Points in the Paint

Fantasy Basketball Opinions, Strategy & Tips

Redemption Trifecta and Steep Learning Curves, Part 1

Posted by Erik on October 29, 2008

My mettle as a Fantasy Basketball fanatic was recently tested as I engaged in an attempt to draft for 3 leagues whose live drafts started within the span of three hours. I was desperately trying to regain focus and emotional stability after my tumultuous GMTR Readers’ League draft.

We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what we will do, by finding out what we will not do.

– Samuel Smiles

Dinner and a Draft

The first draft was for my original Fantasy Roto League with my buddies. My friend, Frogs, invited me over for a Draft Party that evening. We had pasta, chilli, and barbecued pork.

The league is a 13-man, 9-cat, rotisserie format, with 14 roster spots to fill (PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C x 2, Util x 2 and Bench x 2)

Dinner started later than usual, but as soon as it did the dinner table was filled with lively and interesting conversation. As we were planning to break out the dessert, I received a text message from one of my buddies over at the league complaining about his internet connection and how he was having some problems. I replied with a short but sympathetic message. I then saw the clock on my cellular phone and it was 9:05! This is how the chaos began… (profanity has been dialed down in this version)

Me: Dude! Crap! It’s 9:05! The draft started already!

Frogs: Shit! Shit! Shit! – Runs to his PC

(I scamper to set-up my laptop)

Me: Oh my God! We probably missed the first round!

Frogs: No! Maybe even two rounds!

Me: Nooooo! <thought bubble: Thank God I pre-ranked!>

(I’m first to log-in and launch into the Live Draft applet)

Me: Dude! We missed two rounds. I am 6th and you’re 13th. I got Brand and Josh Smith. You got Granger and Bosh.

Frogs: I got who? I’m last? Oh hell no! Crap! If I knew I was last, I would have bounced Bosh and Al-Jeff! Ugh!

Me: Don’t worry man. There’s nothing that can go wrong in the first 2 rounds that we can’t compensate for in the next few rounds. It’s roto!

Frogs: Argh!

Side note: For whatever personal reasons he may have, Frogs NEVER pre-ranks. I always do. Perhaps after this harrowing experience, he may change his mind about pre-ranking.

Ok it wasn’t the best of starts for any Live draft, but I didn’t mind my core. Here’s how my team eventually panned out:

1. (6th pick) Elton Brand PF/C – AUTOPICKED. Not a problem here as far as I’m concerned. I don’t mind drafting a team (roto especially) around a solid big man and that’s exactly how I view Elton to be this year in Philly.

2. (21st pick) Josh Smith SF/PF – AUTOPICKED. I’m actually kind of surprised Josh reached me. I normally see him get reached for earlier in this league. I normally would have preferred to have paired my drafted top tier center with a top tier PG, but Josh was a welcome autodraft consolation. He solidifies my blocks cat while providing me with a lot of other strong contributions in various other cats.

3. (32nd pick) Rudy Gay SF/PF – Since the drop off of PGs passed me and I didn’t really feel like gambling on Jason Kidd. David West was still on the board but I felt that I had to start transitioning into some small guy numbers and Rudy was the best transition pick on the block. I really like his upside this year and I can’t wait to see what kind of season he will bring. I simply couldn’t pass up on his talent at this spot.

4. (47th pick) Devin Harris PG – I needed a PG at this point. Mo Williams was taken and even if he was on the board I probably would still have taken Devin. Yes, that’s how high I am on Devin for this coming season. He’s upside in a bottle. We should package him; export him; and have world peace. – Fine, that’s a bit on the overkill side but hey it got my point across.

5. (58th pick) Andrew Bogut C – I went PF/C, F, F, PG; it was now time to come around full circle and fill the 2nd center slot for my roster. I like Andrew’s slight upside. Charlie V, his front court partner, is more like an over sized swing as opposed to a “true” PF so this Aussie should still get a lion’s share of the boards, blocks and high percentage shots.

6. (73rd pick) Mike Bibby PG – I was light on treys and and I wanted to address it. Mike helps out with 5 dimes or so a game plus lights it up from beyond the arc often enough to contribute reasonably enough to help out my 3s cat. I am excited to see him play a full season alongside Joe Johnson this year.

7. (84th pick) T.J. Ford PG – T.J. officially locks down my team’s being league-competitive in assists. I have no idea how he will fare in his new team, but I’m willing to put some faith on T.J. as a relatively late gamble.

8. (99th pick) J.R. Smith SG – It seems a bit early but I like J.R. this year. I’m hoping that some maturity will set in and he can get his game in focus. He might actually be a future starter in the event that Allen Iverson gets traded. J.R.’s explosive and shoots at a decent 46% from the field (sweet for a 3-point shooter)

9. (110th pick) Raja Bell SG – A trey specialist. Not much more to add. Am now decently balanced as a team.

10. (125th pick) Matt Barnes SF – At this point my next draft started and I pretty much went on cruise control.

11. (136th pick) Luke Ridnour PG – He’s pretty good at this spot. He appears to be undervalued by most guys. I guess it’s related to how high most people are about Ramon Sessions. In the end, the starting spot is Luke’s to lose and I feel his experience and court savvy will be key in keeping his minutes close to the 30s.

12. (151st pick) Daniel Gibson SG – Yes he’s just another 3-point shooter in most people’s eyes, but I feel he has enough upside to warrant being my last pick.

Some interesting points of note during this draft were:

  • Kobe Bryant was picked first overall and not Chris Paul.
  • An injured Deron Williams was picked 7th overall!
  • Pau Gasol was picked 11th overall.


One Response to “Redemption Trifecta and Steep Learning Curves, Part 1”

  1. Arabain said

    Josh Smith is a risk going into the new season after the not-too-happy contract issue and an intense relationship with Woodson. He is a roto stud though. 21 is a tough pick for PGs, unless somebody is where he should not be (like Billups falling, he’s underrated in a lot of leagues), and too early to reach for Calderon. I thought Harris was a solid choice at 47, though Andre Miller would normally still be around at this point and would have been a safer pick (don’t know if he was still on board in your draft). The later picks were all solid, but what do you think of Tyrus Thomas this year? He seems to be getting a lot of minutes and a really big role.

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