Empire Building Part IV: Lock on Targets

Once you have a completed a thoroughly researched list of players based upon whatever system you felt best, order is key. How you arrange these players to make the list as functional as possible on Draft Day is the easy part.


I’ll have two lists of players in front me during any draft: an overall list of players ranked from best to worst; and a list of players by position broken down into tiers based on value.


Where your particular tiers begin and end is subjective, of course, but I’ll be getting into how this year’s tiers breakdown in future posts.


But once your list is broken into tiers, it’s time to figure out which players you want on your team and why. These are considered, appropriately, your targets and they don’t always have to be the best players on the board.


For instance, I’ll be targeting John Salmons in leagues this year, although clearly there are plenty of players I would choose ahead of him. It’s a matter of choosing which names will jump out at you when the draft has been whittled down to that particular tier.


The reason you consider players targets and sleepers (players who others may overlook) varies. It could be a team change, added responsibility with their team, gradual improvement, etc.


In Salmons case it is due to the new makeup of the Kings. Mike Bibby was traded last summer and Ron Artest was shipped out last month. As a result, Salmons is the second scoring option in that offense behind Kevin Martin and he performed admirably in the same situation when Sacramento we beset by injuries last season.


More of my own targets and sleepers will be highlighted as the season goes along.


Drafts usually happen so quickly (especially when done online with a 90 second limit), that is easy to overlook which players you have denoted as targets. Therefore it is important to make these players as clearly marked as possible.


Use red marker, a larger or bolded font, circle the names once your list in printed out….do anything you can to make yourself recognize that this name can NOT be forgotten.


The next real question is, of course, what players to target. Specific players to target for this year will be explored in future posts, but generally you want to look for a number of key factors: 

  • Will the player be more relied upon to score/take shots than previously?
  • Will the player that posted excellent per minute numbers see an increased number of minutes played?
  • Is a good player that was derailed by injuries last season finally healthy and ready to perform at previous levels?

Targets are an essential par of draft strategy but certainly not one to get hung up on. If you don’t nail any of your targets, all is not lost. Draft the closest equivalent or, potentially, more superior player.


Again the key is value and targets are players you feel you can draft lower than their future value would warrant.


Do not denote every player you would like to own as a target, otherwise you’d have the first four rounds of players marked up. You want to focus on players  that will increase in value and outperform their draft position and exceed their perceived value.


And before I get too repetitive, Part V will be posted early next week.


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Filed under Draft Strategy, Season Preview

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