington (67)
    8. Brandon Clarke* (68)
    9. Eric Bledsoe (69)
    10. Draymond Green (70)
    11. Kelly Oubre Jr. (71)
    12. Josh Richardson (72)
    13. Chris Paul (73)
    14. Jonathan Isaac (74)
    15. Malcolm Brogdon (75)
    16. R.J. Barrett* (76)
    17. Jonas Valanciunas (77)
    18. Caris LeVert (78)
    19. Klay Thompson (79)
    20. Montrezl Harrell (80)
    21. Mikal Bridges (81)
    22. Brook Lopez (82)
    23. Brandon Ingram (83)
    24. Jusuf Nurkic (84)
    25. Kyle Kuzma (85)
    26. Derrick White (86)
    27. Terry Rozier (87)
    28. Delon Wright (88)
    29. Danilo Gallinari (89)
    30. Marcus Smart (90)

    Value Picks

    Robert Covington should be locked in as a top-40 player this season as long as he can stay healthy. Eventually, as some of the Timber Pups develop they may cut into his role a bit, but his fantasy value has never been predicated on high usage so he should be fine for years to come.

    Danilo Gallinari could be a steal at 89. As always with Gallo, you are rolling the dice on his health, but the payoff can be a potential top-30 player for this season and at least another few years of top-75ish production depending on where he goes in unrestricted free agency.

    Malcolm Brogdon is not a sexy pick, but you generally know what you will get with him. I’d anticipate a bump in playing time in Indiana, so a top-50 fantasy season is not out of the question. At 26 years old, he probably is who he is from a development standpoint, but I like the stability at this price so long as he stays healthy.

    Josh Richardson should bounce back now that he won’t be relied upon for everything. In Miami, he was at his best playing off-ball. I’m expecting him to take significantly fewer shots on better efficiency this season and get back to averaging around 1.5 steals per game and just under a block per game like he did in 2017-18.

    Reaches

    Domantas Sabonis went a bit early for my taste, but it’s a totally reasonable spot to draft him if you believe. I don’t love the lack of defensive stats, and there is the possibility that Turner/Sabonis cannibalize each other’s value a bit now that they will both be starting. With that said, in a 30-team draft with so much space between picks, you will need to reach to get your guys so it is hard to knock any picks in this round as a huge reach.

    C.J. McCollum is another guy that I have probably been consistently lower on than most. His assist and free throw rates have been declining steadily, and at 28 years old with not a lot of fluctuation with the Blazers backcourt, I don’t see much of a chance for him to bounce back. Given some of the other guard options still available, I would have gone elsewhere with this pick, but again you have to get your guys so it is not a terrible reach.

    My Pick

    Jonas Valanciunas wasn’t who I was targeting going into this round. I was hoping for Brogdon or Richardson to fall. After selecting JV, I also planned to trade into the early fourth to grab Derrick White (that plan fell apart quickly). I was surprised how early White went with Dejounte Murray back, but this is a draft full of sharks so shame on me for the naïveté.

    With the guards I was targeting gone, I consulted my tiers (available in the Hoop-Ball Dynasty Top-150 Rankings), noticed a pretty steep drop off in big man quality after Valanciunas and decided to lock the position down. Valanciunas should pick up where he left off last season as a top-50 player, but it does feel like only a matter of time until Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke begin to eat into his value. Still, even in Toronto playing only 22 minutes per game off the bench he finished inside the top-65. With a top-50 ceiling this season, and a likely top-75 floor for the next few seasons, it felt like another safe pick to lock up a few categories of need for me.

    I like the flexibility I get with Valanciunas. If I decide to go young and embrace more of a project team, he is an attractive player for someone pushing all of their chips in this season to make a run at it. If Paul George comes back earlier than expected with no issues and I’m eyeing the playoffs, Valanciunas should be an immediate value-add who has proven pretty durable outside of the freak thumb injury last season.

    Fourth Round

    1. Al Horford (91)
    2. T.J. Warren (92)
    3. Jaxson Hayes* (93)
    4. Larry Nance Jr. (94)
    5. Dejounte Murray (95)
    6. Justise Winslow (96)
    7. Gary Harris (97)
    8. Jaylen Brown (98)
    9. Ricky Rubio (99)
    10. Kevon Looney (100)
    11. Jerami Grant (101)
    12. Kyle Lowry (102)
    13. Hassan Whiteside (103)
    14. Jarrett Culver* (104)
    15. Jeremy Lamb (105)
    16. Kevin Huerter (106)
    17. Fred VanVleet (107)
    18. Joe Harris (108)
    19. Dennis Smith Jr. (109)
    20. Gordon Hayward (110)
    21. Nickeil Alexander-Walker* (111)
    22. Joe Ingles (112)
    23. Collin Sexton (113)
    24. Zach Collins (114)
    25. Michael Porter Jr. (115)
    26. Darius Garland* (116)
    27. Bojan Bogdanovic (117)
    28. Andrew Wiggins (118)
    29. Tyus Jones (119)
    30. Tyler Herro* (120)

    Value Picks

    Gary Harris is a great upside pick around this range. The Nuggets continue to get deeper, making a return to top-40 numbers unlikely, but he is primed to bounce back to the top-100 after a disappointing year. The injuries are a very legit concern at this point, but risk/reward calculations on Harris at this range in the draft check out.

    Gordon Hayward is a great low-risk, high-reward pick at this point in the draft. Had I not been in desperate need of a guard, I probably would have pulled the trigger on Hayward. He may not ever get back to early-round value, but there are a ton of shots now open on this Celtics squad and a top-50ish finish isn’t out of the question if he is healthy.

    Kyle Lowry is an NBA champion. That is pretty cool to say. (Editor’s Note: Hell yeah it is.) He is also 33 years old heading into the final year of his contract. He doesn’t have much more in the tank, and there is a real chance that he misses a ton of games this year, but there aren’t many guys left at this point in the draft who have a legit shot at cracking the top-40.

    Reaches

    Joe Harris is without a doubt the best source of threes available at this point with the added upside of not nuking your field goal percentage, but pick 108 seems way too early. Again, it is all about team build and getting your guys at this point in a 30-team draft, but when we think about maximizing long-term dynasty value from each pick, Harris does not check that box.

    Joe Ingles may also be heading for another year of regression. He took a step back last year, and with the acquisitions of Conley and Bogdanovic, might be heading for an even smaller role. He still should be a solid fringe top-100 guy even in a bench role, but there were plenty more appealing long-term options still available when Ingles came off the board.

    Bojan Bogdanovic stepped up last season in the absence of Victor Oladipo, but I can’t see how he repeats it in Utah playing next to Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. At pick 117, it is a fine selection, but given Bogdanovic’s age and limited stat set appeal there were better value picks out there. It is hard to find a source of points at this point in the draft, so again it is justifiable, but he wouldn’t have been on my radar for at least another round or two.

    My Pick

    Fred VanVleet was also not who I had hoped to land going into the round. In fact… I had Kevin Huerter at the top of my board as my first flashy young-gun pick, so words can’t quite express my dismay as he was selected with the pick directly before mine.

    After collecting myself and surveying the landscape of remaining guards (I still didn’t have a single guard-eligible player), I landed on Fred VanVleet. He’s got a golden opportunity to break out this year with Danny Green and Kawhi no longer in town. Regardless of whether he is the sixth man leader of the bench unit or playing next to Kyle Lowry, his minutes and usage should see a considerable bump this year.

    Looking long-term, VanVleet will enter the 2020 offseason a 26-year-old unrestricted free agent as Kyle Lowry’s deal expires as well. If he breaks out, VanVleet could end up as a locked in top-75ish player as a starting point guard heading into the 2020 season.

    Fifth Round

    1. De’Andre Hunter* (121)
    2. Cam Reddish* (122)
    3. Markelle Fultz (123)
    4. Coby White* (124)
    5. Dwight Powell (125)
    6. Rui Hachimura* (126)
    7. OG Anunoby (127)
    8. Grant Williams* (128)
    9. Marc Gasol (129)
    10. Ivica Zubac (130)
    11. Jeff Teague (131)
    12. Lou Williams (132)
    13. Dario Saric (133)
    14. Landry Shamet (134)
    15. Mohamed Bamba (135)
    16. Spencer Dinwiddie (136)
    17. Goga Bitadze* (137)
    18. Harrison Barnes (138)
    19. John Wall (139)
    20. Enes Kanter (140)
    21. Zhaire Smith (141)
    22. Anfernee Simons (142)
    23. Serge Ibaka (143)
    24. Harry Giles (144)
    25. Matisse Thybulle* (145)
    26. Rodions Kurucs (146)
    27. Terrence Ross (147)
    28. Jakob Poeltl (148)
    29. Sekou Doumbouya* (149)
    30. Bogdan Bogdanovic (150)

    We are starting to get into the part of the draft where everyone is just grabbing guys to fill categories or positions of need, and the notion of “value” is heavily skewed on a team-by-team basis. Instead of pointing out “reaches” and “value” I’ll just point out picks that I really like, picks that I probably would have passed on for another round or two later, and players that I think are being over/under-rated.

    Picks I Like

    OG Anunoby is one of my favorite picks in this range of dynasty drafts. His game is super fantasy-friendly with a combination of threes, steals and blocks and room for growth in efficiency. The potential for a fantasy stud is there, but he hasn’t shown much progression over his two years in the league. A lot of that can likely be traced back to injury and off-court issues, so I’m betting on a big step forward this season and next from Anunoby given all of the minutes that are now open on the wing in Toronto.

    Jakob Poeltl seems to be flying under the radar. His name is rarely included in the hyped up “sleeper” lists that are starting to make the rounds, but as a starter over the last month of the season he was a fringe top-100 guy averaging 6.3 boards and 1.6 blocks per game. He may not have sky high-upside, but the minutes should be there since he is pretty much the only center on the Spurs’ roster.

    John Wall is not a player I want anything to do with in most dynasty leagues. However, if he falls outside of the top-125 he becomes much more appealing as a flier. I doubt we ever see Wall return to the top-25, but maybe he has a few more top-75 season left in the tank? Overall fantasy production aside, assists are extremely rare at this point in the draft, so even if he comes back and does nothing outside of provide 6-7 assists per game that is still a pretty solid value-add.

    Picks I Would Have Passed On

    Rui Hachimura is pretty far down the list on my rookie rankings. He has a golden opportunity in Washington this season with no one else on the roster, but I’m not a huge believer in him long-term. There is absolutely nothing wrong with selecting him where he was drafted, it is just someone I would have passed on. If Hachimura gets off to a hot start this season, consider selling him high for a locked in top-50 asset.

    Spencer Dinwiddie probably could have fallen a bit further. He is firmly entrenched in the sixth man role, and at 26 years old, doesn’t have much upside left. You generally know what you will get with him, so if you need assists and don’t mind some rough stretches of efficiency, he is a fine value at this point. I just think that his fantasy value is consistently overstated and people tend to think he is younger than he really is.

    My Pick

    Goga Bitadze was someone I knew I would be targeting around this point in the draft. I got nervous after the huge run on rookies to start the round and considered trading up after Grant Williams was selected. I have Bitadze as a top-10 player in this class, so I was ecstatic to get him as the 15th rookie off the board.

    Despite the fact that the Pacers have a loaded starting front court with Sabonis and Turner, they don’t have much in the way of depth. Given their other options of T.J. Leaf, Alize Johnson and… *crickets*, it is hard to see how Bitadze doesn’t see immediate rotation minutes. His game is built for the modern NBA, and since he was not able to play in Summer League, his profile is still considerably lower than someone who got hyped to the moon like Tyler Herro.

    If the Pacers commit to a Sabonis/Turner front court moving forward, his role could be limited for the next few years, but I finally decided to take my own advice and pick the most talented and highest long-term value player available with my pick.

    Sixth Round

    1. J.J. Redick (151)
    2. Cody Zeller (152)
    3. Robert Williams (153)
    4. Dewayne Dedmon (154)
    5. Kyle Anderson (155)
    6. Evan Fournier (156)
    7. Nicolas Batum (157)
    8. Taurean Prince (158)
    9. Bobby Portis (159)
    10. JaVale McGee (160)
    11. DeAndre Jordan (161)
    12. Dennis Schroder (162)
    13. Willie Cauley-Stein (163)
    14. Carsen Edwards* (164)
    15. Tomas Satoransky (165)
    16. Cedi Osman (166)
    17. Monte Morris (167)
    18. Chuma Okeke* (168)
    19. Kevin Knox (169)
    20. Alex Len (170)
    21. Aaron Holiday (171)
    22. Maxi Kleber (172)
    23. Reggie Jackson (173)
    24. Troy Brown (174)
    25. Elfrid Payton (175)
    26. Josh Okogie (176)
    27. Marcus Morris (177)
    28. Kris Dunn (178)
    29. Bruno Fernando* (179)
    30. Bryn Forbes (180)

    Picks I Like

    Robert Williams is set to be the future of Boston’s frontcourt. Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis are still in the picture for now, but I’d have to imagine that they are viewed more as short-term stopgaps while Williams develops. He has a long way to go, and may disappoint this year if you are looking for a top-150 player, but I love his outlook long-term.

    Bruno Fernando is one of my favorite value players in the draft. He is a physical specimen with a surprisingly soft touch around the rim and a decent jump shot. He will primarily be a rim protector early in his career, but I think he is capable of eventually moving away from the rim a bit and developing an outside shot. He is in a great situation in Atlanta to see minutes early with few expectations to perform immediately.

    Cedi Osman did not exactly break out last year like many thought he might. He was consistently dogged all season by poor efficiency and a lack of peripheral stats to float his fantasy value when his shot wasn’t falling. He did look much better down the stretch as he shot closer to 46 percent from the floor over the last few months of the season. With Kevin Love healthy, and a few extra pieces added to the Cavs in Darius Garland and Dylan Windler, there will probably be fewer shots available for Osman, but I’d expect his efficiency to take a step forward. He may not be the highest-upside play, but he still has a bit of room to grow at 24 years old.

    Troy Brown is not necessarily someone that I am super high on as a prospect, but getting him at this point is great value given the state of the Wizards roster. It will likely either be Brown or Rui Hachimura starting at the 3 on opening day, so he should have all of the minutes that he can handle this season. He is still an inconsistent shooter, but he does have some stat set appeal otherwise as a decent source of threes, assists, rebounds and steals.

    Picks I Would Have Passed On

    Nicolas Batum may start the season at the three for the Hornets, but I’m not sure how long the old guy/bad team combo will last. He may be heading to the bench to give the Hornets’ younger assets more time on the floor. There is also the chance that he is dealt at the deadline, but his $27M player option in 2020-2021 could limit his appeal as a trade chip. His fantasy return should still exceed the draft price of 157, and the team that took him is all in on win-now so it is hard to fault the choice, but he should probably slip a bit further in most dynasty drafts.

    Dennis Schroder, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul in the picture, suddenly has more competition for guard minutes. Sure, CP3 may be gone by the deadline, but burning a sixth round pick in a league this deep on a low-upside guy whose value is reliant on a trade seems like a missed opportunity.

    My Pick

    Monte Morris is another relatively safe pick from me. Unless Jamal Murray misses time with an injury, he probably isn’t going to provide value far exceeding this draft position, however I love his long-term outlook as a very capable sixth man type player with future starter upside. He has a non-guaranteed deal in 2020-2021, which the Nuggets may look to restructure if they hope to keep him long-term. If they choose not to, he hits the market in 2021 and could command starting point guard money if he continues to progress.

    Seventh Round

    1. Thaddeus Young (181)
    2. Will Barton (182)
    3. Malik Monk (183)
    4. Luke Kennard (184)
    5. Bol Bol* (185)
    6. Malik Beasley (186)
    7. Davis Bertans (187)
    8. Pat Connaughton (188)
    9. Nerlens Noel (189)
    10. Dwayne Bacon (190)
    11. De’Anthony Melton (191)
    12. Danny Green (192)
    13. Paul Millsap (193)
    14. Lonnie Walker IV (194)
    15. Patrick Beverley (195)
    16. Norman Powell (196)
    17. Bruce Brown Jr. (197)
    18. Eric Gordon (198)
    19. DeMarcus Cousins (199)
    20. Kelly Olynyk (200)
    21. Tony Bradley (201)
    22. D.J. Augustin (202)
    23. Jordan Clarkson (203)
    24. Dillon Brooks (204)
    25. Richaun Holmes (205)
    26. Moe Harkless (206)
    27. Kevin Porter Jr. (207)
    28. Goran Dragic (208)
    29. Dylan Windler* (209)
    30. Jae Crowder (210)

    Picks I Like

    Davis Bertans is pretty low-upside from a fantasy perspective. He is primarily a 3-point specialist who can send the occasional shot back, but as is the case with a lot of guys on this Wizards team, the opportunity to put up numbers is there given how barren the roster is. I doubt he was brought in to be the future in Washington, so this is definitely more of a win-now play, but this is a great draft price to pay for a potential top-100 player.

    Tony Bradley probably would have been available way later than this, but hey, you know the refrain at this point – get your guys and throw rankings out the window in a draft like this. He looked great in Summer League, but with the Ed Davis signing, seems like he will be relegated to third string center duty and glued to bench most nights. This pick is more about thinking toward the future. Bradley may be able to outplay Ed Davis next season (or even sooner potentially?), and Davis is gone in 2021.

    De’Anthony Melton is in another situation where he is buried on the depth chart, but the talent is still there. I’m not sure how he fits with Ja Morant, Tyus Jones, Dillon Brooks and Grayson Allen, but in even a 25 mpg role I think Melton could sniff the top-150 given his fantasy-friendly game. We will have to see how he is utilized in Memphis, but the upside is too good to leave on the draft board much further past this point.

    Luke Kennard has a lot to prove this season. I’ve long been a Kennard truther, and while he didn’t exactly break out in his sophomore season, he has a golden opportunity to earn a starting job at the three in Detroit. His competition for minutes includes Tony Snell, Bruce Brown, Langston Galloway and Khyri Thomas. At this draft price, the potential reward far outweighs the risk that he busts.

    DeMarcus Cousins is a pretty solid “what the hell” pick at this point. There is a chance that he is never a top-50 player again, but he is still only 29, so he still has plenty of runway left in his career depending on how the ACL recovery progresses.

    Norman Powell is another guy that could capitalize on the sudden abundance of minutes/shots that opened up on the wing in Toronto. He is a lower-upside guy than Anunoby, but I’m all for taking a gamble on the young Toronto wing guys (Anunoby/Powell/Davis) and seeing which one rises to the top. He’s shown some flashes in the past as an explosive scorer, but unlike Anunoby, he doesn’t do much in the peripheral categories.

    Patrick Beverley still should have a few good years left in the tank. Staying healthy can be an issue for him, but he still should be a fringe top-100 guy even with PG13 and Kawhi in town.

    Picks I Would Have Passed On

    There isn’t a ton to point out in this round in terms of picks that I found unreasonable. I’m not super high on Dillon Brooks or Jordan Clarkson. D.J. Augustin should surprise folks again with top-150 production as a starter, but the question of Fultz makes his value pretty iffy.

    My Pick

    Bruce Brown Jr. had a monstrous Summer League and I think he may be primed to take a step forward in his second year in the league. He is an older prospect, so his upside may not be huge, but this Pistons team desperately needs one of its young wings to take a step forward, and Brown has clearly earned the trust of the coaching staff given his consistent role last season. He will need to play on the ball more for the assist numbers from Summer League to stick which probably won’t be the case with Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose on the roster, so keep expectations in check. I’d expect a modest step forward this year into the top-200 with a top-125ish ceiling if they put the ball in his hands more as a one or let him fill in as a secondary distributor from the two spot.

    Eight Round

    1. Rodney Hood (211)
    2. Josh Jackson (212)
    3. Royce O’Neale (213)
    4. Tim Hardaway Jr. (214)
    5. Daniel Gafford* (215)
    6. Jabari Parker (216)
    7. Derrick Jones Jr. (217)
    8. Mfiondu Kabengele* (218)
    9. Luke Kornet (219)
    10. Kent Bazemore (220)
    11. Rudy Gay (221)
    12. J. Tucker (222)
    13. Al-Farouq Aminu (223)
    14. Noah Vonleh (224)
    15. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (225)
    16. Derrick Rose (226)
    17. Chris Boucher (227)
    18. Josh Hart (228)
    19. Cameron Johnson* (229)
    20. Seth Curry (230)
    21. PJ Washington* (230)
    22. Justin Holiday (231)
    23. DeAndre’ Bembry (232)
    24. Ante Zizic (234)
    25. Mason Plumlee (235)
    26. Daniel Theis (236)
    27. Isaiah Thomas (237)
    28. Ish Smith (238)
    29. Terrance Ferguson (239)
    30. Jalen Brunson (240)

     

    Picks I Like:

    Derrick Jones Jr. showed flashes of fantasy brilliance last season as a defensive stat collector, and the Heat were reportedly reluctant to give up Airplane Mode in Jimmy Butler trade talks this summer, indicating some vision of Jones in their future plans. He doesn’t have the cleanest path to minutes with James Johnson still in the mix, but the Heat seem to envision him as a part of their young core moving forward.

    Ish Smith should have all the minutes that he can handle with the Wizards following the news that Isaiah Thomas will miss roughly two months with a thumb injury that will require surgery. He is not an upside play at all, but should be able to put together a solid year for a win-now team.

    Whether it is off the bench or playing next to Delon Wright, Seth Curry should see an uptick in playing time compared to the Portland days. While he may not replicate his 2016 numbers with Dallas where he was a fringe top-100 player, he should outperform this ADP for the next year or two.

    Noah Vonleh and Jordan Bell are probably the two best options to fill reserve front court minutes for the Wolves. It will be interesting to see whether they split the minutes, or if one can gain a clear edge. Regardless, the opportunity is there for both Bell and Vonleh to significantly outperform this ADP if things break their way.

    Mfiondu Kabengele is a long way from contributing on a suddenly-loaded Clippers squad, but his college numbers are very nice and he checks a lot of boxes that I look for in translating college success to NBA.

    Picks I Would Have Passed On

    At this point, most of these picks are total upside fliers or win-now plays, so there isn’t much to critique. I’ll focus more on the picks I like and fliers that I’d be targeting myself.

    My Pick

    Chris Boucher is anything but a safe pick at this price, but he is one of #myguys and is someone that I’ve been following for a while now. At 26 years old there isn’t much of a margin for error in terms of his development, but his fantasy potential is through the roof. In the G-League last season he averaged 27.2 points on 51 percent shooting with 2.2 triples, 11.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 4.1 blocks in 34 minutes per game. Yes, it is the G-League, but that is absurd production. In Summer League this year he averaged 23 points on 49 percent shooting with 2.0 threes, 9.8 rebounds, 0.3 steals and 1.3 blocks in 31 minutes per game.

    That – in combination with his 7’4” wingspan – is the case to be bullish on Boucher as a fantasy asset, but there are a number of reasons for concern as well. For starters, he is still fighting for a rotation spot, and may not see meaningful minutes this season. He’s got great measurables from a length perspective, but he is very thin and easily bullied down low by NBA centers. Despite the gaudy block numbers, he can be a defensive liability, and many facets of his offensive game outside rim-running are still very raw.

    There is probably a decent chance that he never becomes an NBA rotation-level player, but if he is able to prove that he belongs, we are looking at a potential top-50 fantasy player. If he can put it all together, Boucher is in a great spot with the Raptors given their aging frontcourt players in Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. I reached for Boucher, but given my relatively safe approach to the draft up to this point, I didn’t have many concerns with taking a swing for the fences on upside.

    Ninth Round

    1. Trevor Ariza (241)
    2. Mortiz Wagner (242)
    3. Nassir Little* (243)
    4. Bruno Caboclo (244)
    5. Tristan Thompson (245)
    6. Jordan Poole* (246)
    7. Jordan Bell (247)
    8. Omari Spellman (248)
    9. Wesley Matthews (249)
    10. Glenn Robinson III (250)
    11. Danuel House Jr. (251)
    12. Marvin Williams (252)
    13. Avery Bradley (253)
    14. Damyean Dotson (254)
    15. Mario Hezonja (255)
    16. JaMychal Green (256)
    17. Devonte’ Graham (257)
    18. Rajon Rondo (258)
    19. Darius Bazley* (259)
    20. Quinn Cook (260)
    21. Nicolas Claxton* (261)
    22. Jake Layman (262)
    23. Grayson Allen (263)
    24. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (264)
    25. Stanley Johnson (265)
    26. Dzanan Musa (266)
    27. Robin Lopez (267)
    28. Dwight Howard (268)
    29. Eric Paschall* (269)
    30. Trey Lyles (270)

    Picks I Like

    Jordan Bell – similar to Vonleh above – has an excellent opportunity to carve out a consistent role off the bench with the Wolves. He could lose ground to Vonleh, but the upside is well worth the relatively low risk of a flier at this point.

    Dzanan Musa has his rookie season derailed by injury, but may turn a few heads in surprise this season. Keep an eye on him in particular to start the year as Wilson Chandler serves a lengthy suspension. Musa may be tapped to fill some of Chandler’s minutes.

    Danuel House could end up starting this season, which alone makes him worth a flier at this point in the draft. Unfortunately, his stat set is barren outside of threes and I’m not sure he’s got the upside to evolve his game much. Still a great win-now piece if you need threes that can be had for very cheap.

    Mario Hezonja should plug in at the three and four off the bench in Portland this season. He has continued to struggle with consistency, but he is still only 24, and at this price there isn’t much of an argument against taking a flier.

    My Pick

    Devonte’ Graham is one of my favorite late-round fliers. He had a few big games last season, crushed Summer League and looks like a competent reserve guard ready for a larger role. If Terry Rozier goes down at any point this year, the Hornets don’t have many other options to plug in at the one.

    The biggest drawback with Graham is the damage he can do to your percentages and the relatively limited stat set outside of threes and assists. He struggled as a shooter in college and shot 34 percent from the field in his rookie year, and while I would project some small improvement, I doubt that he becomes someone who has even a neutral impact on your FG%.

    Tenth Round

    1. Alec Burks (271)
    2. Romeo Langford* (272)
    3. Terence Davis* (273)
    4. J. Wilson (274)
    5. Isaiah Roby (275)
    6. Miye Oni* (276)
    7. Luka Samanic* (277)
    8. Marko Guduric* (278)
    9. Admiral Schofield* (279)
    10. Mike Muscala (280)
    11. Matt Thomas* (281)
    12. Cory Joseph (282)
    13. Guillermo Hernangomez (283)
    14. Alen Smailagic* (284)
    15. Isaiah Hartenstein (285)
    16. Tacko Fall* (286)
    17. Jonah Bolden (287)
    18. Meyers Leonard (288)
    19. Talen Horton-Tucker* (289)
    20. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (290)
    21. Dante Exum (291)
    22. Skal Labissiere (292)
    23. Ignas Brazdeikis* (293)
    24. Alfonzo McKinnie (294)
    25. Donte DiVincenzo (295)
    26. Dion Waiters (296)
    27. Trey Burke (297)
    28. Sterling Brown (298)
    29. Emmanuel Mudiay (299)
    30. Jahlil Okafor (300)

    Picks I Like

    Terence Davis went undrafted this year, but looked like a fantasy stud in Summer League. As referenced above with OG Anunoby and Norm Powell, I’m all about fliers on young Toronto wings. He should have a legitimate rotation role, so keep him in your watch list in shallower leagues and be ready to pull the trigger if he jumps Norm Powell on depth chart.

    Meyers Leonard should get an opportunity for a fresh start in Miami. The Heat don’t have much at center behind Bam Adebayo, so his minutes should be fairly consistent this season. You know what you get with Leonard at this point from a stat set perspective, but he’s in the best position he could be for a potential mid-career renaissance.

    Luka Samanic could have surprising role this season given the lack of quality bigs on the roster, but I would consider it a pretty low possibility. He has some great appeal as a dart throw stash guy. From what we saw in Summer League, he has a well-rounded stat set and could be a nice source of out-of-position assists and steals at some point.

    Talen Horton-Tucker probably won’t have much of a role this season, but the Lakers have a good recent track record of hitting with their second-round draft selections. I have Horton-Tucker as a top-20 fantasy prospect from this class, so I’m high on his long-term potential relative to his draft position. I doubt he sees any minutes this year outside of garbage time, but I love the pick at this point in the draft as a stash guy.

    Isaiah Hartenstein is the only reserve big man on the Rockets under the age of 50. Okay, maybe that is a bit of hyperbole, but the Rockets have Tyson Chandler, Nene and Hartenstein behind Clint Capela. The Rockets are not exactly known for their commitment to developing young talent, but Hartenstein is signed through 2021 and the team would be wise to see what they have in the promising young big. I’m bullish on Hartenstein as an eventual future top-150 fantasy talent, but keep in mind that he may see limited minutes yet again behind more experienced options.

    My Pick

    Jonah Bolden is a pick that will surprise no one who follows my other dynasty stuff on Hoop Ball. I’m under no impression that he will get meaningful minutes this season with Al Horford, Mike Scott and Kyle O’Quinn likely ahead of him on the depth chart, but my belief in his long-term upside is unwavering. He’s got a long way to go before contributing as a rotation player from BBIQ standpoint, but all of the tools are there for Bolden to develop into a solid fantasy option even in limited minutes.

    Eleventh Round

    1. Austin Rivers (301)
    2. Keldon Johnson* (302)
    3. Ivan Rabb (303)
    4. Nemanja Bjelica (304)
    5. Allonzo Trier (305)
    6. Justin Jackson (306)
    7. Christian Wood (307)
    8. Thon Maker (308)
    9. Ryan Arcidiacono (309)
    10. Tony Snell (310)
    11. Alex Caruso (311)
    12. Markieff Morris (312)
    13. Jeff Green (313)
    14. Khyri Thomas (314)
    15. Hamidou Diallo (315)
    16. Kenrich Williams (316)
    17. Ed Davis (317)
    18. Khem Birch (318)
    19. Naz Reid* (319)
    20. Michael Carter-Williams (320)
    21. KZ Okpala* (321)
    22. Shaquille Harrison (322)
    23. Furkan Korkmaz (323)
    24. Cheick Diallo (324)
    25. Frank Ntilikina (325)
    26. Ty Jerome* (326)
    27. Deividas Sirvydis* (327)
    28. James Johnson (328)
    29. Tremont Waters* (329)
    30. Jarred Vanderbilt (330)

    Picks I Like

    Jarred Vanderbilt is another guy I’ve written about extensively, so I’ll spare you all from another deep dive on Vanderbilt’s hidden upside. I really expected him to be available with my final pick, so I’m pretty bummed to have missed out on one of my #brand guys. His situation is pretty complicated this year behind Paul Millsap, Jerami Grant and potentially even Juan Hernangomez, so there is a chance he spends a ton of time in the G-League. However, with Millsap clearly on the way out and Grant holding a 2020 player option, the rotation could clear out for Vanderbilt in a hurry over the next year or two.

    Frank Ntilikina has been horribly mismanaged by the Knicks. He looked like a totally different player in FIBA play this summer, and still clearly has some untapped upside left. Unfortunately, he probably needs a trade to have any real fantasy value this season, but I love the pick at this point in the draft. I’d also consider him a solid buy-low option in established leagues.

    Shaquille Harrison is an elite steals specialist, and a more competent lead guard than his limited NBA resume would indicate. I’m not sure there is any room in the rotation for Harrison behind Satoransky, White and Dunn, but if he somehow lands a consistent spot in the rotation he will give you an almost guaranteed steal or two per game.

    Alex Caruso feels like kind of a meme at this point, but we need to remember that he had a legit top-100 finish last season. I’m not sure there is much room in the rotation for Caruso on the new-look Lakers, but he is one Rondo injury away fantasy relevance.

    My Pick

    Ed Davis is a pretty boring pick at this point, but don’t discount the value of a plug-and-play, elite categorical specialist at this point in the draft. In a league this deep, having a guaranteed six or seven boards sitting on your bench is a nice safety blanket. Jarred Vanderbilt has a similar stat profile (with a bit more upside in assists and steals), but I mistakenly assumed he would be around for my final pick. Davis could be used as a nice deal sweetener in a trade with a win-now team, too.

    Twelfth Round

    1. Frank Kaminsky (331)
    2. Damian Jones (332)
    3. Justin Wright-Foreman* (333)
    4. Kyle O’Quinn (334)
    5. Shabazz Napier (335)
    6. Kendrick Nunn (336)
    7. Tyler Johnson (337)
    8. Didi Louzada Silva* (338)
    9. Jalen Lecque* (339)
    10. John Konchar* (340)
    11. Aron Baynes (341)
    12. Evan Turner (342)
    13. Taj Gibson (343)
    14. Torrey Craig (344)
    15. Luguentz Dort* (345)
    16. Svi Mykhailiuk (346)
    17. Gary Trent Jr. (347)
    18. Marco Belinelli (348)
    19. Keita Bates-Diop (349)
    20. Patrick McCaw (350)
    21. Chandler Hutchinson (351)
    22. George Hill (352)
    23. Mike James (353)
    24. Chimezie Metu (354)
    25. Jauncho Hernangomez (355)
    26. Vincent Porier* (356)
    27. Kostas Antetokounmpo (357)
    28. Nicolo Melli* (358)
    29. Justin Robinson* (359)
    30. Semi Ojeleye (360)

    Picks I Like

    John Konchar is a total dart throw, but his Summer League numbers are interesting. He has a very unique fantasy stat set for a guard. In 24 minutes per game this Summer, Konchar averaged 7.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.0 blocks.

    Juancho Hernangomez started to put it all together early last season as a fringe top-150 guy, but unfortunately suffered yet another injury setback that limited his production and ultimately pushed him out of the rotation. He could be in for a lot of DNPs this season with how deep Denver is, but enters the 2020 offseason a restricted free agent.

    Didi Louzada-Silva is a super fun stash guy at this point, but there is a good chance he ends up on the waiver wire by midseason as he continues playing overseas this year. He looked surprisingly NBA-ready in Summer League and has a fantasy-friendly game, so keep him on your watch list as a surprise breakout candidate in the next few years.

    My Pick

    Gary Trent Jr. was not really on my radar as a serious fantasy prospect, but after torching Summer League (20.6 points, 3.4 threes, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals in 28 minutes) he is at least worth a flier. Portland’s reserve rotation is still a bit of a mystery, but he could play some next to Anfernee Simons or Bazemore this year and assume a larger role a few years down the line.

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