Took part in my longest-running league’s draft tonight. It’s a league of friends and co-workers in about its fifth season or so. It’s always fun drafting in a league full of people you know personally because the level of expertise varies wildly and some of the picks are truly shocking (i.e. Derek Fisher going in the seventh round!).
Also, considering the “financial motivation”, there is always an added layer of excitement when you know you will not only be embarrassing your friends and co-workers, but taking their hard-earned dollars as well.
My team is named The Monkey Kings, after the tremendous nickname request from Lakers rookie Sun Yue.
It is an eight category roto league (standard categories minus turnovers) with 10 active players (PG, SG, G, SF PF, F, 2 Cs, 2 Us). Not going to do a detailed breakdown of this draft, just a quick recap of how it went:
1st Round (11th overall): Elton Brand, PF/C. Very happy with this pick.
2nd Round (14th overall): Deron Williams, PG. He’s healing quickly and the 2nd best player at the most crucial position.
3rd Round (35th overall): Rudy Gay, SF/PF. Was a little surprised he fell this far and it was a no-brainer, giving me a great big man, great “little” man and great all-around threat. Nice balance thusfar.
4th Round (38th overall): Vince Carter, SG. Just missed out on Calderon here, so Carter seemed appropriate. However, I’m definitely trading him if he gets off to a hot start.
5th Round (59th overall): LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C. Another solid big guy. The arrival of Oden could work either way. He could sap Aldridge’s opportunity for rebounds or he could help draw defenses away, making things eeasier for LaMarcus. Either way, too much upside here to pass up in the fifth.
6th Round (62nd overall): Andrew Bogut, C. Had a choice to make here between Bogut, Horford, Chandler or Oden. As I noted in my post regarding the GMTR Reader’s League Draft, Bogut seems to be getting overlooked despite really strong production. Looks like I’m going to be his biggest fan this season.
7th Round (83rd overall): Manu Ginobili, SG. Even with the injury that will force to miss the first month of the season, I had Ginobili ranked somehwere around 50th on my sheet, so needless to say grabbing him here felt like pretty good risk vs. reward. Spurs are going to need him big-time when he gets back and they are convinced he’ll be healthier than he’s been in a few seasons.
8th Round (86th overall): Leandro Barbosa, PG/SG. Two days ago drafting him made me pace around my apartment and yet here I go again. At this point, I felt some 3-pointers and a potential for assists were in order. In retrospect, kind of wished I grabbed Rajon Rondo here.
9th Round (107th overall): Kirk Hinrich, PG/SG. Somewhere in the middle of the ninth round the option of grabbing Gilbert Arenas began to emerge. Much like Ginobili, even with his injury he slipped way too far. But did I want Williams, Ginobili AND Arenas? It was a moot point because Agent Zero got grabbed a few picks before mine and Hinrich was a clear-cut choice for me.
I can’t say I’m not concerned about the situation in Chicago but it’s the ninth round and gambles must be taken. Plus, with some of the horrid earlier choices by my leaguemates, I knew there would be solid players in the back of the draft.
10th Round (110th overall): J.R. Smith, SG. Despite his shortcomings, big things are expected from Smith this season. If he doesn’t get thrown in jail, that is.
11th Round (131st overall): Hakim Warrick, SF/PF. He may be the second option behind Rudy Gay on a team lacking talent. His per minute numbers always indicate a decent amount of upside.
12th Round (134th overall): Andray Blatche, C/PF. Realizing my team needed a little bit more rebounding and blocks since I had not picked a frontcourt player since the sixth round, I was happy Blatche fell to me. With Brendan Haywood out and injury-prone Etan Thomas as the only other big man, Blatche can do some nice things and has a lot of potential for a 12th rounder.
13th Round (155th overall): Amir Johnson, SF/PF. Another player I chose for the second time in as many drafts. The Detroit beat reporters continue to insist that Johnson could very well be named a starter and Basketball Monster had him projected to average eight rebounds and two blocks per game. That would be way more production that any other 13th rounder.
Overall, it’s a well-balanced team and when Williams and Ginobili return (assuming there are no other injuries), I’m looking at a starting lineup of that duo plus Carter, Brand, Gay, Aldridge, Bogut. That team is a beast.
I’ll fill out the lineup with Hinrich, Barbosa, Warrick, Johnson, Smith or Blatche depending on how things shake out. Though I am already is trade talks to possibly acquire Andre Miller or Rondo. We’ll see how that goes. I love this stuff.