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Drive to the Finals
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June 3 -- J. Stackhouse
June 2 -- Ben Wallace
June 1 -- Jason Terry
May 31 -- Chauncey Billups
May 30 -- Leandro Barbosa
All Expert Picks
June 1 -- Hold on Tight
May 30 -- No Expert Witness
May 26 -- On Second Thought...
May 24 -- Hands off the Keys
May 23 -- End in Sight
May 20 -- The Curse Continues
May 18 -- Advantage: Non-Experts
May 17 -- Resident Expert
May 16 -- Never Mind
May 15 -- Park It
May 10 -- Do the Right Thing
May 5 -- Now What?
May 3 -- He Did What?
May 1 -- Just Getting Interesting
April 29 -- Adjusting On the Fly
April 25 -- No Doubt
April 24 -- Break Out the Abacus
April 23 -- Let's Roll
April 22 -- The Clock Ticks

Posted by By Jon Loomer on June 6, 2006 3:35 p.m. ET


Experts Win! Experts Win! I can't believe it, the Experts Win! Out of 35,000 entrants, the Experts have earned the label with an unprecedented shocker!

That's what I had hoped to say. We are, I must say, doing quite well. At this minute, we are perched at the 99th percentile in 226th place. Not bad.

And considering we still have five very good Miami Heat players left including Wade and Shaq, we could still make some noise. We just won't finish in first.

I checked out the leaderboard to see what our chances might be. Granted, it depends on more than just the players remaining. Timing is everything. You and I could have the same six players to choose from, but I could pick Wade on a night when he scores 20 PRA compared to the 50 PRA you get from him on another night. This is the story of my life.

So any evaluation right now is an inexact science. That said, if you don't have players left, you aren't moving up anytime soon.

As I looked through the top 50, most teams are in bad shape. This is no shocker. Had the Pistons and Spurs stormed through the playoffs without much of a fight, we'd likely find several top fantasy teams with full squads primed and ready for the Finals. Instead, we had several back-and-forth series, and two semi underdogs advanced to the NBA Finals.

So, I'm not ripping people who are in the top 50 now but with little to choose from. We will pass you, but I feel your pain.

This was the case for 49 of the 50 teams. The one team that is in the best shape? You guessed it, the #1 team.

This is shocking to me. To be in first place at this point, you have to score a lot of points. And to score a lot of points, you need to pick players -- it would seem -- from teams that are in the Finals (like Dirk, Wade, Shaq).

While this was partially true for the current leader (they picked Dirk), their player pool for the Finals is incredibly clean. Up until last week, they hadn't picked a single player from either the Heat or Mavs. This is startling to me. They took Walker, Dirk, and Josh Howard last week, which leaves them more than enough for the Finals.

This is a near perfect score card. Instead of Dirk or Howard, they could have picked Raja Bell. But otherwise, I had a hard time picking this entry apart. Other good players who were left on the table include Kirk Hinrich, Marcus Camby, Stephen Jackson, Peja Stojakovic, Chris Kaman, and Caron Butler.

Wow. Most of these players were knocked out early, so I can hardly hold this person guilty of poor management.

What do they have left? Dwyane Wade, Shaqille O'Neal, Udonis Haslem, Jason Williams, James Posey, Jason Terry, Devin Harris, and Jerry Stackhouse. That's eight players who shouldn't have any problem providing 15+ PRA.

We're not doing too badly ourselves, given that we have Wade, Shaq, Haslem, Williams, and Posey. We just don't have the Mavs. The problem is, though, that we trail the leader by nearly 100 points. Yeah, we're not making up that difference. Maybe they'll forget to make their picks the rest of the way. That would be a $25K mistake, right?

So this person... This person did it right. I am confident that we will continue to climb the standings and may even crack the top 50 and beyond. But the winner of this thing could very well win it by a significant margin. Nice work, my friend.

Then again, I may have just jinxed you.

On a semi-related note, I'd like to say that my obsession with this game has carried over into otherwise uncharted territory. That territory? The WNBA. We have a WBNA fantasy game called Triple Threat which is much like Drive to the Finals. I know very little about the league or its players, but playing this game has taken me over to the feminine side.

Stop it. Not like that.

And now, I'm addicted. It's sick really. I spent eight hours over the weekend creating a spreadsheet to project performance and maximize PRA. Now I'm even writing an article about it. So humor me. Read it. Play the game. You won't be sorry.

Good luck over the final round!