Expert Draft Reactions
* A Secondary Piece to: Expert Draft Results
Brad Evans, Yahoo.com
Your Best Pick: Deron Williams, Third Round, Pick 1 (25th overall). Many of you probably think I extended the Inspector Gadget arm for Williams in the early third, but don’t be foolish. D-Will is an ultimate fantasy combo guard who can accumulate quality numbers across the board without killing your FG percentage - cough, Jason Kidd. According to FSPI, his 8.22 assists rating (9.3 apg raw) was second only to Steve Nash last year and if he carries over his mouthwatering playoff line – 19.2 ppg, 8.6 apg, 4.3 rpg, 1.5 spg, 1.1 threes per game – he’ll catapult into the guard top-ten this season. He makes my heart go pitter-pat.
Your General Strategy: Evidently, my off-the-court advances toward Jon Loomer paid off as I was gifted the first overall pick. Knowing that Kevin Garnett would don Team Evans threads, my draft design was to acquire a couple of guards early who could contribute solidly in scarce categories (Threes/Steals/Assists) followed by picks centered on frontcourt depth in the mid-to-late rounds. With a three-headed monster of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams, I think I faired well.
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): The revered S.O.D. (Steal o’ the Draft) was Brandon Funston’s heist of Ricky Davis with the ninth pick in the sixth round. The 40th best fantasy force according to FSPI last year, Davis had arguably his best shooting season as a pro, notching career-best marks in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. Now that KG is sipping Sam Adams in Boston, Davis will be counted on heavily as the T-Wolves primary net-splasher, which gives him favorable odds of surpassing the 20.0 ppg mark for the second time in his 11-year career.
Biggest Reach: Tendons snapped when I selected Andre Miller at the end of fourth round. The allure of his 18 double-doubles last year should have been ignored with more fantasy renowned guards like Jason Richardson, Manu Ginobili, Luol Deng, Jason Terry and Josh Howard still on the board. Bring on the dunce cap…
Eric Karabell, ESPN.com
Your Best Pick: Can I say Kobe at No. 2? I thought he was going to go first, and really, I have no concerns about his upcoming season. I liked getting Mo Pete and Delonte West in the eighth and ninth rounds. I think there’s opportunity for each to start and thrive.
Your General Strategy: I normally want the best veteran players available, and don’t target certain positions. Once I got Kobe and Vince, I knew I didn’t need to take big scorers. My only glaring weakness appears to be at point guard. I doubt guys like Eddy Curry will help much in assists, but I have enough scoring to use players like Jamaal Tinsley for that.
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): I like the run of point guards who went in the eighth round, all of whom I had queued up, none of whom I got. Randy Foye (Snellings), Mike Conley (Lyons) and Rajon Rondo (Funston) should all start and provide assists and steals.
Biggest Reach: I was surprised to see Jason Kidd go before Dirk Nowitzki in the first round, and also I thought Dwyane Wade, with the shoulder problem, went early. Al Jefferson before Dwight Howard also seemed odd, but who knows what the Wolves will do.
Biggest Surprise: That so many Knicks were selected in the top 100. Also, how does Tim Duncan slip to No. 19?
General Observations: Rookies always get over-drafted, in every league in every fantasy sport. One NBA rookie averaged more than 12 points per game last year. This was a stronger draft, but expectations seemed high in our fantasy draft.
Roland Beech, 82games.com
Your Best Pick: I didn't have any real sleepers, but I'm pretty happy to get Rashard Lewis in the third round. Now there may be some danger that he won't be as productive with the huge contract and a change in scenery, but he's great from a fantasy standpoint. I'm always a fan of guys who get you three-pointers without hurting the field goal percentage.
Your General Strategy: I was taking what I considered low risk players/best available player for the most part since this far out there's still a lot that can happen. While fantasy scoring systems represent a player's true team value on a lot of levels, I do try to keep in mind a player's +/- type influence since I figure those types of player will at least get the playing time. On the other hand, my glaring weakness at point guard may be a severe issue. All the PGs were getting snapped up fast!
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): If Kirilenko gets traded somehow to a better situation, he could wind up a steal at the end of the fifth, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. I will say I was a tad stunned Carmelo dropped so far to #35.
Biggest Reach: I was surprised by Kidd at #7 and Iverson at #11. Not to doubt the great Kamla, but it was Josh Smith going in the first round at #12 that caught me off guard the most. These are probably pale though to any number of my picks!
Biggest Surprise: Barbosa had big fantasy numbers last year, and I thought that among these masters of the fantasy NBA world there would be someone willing to risk the dissing by taking him sooner than #54.
General observations: I'm certainly the underdog in this crowd of fantasy experts, and constructing a winning, balanced team over just a collection of productive types that may overlap too much in their strengths and weaknesses is something I probably need to work on.
Brandon Funston, Yahoo.com
Your General Strategy: Draft to the eight league categories. Try to achieve strong statistical balance.
Biggest Reach: Eddy Curry at No. 74. He's got an extremely hollow fantasy game. He's becoming well known as a guy who perennially averages more turnovers than assists, steals and blocks combined. He's not even top 100 in my opinion.
Biggest Surprise: Brad Miller at No. 135. He's been a top 40 pick for years. Injuries got the best of him last season. He may not be the Brad Miller of old, but he could wind up being a steal at No. 135.
General Observations: Josh Smith clearly is this year's biggest buzz player. He went No. 12 in this draft. It was a bit of a reach, but you can't deny that Smith has that kind of upside. And he's fun to own because of his box score fireworks. Fantasy owners should expect to overpay if they want to take a ride with him this year.
Chris Liss, RotoWire.com
Your Best Pick: Brandon Roy, fourth round - does everything well, and should improve in his second season.
Your General Strategy: Try to get value each round by taking players who could greatly exceed their past production this season.
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): I like Roy, but I thought a center-eligible Pau Gasol was good value in second round.
Biggest Reach: Shaq in sixth round. I thought Duncan early in second round was also a reach, but not nearly as bad.
Biggest Surprise: Stoudemire making it to the second round.
General Observations: Thought it was a pretty solid draft with lots of my deep sleepers getting taken just as I was about to go after them. I might have reached a couple times with Al Jefferson and Kevin Durant, but at least it will be a fun squad to own. Probably could have been more conservative in the second and third rounds - say by taking Paul Pierce, Gerald Wallace or Joe Johnson. Then again, I got a center-eligible big man on the rise and probably the most exciting player to own heading into the year.
Justin Lyons, NBA.com
Your General Strategy: I simply tried to take the best players early on, by working to build on strength and achieve balance. As I crank into round seven, I’m generally happy with the six previous picks (obviously) and then go for upside players (Gay, Kaman), sleepers (Williams, Conley), and some role players (Gooden, Q-Rich) to fill out my dynamic roster.
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): I have to give credit to Loomer, only because he took the two players I wanted the most in this draft – Raymond Felton and Al Thornton. I think Felton explodes this season, and I believe Thornton has a solid rookie campaign. To get Felton in the sixth and Thornton in the tenth bodes well, unfortunately, for Loomer. I also liked the Caron Butler selection (Buser), the David West selection (Berry), and the Marco Belinelli selection (Zegers).
Biggest Reach: I was surprised to see Marcus Camby go so early. Sure, he had a good year, but his injury history concerns me. He’s not getting any younger, I can tell you that. In a league where you’re starting really only one center, I thought the experts would wait it out on centers not named Yao, Amare or Pau.
Biggest Surprise: I didn’t know how the first six picks would shake out, but I did not expect Kevin Garnett to go first, nor LeBron James fifth, nor Gilbert Arenas sixth. I’m not saying those are poor selections; it just wasn’t expected. Josh Smith at 12 came as a surprise. I would say the Al Jefferson selection in the second round caught me off guard the most.
General Observations: I think it will be an intriguing year for fantasy owners worldwide. There will be no clear number one pick this year, as the first six picks are pretty wide open (as you can see from this draft). Also, prepare yourself for the youth movement, folks.
Jon Loomer, NBA.com
Your Best Pick: In terms of pure value and impact, I felt as though I got steals with the picks of Josh Howard in the fifth and Raymond Felton in the sixth round. Based on potential, some of my better value picks could be Al Thornton in the 10th and Jason Maxiell in the 14th. Fantasy leagues are won after the first four rounds. I need a few of these guys to emerge as viable fantasy options.
Your General Strategy: My first goal is always to secure two top point guards. It doesn't mean taking one in the first round, but it's rare for me to go four rounds in a draft without two point guards on my roster. I was stuck in a precarious position with the seventh pick in the first round. Gilbert Arenas inexplicably dropped to sixth, followed by a significant drop-off in talent and dependability. If I were to take a point guard at that point, Jason Kidd was really the only option. Other non-point guards included Dirk Nowitzki and a slew of injury risks (Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol). I see Dirk as a guy who is overvalued based on name alone, considering his production did drop last season. I filled my point guard need and went small to big by going with Gasol next and filling my second point guard in the third round with Baron Davis. From there on out, I went "best available" which became very evident in hindsight as you'll see that I only took forwards and centers from the seventh round on. There is plenty of time to make trades and adds. I'm more worried about talent level than filling positions during the second half of my draft.
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): There are a few. Gilbert Arenas at six can be considered a great pick, but it is also a no-brainer. No idea why he dropped that far. He was the top fantasy player last season before getting injured. I was also surprised that Caron Butler, who was a top 10 player before suffering through injuries, dropped to the bottom of the third round. Other steals included Tracy McGrady (second pick of the fourth round), Luol Deng (fifth pick in the fifth), Corey Maggette (fourth pick in the seventh), Randy Foye (fifth pick in the eighth), Rajon Rondo (eighth pick in the ninth), and of course all of my selections.
Biggest Reach: Oh, there were a few. I was surprised by Yao Ming (10th pick in the first round), Ray Allen (first pick in the second), Greg Oden (12th pick in the third), and Shaquille O'Neal (12th pick in the sixth).
Biggest Surprise: Not that it was a reach, but I was surprised that Kevin Garnett kicked it off with the first pick. I fully expected it to be one of a group of four players including Kobe Bryant, Gilbert Arenas, Shawn Marion and LeBron James. I was also shocked when Arenas lasted until number six overall and that Eric Karabell went the entire draft without taking a true point guard. Wow!
General Observations: It was a good, solid draft. As I look across the teams drafted and compare to my own, it becomes painfully obvious: I will dominate this league. And for the many who have criticized my first pick, let me clear about this. Jason Kidd will make you pay. All. Year. Long.
Andre Snellings, RotoWire.com
Your Best Pick: Randy Foye in eighth round. Usually, your best pick is the one that causes the other owners to do the most cursing/congratulating afterwards. That was the case with Foye, who I was actually surprised got to me in the eighth. I believe the main difference last season between Foye and Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy (who went in the fourth round) was that Roy got plenty of playing time and responsibility from day one on a rebuilding team while Foye was paying his dues behind a veteran starter on a Kevin Garnett-led team with playoff hopes. Foye is on a rebuilding team this season and should get the same opportunities as Roy. I’m expecting big things from him.
Your General Strategy: I take the best player available (based on past production, expectations, and upside) for the first five rounds or so. Then, for the next few rounds, I start factoring need (positional and category) into my picks while also giving more weight to upside as I start looking at my sleepers. In the later rounds, I primarily go for under-valued vets (i.e. proven Bell in ninth, Hughes in 11, Knight in 14) or try to hit a home run on potential (Brand in 10, Noah in 12, Smith in 13).
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): Peja Stojakovic – ninth round, pick 10, Matt Buser. As I said, the later rounds of the draft are about value and upside. Stojakovic only played in 13 games last season due to recurring back issues, but he’s still going to average near 20 ppg to go with around 2.5 treys and a handful of boards when healthy. Those are great numbers for that late in the draft. I started to pick Peja myself, then decided to play it safe with Raja Bell, who replicates the treys but with better health. Still, if Peja stays healthy, he contributes more than Bell.
Biggest Reach: I think I'd say Camby in the second is a reach, especially if Martin is healthy and he and Nene cut into his playing time. I really like Camby's roto contributions, but I still consider him a health risk and he's getting older now as well. I think the second is too high for him. I personally reached on Elton Brand in the tenth round. With a ruptured Achilles tendon, there is a decent chance that Brand is out for the entire year. Yet, I passed on quality roto players such as Shane Battier to take Brand, and it could hurt me if he does miss the entire year. But it was the tenth round, my team foundation was set and I had all of my starters already, so I decided to take a chance on the upside of 2-3 possibly dominant months from Brand over a season of solid-ness from Battier. Plus, in a roto league with game limits, sometimes it is more valuable to have an injured star on the bench than a solid replacement-level player, as it makes daily roster decisions easier and can maximize the potential for each game played.
Biggest Surprise: I was surprised so many roto-friendly players went so late. Every season, guys without big names that hit a lot of three-pointers or that contribute to the team in consistent, unheralded ways end up near the top of fantasy raters and on teams’ untradeable list. Yet, because they aren’t glitzy names, these guys never get picked as high as they should. I write articles about these players every year, what I call my “All Garbage Man” team, and I thought they’d come off the board sooner in an “experts' draft”. I guarantee that by February, the owners of guys like Josh Childress (seventh round pick), Bell (ninth round), Battier (eleventh round) and Luke Walton (eleventh round) will be much happier with them than they are with many of the players picked before them…and that those of us that didn’t pick them will regret it.
General Observations: There was a bit of a changing of the guard this season, with lots of young upside guys moving over many of the old and maybe injured used-to-be-tried-and-true blue chippers. We saw Josh Smith go in the first round, Al Jefferson in the second, and both Kevin Durant and Gerald Wallace in the third. Meanwhile, former first round roto picks Jermaine O’Neal and Tracy McGrady slid to the fourth, Andrei Kirilenko fell to the end of the fifth, and the afore-mentioned Stojakovic didn’t go until the end of the ninth. It is nice to bet on young upside, but if I can get them at those slots, I wouldn’t mind taking a chance on the “old” upside with some of the former stars as well.
Matthew Berry, ESPN.com
Your Best Pick: Well, I was certainly happy to get Amare in the second round, but I’d probably have to say David West. People forget about him because he was injured for a decent amount of time last season and isn’t a flashy, famous player. What he is, however, is good. He averaged 18 and 8 last season when healthy and has a career 49 percent field goal percentage. He shot 48 percent last year and is also money from the line (82 percent) last season.
Your General Strategy: Same as it is every year. Just like I wrote in last year’s Draft Day Manifesto, I always go point guards and power forwards. Even for positions like shooting guard or small forward, I try to get players that put up point guard or power forward type stats (assists and steals, blocks and boards). Guys like Dwyane Wade (shooting guard), Lamar Odom (small forward) and Kirk Hinrich (qualifies at shooting guard) are examples of this.
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): Well, there were a lot of solid picks actually ,and I felt no one embarrassed themselves. But if the last rounds are for upside, I’ll give a shout out to Charlie Zegars, who grabbed Daniel Gibson in the 14th. He averaged basically 15 points his last five games of the year and was terrific in the Playoffs. If he continues that into the regular season, the young player is a very productive find that late in the draft.
Biggest Reach: Greg Oden in the third round. I like Oden, obviously, but being so young and being in the west will hurt his offensive numbers. I expect he gets double digit rebounds and nice block totals, but his rookie year is going to be very similar to Dwight Howard’s, which was solid, but not worth a third round pick.
Biggest Surprise: Steve Nash going fourth overall. Look, no one is a bigger fan of his than I. He’s a fantastic player, but at four overall you want someone who contributes across the board in all categories and Nash’s low totals in steals and blocks (even for a guard) make this a big high for me. I had him towards the end of the first round / early second round, so going ahead of guys like LeBron, Gilbert, even Dirk or Dwyane surprised me.
General Observations: This is going to be a very fun, competitive league. And I will beat Jon Loomer.
Matt Buser, Yahoo.com
Your Best Pick: Caron Butler (3.10) -- He posted top 20 8-cat per-game value last season, even though he played a number of games with a knee injury; that said, neither his knee nor his hand injury of last season is going to carry over.
Your General Strategy: In any draft, I simply look to draft the best available player until position or category needs absolutely dictate otherwise.
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): I can't narrow it down to one single pick. Gerald Wallace (30), Mike Miller (46), Leandro Barbosa (54), and Josh Howard (55) are among a few who I think will most outperform their draft position.
Biggest Reach: Jason Kidd (7), Josh Smith (12), Al Jefferson (20), Kevin Durant (29), Greg Oden (36), Shaquille O'Neal (72), and Eddy Curry (74) were among a number of players who went earlier than I thought they needed to or should have.
Biggest Surprise: I'm as excited as the next guy to see what Josh Smith will do, but I can't see using a first-round pick on him any format... yet.
Charlie Zegers, RotoWire.com
Your Best Pick: Danny Granger
Your General Strategy: My plan was to concentrate on teams that will play up-tempo this season -- more possessions means more opportunities to generate fantasy points. My roster is heavy on Nuggets, Raptors, Warriors and Grizzlies.
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): I love the selection of Kevin Durant by Chris Liss in the 3rd round.
Biggest Reach: I was surprised to see Josh Smith go before people like Amare Stoudemire and Chris Paul. From my own selections, I probably could have waited another round or two before getting Chucky Atkins (though I think he'll score a lot of points this year and was glad to get him).
General Observations: I'm very interested to see how Chris Liss' "don't draft anyone older than 25" strategy works out for him.
Rick Kamla, NBA.com
Your Best Pick: None. I did not like my draft spot from the 12 hole. While dudes are building around KG and Marion, my top two players are Josh Smith and Ray Allen. Sweet. I got sniped the entire draft by the dudes picking 10 and 11. Very frustrating mock draft. Unfortunately, I have to play with this ragged team all season.
Your General Strategy: In eight-category leagues, getting shooters is key because if they're good, you cover points, threes, and the percentages. That's four of the eight categories from one dude, if you pick the right dudes. That's why I took Ray Ray, BG, and Mo, who will determine whether I sink or swim in this league.
Best Pick of the Draft (any team): I was pretty happy to get both Okafor and Oden when I did, but I'm not waving any banners over here.
Biggest Reach: I don't know if it was the biggest reach, but I disagreed with KG as the number one pick. Last year the top three eight-cat players were Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, and Gilbert Arenas – in that order. Actually, I'd probably take Marion over Garnett, with everyone in Boston sacrificing stats for Ws.
Biggest Surprise: When I took McDyess, I was sure Bargnani or Nene would be there for me. I was shocked to be sniped on both...not to mention completely buzzkilled. The difference between Bargnani and Nene and McDyess is cavernous. I knew it wasn't my night when that happened.
General Observations: I haven't surveyed the other teams, but I get the feeling my team shall be tight in boards, blocks, threes, and percentages, but needy in terms of scoring and dimes. We shall see. All I know is that drafting 12 outta 12 isn’t fun.