By Jon Loomer|
Updated September 25, 2006 at 6:02 p.m.
September 17 | September 5 | Intro
We're finally here.
A number of major features have launched on NBA.com Fantasy. The first of which is a completely re-vamped fantasy section. Hand-in-hand is the ultra-hyped NBA.com Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner. Keeper leagues, fully customizable, everything you'd ever want in a Commissioner. Oh, and you know what? It's free. And you may just need some assistance as you prepare for your Commissioner drafts. How about a free draft kit?
It just doesn't get any better than this, folks. Wait, it does? Two more games are coming out soon as well? Last year's wildly successful Salary Cap Challenge is back for another go. In addition, we have another new kid on the block by the name of the NBA.com Pick One Challenge. Did you like the Drive to the Finals playoff fantasy game? You'll love Pick One.
One more thing. The reason you're reading this article in the first place: The NBA.com Premier Fantasy Championship. One league, 30 people from around the world, each fantasy GM runs an NBA team. Only the best of the best are involved, my friend. Oh, and there's a twist. We'll get to that.
Here's a quick overview of what's going down:
People from around the world have applied to become a GM of a fantasy NBA team. Close to 10,000 applicants have provided details of their fantasy conquests and exploits. Each applicant also chose five teams they'd most want to run.
Next, we weeded through the tremendous number of applicants and found the 30 best competitors world-wide. Each night, we stayed up until 3 a.m. deliberating on which applicants would make it to the next round. OK, I'm lying. Folks, we need sleep, too. However, after a scrutinizing process, we were able to break it down to thirty.
Once we had the field of 30 set, each GM chose a franchise player from the actual NBA team's roster. From there, the GM's build their own fantasy franchise of eight players.
The Franchise Player
This is the first step for the GM to fill out their roster. You see, the choice they make when pegging their franchise player determines their position when drafting to fill out the remainder of their roster. At first glance, it would appear the Lakers owner would start at an advantage over the Bucks owner given the options available. However, based on preseason projections (see our FREE Draft Kit) and our FSPI (NBA.com 's fantasy rating system), we will then rate the best franchise players chosen. The team with the best franchise player picks last; worst franchise player picks first.
Makes you think. Consider what the GM's had to wonder: "What if instead of Kobe, I roll the dice and keep Odom? Maybe everyone keeps their best player. Maybe Odom would then be the worst of the franchise players kept. At that point, I could start out with Odom and Kobe, which would likely be much better than going with Kobe and whomever the 60th or so player will be. Or instead of Kobe in the second round, maybe I'll end up with the 30th best player." The problem is that everyone announces their franchise player secretly to the PFC Commissioner. The GM's could only guess what other GM's were planning.
That brings us to the draft. Unlike your typical fantasy snake draft that goes first to last, last to first, the PFC mirrors the actual NBA. If you pick first, you'll be picking 30 picks later as well. No snake.
Having a draft with 30 people from around the world and across numerous time zones brings up another issue: How do we do it? You can't hold a live draft. Schedules will undoubtedly conflict and what is 3 pm for some people will be 3 am for others. Luckily, the Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner has this cool new feature known as the e-mail draft. Picks are made within the draft page of the league similarly to a live draft, and e-mail alerts are sent out to league members to let them know a pick has been made. Outside of the e-mail, the other main difference between an e-mail draft and a live draft is that the time limit to pick a player can be hours instead of minutes. So, it may take a week to get this done, but we'll get it done.
Each team will draft eight players. Think about that: 30 teams times eight players. We're talking 240 total players drafted (I'm down with the math). The typical fantasy league drafts about 150. Each GM better have a solid knowledge of the NBA and its players or they'll be scrambling in a hurry. The following spots will be included on the roster:
What this means is that each GM will have a six-player starting lineup and two bench spots. A key will be to draft versatile players who will be eligible at multiple positions.
The League Rules
Participants will be playing in a Head-to-Head league in which each category is a win. Categories are Field Goal Percentage, Free Throw Percentage, Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks and 3-Pointers. So, when your Pistons are up against Stan Brown's Mavericks, you will be competing in those eight categories. Each category is a win. At the end of one week (Monday to Sunday), the winner of the match-up is the team that takes the most categories. Those categorical wins are reflected, so you don't only want to win, but you want to win convincingly.
Everyone sets their lineup by the start of Monday's first game, after which time rosters are set for the week. Trades are encouraged, but they must first be allowed by the PFC Commissioner. Players are always on waivers and can only be picked up once a week on Sundays. How do you pick up those players? Put in a bid. Each GM has $100 (fake money, of course) to work with. Use it wisely.
Prior to the end of the NBA regular season, the fantasy playoffs will begin. Just like the actual NBA, eight teams from each conference advance. The final four teams will have the opportunity to return next season. The winner will be the first member of the NBA.com Fantasy Basketball Hall of Fame.
I said there was a twist, right? Don't sleep. Just because the GM's got into this incredible league that is being watched by the world doesn't mean they can coast. Each GM is on a month-to-month "contract" for the first three months of the season. After each of those months, ownership will pick up the option on all GM's whose teams have a .500 winning percentage or better. Those that are under .500? Their option is up.
The public is each GM's ownership, and the public will decide your fate in a vote if a GM is one of the teams with a losing record. That's right. If one team is losing, the GM can be fired and replaced by another applicant. And don't think that just because one GM dominated the first month that he or she can relax in month two. It's not about what their year-to-date record is at the end of each month, it's about what their record was for the current month. So, if a GM goes 30-2-0 during month one and 15-16-1 during month two, he or she could be shown the door after the second month. Whoever gets that job will thank you for it because they will start with a winning record.
PFC Developmental League
Of the applicants that didn't make it to the big leagues (i.e. the PFC), we have the PFC D-Leagues. If the Detroit Pistons GM gets fired after the first month, who will be the replacement? The answer: The current leader of the PFC Detroit Pistons D-League. To accomplish this, 30 D-Leagues need to be created (one for each PFC team) consisting of 12 teams a piece.
If you play in a D-League and your parent team GM keeps their job, you still have something to play for. These fantasy hoopsters are also battling each other to play for next year's spot. As mentioned earlier, the top four teams in the PFC will be invited back for next year's competition. After that, the top 26 winning PFC D-League teams (those teams that won their leagues) will be invited to fill out the league.
The Premier Fantasy Championship is just getting started, and the momentum is building quickly. Don't miss out!