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2013-14 NBA Season Preview: Fantasy Basketball BMF Mock Draft Re-Cap

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Are Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks are heading into a make or break season

OK, so I’m a professional fantasy writer. Who cares? We’re all in the same boat. In the last month or so, I’ve drafted eight fantasy football teams, binge-watched “Breaking Bad” and paid very close attention to the MLB pennant races. One thing I haven’t done? Prepare for the upcoming fantasy NBA season. It’s time to start.

I couldn’t attend the recent Baller Mind Frame mock draft because, as DV says, I “still care about what my fiancé thinks” and we had a fancy dinner planned. I clearly need to get my priorities in order, but in the meantime, I’m going to recap the draft that I unfortunately missed. No bias here… just a fantasy writer ripping on his colleagues from afar.

Format: 12 teams, head-to-head, standard nine categories, snake draft.

Round 1
1. LeBron James – Baller’s Life (Zach Oliver)
2. Kevin Durant – Team Hardaway Jr. (Erik Ong)
3. James Harden – Kyle’s Team (Kyle Johnson)
4. Chris Paul – Team Crane (Ryan Keith)
5. Russell Westbrook – BK Expensive Rent (Aaron Lanton)
6. Stephen Curry – Wolverine Killers (Daniel Rakes)
7. Kevin Love – Vintage Flow (Mister King)
8. Kyrie Irving – Barkley’s Butt (DV)
9. Paul George – Average Joe’s (David Hanna)
10. Carmelo Anthony – East StL Deelers (Frankie Lloyd)
11. Marc Gasol – The Beasley Boys (Steven Shaw)
12. Derrick Rose – Hardwood Hustlers (Rich Alejandria)

Analysis: The first two picks are no-brainers, obviously. I like Harden at the 3 spot, but the third slot is easily the worst draft position this season. You miss LeBron James/Kevin Durant and you’re also going to miss any elite player that slides into the second round. James and Durant are so good; I’d probably trade any other first round pick plus my third round to move into the first two slots.

If the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t part with Harden before last season, they’d have three selections in the Top 5. It’s a shame they didn’t keep that team together, but then again, Harden’s fantasy stock skyrocketed in Houston. No pun intended.
Derrick Rose at 12th overall is an interesting pick. Personally, I wouldn’t touch him until I see him play 5-on-5. It’s obviously a high-upside selection, but I don’t expect him to go this early in most drafts unless he can prove himself healthy (and mentally ready) in the preseason. Maybe a year from now we’ll be comparing him to Adrian Peterson, but who knows?

Frankie hates and regrets his Carmelo Anthony pick. He claims he was “chopping lettuce” and got distracted. No idea if that’s a new slang term for something dirty, but with Frankie it’s always safe to err on the side of dirty. Anyway, Melo would have been my guy at that slot. I like the pick. The steal of the round, if he stays healthy, will be Kevin Love. I could see Love going as high as third overall if he proves healthy in the preseason.

Paul George and Marc Gasol jump into Round 1 after award-winning campaigns last season. While I love both players, this might be a tad early. I would have preferred John Wall over them.

Best value: LeBron James/ Kevin Durant
Biggest reach: Derrick Rose

Round 2
13. Serge Ibaka
14. Deron Williams
15. Anthony Davis
16. LaMarcus Aldridge
17. John Wall
18. Ricky Rubio
19. Al Jefferson
20. Al Hordord
21. Nicolas Batum
22. Dwyane Wade
23. Dirk Nowitzki
24. Joakim Noah

Analysis: On the 12-13 swing, The Beasley Boys grab Serge Ibaka to pair with Derrick Rose. It’s nice to have a PG/big man combo at that draft position, but I don’t love the pair he chose. John Wall and Al Jefferson would have been my combo. Still, Rose and Ibaka offer a ton of upside and they’re not bad picks. Ibaka’s average draft position in early-drafting leagues is No. 56. But in my leagues, someone always takes him very early. Ibaka absolutely dominates the blocks category, averaging 3.03 per game last season.

By pairing Rubio with Love, Vintage Flow is clearly going for the “draft-only-Timberwolves” strategy.

Nicolas Batum is a stud that does it all, but personally, he’s not sexy enough to be my second-round pick.

Dwyane Wade is an interesting player this season. He’ll be motivated to have a huge season to convince LeBron not to opt out and leave Miami. But he’ll also miss games during the fantasy playoffs to rest up for the real playoffs. I expect him to win you some weeks in head-to-head play and then disappoint down the stretch.

Best value: John Wall
Biggest reach: Ricky Rubio
Best team so far: Erik Ong’s squad of Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki

Round 3
25. Brook Lopez
26. Mike Conley
27. Kawhi Leonard
28. Larry Sanders
29. Rudy Gay
30. Nikola Vuvevic
31. Pau Gasol
32. Damian Lillard
33. Tim Duncan
34. Kemba Walker
35. Chris Bosh
36. Roy Hibbert

Analysis: I love Lillard. In fact, I would have taken him in the second round in many scenarios. He averaged 19 points, 6.5 assists and hit 183 three-pointers as a rookie. He’s been working on defense with Gary Payton and I expect his steals total to significantly improve. He’s a guy to target.

Vintage Flow has changed its mind, passing on 10 Timberwolves, and focusing on the “draft-only-white-boys” strategy.
I’m not a huge Kemba Walker guy, but this is about where he will get selected in most drafts.

Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh are boring picks, but you know what you’re going to get. I like all three of them to have typical productive seasons. Like Wade, Bosh knows that he needs to play well this season to help keep LeBron in South Beach.

Roy Hibbert is another player I’ll target this season. I’m not sure why Duncan would agree to work with an opponent while he’s still playing, but he’s been working with Hibbert at the Spurs facility. If a tiny bit of Duncan rubs off on Hibbert, we could be looking at a durable center capable of averaging 15-10. He’s also a lock to be among the league leaders in blocks.

Best value: Damian Lillard
Biggest reach: Kawhi Leonard

Round 4
37. Josh Smith
38. Tony Parker
39. Ty Lawson
40. Paul Millsap
41. Dwight Howard
42. Monta Ellis
43. Brandon Jennings
44. David Lee
45. DeMarcus Cousins
46. Kobe Bryant
47. Derrick Favors
48. David West

Analysis: How the mighty have fallen: Kobe Bryant falls to 46th overall. This is a boom or bust pick, as a healthy Kobe is a steal this late. But if Kobe misses the opener, and then gets hurt again, it’ll ruin your season. You can only afford to draft him if your first 3-4 picks are consistent and stable. Kyle grabbed Harden, Wade and Leonard before Kobe and his team has tremendous upside after the early picks.

Normally, an overzealous owner takes Howard within the first 15 picks. It’s nearly impossible to contend when your best player absolutely kills you in the FT percentage category. Maybe it took his offseason antics to turn owners off, but this is about where Howard belongs in fantasy drafts. Don’t overvalue a big name. That said, you’re getting nice value if he’s your fourth best player.

Vintage Flow adds Monta Ellis to Love, Rubio and Gasol. Good thing, as his team was shaping up to have zero street cred.

Cousins is among my favorite draft targets this season. You won’t be able to get him this late if he looks ready to go in camp. He’s still only 23 and has the talent to produce Round 1 value. His new boss Shaq should work with him.

Best value: DeMarcus Cousins
Biggest reach: I don’t see a huge reach in Round 4
Best team so: DV’s Barkley’s Butt with Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Damian Lillard and Dwight Howard

Round 5
49. Jose Calderon
50. Jeff Teague
51. Ersan Ilyasova
52. Eric Bledsoe
53. Ryan Anderson
54. Blake Griffin
55. Nikola Pekovic
56. Klay Thompson
57. Andrew Bynum
58. Chandler Parsons
59. Bradley Beal
60. Goran Dragic

Analysis: Mazel Tov, drafters – Nobody took Blake Griffin too early just because he’s in commercials and a household name. I saw him go fifth overall in a different mock draft. That is absolutely insane. While he slipped further than he will in most drafts, Griffin’s roto numbers don’t warrant a selection in the first 30 picks.

Andrew Bynum, who missed all of last season with multiple knee issues, isn’t even close to being ready for game action. I have absolutely zero faith in Bynum being a fantasy contributor once he does return, as he’ll be completely out of shape and rusty. Plus, he’s a strong candidate to get hurt again in addition to resting the second game of back-to-back nights. Stay away.

Best value: Jeff Teague
Biggest reach: Andrew Bynum

Round 6
61. Jeff Green
62. Wesley Matthews
63. Jrue Holiday
64. Thaddeus Young
65. Andre Iguodala
66. George Hill
67. Rajon Rondo
68. Tyreke Evans
69. Kyle Lowry
70. Tyson Chandler
71. Jonas Valancisnas
72. Kevin Garnett.

Analysis: Kevin Garnett brings leadership and intensity to Zach’s squad. He should be a serviceable fantasy forward for, like, the 85th year in a row. Or something.

Rajon Rondo will be a bargain if he’s for the start of the season. However, he currently doesn’t have a timeline for his return from last season’s torn ACL. He could be out until December, so monitor the situation.

Everyone seems to love Jonas Valancisnas after a big summer league performance. He’s going to be a focal point for the Raptors and you’ll have to use an early pick if you want to target him. Because of the hype, I doubt he’ll be on any of my teams this season. I’m not as sold as many other writers.

Best value: Jrue Holiday
Biggest reach: Jonas Valancisnas

Round 7
73. Kevin Martin
74. Paul Pierce
75. Enes Kanter
76. Greg Monroe
77. Luol Deng
78. Amir Johnson
79. Marcin Gortat
80. Kenneth Faried
81. Jeremy Lin
82. O.J. Mayo
83. Zach Randolph
84. Anderson Varejao

Analysis: This round is loaded with names that could have easily appeared 2-3 rounds ago. Martin, Pierce, Deng, Lin, Mayo and Randolph are dependable options and you know what you’re going to get out of them.

Vintage Flow now has four big white guys through seven rounds. Not that anything is wrong with that.

I’m a big fan of Greg Monroe and I plan to target him this season. If he can hit the mid-range jumper, he’ll bring value of a third-round pick. That said, he shot only 30 percent outside of eight feet last season and is moving from C to PF. I think he improves and turns into an impact fantasy player.

Enes Kanter will be a very trendy sleeper if he looks good in the preseason. This is a tad early for him, but it could pay off. Amir Johnson is the Raptor I prefer to break out over Valancisnas. I love his FG percentage and shot-blocking ability.

Best value: Greg Monroe
Biggest reach: Anderson Varejao

Round 8
85. Jimmy Butler
86. Andre Drummond
87. Tobias Harris
88. Steve Nash
89. Carlos Boozer
90. Eric Gordon
91. Raymond Felton
92. J.R. Smith
93. Jameer Nelson
94. Gerald Henderson
95. Gordon Hayward
96. Danny Green

Analysis: Jimmy Butler looked like the best player on the floor for the Bulls at times last season. He seems like a better player in real life than in fantasy.

Steve Nash is a phenomenal value at this stage if you need help with assists. He’s not an elite fantasy player anymore but he’s a lock to help your team.

J.R. Smith is coming off left knee surgery and faces a five-game suspension when he is healthy enough to play. He’ll be a nice option eventually this season, but he was taken over many players that could help your team immediately.

Best value: Carlos Boozer
Biggest reach: J.R. Smith

Round 9
97. Arron Affalo
98. Kyle Korver
99. Greivis Vasquez
100. JaVale McGee
101. Joe Johnson
102. DeMar DeRozan
103. Evan Turner
104. Luis Scola
105. Manu Ginobili
106. Robin Lopez
107. Ray Allen
108. Wilson Chandler

Analysis: JaVale McGee could have gone a few rounds earlier and I wouldn’t have an issue with it. I’m excepting big things. He’s a sleeper to lead the league in blocks. Just don’t be shocked if his FG percentage is better than his FT percentage. He’s a great guy to pair with Dwight Howard if you decide to bag the FT percentage category.

Evan Turner will be a trendy sleeper this year but I’m not sold. He doesn’t get too many steal, he doesn’t block shots, his percentages are mediocre and he doesn’t hit a ton of threes.

Best value: JaVale McGee
There is no such thing as a “reach” after 100 picks

Round 10
109. Trey Burke
110. Andrew Bogut
111. Marcus Thornton
112. Amar’e Stoudemire
113. Metta World Peace
114. Danny Granger
115. Dion Waiters
116. J.J. Reddick
117. Nene Hillario
118. Tiago Splitter
119. Spencer Hawes
120. Harrison Barnes

Analysis: I love the idea of finding this season’s Damian Lillard, so by default I like Trey Burke. It’s a long shot, but so is getting anything from some of the veterans on this list. I prefer “upside” to “steady.”

Dion Waiters is a breakout candidate who helps in threes and steals. Danny Granger is not the player he once was, but could still help fantasy owners who snag him this late.

Best value: Trey Burke

Round 11
121. Victor Oladipo
123. Mo Williams
124. Andrei Kirilenko
125. Jamal Crawford
126. Omer Asik
127. Gerald Wallace
128. Avery Bradley
129. Chris Kaman
130. Ben McLemore
131. Kelly Olynyk
132. Michael-Carter Williams
133. Tristan Thompson

Analysis: In addition to spending the summer as my mother-in-law’s neighbor (seriously), Michael-Carter Williams is the starting point guard in Philadelphia. He’s going to play ton of minutes, always have the ball in his hand and has loads of potential. He won’t be a fantasy regular unless he improves his jumper, but at this point in the draft it’s worth taking a talented rookie.

Best value: Michael-Carter Williams

Round 12
134. Maurice Harkless
135. Mario Chalmers
136. Nerlens Noel
137. Lance Stephenson
138. Jarret Jack
139. Brandon Knight
140. Shawn Marion
141. Andrea Bargnani
142. Lou Williams
143. Anthony Bennett
144. Elton Brand
145. Isiah Thomas

Analysis: There is a chance that a fresh start in New York could rejuvenate Andrea Bargnani. It’s worth a flier to potentially grab a scoring center that hits threes this late.

Jarret Jack and Nerlens Noel are both players that I would target. Remember that Noel is coming off ACL surgery. I love his game long term, but he might not be worth using for fantasy purposes until the second half of the season.

Best value: Andrea Bargnani

Round 13
146. Jared Dudley
147. Reggie Jackson
148. Cody Zeller
149. Otto Porter Jr.
150. Rodney Stuckey
151. Alex Len
152. Emeka Okafor
153. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
154. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
155. Samuel Dalembert
156. Michael Beasley
157. Nick Young

Analysis: In the most predictable pick since Durant at No. 2, the Beasley Boys grab their namesake in the final round and it’s a nice value. Beasley could put up decent numbers as a role player in Miami.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could average a steal and a block per game. Not bad for pick No. 153. He’s even been working with Mark Price on his jumper. I wish I could be a retired NBA player that gets paid to shoot around with current NBA players. That seems like an awesome gig.

Best value: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Predicted Final Standings
1. Barkley’s Butt – DV
2. Kyle’s Team – Kyle Johnson
3. The Beasley Boys – Steven Shaw
4. Team Crane – Ryan Keith

Analysis: DV drafted the best team, in my opinion, and it’s a real shame. I only took this assignment so I’d have a forum to publicly ridicule his picks. But I can’t. Irving, Wall, Lillard, Howard and Klay Thompson are a perfect first five. Sprinkle in Iguodala, Faried, Boozer, Scola, Jack, MKG and you have yourself the favorite to win it all.

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