Currently underway
    Tuesday, October 31
    8 p.m. ET.

Re: PFC Draft Now Underway
Mon., October 2, 2006
PFC Owners and General Managers
CC: NBA Fantasy Owners and General Managers


Now that the Premier Fantasy Championship Draft is underway (okay, we're like two picks in), let's take a look at how the draft order was determined. Remember, each team got to keep one player from the actual franchise with the same name. Player rankings were based according the the FSPI, which I had no part of putting together. Once the names were all submitted, the draft order was set. There are plenty of good players available no matter where you pick in the first round. So now that we're moving along, stay close to your computers so we are not left waiting.

As commissioner, I've just implemented a rule that you may only leave your computers to eat and run to the bathroom. It was a 1-0 vote. Of course, Blackberry and wireless network users are exempt, but I do not want to know if you bring your laptops to the restroom.

We also had our first trade of the season. Whoo hooo. The Miami Heat sent their 1st (#3)and 5th (#153) picks to the Atlanta Hawks for their 1st (#1) and 6th (#181) picks. Does that mean Miami will actually get Dwyane Wade after all?

Top Ten FSPI Available Players (prior to Draft)
3Shawn MarionPhoenix Suns
4Dwayne Wade Miami Heat
8Elton BrandLos Angeles Clippers
12Steve Nash Phoenix Suns
13Andrei KirilenkoUtah Jazz
14Jason Kidd New Jersey Nets
18Vince CarterNew Jersey Nets
21Amare Stoudemire Phoenix Suns
22Rashard LewisSeattle Sonics
23Marcus Camby Denver Nuggets
So who why did certain players keep one player over another? For some, it was a no-brainer. Others deliberated until the last second of a midnight deadline.

The No-Brainers: Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Lakers, Mavericks, Wizards, Sonics, Celtics, Sixers and Hornets.

These guys are all franchise players no matter what team they are on, and their top ten ranking in the FSPI only confirms that.

"I picked Lebron James as my franchise player. That was pretty much a no brainer for me," said Cavaliers GM Kris. "I had to think about it for a second. If I picked anybody else, then all I really would be doing is essentially giving somone else in the league access to the best player in the draft. The object of a draft is still to get the best players on your team."

"I considered picking a lower rated player in the hopes of snagging one of the Suns castoffs and a great draft position, but between teams with exceptionally low rated 'best players' and teams with an incentive to pick a low rated guy due to their best player not being so good," admitted Sonics GM Donald, who will build around Ray Allen. "I felt it'd be better to just take the sure thing and avoid the risk of possibly having my first two picks being of the 4th and 8th round quality. A franchise player should be someone you can build your team around and who will actually play during the FBA playoff rather than resting for the NBA playoffs. Ray is an annual lock for great percentages, league leading threes, and is always one of the top 3-5 pure guards in the league.... and while other team's stars are likely to be benched or rested during the last few weeks of the season, Ray will likely be 'en fuego' as he tries to beat his current three-point record."

"Why I chose Chris Paul? Mainly because he was the best player available to me, and the next best player I didn't see fit to take for the draft postition that it would have granted me," Hornets GM Kyle said. "Taking Chris Paul and waiting for my second pick, which will likely be in the middle of the draft, will give me a better one-two combo than taking Peja, or David West and having a higher pick. I think that the second player I draft will be more valuable to me."

"I chose Kobe Bryant because he is the MVP of Fantasy Basketball," said David of the Los Angeles Lakers. "First, I thought of picking Lamar Odom to get a higher pick in the next round, but there was no guarantee of a top five pick being there. Kobe is a great player to build around, like the LAL have chosen to build around him in the NBA. Kobe will lead me to another FANTASY CHAMPIONSHIP, like he has in any other leagues I have been able to pick him in. Kobe is a great player but it really doesn't matter who I pick as a franchise player, because I will win anyway."

Shooting For the Top Pick: Jazz, Trailblazers, Bucks, Grizzlies, Heat, Clippers and Hawks.

These guys had the opposite strategy. Instead of keeping the star player on their team, they took a player with potential upside and an FSPI over 100 with the hopes of getting a top pick. The Hawks won the lottery while the Heat got a lot of people talking (more on them later).

"Without the snake draft, having high draft position is of the upmost importance," Ruey, the Hawks GM, wrote. "With there being 30 teams, there will definitely be quite a drop-off between the front, middle, and the end of each round (for the most part). With that in mind, I decided to roll the dice and take advantage of the grossly underrated FPSI of the sophomore sensation, Marvin Williams (hoping he can translate his success in summer league into a starting job and breakout season) to almost guarantee the top spot. The only other option that I strongly considered was Josh Smith, who was a second half stud last year and sure to go quite high in most traditional drafts this year. However, I thought there were some risk of landing in the middle of the draft order rather than the top by selecting Josh Smith, and the difference between drafting in the front to the middle of seven rounds outweighs the possible production difference. Call me a believer that Marvin will show the world this year that he is just as good and valuable (both in real life and fantasy) as Chris Paul."

"I picked Mo Williams because I believe he gave me the most value based on his FSPI," wrote Bucks owner Justin. "A high draft pick is important to me, and I expect Mo to have a breakout season starting at pg for the Milwaukee Bucks."

"I picked Carlos Boozer based on pure value," wrote Utah's Jake. "Anyone below Boozer in Utah has no guaranteed value on the team. At 110+, Boozer gives me a good draft position in the later rounds as well as a stable starter. He's also specialized enough that it's rather simple to build a H2H team around him, especially with a relatively high draft position."

"I choose Zach Randolph based on the criteria that he was a player with a poor FPSI who has good upside due to the conditions present on the Blazers," Thomas of the Trailblazers wrote. "I am less sure as to the ability of any other Blazer to be a top 50 player."

Overvalued Picks: Bulls and Rockets.

Based on the FSPI value of their players, I'm going to do some editorializing here (since that's what I get paid for) and say that I think the Bulls and Rockets could have made a better selection. I'm not calling these picks mistakes since, well, I regretted my own decision after seeing how the cards fell. Kirk Hinrich and Yao Ming are stars on their team, but we'll see how they fare this season. As for why their owners selected them...

"I chose Kirk Hinrich because Captain Kirk is one of the NBA's emerging players and puts up better than average numbers in multiple categories," chicago GM Mark wrote. "Also, choosing Hinrich as my franchise player should definitely earn me a top four, maybe top three pick in the draft. Watch out!"
(Editor's note: Mark and the Bulls have the 16th pick)

"In choosing Yao, I had no real viable option. He's lean, mean and one of, if not, the best in his position," Rockets GM Dan said. "And of course, it doesn't hurt that he's Asian, just like me..."

Undervalued Picks: Pacers and Nets.

Not only do the Pacers get Jermaine O'Neal, but they also have the 11th pick. The Nets get a healthy Richard Jefferson and the 13th pick. These are players who should finish with higher FSPIs at the end of the season and earned their owners better draft picks.

"My thought process was very easy as Jermaine O'Neal was ranked around 49 and getting a center capable of putting up 20/10/2 blocks made it a no brainer," Indiana's Jerald said."

"I chose R.J. primarily because I figure draft rank to be quite important and yet expect many of the other players to covert their top pick too much to risk it being stolen," Nets GM David said. "Compared with Kidd and Carter, RJ gives me a good shot at achieving a high draft pick AND not lose much in the process. Kidd is aging gracefully and still ranked 14. Carter, who is always a bit of a worry, is 18th... whilst RJ is 46th and still on the rise. Consider it a safe middle ground!"

Picks That Make You Go Hmmmm: Suns, Heat and Magic.

The three kept players who got people talking on the league message board (which will soon be viewable by the general public, so keep it clean) most were Suns center/forward Boris Diaw, Heat forward Udonis Haslem and Magic foward Darko Milicic. Leaving Milicic aside for a second, because he finished last season on a high note and will finally have the opportunity to prove himself on a regular basis, let's look at Phoenix and Miami. The Phoenix Suns kept Boris Diaw over Marion, Nash and Stoudemire. The trio of Suns stars actually affected how others drafted. In explaining their rationale, many owners admitted to picking a player of lesser value to have a shot at Marion or Nash. Will the gamble pay off? We'll see starting today.

"I kept Diaw over Marion so I didn't have to draft a center and it gives me a better draft pick," said Eric of the Phoenix Suns.

Carlos of the Miami Heat wrote: "I picked Udonis Haslem as my Franchise Player and passed on Mr. Incredible (Dwyane Wade) for the next reasons: * Haslem is ranked (145) on the FSPI list, which in my opinion, is really low for him. Same story in real life like you wrote in your Heat Review article, "Udonis Haslem is often a forgotten man". Always give you 10 ppg, 10 rpg, 50 percent FG, 80 percent FT and most important, plays every game of the season. So it was the perfect strategy 'cause I thought nobody was going to pick below him and I was going to get the first pick. Get Wade and climb in the charts of the draft to the top. * Another reason was that made me make that decision was that the draft type was no snake, so the better draft order you have, more advantage you get. If I have first pick... I get 1, 31, 61, etc. instead of getting 27, 57, 87. But it really was a risk to run, 'cause Wade is so valuable. Plus, the thought process that went into it and what you expected/expect to happen as a result. * It really was a risky play to do that. But thank God it worked, and in my opinion, couldn't worked even better now that I analyze my situation. I got the third pick. How's that better? The top four players left based the FSPI are Marion, Wade, Brand and Nash. Not only can I get Wade, I could even get better. Marion is the prototype of the all-around fantasy player. Wade is Mr. Incredible. Brand has MVP numbers. Not to mention two-time MVP Steve Nash. I knew that the Cavs owner wasn't going to leave "The King," but I was hoping not only to get the first pick, I even thought that I could get even better than Wade, and probably get Garnett or Kobe, which did not happened, Marion, Brand or Nash which did. Wade is my favorite player, but I have to be objective. If I would've got the first pick, it would be so hard for me not to draft Wade and draft Marion, Brand or Nash. Simply because Wade is my favorite player, I would draft him. Right now, I'm in a WIN-WIN Situation. If I get other than Wade, which I probably do ('cause Wade's name has heavier weight than Marion, Brand and Nash), I'll get even better numbers. And If I get him, I will have my favorite player in the team. I even thought to trade my third pick for the first. But I will let them break their heads all week so I can focus in my next picks, which matters a lot."

Well, at least you know what people are thinking now... There is a lot of thought that goes into each decision, as you would expect with this group of dedicated fantasy experts. Now that you know how people are approaching this, maybe it will affect how you draft. With that, good luck with the draft and your selections. Of course, if you take someone I want, I will be sure to call you out and make fun of you in some way next week... Now let's hurry this draft up. We all have real work to do...


P.S. - Remember to check out The League Office for all updates and pay extra close attention because you might be selected to replace one of the owners during the year.

Curious to see which players were selected as franchise picks? Announcement of Franchise Players