Cohen: 2011 All-Star Fantasy Draft

By Josh Cohen
February 19, 2011

LOS ANGELES - I remember when I was in high school during study hall period, friends and I would argue about what players we would select if the NBA started all over and a draft was initiated to populate rosters.

Though it may have seemed more beneficial to get my algebra and biology homework out of the way, for some reason, debating this topic I think made me a more intuitive person.

While drafting may seem rather simplistic and trouble-free, it actually does take plenty of good judgment and observation to effectively assemble a team from scratch.

Back then, I remember one of my buddies thought he had amassed an unassailable roster because he essentially chose the best point guards, shooting guards and small forwards.

However, when we all looked at our rosters on paper subsequently, he realized that he had overloaded his team with too many wing players and lacked any sort of depth in the paint.

It’s just like the real thing. When a general manager formulates his team, it’s imperative to incorporate a balance of quality post players, attackers, perimeter shooters, solid defenders and rebounders and a floor leader that can stabilize the squad’s chemistry.

While in the NBA, there is always free agency and trades to help upgrade a franchise; drafting is generally the most efficient way to rebuild a roster.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, for example, mastered this strategy by drafting several of the players that are participating at All-Star Weekend, including All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and Slam Dunk participant Serge Ibaka. They, as a result, are now in contention to challenge the other elite teams in the West.

While watching the All-Stars practice for Sunday’s big game and the Saturday night competitors prepare for their highly anticipated contests, I started thinking it would be pretty interesting if a few of us here in Los Angeles did our own fantasy draft.

Josh Cohen

Using all of the players involved at All-Star Weekend, including the All-Star Game, Slam Dunk competition, Three-Point Shootout and Rookies vs. Sophomores Game from Friday, I along with Dan Savage and the Orlando Magic’s Communications Coordinator Elizabeth Brett conducted a mock draft.

To reasonably allow each of us to have a fair opportunity of generating the “better” roster, the draft was carried out in a snake format. In other words, the person who selected first in the first round selected last in the second round and that pattern kept rotating until the completion of the draft.

Also of note, the teams that we constructed were for one season – not a building franchise. As a result, age and player potential were not significant sources of our drafting decisions.

Like always, Savage won the very momentous coin flip – allowing him to select first.

Here is the outcome – and again – the only players that were permitted were those that were participating in any of the events at this year’s All-Star Weekend. The number in parenthesis indicates their overall draft selection number.

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Dwight Howard (1)

LeBron James (2)

Dwyane Wade (3)
Derrick Rose (6)

Kobe Bryant (5)

Kevin Durant (4)
Carmelo Anthony (7)

Amar'e Stoudemire (8)

Kevin Garnett (9)
Dirk Nowitzki (12)

Deron Williams (11)

Rajon Rondo (10)
Pau Gasol (13)

Tim Duncan (14)

Blake Griffin (15)
Joe Johnson (18)

Paul Pierce (17)

Al Horford (16)
Chris Paul (19)

Ray Allen (20)

Manu Ginobili (21)
Kevin Love (24)

Russell Westbrook (23)

Chris Bosh (22)
John Wall (25)

DeMarcus Cousins (26)

Stephen Curry (27)
Derrick Favors (30)

Wesley Matthews (29)

DeJuan Blair (28)
DeMar DeRozan (31)

Landry Fields (32)

Jrue Holiday (33)
James Jones (36)

Dorell Wright (35)

JaVale McGee (34)

Who do you think has the better team?

Who do you think has the better team?

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