Trading Season Officially Open

12/10/2007 0 comments
I guess it must take about five weeks for the dust to settle in fantasy basketball. It seems like all of a sudden somebody flipped a switch and turned on the trade button. The deals have been flying fast and furious recently. I made a total of 20 deals for Week 6 and have another 15 either set for Week 7 and pending for Week 8. For the season, I've made a total of 59 trades. Of course, the number would've been more if it weren't for a few silly CBS vetoes...but more on that in a minute.

I guess the open trading season timing makes sense. After about 15 games, the numbers become real. Guys that have emerged like Chris Paul, Manu Ginobili, Andrei Kirilenko and Hedo Turkoglu look like safe bets to perform much higher than where they were drafted. Guys like Kirk Hinrich, Zach Randolph, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol have owners wishing they had picked someone else. So it follows that the fantasy teams have become real as well. The good teams have emerged. Other teams are officially in panic mode. And category strengths and weaknesses have emerged. Of course, all of this creates trade opportunities.

I'm not breaking any new ground on telling you to buy low and sell high. For the week 6 deals, I was selling Stephen Jackson left and right. Last week, I was buying Dirk Nowitzki. One of the nice things about having so many teams is I keep tabs on the general pulse of the fantasy hoops market. I can test out certain deals to see what the going rate is, and when I see some trend emerging, I can try to capitalize across the board. For example, last week I managed to trade Josh Howard for Jason Kidd. I didn't even expect this one to get accepted, but when it did, it got me thinking. Who else might be willing to give me a 2nd rounder for Josh Howard? I own him on 13 teams. After his 47-point performance the other night, I blanketed the fantasy leagues with trade offers.

The other nice thing about having so many teams, is you can be buyers and sellers of the same guy, depending on the specific team's needs. Howard, Andrei Kirilenko and Dirk Nowitzki are examples of guys that I have both bought and sold recently. Essentially it's like trading with myself, swapping the player on a team where he's not needed for another one of my teams that could really use him. If only it were that easy.

I've also noticed that trading seems to create more trading. Some owners care about maintaining balance. I don't mind if a deal causes my team to be temporarily out-of-whack. In fact, I welcome it. I'm confident that I can sort it out later. For example, last week I traded Nowitzki for Dwyane Wade in one league, a nice deal but one that left me with only three startable forwards (you have to start at least 4). Well a couple days later I traded Ronnie Brewer for Danny Granger (pending CBS approval). Dirk/Brewer for Wade/Granger. Not bad.

Improving your team incrementally is a good way to get a middle-of-the-road team back into title contention. Go ahead and take a risk and throw your team out of whack. Sometimes that's what it takes to get a deal done. You've still got the rest of the season to sort it out.

The whole reason that blogs exist is not to provide information, but to provide the author the sense that someone actually cares for what they have to say. I'll take it a step further and assume that you actually care about the deals that I've made. So I'll post the accepted deals here on a weekly basis. It's hard to evaluate without the context of the teams, but I'd love to hear your comments. If nothing else, you can get a chuckle over the perfectly fair deals vetoed by CBS Ron.

Trades Effective Week 6
SP03: Williams,Louis for Childress,Josh
SP05: Jackson,Stephen for Maggette,Corey
SP10: Jefferson,Richard for Smith,Josh
SP10: Howard,Josh and Jackson,Stephen for Garnett,Kevin
SP13: Aldridge,Lamarcus, Dalembert,Samuel and Johnson,Joe for Marion,Shawn and Williams,Maurice
SP18: Aldridge,Lamarcus for Jefferson,Richard
SP22: Turkoglu,Hedo for Howard,Josh
SP23: Durant,Kevin for Chandler,Tyson and Dunleavy,Mike
SP27: Garnett,Kevin and Childress,Josh for Butler,Caron and Nash, Steve
SP28: Pierce,Paul for Billups,Chauncey
SP35: Jackson,Stephen and Daniels,Antonio for Allen,Ray
SP44: Jackson,Stephen and Barbosa,Leandro for Paul,Chris
SP45: Jamison,Antawn for Pierce,Paul
SP45: Pierce,Paul for Billups,Chauncey
SP46: Wade,Dwyane for Nash,Steve
SP48: Camby,Marcus, Deng,Luol and Richardson,Jason for Garnett,Kevin and Ellis,Monta
SP51: Roy,Brandon for Kirilenko,Andrei
SP51: Jefferson,Al and Gay,Rudy for Marion,Shawn
SP51: Harris,Devin and Wilcox,Chris for Gordon,Ben and Odom,Lamar

Comments: Turkoglu for Howard was a major steal, especially because Orlando had played two more games that everyone else through the first five weeks. Might not seem like a big deal, but I'll take 65 games from Josh Howard over 63 from TurkeyGlue anyday.

Trades Effective Week 7:
SP03: Nowitzki,Dirk for Wade,Dwyane
SP04: Battier,Shane for Rondo,Rajon
SP09: Aldridge,Lamarcus and Miller,Mike for Nowitzki,Dirk
SP11: Aldridge,Lamarcus and Jackson,Stephen for Nowitzki,Dirk
SP12: Battier,Shane for Bynum,Andrew
SP23: Davis,Ricky for Terry,Jason
SP25: Artest,Ron for Jefferson,Al
SP39: Kirilenko,Andrei and Aldridge,Lamarcus for Lewis,Rashard and Felton,Raymond
SP40: Howard,Josh for Kidd,Jason
SP47: Randolph,Zach, Durant,Kevin and Turkoglu,Hedo for Boozer,Carlos, Gordon,Ben and Azubuike,Kelenna
SP50: Roy,Brandon for Howard,Josh

Trades Pending Week 8:
SP03: Ronnie,Brewer for Granger,Danny
SP24: Kirilenko,Andrei for Billups,Chauncey
SP24: Smith,Josh for Nowitzki,Dirk
SP38: Dalembert,Samuel for Ford,T.J.

Comments: My Dirk deals created quite an uproar in each league, as people were outraged about me landing a first rounder for a couple mid-rounders. One guy in particular has made it his strategy to try to rally others against my deals because he knows that I'll likely end up on top. If this is your main strategy for winning fantasy leagues, then you probably shouldn't be playing. I particularly enjoy the two pending deals in SP24. Most owners would avoid drafting Josh Smith, Andrei Kirilenko AND Marcus Camby, but I knew I would be able to make deals along the way to balance it out. Billups and Dirk is not a bad return. I hope they both get approved, but with CBS you might as well flip a coin. Although it is very likely that Josh Smith will outperform Dirk this season, because of my lead in blocks it's a great deal for me. What's up with Dirk this year anyways?

Vetoed Deals Week 6
SP07: Turkoglu,Hedo and Wallace,Gerald for Jefferson,Al and Williams,Maurice
SP10: Kirilenko,Andrei and Wallace,Rasheed for Duncan,Tim and Odom,Lamar
SP10: Williams,Louis for Arenas,Gilbert
SP39: Jackson,Stephen and Gooden,Drew for Allen,Ray

Vetoed Deals Week 7
SP08: Martin,Kevin, Ellis,Monta and Bargnani,Andrea for Bryant,Kobe
SP29: Iguodala,Andre, Ellis,Monta and Gibson,Daniel for Wade,Dwyane, Odom,Lamar and Smith,J.R.
SP03: Moon,Jamario for Bargnani,Andrea

Comments: In general you should be able to trade a 20th ranked guy (Kirilenko) and 50th ranked guy (Wallace) for the 23rd ranked guy (Duncan) and 107th ranked guy (Odom). But according to Ron, I was getting the better player in each instance. And in the Jackson/Allen deal, apparently I was giving up too much for Allen, when the reason it was voted against was likely for the opposite reason. My team had zero use for Gooden. Finally, CBS has this backwards rule that they kill all deals with injured players, hence the Arenas one on this list. The result of this is it hurts the guy who owns the injured player because they can't get any value for them. The guy ended up dumping Arenas and I picked him up off the waiver wire, two events that never should've had to happen.

Overall, my teams are performing well. I'm currently winning only 15 of my 52 leagues, but I'm on a steady upward trajectory and expect to be at 30-35 by season's end. Week 6 was my best week total fantasy contribution was 19.8% above the average team (an average week for me is around 10-11%), my best week yet. I gained an average of 2 1/2 pts in the standing across the board. I hope the trend continues as these deals start to bear fruit.

PROJECTION UPDATE Although I couldn't have been more wrong about guys like Richard Jefferson, Chris Kaman and Walter Herrmann, my projections are holding up very well against the competition. In fact, it appears that the only real competition is the combined consensus picks. Here are the results after Week 6. Recall that the first ranking measures the improvement in accuracy over simply using the 2006 numbers as a baseline. The second ranking looks at each player and gives 14 points for the closest projection down to 1 point for the worst. IMPROVEMENT VERSUS BASELINE
3 ROTOFREAK 16.62%
4 ESPN/TMR 15.18%
5 NBA.COM 14.05%
10 ROTOWORLD 7.67%
12 CBS SPORTS 5.62%
13 2006 BASELINE 0.00%

3 ESPN/TMR 1802
8 NBA.COM 1606
11 2006 BASELINE 1522
12 ROTOWIRE 1521
13 CBS SPORTS 1520

The Antonio Daniels Sweepstakes

11/27/2007 0 comments
Never has a 7.9 point, 3.4 assist guy felt so wanted.

Around 5 pm last Wednesday, if you listened closely you may have heard the pitter-patter of fantasy owners on their computers scrambling to pick up Daniels after news broke that Gilbert Arenas was going to be out for three months. The sound may have been drowned out by the collective groan of Arenas owners who saw their fantasy hopes go down the drain with one balky knee.

The timing of the news was unique, as it came out late in the afternoon right before the Thanksgiving holiday. Many owners probably left for the weekend and/or started their travel plans and probably missed out on Daniels completely. I found out about the injury right as I was shutting down my computer at work. I had a train to catch and dinner plans with my family. A giant sausage and pepperoni calzone waited with my name on it. I couldn't stick around at work and make the necessary roster moves (not that I'd ever consider making fantasy basketball transactions at work anyways).

Good thing I bought this iPhone. I'd have to make my moves on the train, so I ran to the train station got situated and started rifling through my fantasy teams. Managing 52 teams on an EDGE connection is not something I'd want to to everyday, but I managed to get through each roster in about 30 minutes, finishing seconds before entering Glen Ellyn where the EDGE always seems to go dead (why is that?). The slow connection probably cost me Daniels on a few squads, but I landed him on 12 of my 52 teams. If I had waited another hour, I wouldve missed out completely. In a span of one hour, Daniels went from being owned in 10 of my leagues to all 52.

As far as Arenas goes, I owned him on five teams, not tremendously overexposed to him. I wasn't very bullish on him coming into the season, but if I had the 5th-7th pick and he was around, he was the pick. On at lease three of those teams, I probably still have a chance at winning despite losing my first round choice for three months.

One of those teams, I actually had agreed to trade him for Amare Stoudemire the day before the news broke. The Amare owner chastised the other owners for initially voting against the deal. He was singing a different tune the next day. Eventually the deal went to CBS Ron and was shot down as they have an unwritten rule that they kill any deal that comes to them with injured players, even if those player's weren't hurt when the trade was made.

The moral of the story is that injuries always create opportunities. The Wizards still have to put five guys out on the court. They are still going to score around 100 points a game. There may be only one Gilbert Arenas, but most of his fantasy value will be replaced somewhere else on his team, especially because Arenas is not really known as one of those guys who makes everyone on the floor better. Daniels stands to benefit most, but Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Andray Blatche will reap some of the benefit as well.

The Anti-Contract Year

One well-known fantasy strategy is to target guys who are in their last year of their contracts (see Vince Carter last year) while avoiding guys who just signed mega-contracts in the offseason (see Vince Carter this year). The phenomenon seems to have held up well in the past.

Well, there's a new twist to the old theory this season. Third-year players who failed to sign a cibtract extension, making them restricted free agents at the end of the year. Call it the 'Man, I just passed on 50 million. What was I thinking?' contract year. Unlike the traditional positive impact, this type of contract year seems to be a detriment.

Exhibits A-D: Andre Iguodala, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng and Emeka Okafor. Each passed on deals of $45 million or more at the 11th hour and now have the pressure of trying to prove that they are worth all that and more on the free market. So far, it looks like each guy is crumbling under the pressure. Iguodala seems to be taking this 'AI2' thing seriously, taking on some Iverson-inspired grumbling to the media. How long until 'we're talking about practice'? Gordon and Deng look lost out there, and its killing the Bulls (just how bad are the Bulls? Deny is their top fantasy player this year and he ranks 91st overall. The SUns and Mavs have five guys each that rank ahead of Chicago'a best fantasy player). At least Deng has a back injury as an excuse. Gordon wanted max money! I guess we shouldn't be surprised at his level of delusionment considering he's holding off on committing to play for England in the 2012 because he wants to be considered for the US team. I'm sure he even brought it up in his contract negotiations. 'of course I deserve 15 mill a're looking at a future Dream Teamer!'

Contrast these guys with Jameer Nelson and Al Jefferson, two guys who probably left money on the table for the safety and security of signing an extension now. Both guys are playing pretty well so far. Neither guy wanted that giant monkey on their back.

Can these anti-contract year guys turn it around? For the most part, I think so. They may not get to the level of where they were drafted, but could be good buy low candidates right now. The only guy I'd feel uncomfortable targeting is Gordon.

Spencers Update

Collectively, my 52 teams had a rough week in Week 4. Usually I run about 10-15 percent above the average team in terms of overall fantasy production. For week 4, I churned out a paltry 3.5% above the average team. I have Gerald Wallace, Lamar Odom and Ray Allen to thank for that. Overall I think I'm in good shape, but late-round staples Shane Battier, David Lee and Boris Diaw are barely roster-worthy, and the Tyrus Thomas experiment was a complete disaster.

Thankfully, I've managed to improve my teams incrementally through a flurry of trading activity. I've made 40+ trades so far this season, when I get a chance I'll find a place to post and track all my deals on the blog. On one team, I traded Kevin Durant for Richard Jefferson and then flipped Jefferson for Josh Smith. KD for Josh Smith...not too shabby.

The trade voting process at CBS is being abused, and the leagues are already getting ugly. Four weeks in and nearly every deal is getting 4+ votes to go to the commish (where anything can happen). When perfectly deals like Marion for Yao, David West for Brandon Roy are getting 4+ votes, you know you have a problem. CBS is helping matters by failing to dig a little deeper to understand the motives behind the deal, thus killing a large number of fair trades.

In one league, I had Iguodala/Rudy Gay for Kevin Garnett lined up. Killed by CBS. Second try: Ron Artest/Gay for Garnett. Killed by CBS. Of course, these deals let everyone know that the guy was willing to deal KG. I made a separate deal to turn Okafor into Pau Gasol, then had an agreement to deal Gasol/Gay for Garnett. No way that deal doesn't get approved. Well, the Okafor/Gasol deal got the 4+ votes and still sitting out there in limbo. In the meantime, someone else swoops in with Butler/Josh Howard for KG and it goes through. I identify the other guy's needs, make the deal and come up empty handed. Gotta love CBS.

The Worst Three Weeks of My Life

11/19/2007 1 comments
The NBA season is already one-eighth in the books. Three weeks down, 21 to go. Early surprises (Richard Jefferson, Manu Ginobili) and busts (Mehmet Okur, Kirk Hinrich) have gone from 'beginning of the season flukes' to 'sustainable trend'. The numbers are quickly becoming more and more real.

My fantasy squads are actually off to a very good start. Guys that I have weighted heavily like Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, Ginobili and Andrei Kirilenko are performing well. I'm ahead of the pace compared to last season after three weeks. Right now, I'm projecting 35-42 wins out of 52 teams.

So why the gloomy title to this blog post? Well, the last three weeks have been marred by one of my squads and one player in particular. Dwight Howard. Owning Howard has been a nightmare.

Howard had been going very, very early in nearly all of my CBS drafts. You could bank on him going anywhere from 5th-8th, which was great news for me if I had a late pick because someone like Shawn Marion would usually slip through the cracks. But after a while I began to wonder if I was missing the boat on this guy. I had him about 17th-18th on my draft board, but there was zero chance he'd ever last that long. He looked good in the preseason, and there was some rumored video of his improved free-throw shooting on youtube. Indeed, if he could shoot 80% from the line, he'd be one of the top three fantasy players in the NBA. I'm sure most owners would be thrilled with just 72%.

Generally when I'm drafting I look at both my projected stars and the players average draft position. I usually try to avoid picking guys before their ADP. On one particular team, I had the 12th pick and took Dwyane Wade first. Usually when I had the last pick ( and I did in 15 out if 52 teams...I blame the astronomical odds on CBS Ron), I'd go with the Wade plus the best center of the three-headed Yao/Amare/Gasol monster. But all three of those guys were taken in the first 11 and there were no major surprises in the first round. So it came down to picking Paul or Howard. Yes, I'm still kicking myself.

I figured I'd either surround him with strong free throw shooters or just pick him purely for trade value. Ray Allen and Caron Butler usually made it to the 36th pick. But it didn't happen. I got Joe Johnson 36, Josh Howard 37.

So I'd have to try the trade route. Strangely, there were no logical trade partners. I tried offering him up every which way but Kevin Bacon, but to no avail. The guy with Amare was asking way too much, even with Amare's knee issues. The guy with Yao actually has a strong enough FT team to take on Howard and still be first in FTP, but he's my main competition for the team and I'd be helping him to a point where I probably couldn't catch him.

By all accounts, Howard is having a very good season. He's averaging 24.1 pts, 14.5 rebounds, shooting 58.6% from the field. That's great stuff. But then there's the free-throws...12.5 attempts per game at 63.0%. That's a team killer.

So after three weeks, I stand in fourth place in this league with zero chance of winning as long as Howard is on my squad. Dead Team Walking! It's killing me having a team that's already out of it.

I'm convinced that unless you have the perfect complementary squad, you just can't win in roto with Howard. Surveying my 52-team landscape, there are actually 4 teams that own him and are actually leading after 3 weeks, but I'm not projecting any of them to finish the season at the top. Most of these teams are winning in spite of him, generally flooded with 2-3 draft day steals in the pool of Ginobili, Jefferson, Chris Kaman, Josh Smith, Kevin Martin, Hedo Turkoglu. One team is dead last in FT and at or near the top in every other category. One team is actually 3rd in FTP. I don't expect that to last.

Contrast that with Yao Ming owners, who got Yao on average about 3-4 slots after Howard in the draft. 10 out of 52 teams with Yao are winning their respective leagues. The average Yao team is 8 points higher in the standings than the average Howard team.

I'm happy to report that after a lot of work, I was able to finally deal Dwight Howard, ending this three-week misery. I traded Howard along with Durant and Joe Johnson for Kobe Bryant, Marcus Camby and Brendan Haywood (who I will likely dump). I actually had Camby ranked ahead of Howard so essentially it's a decision of Joe Johnson and Kevin Durant for Kobe, which is a no brainer. The deal isn't a major steal, but I feel liberated. I'm projecting to gain 8 pts in the standings with this deal. Not quite in first yet, but relevant again.

Of course, now I have to deal with owning Marcus Camby now, but I'll take that headache over owning Dwight Howard and literally having no chance of winning.


It's probably way too early to look at how well those preseason projections are doing, but I have the numbers and it's relatively easy to do, so let's the take a look for the heck of it. It's a marathon, but let's take a look at how the competitors are doing after the first 3 miles.

I measure the projections based on their 'sum of squared errors' across the eight-categories and rank order them in two different ways. First I measure the average improvement versus the baseline of the previous year's per game averages (rookies excluded). Then I assign points for each projection across a pool of 232 players (216 initially as I set a minimum number of games cut-off at 4), the projection with the closest SSE gets 14 pts, the one with the worst projections gets 1 point.

Here are the early results.

3 ROTOFREAK 15.56%
5 ESPN/TMR 13.46%
9 NBA.COM 12.08%
11 ROTOWORLD 7.19%
12 CBS SPORTS 6.54%
13 2006 BASELINE 0.00%

3 ESPN/TMR 1703
5 NBA.COM 1606
12 2006 BASELINE 1444
13 CBS SPORTS 1421

As expected, the combined consensus projections look like they will be a formidable (and perhaps the only formidable) projection opponent. And CBS is taking up its customary spot at the bottom of the food chain. At least it has some company down there with newcomer Fantasy Lounge (btw, don't mistakenly type in at work).

The boobie prize for worst single projection has to go to Fantasy Lounge for its projection of Chris Bosh. They projected 24.8 pts, 11.2 rebounds with an astonishing 57.7% FGP and 64.6% FTP. I had to go back and double check it to make sure that was in fact what they were projecting. Those projected shooting percentages are way off the reservation. You don't need to be a stats major to know that the SSE is going to be high when your actual totals are 16.2/6.9/40.2%/89.3%. I know Bosh has had a very strange start to his season, but I don't think we'll see anything approaching the numbers that Fantasy Lounge projected in this instance.

Fantasy Odds and Ends

11/04/2007 0 comments
The NBA 2007-08 season is underway! All the projections, pouring over preseason boxscores, trying to figure out who's starting for each team has made way to actual games, actual boxscores and actual minutes.

The first few days of the season are interesting because you have to play 'trend or mirage'. I've had a few live drafts since the season started and you see the immediate impact a player's first game has on his draft status. Guys like Tyrus Thomas, Channing Frye and Charlie Villanueva were routinely going in the 10th-11th round before the season started now aren't getting drafted. Mehmet Okur lays an egg on opening night and people start to wonder if he's going to be a bust. And how many of you were scrambling to your league's homepage to pick up Martell Webster or John Salmons only to find out somebody had already beaten you to the punch?

Of course, all of this creates trade opportunities. Yesterday I was looking to pick up Kevin Durant on the cheap after a poor shooting night (although his 27 Pts against the Suns the next night closed that window of opportunity to quickly. After Andrei Kirilenko had a near triple double in Utah's first game, I flipped him for Kevin Martin, swapping a 7th rounder for a bonafide 4th round player. Today, I have my sights set on Leandro Barbosa owners who might be sitting with their finger on the panic button.

Preseason Numbers, Final Projections

As I mentioned in a prior post, it looks like shooting is going to be down and scoring up this season if you use the preseason numbers as a leading indicator. Below are the final per 48 minute aggregate preseason stats and the predicted levels for the upcoming regular season. Look at the big expected jump in 3PM and 3PA.

GM_03PRE _05PRE_06PRE_07PRE _03REG_05REG_06REG REG/PRE_07REG?_07 vs O6
MIN 48 48 48 48 48 48 48 - 48 -
FGM 6.58 6.73 6.88 7.17 7.04 7.12 7.33 6.5% 7.67 4.6%
FGA 15.24 15.23 15.23 16.20 16.01 15.70 15.99 4.4% 16.96 6.1%
3PM 0.84 1.00 1.03 1.19 1.06 1.14 1.22 19.5% 1.42 16.6%
3PA 2.50 2.89 3.11 3.34 3.03 3.18 3.40 13.5% 3.79 11.4%
FTM 4.08 4.43 4.64 4.49 3.68 3.90 3.93 -12.3% 3.94 0.2%
FTA 5.59 6.06 6.32 6.10 4.90 5.23 5.23 -14.4% 5.22 -0.1%
REB 8.23 8.08 8.08 8.62 8.47 8.14 8.24 1.9% 8.78 6.5%
AST 3.91 4.02 4.05 4.19 4.23 4.10 4.26 5.1% 4.40 3.4%
STL 1.85 1.78 1.71 1.77 1.58 1.42 1.45 -16.5% 1.48 2.0%
BLK 0.98 0.94 0.86 0.98 1.02 0.93 0.93 3.8% 1.02 10.2%
TO 3.56 3.48 3.74 3.64 2.84 2.74 2.91 -21.3% 2.87 -1.5%
PTS 18.07 18.89 19.43 20.03 18.82 19.28 19.81 2.7% 20.58 3.9%
2PM 5.74 5.73 5.85 5.98 5.99 5.99 6.11 4.4% 6.25 2.2%
2PA 12.74 12.35 12.11 12.86 12.98 12.52 12.59 2.4% 13.17 4.6%
FG% 43.2% 44.2% 45.2% 44.3% 44.0% 45.4% 45.8% 2.0% 45.2% -1.3%
FT% 72.9% 73.1% 73.5% 73.6% 75.2% 74.5% 75.2% 2.5% 75.4% 0.3%
3P% 33.5% 34.6% 33.0% 35.7% 34.8% 35.8% 35.8% 5.3% 37.6% 4.8%
2P% 45.0% 46.4% 48.3% 46.5% 46.1% 47.8% 48.5% 1.9% 47.4% -2.3%

If you were on my projection distribution list, you know that I sent out multiple iterations systematically incorporating each player's preseason numbers. Now that nearly all of my drafts are complete, here are my final projections.


Interest is definitely up for the NBA this season. People ate excited about the prospects of KG, Ray and Paul Pierce in Boston, or seeing Kevin Durant play for the Sonics. Certainly, Kobe's petulance is bringing a lot of attention to the NBA, although I'm not sure it's a good or bad thing. From David Stern's perspective, he'll take all the free publicity he can get, as that whole Tim Donaghy scandal seems like it happened eons ago. The guy was reffing Game 3 of the Spurs-Suns series!

One good barometer of the level of interest in the NBA is to track how many roto leagues people have signed up for CBS. I can tell you exactly how many because I'm in each and every one of them. Last year, there were 44 platinum ($600 for the winner) and diamond ($1,600 for the winner) roto leagues, and that number is a little inflated because CBS had some draft applet issues and had to give out some free teams as a result. The true number of paid roto leagues was probably around 37-38. This year, the number is up to 52, astonishing considering CBS alienated many customers with its draft day nightmares and by essentially sapping all of the fun out of the leagues with its overbearing, power-tripping commissioners.

Yes, I have 52 fantasy basketball teams this year. At first it looked like the number was going to be significantly less than last year, probably in the 35-40 range. But as the start of the season got closer, more and more people started signing up, and I just went with the flow. For me, I couldn't find any reason not to keep signing up for teams. I found out last year that you spread yourself a little thin with a lot of teams, making it difficult to respond quickly to trends during the course of the season relative to a guy who is committed to one and only team, but this negative impact doesn't skew the economics enough to a point where less is more. In fact, I think I'll probably be able to work less this year, as I had a number of lame duck teams (thanks to the draft issues) last year that I tried to bring back from the dead. This year, I fully expect to coast through the second half on at least half the teams, focusing more on the teams that need the most help.

One of the most painful aspects of fantasy hoops is coming up with a league name. My very understanding wife pretty much tunes out when the topic is fantasy hoops, but she enjoys reading all of the different league names, commenting that most have either 'playas' or 'ballas' in them. Her suggestion: a league called 'playas ballas'. Did you she what she did there? She just combined the two, thus taking it to another level. My personal favorite: 'Enter the Dodecahedron'.

Five live drafts at one time was tough, but it was good practice. The past week I wax reeling off 3-4 live drafts at a time on a nightly basis, so effortlessly by the end it was like brushing my teeth. The 32-inch LCD that doubled as a computer monitor in my command center? That might just become a permanent fixture in my den.


One nice benefit of having so many teams is that when I'm drafting, I never had to reach for anybody. Armed with my projections and data from previous live drafts, I was able to pick guys on my terms. Even if there was a guy I liked, I waited to get him. If he didn't make it to my spot, no big deal, I had 51 other opportunities to land him. Contrast that with someone who has one team, likes specific players and feels the need to reach for his guys so he doesn't miss out. My approach also provided a nice diversification benefit, keeping the number of times the same guy was on one of my teams to a comfortable level. If a guy that I didn't necessarily like slipped really far, I'd pick him for trade value purposes only.

I calculated where I picked each guy on average relative to where that player went in leagues where I didn't pick him. On average, im getting guys 4-5 slots after where they're being picked by others. This may not seem like much but equates to getting one of every three picks a round later than normal. That's how you create fantasy value. It also gives me a larger margin of error compared to other guys. Randy Foye goes down and its going to hurt his owners regardless. But it hurts more if you've picked him in the sixth round instead of guys like Corey Magette or Barbosa versus if you've picked him in the ninth round instead of Jameer Nelson.

The only guys that I picked that were close to be considered reaches were Andre Iguodala and Gerald Wallace, who were my most compelling targets in the late second and late third round, respectively. In their cases, they were simply the best player available when it was my turn to pick.

The following players are guys that I have overweighted in my 'portfolio' of teams. With 52 teams, you'd expect that the typical guy would be on at least 4 of my teams somewhere along the line. I show the avg. spot where I picked him, the range in which I was selecting, and the average pick when it wasn't me who was picking him. The numbers below are for the first 50 teams, as the last two drafts haven't happened yet.

Josh Childress, 18 teams, 124.8 ADP Jim (range 111-138), 114.7 ADP others
Shane Battier, 18 teams, 111.3 ADP Jim (99-132), 107.5 ADP others
Gerald Wallace 18 teams, 34.1 ADP Jim (25-41), 35.6 ADP others
Leandro Barbosa 17 teams, 67.8 ADP Jim (60-76), 64.7 ADP others
Rudy Gay 17 teams, 83.1 ADP Jim (73-96), 83.4 ADP others
David Lee 16 teams, 109.3 ADP Jim (94-121), 95.9 ADP others
Boris Diaw 15 teams, 105.5 ADP Jim (96-120), 98.1 ADP others
Tyrus Thomas 15 teams, 125.9 ADP Jim (109-148), 123.5 ADP others
Kevin Garnett 15 teams, 1.5 ADP Jim (1-3), 2.3 ADP others
Samuel Dalembert 14 teams, 91.7 ADP Jim (85-108), 82.0 ADP others
Ray Allen 14 teams, 37.1 ADP Jim (31-48), 33.7 ADP others
Dwyane Wade 14 teams, 13.6 ADP Jim (12-20), 13.1 ADP others
Kevin Martin 12 teams, 44.8 ADP Jim (39-49), 41.8 ADP others
Josh Howard 12 teams, 46.6 ADP Jim (37-56), 44.0 ADP others
Elton Brand 11 teams, 133.9 ADP Jim (109-144), 118.1 ADP others
Stephen Jackson 11 teams, 102.5 ADP Jim (87-118), 95.5 ADP others
Jameer Nelson 11 teams, 90.8 ADP Jim (84-103), 86.5 ADP others
Yao Ming 11 teams, 13.6 ADP Jim (12-17), 11.9 ADP others
Andre Iguodala 11 teams, 20.9 ADP Jim (18-24), 19.7 ADP others
LaMarcus Aldridge 11 teams, 57.1 ADP Jim (50-72), 55.9 ADP others
Marcus Camby 11 teams, 36.1 ADP Jim (25-48), 35.2 ADP others
Randy Foye 11 teams, 86.4 ADP Jim (76-96), 95.6 ADP others
Devin Harris 10 teams, 119.0 ADP Jim (101-138), 104.2 ADP others
Josh Smith 10 teams, 23.8 ADP Jim (18-27), 20.1 ADP others
Nene Hilario 10 teams, 129.5 ADP Jim (109-156), 134.6 ADP others
AndreI Kirilenko 9 teams, 69.6 ADP Jim (61-79), 61.7 ADP others
Manu Ginobili 9 teams, 67.7 ADP Jim (60-75), 65.6 ADP others
Chris Paul 9 teams, 14.8 ADP Jim (13-18), 15.7 ADP others
Walter Herrmann 9 teams, 137.8 ADP Jim (121-151), 140.4 ADP others
Andris Biedrins 8 teams, 90.3 ADP Jim (73-108), 84.9 ADP others
Lamar Odom 8 teams, 59.8 ADP Jim (49-66), 56.4 ADP others
Monta Ellis 8 teams, 74.4 ADP Jim (72-80), 71.1 ADP others
Brandon Roy 8 teams, 56.1 ADP Jim (48-65), 53.8 ADP others
Cuttino Mobley 8 teams, 135.5 ADP Jim (123-144), 140.6 ADP others
Honorable Mention (7 teams): Andrea Bargnani, Kevin Durant, Mike Miller, Chris Kaman, Paul Pierce

Childress, Battier and David Lee are undervalued late-round picks that generally don't hurt you much but help you a small amount in a number of different categories. They are perfect for rounding out your team (although none of them has showed much so far this season). As far as big names, I'm counting heavily on Kevin Garnett, Dwyane Wade, Yao Ming. Somehow I managed to get the last pick in 15 out of 52 drafts, and Wade was usually the most compelling pick there. In fact, anytime I had a pick after #12 and Wade was available, I was picking him). This turned out to be a nice move as Wade looks like he will know come back sooner rather than later. Garnett was my man whenever I had the first pick, but I also managed to land him a few times with the third. Speaking of Garnett and the first pick, let's move into the first edition of the Wegoblogger Mailbag:

Hey jim,

So for the first time in my life I get the number one pick. Please tell me why garnett over kobe. Garnett will have to share the ball lots more, no? Kobe will be on a mission, no? I didn't see any debate on this on your site. Can you give some insight? I respect your opinion amd just want to hear the logic. Thanks much. - Dan G.


I've had the first pick in about 7 drafts and have picked KG every time. I think he's going to have a huge year even if he scores a little less. He's just so intense and now that he's on a contender I have this feeling he's going to take it to another level.

I actually have Kobe ranked higher on a per game basis, but am not as bullish on him. There's a chance he may have sit out awhile while they try to deal him, a la what happened to Iverson last year. You've got some risk depending on where he ends up. If he stays with the Lakers, you gotta wonder about his motivation staying there and the constant drama. Plus they want him to distribute the ball more, which hasn't gone well in the preseason. If I own Kobe, I want the guy scoring 40 pts a game and getting to the line 10-12 times a game, not the one who's dishing to Kwame Brown. Of course, if he does get dealt, you could see a ticked-off Kobe just going off this season, averaging 35+ if he ends up in the right situation.

I don't know how competitive your league is, but most leagues where I don't have the first pick, guys are picking Lebron first, Kobe second and KG third. Perhaps you could work out a deal to pick Lebron for trading value only, get KG with the third pick and possibly get a better deal in the 2nd.


(Note: Got any fantasy questions that need answering? Send me a question by clicking on the e-mail link above)


On the flip side, here are the guys that I haven't drafted in any league. Some are guys that I wouldn't mind owning, just not at the spot where they were going. Others are players that I refuse to own even if they were still around in the 13th round.

Carmelo Anthony (12.2 ADP, 6-20 range). Would consider Melo at the tail end of the range he was going at, but it just never happened. He was picked in the first round in many leagues by owners overvaluing PTS. I had Melo targeted in the third round last year and was looking like a genious until he got that 15-game suspension for beatch-slapping. I had him ranked 19th overall on my big board.

Deron Williams (17.1, 8-24). As a fellow Illini, Deron is probably my favorite player in the NBA. But you can't play favorites if you want to do well in fantasy hoops. It pained me to pass up on Deron at the tail end of the second round a couple of times, but guys like Andre Iguodala seemed like a better fit. As much as I love Deron's silky smooth game, I would never, ever consider picking him the first round like some others did.

Tim Duncan (17.7, 8-27). Duncan is generally overrated in fantasy hoops although he did have an excellent season last year. Two things work against him, his free-throw shooting amd the Spurs lack of desire to put too much emphasis on the regular season. Every postseason, Duncan shows what he can do with more minutes, but don't expect that to carryover into the following season, especially now as the team gets older and older. I had Duncan ranked 25th overall.

Tracy McGrady (19.7, 10-32). T-Mac amazingly went in the first round in a few drafts. I just don't see it, although his 47-pt game this week could mean that I'm wrong. His value hinges on his balky back and his shooting percentages, which were a paltry 43.1%/70.7% last year. I had him 48th overall on my draft board.

Michael Redd (28.1, 14-38). I projected lower numbers for Redd this year, as I had a hard time seeing him put up the same points with a relatively healthy Bucks squad this year. I had him 45th overall and he never made it close to that.

Chauncey Billups (30.6, 20-41). I like Billups as a fantasy player. You usually find him on good fantasy teams. I had him ranked 28th, ahead of where he went on average, but when my spot came up there were usually guys I had ahead of him still available.

Jermaine O'Neal (39.9, 27-51). I usually just avoid O'Neal. How does a big man shoot that poorly from the field? I had him 44th overall, but he usually never made it that far. With the seemingly constant knee issues, let someone else deal with him.

Tony Parker (41.0, 2-58). Extremely overrated fantasy player. The '2' isn't a misprint. He was picked 2nd overall in one of my drafts. This was after the guy was trash talking right before the draft, saying 'Hope you guys are ready to get OWNED'. In the last three weeks, I've seen over 7,800 guys picked in live drafts, and Tony Parker at #2 was by far the worst of the worst (and there were a lot of contenders). I usually stay away from the draft room chatter, but couldn't help on this one, saying 'I didn't know Finals MVP was a category'. Coincidentally, the draft were he went 58th happened at the same time as this draft, so I had to couldn't resist reporting that 'Parker just went 58th in my other draft.' Ouch.

T.J. Ford (58.2, 39-73). Ford surpassed my expectations last year, but I'm still not buying. There were usually more compelling picks in the 5th-6th round.

Andre Miller (49.9, 35-64). See T.J. Ford above

Tyson Chandler (58.9, 38-75). I'm still baffled why most are bullish on Tyson Chandler. Maybe I've seen too many of his stone-handed games during his years with Chicago to really be a believer. He had a breakthrough season last year, but I have a hard time seeing him staying or improving on that with a healthier Hornets team. He has started strong, so I could easily be wrong on this one.

Richard Hamilton (61.6, 48-82). Rip is a fine basketball player, but overrated every year in fantasy hoops. I can't say that I've ever owned him, or ever regretted the fact that I didn't own him.

Richard Jefferson (63.3, 42-84). Jefferson is making me eat some crow with his performance early this season. Guys that picked him up in the 7th round will be thrilled if he can keep up his production. Could be a good sell high situation if you own him.

Ben Wallace (71.6, 43-96). I won't draft Ben Wallace.

Tayshaun Prince (77.2, 57-95). Another good Piston, another overrated fantasy player.

Jamaal Tinsley (77.5, 59-97). I am actually pretty bullish on Tinsley under Jim O'Brien, but just couldn't pull the trigger on drafting him. As a guy who plays 45 games on a good year, let someone else deal with the hassle.

Al Harrington (79.1, 49-108). Harrington is another guy that I have a tough time owning. You just never know what Nellie is up to. Harrington was their player in training camp and that lands him on a spot on the bench? Al was a perfect buy low situation two days ago, as it now looks like he's back in the starting line-up and celebrated by dropping 37 on the Jazz.

Jamal Crawford (79.9, 61-104). The Knicks situation is too messy to have a lot of confidence in Crawford.

Shaquille O'Neal (87.8, 60-125). Amazingly, there are still guys out there drafting Shaq. I wouldn't draft Shaq in his prime, I wouldn't draft Shaq if the draft had 45 rounds now.


It didn't take long for good ol' CBS Ron to rear his ugly head this season. In fact, the season hadn't even started before one of my deals got shot down.

Josh Smith / Brandon Roy for Kobe Bryant / Mike Conley

I actually showed that this deal helps the other guy 4 pts in the standings (he needed blocks and rebounds) and the combined fantasy contribution of the two players on each side is less than 1%. But all logic and reason is out the window when it comes to Ronnie...check out the back-and-forth.

JIM: Kobe for Josh Smith/Brandon Roy shot down. Don't worry, not going to argue, just want to know if it's because of Kobe's wrist injury or because it's grossly unfair to one side (and which side)?

RON: Kobe is the best player and top 2 in fantasy. Smith and Roy are a lot of potential. If you want to trade for Kobe a marquee first round pick must be given this early in the year. I agree that smith and roy are very talented but kobe will score more then either of those players. In roto kobe is much better then people think and is still top 2.

Roy also has a heel injury and he has been very fragile so far in his young career.

JIM: Ron,

Thanks for the feedback. By the way, I LOVE the feature that shows the trades that were made for a particular player. Really makes the 'market' for a certain player known. I can't help but notice that Kobe is the most dealt person by far. I think it's because people draft him 2nd but don't like to own him. Too much risk this year. Personally, I think Roy/Smith is on par or better than any of the deals below. I particularly like the one that includes Roy, Durant, Conley for Kobe. Clearly Josh Smith is more valuable than Durant/Conley. Clearly there's a market for Kobe that starts with 2nd round players. Again, not complaining, not arguing. Just making an observation. I appreciate your insights as they are helpful in managing my teams.

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Bosh, Chris PF TOR,Brand, Elton PF LAC

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Boozer, Carlos PF UTA
Martin, Kenyon PF DEN Miller, Andre PG PHI

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Ford, T.J. PG TOR,Gasol, Pau C MEM

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Barbosa, Leandro PG PHO
Prince, Tayshaun SF DET Iguodala, Andre SF PHI

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Iverson, Allen SG DEN

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Anthony, Carmelo SF DEN

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Duncan, Tim PF SA
Jefferson, Al PF MIN Stoudemire, Amare C PHO

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Allen, Ray SG BOS
Cassell, Sam PG LAC Camby, Marcus C DEN

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Bibby, Mike PG SAC, Gasol, Pau C MEM

Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Conley, Mike PG MEM, Durant, Kevin SF SEA, Roy, Brandon SG POR

Barnes, Matt SF GS Miller, Mike SF MEM
Bryant, Kobe SG LAL Paul, Chris PG NO

RON: If last night was any indication, Roy is good but not good enough.

JIM: would you approve the deal if it was jason richardson instead of roy?

RON: The problem with Jason is new team. if he were on golden state yes. But on charlotte, his stats are unknown at this time and if you want a top player it can not be on potential, not at this level of a league.

JIM: Ron,

There's no way that J-Rich doesn't outperform his stats from last year. He only played 32 min a game last year after being in the 37-38 min range the previous three years before Nellie. Last year is the absolute bottom range of his expectations for this season. I have every projection available on the web and the consensus is a 11% rise compared to last year at a pretty conservative 36.5 mpg and something closer to 2004 & 2005 where he was a much better roto player. Even your esteemed projections have him going from 16.0 to close to 18.0 ppg.

Richardson and Roy are going literally right next to each other on average in drafts, Roy 53.3 and Richardson 55.2 in the 40+ live drafts that I've been in, telling you that some prefer Roy, some prefer Richardson even with Roy's heel issues known. I offered the choice between Richardson and Roy and he chose Roy. Trading Kobe actually helps his team +4 pts in the standings, meaning by vetoing you are preventing him from improving his team and chances for winning when you think you are protecting him or something.

The numbers show that the players involved in the deal are collectively within 1% of each other. I don't know how to construct a deal any closer than that. It's well within the range of others deals for Kobe, probably even more generous. And it helps his team. Seems to meet all of the criteria for a fair deal.

Ron, you need to know that the biggest issue with fantasy hoops and the user experience is the veto system. Folks aren't voting against the deal not because it's lopsided, but only because both teams are improving thus weakening other team's chances as a result. It's a spineless, defensive move that you are supporting by shooting a large percentage of deals down. It creates bad blood and turns into a vicious cycle where every deal gets voted against that takes most of the fun out of the league. People like to trade. People like to try to improve their team. Everybody has different views, expectations and needs which is the whole reason trades exist in the first place.

RON: He has to play 2 players to get the production of one. Kobe played like crap on opening night and still had 45 pts, 5 rebs and 5 assists.

Both of those players are being drafted in the 50's and kobe is top 3 in all leagues in any format. I have been nice, but you are NEVER going to explain to me that this trade is fair. You are ripping this guy off. If you want kobe, give up one of your top 2 picks in the deal. roy is young, injured and will be inconsistent as all young players are. J rich is now going into a new offence, more halfcourt sets, and wont get as many easy baskets as he did in nellie system. Nellies system makes you a better fantasy player, not a worse one.

JIM: The thing is...if I was on the other side of the deal I'd be ticked off too. A shrewd manager will make ANY deal that will help his team improve his place in the standings, thus his chances of winning. How many +5 deals are out there? I was doing this guy a favor and reaping some benefit as well.

A Kobe deal just came through in another league, essentially it's Kobe for Bosh and Mo Williams. Smith and Roy/Richardson is pretty equal to that, don't you think.

We'll see about Richardson, I agree about Nelson but I don't think that's enough to offset the fact that he's going to be getting 5-6 more minutes per game. Certainly where he's being drafted people are expecting an improvement. He wasn't ranked nearly that high last year even in Nellie's high powered offense.

Thanks for your insights. I think we've beat this dead horse long enough.

Well, it looks like we could be in for a long season. Ron seems to hold on to these fantasy truisms like 'you trade for Kobe, you need to include a first rounder', assuming that everyone should manage their teams his way. Maybe it's just me, but I'm more concerned about numbers than the star-power of the players involved. Numbers are what move you up in the standings. Numbers are the difference between winning and losing.

David Blaine Meets Keith Hernandez

10/25/2007 0 comments
The highlight of any fantasy season is right at the beginning -- the draft. As far as I'm concerned, live draft is the only way to go. There's a certain ebb and flow with a live draft, with tense moments like trying to will a guy you want badly to stick around until your next pick, key decisions like whether to take the best player available or fill a specific category or position need. And there's even a little comedic value watching guys pick players 3 or 4 rounds too early ("with the third pick of the fifth round, the Rim Rockas select Eddy Curry of the New York Knicks...").

Waiver wire and shrewd free agent pick-ups are all fine and good, but take a lot of work staying on top of your league transactions, NBA news and boxscores. Trades are great too, as you search for that perfect deal that will vault you to the top of the standings, but you might have to deal with veto happy competitors and overbearing commissioners that can take the all the fun out of it (or is it just me?). The live draft has no downside. Where else can you have 12 guys simultaneously declare: "my team is stacked. There's no way I can lose!" just second after the draft wraps up?

When it comes to fantasy leagues, there's really only one thing that I can think of that tops a live draft. And that's FIVE live drafts. At the same time. I'm quite certain that this has never been done before, simply because no one is stupid enough or crazy enough to try it. Most rational people, even if they had five teams, would spread those out over time. This is like 'David Blaine locking himself in a block of ice for 30 days' kind of crazy/stupid. And it's fitting, because more than likely I will end the night wrapped up in a towel on the floor stuck in the fetal position.

How did I get myself into this mess? If you've followed this blog for awhile, you know that I play money leagues on CBS Sportsline. A lot of them. Not too long after entering six teams and winning five of them did I realize that the optimal thing for me to do is to enter as many leagues as possible. The incremental time and cost managing the 10th team is only slightly higher than managing 9 teams. Follow that train of thought and that's how you end up with the 44 teams I had last year.

Essentially, that's every platinum and diamond CBS roto league that existed last year, and that's my strategy again this year. On CBS, you don't have a lot of control over the leagues and the draft times. Somebody creates a league and selects the time and date of the draft, sits back and waits for 11 other guys to join. This year, in addition to not having any live drafts on Sunday, they also excluded drafts on Monday, either because they think people watch Monday Night football, folks playing fantasy football bog down their servers on Mondays tracking their players, or CBS just plain forgot to add Mondays to the calendar. With CBS, you just never know. In any case, that means the same amount of leagues scrunched into a 5-day window instead of 6. For whatever reason, Wednesday night at 9:00 pm CDT seemed to be a popular choice.

Now, it takes a lot of upfront prep to get ready for five drafts at one time. I spent an hour or so updating my autodraft list for each team just in case I missed a pick and to have my players sorted the way I wanted them (a very labor intensive process on CBS. How hard would it be to add a 'save list' feature?) Then I had to create five versions of my ultra-top secret draft spreadsheet, having to strip it down of some of the bells and whistles so I could have five going at one time. And as far as technology, I created a Global Command Center that would make NASA jealous. The highlight, converting a 32-inch LCD TV into a giant monitor. Check out the picture below. I had a PC with old school monitor running two drafts on the left and my MacBook Pro running things on the LCD and laptop screen, two teams on the top and one on the bottom. What I really needed is that new Mac OS with the Spaces feature that allows you to flip between desktops. If only Steve Jobs would've released it two days earlier.

Thankfully, I had a chance to test the system the night before, as I had three drafts at one time. I didn't have the PC running and didn't have the LCD and laptop screens running top to bottom, just showing the same thing (hadn't figured out how to do that yet), so essentially I had three drafts running on the bigscreen. Things went relatively smoothly although flipping between the three different draft rooms and figuring out which spreadsheet went with which draft proved to be more trouble than I originally had anticipated. My browser crashed once early on, but I recovered in time to make my next pick.

The night of the big event, I actually had another draft at 7:30 pm. On top of that, my wife and oldest son were out so I had to put my 3-year old daughter and 4-month old son down to bed before my 7:30 draft started, definitely no easy task. Somehow, I managed to get them down at 7:22, ran downstairs, grabbed some fruit snacks and a Coke and headed into the war room. I even had a chance to send out my updated projections to my ever-expanding list of followers.

I received a pleasant surprise in my first draft, as I was joined by my former partner-in-crime, Marc Fredman, who always loves a good live draft. He launched the draft app from parts unknown in Southern California and pinged me in gmail chat. I had given Marc the heads up that I had five at one time and might need his help if I fell asleep behind the wheel, but later decided, with true Keith Hernandez-like clarity, that 'I'm Jim Colton, dammit. I can do this.' Hey, Keith is the third most famous person to share my birthday (behind Snoop Dogg and Mickey Mantle, but ahead of John Krasinki of 'the Office'), and I was known to play a mean, gold glove first base in my youth. In any case, it was good to have Marc around for consultative advice during this first draft, where I found out that he has a new found love for Andrew Bynum that pales only in comparison for the love he had for Andrew Bogut last year. Marc, what's up with the Andrew B. fetish?

Early on in the first draft, one of the guys in the draft asked me how many 'teams you and your guys' were in playing in this year. I had labeled my teams sequentially, with the prefix '_SP' so it's easier for me to manage. He thought that I was part of some faction that entered money leagues backed by HoopsKlyce. It took me awhile to convince him I was just one dude using my own set of numbers.

The first draft went a lot slower than originally anticipated. Most drafts take right around 90 minutes, if anything you're queueing a big list for your last pick and letting it do its thing as the next set of drafts begin. But this one was painfully slow. By the time 9:00 rolled around, this draft was only in the 8th round. Did I say five live drafts at one time? I meant to say SIX live drafts at one time!

Of the six drafts, I had the first pick in two of them, last pick in two of them, and 7th pick in the last two. Just by chance, I had the three screens set up so the teams with the same draft picks were on the same screen. Having the bookend picks turned out to be a good thing, as I could make two quick picks and forget about it for awhile. The teams with the 7th pick required constant attention, it seemed like I was making a pick there every 30 seconds. And to top it off, the two 7th pick drafts were going along at literally the exact same pace. I was 'up' at the same time in nearly every round. Freaky.

[Speaking of draft picks, I've now had 22 teams that have either drafted or have had their draft order set. How many times in a 12-team league would you expect to get the 12th pick? One or two, right? As of now, I've received the last pick 8 out of 22 times! What are the odds of that, you ask...well it's 3,919 to one. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that CBS Ron is behind the scenes just trying to screw me over. I wanna know what's behind that 'random' number generator. Even stranger is the fact that out of these 22 teams, I've had the either the 1st, 7th, or 12th pick in 19 out of 22 leagues. The odds of that are something like 402 million to one. And this is a year where you want to have either the third (probably still get Garnett but get an earlier second round pick) or 6th-7th pick (hope Marion slips to you). When I've had the first pick, I've taken Garnett even though I could've had him a few slots later (he's gone as late as 6th, Marion as late as 11th). The 12th pick is a death sentence, where you likely have to build around one of the centers (Amare, Yao, Gasol) and hope that Dwyane Wade comes back sooner rather than later.]

I'd love to give you a blow-by-blow of what happened next, but honestly it's all a blur right now. I'm only vaguely familiar with who I picked as I sit here the following day. My draft spreadsheet requires me to drag and drop players into their draft slots (or type them in manually, which I usually do in the later rounds), but keeping this up over 780+ draft picks proved to be too much. I managed to keep up for the most part on all the teams except for one of the teams with the 12th pick, where my 7th-8th round picks came up and I only had players entered through the 4th round. For the most part, I end up taking on a 'best player available' strategy anyways.

All that stuff I talked about at the beginning about the draft being fun, the highlight of the fantasy season? Throw that out the window. Praying that the guy makes it back to you for your next pick? Replaced by 'Holy Crap! I'm up next!' Deciding whether to take the the best player available or meet category needs? Replace that with 'Who's available and who have I picked again?' Making fun of other guy's draft picks? No time to compute who is being picked and when. At this point, they are just names on a spreadsheet. I guess you can have too much of a good thing.

Only now can I take a step back and look and analyze my draft picks. Below is the list of the guys I drafted in each league. I'd love to get your feedback on how well I did in the comment section (by the way, at CBS you have to pick 5 G, 6 F and 2 C's, so a lot of times you see a scrub center in the last round only because you're forced to).

TEAM A (the 7:30 draft)
Pick: 1
1 (1) Garnett,Kevin - F
2 (24) Iguodala,Andre - F
3 (25) Smith,Josh - F
4 (48) Roy,Brandon - G
5 (49) Jamison,Antawn - F
6 (72) Richardson,Jason - G
7 (73) Gay,Rudy - G
8 (96) Diaw,Boris - F
9 (97) Kaman,Chris - C
10 (120) Stojakovic,Peja - G
11 (121) Herrmann,Walter - F
12 (144) Mobley,Cuttino - G
13 (145) Perkins,Kendrick - C

Comment: This league may have been won with the Iggy/Josh Smith picks. Guards went early so I had to pick Roy a little bit earlier than I wanted, there was no other compelling choice at 49 besides Jamison so I went with another forward. Luckily, I got Richardson and Gay with my next two picks. I was toying with Foye in the 7th, especially because I don't have much (any) assists, but I couldn't pass up on Gay. I have a feeling he's going to be huge this year. What can I say, much like Rick Majerus, I'm a big Gay guy. There's a good chance I'll be dealing him for a PG picked in the third round or higher later this year. I don't know if it's true on other sites, but the guys that play at CBS really overspend on assists in particular. I've got no problem finishing 8th in assists and still winning the league. If you don't get Nash, Kidd or Deron Williams (who has gone 8th in two of my drafts!), it's probably not worth going after anyways. Having Kaman as my lone center could backfire.

Pick: 1
1 (1) Garnett,Kevin - F
2 (24) Bosh,Chris - F
3 (25) Wallace,Gerald - F
4 (48) Roy,Brandon - G
5 (49) Howard,Josh - F
6 (72) Barbosa,Leandro - G
7 (73) Davis,Ricky - G
8 (96) Kaman,Chris - C
9 (97) Jackson,Stephen - G
10 (120) Lee,David - F
11 (121) Korver,Kyle - F
12 (144) Mobley,Cuttino - G
13 (145) Perkins,Kendrick - C

Comment: Very similar to the first team, forward heavy at the top forcing me to go with Roy at 48 and scramble for guards later on. Barbosa and Davis at 72/73 seem like good value picks. Korver was a panic move, I should've picked Herrmann there. Again, Kaman is the man in the middle.

Pick: 12
1 (12) Wade,Dwyane - G
2 (13) Paul,Chris - G
3 (36) Wallace,Gerald - F
4 (37) Allen,Ray - G
5 (60) Miller,Mike - F
6 (61) Odom,Lamar - F
7 (84) Foye,Randy - G
8 (85) Dalembert,Samuel - C
9 (108) Lee,David - F
10 (109) Jackson,Stephen - G
11 (132) Walton,Luke - F
12 (133) Herrmann,Walter - G
13 (156) Perkins,Kendrick - C

Comment: At 12, you gotta take the best players available and hope for the best. As I mentioned, this year it usually means having to take a flier on Wade's shoulder. None of the centers lasted until this pick so I had to take Paul at 13. Very happy to get Gerald Wallace and Ray Allen at 36 & 37. Some injury concerns with Odom and Dalembert, but hard to pass on those guys at those slots.

Pick: 12
1 (12) Stoudemire,Amare - C
2 (13) Ming,Yao - C
3 (36) Lewis,Rashard - F
4 (37) Wallace,Gerald - F
5 (60) Roy,Brandon - G
6 (61) Bibby,Mike - G
7 (84) Nelson,Jameer - G
8 (85) Bargnani,Andrea - F
9 (108) Battier,Shane - F
10 (109) Diaw,Boris - F
11 (132) Mobley,Cuttino - G
12 (133) Brand,Elton - F
13 (156) Hill,Grant - G

Comment: Very unconvential start of the draft by picking 2 centers with the first two picks (each week, you start 4G, 4F, 1C and 1Util), which means my Utility spot is spoken for every week. I'm sure those picks led to some commentary in the draft chat room, but I was too busy to read or notice. But if there's anybody that can pull it off, it's the Keith Hernandez/David Blaine of fantasy hoops! I should be able to trade one of them. The rest of the draft went well, Lewis and Wallace are good value picks where I got them, Roy at 60 is more where I'd like to see him go. Jameer and Bibby are probably earlier than I'd like to get them, but I should be okay. For a team with its UTIL spot locked up, Brand is a perfect fit.

Pick: 7
1 (7) Nash,Steve - G
2 (18) Iguodala,Andre - F
3 (31) Wallace,Gerald - F
4 (42) Martin,Kevin - G
5 (55) Odom,Lamar - F
6 (66) Ginobili,Manu - G
7 (79) Gay,Rudy - G
8 (80) Bogut,Andrew - C
9 (103) Battier,Shane - F
10 (114) Thomas,Tyrus - F
11 (127) Hilario,Nene - F
12 (138) Childress,Josh - G
13 (151) Haywood,Brendan - C

Comment: Really hoped Marion would make it to the 7th slot, but alas I'm 'stuck' with Nash as the first six picks go as planned. Can you tell that I'm big on Iguodala and Wallace? Too hard to pass on those guys when my spot came up. Not steals at those slots but appropriate picks. And that's pretty much true for most of this team. Nothing sticks out as a major steal, other than maybe Nene in the 11th and especially Childress in the 12th. Marc had nothing to do with the Bogut selection in the 8th round.

Pick: 8
1 (7) Marion,Shawn - F
2 (18) Iguodala,Andre - F
3 (31) Camby,Marcus - C
4 (42) Martin,Kevin - G
5 (55) Miller,Mike - G
6 (66) Odom,Lamar - F
7 (79) Gay,Rudy - F
8 (80) Rondo,Rajon - G
9 (103) Bell,Raja - G
10 (114) Thomas,Tyrus - F
11 (127) Conley,Mike - G
12 (138) Millsap,Paul - F
13 (151) Perkins,Kendrick - C

Comment: Boo yaa! There's Marion in the 7th slot. Definitely like to see that. The next 4-5 picks follow suit, Odom in the 6th seems like a steal even with the injury concern. Not thrilled about the 2nd half of the draft, I'll probably look to make some deals.

Strength in Numbers?

10/20/2007 0 comments
Yesterday, I highlighted 13 different NBA projections available for the 2007-08 season. I hypothesized that the combined wisdom of these 13 projections could end up being the best set of projections, kind of a strength in numbers or whole is greater than the sum of the parts type of deal. A combined set of projections would likely weed out the outliers and give you a solid, logical set of numbers from top to bottom.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. It could be the projections that have performed poorly in the past, such as CBS and Rotowire, could throw off the numbers to the point that they create more harm than good. The only way to know for sure is to test it out. Which is exactly what I plan on doing this season.

In the mean time, we can highlight where my projections differ most from 'the market'. This is a good sanity check. If I can't come up with a logical reason why my numbers should be vastly different from the consensus, then they probably shouldn't be. Below I list 50 players, 20 where I'm higher, 20 where I'm lower and 10 that are roughly the same overall but different across categories. This is the same approach I took last year when challenging Talented Mr. Roto to a 'projection-off' (there's gotta be a cooler word for that..wait it's projecting NBA player stats that we're talking about here. It doesn't much uncooler than that. Good thing I'm happily married, I doubt I'd have much luck with the ladies by telling them I'm the premier free fantasy basketball prognosticator on the internet.), which wasn't much of a challenge at all (I won 36-14). I suspect the consensus projections will provide much stiffer competition.


LaMarcus Aldridge
JIM 34.2 12.9 52.3% 0.0 3.22 75.6% 8.1 0.7 0.6 1.8 1.1 15.9 32
ALL 32.8 12.1 51.0% 0.0 2.97 73.0% 8.2 0.6 0.7 1.8 1.1 14.6 48

Aldridge seems like a no-brainer for a breakout season. He doesn't really hurt you in any category for a big man. His assists are non-existent, but he offsets that will very low turnover numbers. In 9-cat leagues, he could easily be a top-35 player. I feel safe with my projections. If anything, they may be a little conservative.

Trevor Ariza
JIM 29.8 9.2 55.0% 0.0 4.19 62.5% 6.0 1.7 1.3 0.4 1.9 12.7 130
ALL 23.9 7.2 51.3% 0.0 3.42 64.2% 4.8 1.3 1.2 0.4 1.6 9.6 198

Ariza has a good opportunity to see a big boost in minutes this year in Orlando, either as a starter or as a key reserve. There's not a whole lot of depth to the Magic line-up -- just Howard, Lewis, Jameer and the Redick/Turkoglu/Ariza/Bogans four-headed monster. Even if he doesn't start, Ariza should see enough minutes to be a fringe-fantasy player.

Hilton Armstrong
JIM 19.4 4.2 53.9% 0.0 2.31 63.4% 4.7 0.4 0.3 1.0 1.0 6.0 254
ALL 16.3 3.5 54.4% 0.0 1.83 60.6% 3.9 0.3 0.3 0.8 0.9 4.9 303

Armstrong has played pretty well in the preseason. Good enough for me to feel comfortable giving him an increased role with the Hornets. Probably still not enough to make a blip on the fantasy radar, however.

Steve Blake
JIM 26.2 6.7 41.1% 1.0 0.97 76.3% 2.1 4.6 0.7 0.1 1.7 7.3 200
ALL 24.8 6.1 41.5% 0.8 0.87 74.6% 2.0 4.4 0.7 0.1 1.5 6.6 235

Blake performed very well for the Nuggets last year and parlayed that into a contract with the Blazers. I don't see him having the same kind of fantasy value in Portland, but I think he will see decent minutes coming off the bench or even challenging Jarrett Jack. He's only worth owning if he's starting.

Ronnie Brewer
JIM 30.0 8.8 52.5% 0.1 3.72 69.3% 3.5 1.4 1.8 0.2 1.1 11.9 96
ALL 22.2 6.6 51.0% 0.0 2.80 69.3% 2.4 0.9 1.1 0.2 0.8 8.8 222

It looks like Brewer has the starting SG position to lose in Utah. The Jazz haven't had a fantasy-worthy SG for years. Brewer provides value in FGP and STLs. He's put up very good offensive numbers in the preseason, don't expect that to continue once Boozer gets up to full speed. 11-12 ppg seems like a reasonable number.

Matt Carroll
JIM 25.9 9.2 43.5% 1.6 2.78 89.6% 2.8 1.3 0.7 0.1 1.0 12.0 116
ALL 22.8 8.0 42.8% 1.3 2.64 88.4% 2.6 1.1 0.7 0.1 0.9 10.5 152

I originally had Carroll lower, but I think he will be able to sustain some of the value he had last year. I thought Walter Herrmann would step right up with Sean May out, but it hasn't happened yet in the preseason. Carroll is another fringe fantasy player if he's getting decent minutes.

Mike Conley
JIM 27.4 7.9 44.9% 0.3 2.56 71.7% 2.7 5.1 1.5 0.1 1.5 9.2 121
ALL 27.0 8.5 43.8% 0.3 3.02 74.9% 2.5 4.9 1.2 0.2 2.2 10.0 176

Honestly, I don't know what to expect from Conley. He showed last year that he's a very savvy point guard. But the Grizzlies have a number of other options at guard. Having former Suns assistant Mike Iavoroni as his coach seems like the perfect fit for Conley to do some serious damage. Even though I'm ahead of the consensus on this one, Conley is not a guy I'm targeting and he seems to go much earlier in drafts than my numbers would indicate.

Grant Hill
JIM 30.1 11.5 50.6% 0.5 3.83 78.8% 3.6 2.2 0.9 0.3 1.9 15.1 107
ALL 28.1 9.5 50.8% 0.1 4.34 77.5% 3.4 2.2 0.9 0.3 1.9 13.1 155

I talked about Hill in my previous post. It looks like he will have new life in Phoenix as a hired gun. And you'll probably see a career high in 3PM and 3PA. One thing that other projections seemed to have missed is that Phoenix doesn't shoot a lot of free throws. I have Hill's FT attempts going down significantly.

Nenad Krstic
JIM 32.3 12.0 52.9% 0.0 4.62 71.3% 6.6 1.7 0.4 0.9 1.9 16.0 111
ALL 31.1 11.7 51.4% 0.0 4.40 71.0% 6.6 1.5 0.4 0.9 1.9 15.1 135

Others are projecting a slower comeback trail for Nenad. I'm a little more aggressive, but still 2% below where he performed last year. He looked surprisingly good in his first preseason action last night.

Kenyon Martin
JIM 24.6 8.4 49.1% 0.1 2.29 68.5% 5.5 1.2 0.7 0.7 1.2 9.9 154
ALL 24.9 8.6 48.7% 0.1 3.05 64.1% 6.0 1.3 0.7 0.7 1.4 10.4 182

Who knows what to expect from Kenyon this year. My numbers are 20% below his fantasy production from two years ago and 45% less than his peak season in 2003-04. Seems conservative enough. He's not someone I'd be targeting on draft day.

Jason Maxiell
JIM 22.0 6.5 51.5% 0.0 2.99 54.7% 4.7 0.4 0.7 1.4 1.3 8.3 223
ALL 21.6 6.6 50.1% 0.0 3.39 52.0% 5.0 0.4 0.7 1.3 1.2 8.4 253

Maxiell should see an increased role with Detroit this year. I'm still not sold that it translates to running out and picking him up off the wire. The biggest difference between my numbers and others is in FTA and FTP. I'm simply projecting that he doesn't hurt you quite as much.

Rashad McCants
JIM 20.9 6.6 44.1% 0.9 1.95 75.6% 1.8 1.8 1.0 0.2 1.4 8.2 218
ALL 20.0 6.9 40.8% 0.8 1.88 72.5% 1.9 1.3 0.8 0.3 1.4 7.8 292

Remember how smooth this guy was in college? Seems like a long, long time ago. McCants shot 35% last year in 37 injury-plagued games. That's probably weighing down his consensue projections. I think he can bounce back closer to the percentages he had in 2005-06. Minnesota is very crowded right now with all of the guys Danny Ainge pawned off on his good buddy Kevin McHale. I can't see any reason why guys like Juwan Howard and Ricky Davis don't get traded at some point. This could create a very interesting situation if the T-Wolves go with the youth movement right out of the gate. Wow, are they going to be bad this year.

Rudy Gay
JIM 34.2 12.8 44.0% 1.1 3.61 77.5% 5.7 1.7 1.0 1.2 2.1 15.1 71
ALL 32.8 12.3 42.9% 1.0 3.35 74.5% 5.5 1.7 1.1 1.2 2.2 14.0 325

[Note: After Adam Morrison's season ending injury, I swapped out Morrison for Rudy Gay] I think Rudy Gay is quickly becoming one of those guys who you might pass up drafting in the 7th round, then instantly regret it when someone else picks him 3-4 slots later. I think he is poised for a breakout season.

J.J. Redick
JIM 26.3 8.6 42.2% 1.8 2.61 90.7% 2.2 1.6 0.5 0.0 1.0 11.4 146
ALL 21.9 7.5 41.7% 1.4 2.18 90.4% 1.9 1.4 0.5 0.0 0.8 9.6 190

See Trevor Ariza above. I hate Redick, but the minutes are there for the taking.

J.R. Smith
JIM 20.5 9.4 43.4% 2.2 1.76 78.5% 2.1 1.4 0.7 0.1 1.1 11.7 135
ALL 20.9 9.0 43.1% 1.8 1.82 79.2% 2.1 1.3 0.7 0.1 1.2 11.0 163

Remember how good this guy looked in the McDonald's All-American game. Seems like a really, really long time ago. In just three years, he's managed to be own by three teams that subsequently couldn't wait to get rid of him. Generally, that doesn't bode well for your fantasy prospects. JR tantalizes NBA GM's and fantasy owners alike with that athleticism and range, but he'll drive them both crazy. Avoid.

Tyrus Thomas
JIM 24.1 7.5 49.1% 0.0 4.45 62.6% 6.7 1.0 1.2 1.8 2.3 10.1 127
ALL 22.2 6.8 48.4% 0.0 3.96 62.0% 6.2 0.8 1.0 1.7 2.0 9.1 158

See LaMarcus Aldridge above. Seems like a no-brainer.

Ronny Turiaf
JIM 18.6 4.7 55.2% 0.0 2.12 68.8% 4.5 1.1 0.3 1.4 0.9 6.7 158
ALL 16.6 4.2 54.3% 0.0 2.18 65.8% 4.2 1.0 0.3 1.2 0.8 6.0 217

It looks like Ronny is going to at least compete for a starting position in the Lakers frontcourt. Win or lose, it's a good sign that he will see an increase in opportunity and production this season. Cheap source of blocks if you're desperate.

Martell Webster
JIM 26.1 7.6 41.8% 1.4 2.16 72.8% 3.6 0.8 0.5 0.3 1.1 9.3 216
ALL 24.8 7.4 40.5% 1.3 1.85 73.7% 3.2 0.8 0.5 0.3 1.0 8.6 245

I saw Martell at the airport the day before he was drafted by the Blazers. I had no idea who he was but you it was obvious he was a baller. Even as a guy coming out of high school, the guy was just a physical specimen. I didn't even connect the dots until later that he was on the way to the draft with his mama. Usually those lottery picks are wined and dined in New York days before the draft. He was flying in the night before. He was probably just as shocked as everybody else that he was going to go 6th in the draft. Ch-Ching!

Martell's career probably hasn't progresses quite as quickly as Blazer fans would've hoped, but hey the guy won't even be able to drink legally for another two months. He has performed very well in the preseason so far. Keep a close eye on him to see if he's able to produce on a consistent basis.

Louis Williams
JIM 22.9 7.7 45.2% 0.4 3.50 73.3% 2.6 3.8 0.7 0.0 1.5 9.9 222
ALL 16.5 5.5 44.4% 0.3 2.21 70.3% 1.8 2.7 0.6 0.0 1.2 6.8 312

Louis filled it up in the summer league and has played well in the preseason. It's all a matter of how much opportunity he's going to get with the Sixers this year.

Dorell Wright
JIM 28.9 8.3 44.6% 0.1 2.02 75.1% 6.1 2.3 0.9 1.1 1.5 9.0 108
ALL 24.6 7.4 44.8% 0.2 1.91 76.7% 5.2 1.8 0.8 0.8 1.4 8.3 156

Fantasy sleepers are all about talent and opportunity. You absolutely have to have both. For Wright, the opportunity is right there. He's basically been handed the starting SF spot on a woefully-thin Miami Heat roster. Now all he has to do is prove he's capable of doing something with those minutes. He played very well in the first few preseason games but has flattened out since. He's got the potential to be one of those 1+ steals/blocks guys. Probably worth a last-round flier pick.


Tony Allen
JIM 21.0 6.6 49.3% 0.2 3.18 76.4% 3.2 1.5 1.2 0.3 1.8 9.1 202
ALL 22.1 7.0 49.8% 0.2 3.49 76.8% 3.3 1.5 1.3 0.4 1.9 9.9 161

People seem bullish on Allen, but I'm not sure why. Seems like the only way he's a viable fantasy option if Pierce or Ray Ray go down. I seriously doubt you'll see the Celtics tanking this year. One thing I think some people are failing to remember is that last year was a fantastically bizarro year for injuries and missed games. As a result, you saw some guys play more minutes than they would've in a 'normal' year. Projections need to take this into account.

Carlos Boozer
JIM 34.0 15.3 54.7% 0.0 4.69 68.0% 11.3 2.8 0.9 0.3 2.6 19.9 40
ALL 34.8 15.5 55.3% 0.0 4.98 70.1% 11.4 3.0 1.0 0.4 2.6 20.6 31

Originally, I probably had Boozer pegged a little lower because it wasn't clear how long he was going to be out attending to his sick daughter. He's back and looks good in the preseason. Still, I have Boozer about 6% lower than last year's phenomenal numbers. With the Jazz catering to Andrei Kirilenko's every need and the emergence of Paul Millsap, I can see that having at least a small dent on Boozer. Even if I'm 100% right those are still some very solid numbers.

Corey Brewer
JIM 21.5 6.1 44.3% 0.3 2.30 73.1% 3.1 1.8 1.1 0.2 1.5 7.4 243
ALL 23.4 7.6 44.4% 0.5 2.53 73.6% 3.7 2.1 1.2 0.4 1.6 9.1 170

I like Brewer as a player but I'm not sure he's ready to take the keys in Minnesota. Again, the current roster is extremely bloated. Just like McCants, if they ever go with the full youth movement, keep an eye on him.

Jamal Crawford
JIM 35.8 13.9 39.7% 1.6 4.11 83.3% 2.9 4.3 0.9 0.1 2.6 16.1 136
ALL 35.9 13.9 40.5% 1.7 4.40 83.2% 3.1 4.2 1.0 0.2 2.6 16.6 103

New York is another crowded place, especially if you're a scorer. The post is going to be a black hole with Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry down there. I saw Jamal bulked up in the offseason, which is a good sign, but how many shots is he going to get sharing the ball with Curry, Randolph, Stephon Marbury and Quentin Richardson? It's a good thing he bulked up, because he may have to wrestle them for the ball.

Jorge Garbajosa
JIM 24.7 6.9 42.0% 0.9 1.05 73.4% 4.1 1.6 1.0 0.2 0.8 7.5 155
ALL 27.5 8.0 42.5% 1.0 1.37 73.9% 4.9 1.8 1.2 0.2 1.0 8.8 119

I like Garbajosa's scrappy play, but I simply don't see him getting the same kind of production with the emergence of Andrea Bargnani and their signing of Jason Kapono. Plus he came back from injury way too soon to play for Spain over the summer, there's no telling what impact that might have on his upcoming NBA season.

Jeff Green
JIM 24.1 7.1 46.5% 0.5 1.95 69.8% 4.6 2.2 0.6 0.5 1.5 8.4 196
ALL 25.6 8.1 46.5% 0.5 2.58 74.5% 4.8 2.6 0.7 0.6 1.5 10.0 141

Green looks like he'll be a solid NBA player for years to come, but I'm not sure if he'll be fantasy-worthy this year. The Sonics rotation hasn't been sorted out yet, and you've got literally 12-13 guys that all could play 20+ minutes: Durant, Delonte, Ridnour, Watson, Green, Wally World, Robert Swift, Collison, Wilkins, Wilcox, Kurt Thomas, Johan Petro and Mickael Gelabale. NBA teams simply don't operate like that. You figure Szczerbiak's good for missing at least half the season, but I just don't know how the other minutes are going to shake out. To play it safe, I'm avoiding anybody on their roster not named Kevin.

Check out the following shows the consensus games played and minutes for each member of the Sonics roster. Add it up and divide by 82 games and you have a total of 304 minutes. Somehow that number has to be reduced by 27% to get down to 240, unless David Stern institutes a 5th quarter.


Luther Head
JIM 20.6 6.4 42.6% 1.6 0.95 80.6% 2.4 1.8 0.7 0.1 1.2 7.8 181
ALL 24.5 7.5 43.2% 1.8 1.21 77.4% 2.9 2.2 0.9 0.1 1.5 9.2 147

I love Luther, but I have a hard time seeing him get the same kind of minutes with all his new backcourt friends in Houston. And a lot of Luther's numbers are inflated because he saw the biggest bump whenever Tracy McGrady's back flared up. I'm not saying T-Mac is going to stay healthy, but just that if (okay, when) he does get hurt, it won't be Luth who gets the immediate benefit. Luther is too good of a shooter not to get a spot in the rotation and reports have been positive towards his play so far in Rockets camp, but I don't see anything other than a steep drop from last year's numbers.

Larry Hughes
JIM 35.6 12.8 40.2% 1.0 4.01 68.9% 3.7 3.4 1.3 0.4 2.1 14.0 164
ALL 36.3 13.3 40.6% 1.0 4.62 72.0% 4.0 3.7 1.4 0.4 2.3 15.2 129

When it's Larry Hughes, just take the under.

Allen Iverson
JIM 40.8 18.0 44.8% 0.9 8.28 77.8% 3.0 7.0 1.7 0.2 3.7 23.5 51
ALL 41.2 18.7 44.6% 1.0 8.64 80.0% 2.9 7.1 1.8 0.2 3.8 24.6 44

Iverson's numbers with the Nuggets were very un-AI like. 24.7 ppg playing second fiddle to Melo. Even more surprising is the free-throw problems he developed down the stretch. A lot of his benefit to your fantasy team was getting to the line 10-11 times and shooting 81% from the stripe. Knock that down to 8.7 attempts at 76% and most of the benefit is gone. I'm sure his FT numbers will migrate more towards his career averages, but you wonder if he can be as productive at age 32. At least he doesn't kill you with his FGP anymore.

Richard Jefferson
JIM 36.3 12.7 46.3% 1.0 5.89 75.5% 4.7 2.9 0.7 0.2 2.2 17.2 131
ALL 37.0 12.9 46.5% 0.9 6.33 77.2% 5.4 3.1 0.7 0.2 2.3 17.8 107

Many folks are predicting the resurgence of the old Richard Jefferson, almost as if last year never happened. Count me as one of many guys who drafted Richard Jefferson in the fourth round last year that wish it did never happen. His numbers were woeful last year. We're talking about a 35% drop in fantasy production versus 2005-06. I'm expecting an uptick from last year, but I'm not willing to bet the farm on him. He's going in the sixth round on reputation alone. Never a good sign.

Andrei Kirilenko
JIM 30.9 6.7 47.6% 0.3 3.50 73.3% 5.1 3.2 1.1 2.5 2.1 9.2 49
ALL 32.7 8.1 47.0% 0.3 4.55 73.2% 5.5 3.2 1.3 2.5 2.2 11.3 39

See Richard Jefferson above. Okay, cut Andrei some slack, it was only a 34% drop in production versus the previous year. Here's a guy who was picked early in the second round last year. With the Jazz coddling the uber-sensitive Kirilenko, I expect that he'll see a nice uptick relative to last year, just quite as high as others. The two reasons for Kirilenko's demise were the rise of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, and both guys are still there. However, I still believe Kirilenko is a guy you should target. A lot of fantasy owners have been burned by Kiri the last three years and don't want to bother with him. I picked him up in the 7th round of a draft earlier this week and couldn't be happier about it.

Acie Law
JIM 19.5 6.2 44.7% 0.5 2.30 76.8% 1.7 2.7 0.6 0.0 1.2 7.8 268
ALL 25.0 8.2 43.9% 0.7 2.78 77.9% 2.4 4.1 0.9 0.0 1.8 10.0 188

Atlanta backcourt is flooded with mediocrity. Speedy Claxton, Tyronn Lue, Salim Stoudamire. Makes you wonder why they passed on Chris Paul and Deron Williams, doesn't it? I guess some questions will never get answered. With all this mediocrity, Acie might be able to waltz in and take over. I'm just not sold on it happening right away.

Shawn Marion
JIM 36.9 13.2 52.1% 1.1 2.86 80.1% 9.8 1.6 1.8 1.5 1.4 17.1 1
ALL 37.8 13.8 51.7% 1.1 3.22 81.3% 10.1 1.7 2.0 1.5 1.4 17.9 1

I have lower numbers for Marion but still have him number one overall for 9-cat leagues. Just pray that he doesn't get traded. I honestly don't know what he's complaining about. He makes more money than anyone else on the team and he gets to play with Steve Nash, who makes Marion look like a hall of famer. What more could you ask for? The Suns are smart enough to know that their window of opportunity is limited to 2 or 3 more years with Nash, and after Nash is gone, Marion is nowhere near as valuable. At that point, you have to build around Amare or trade everybody and start from scratch. I wouldn't be locking up Marion for the post-Nash era either. Be careful what you wish for, Shawn. You were this close to moving from Phoenix to Salt Lake City.

Donyell Marshall
JIM 15.0 5.4 41.3% 1.0 0.86 67.9% 3.5 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.7 6.0 245
ALL 18.0 6.4 42.4% 1.3 1.08 70.8% 4.3 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.8 7.5 175

Looking at Donyell now, it's hard to believe that this is the same guy that just four years ago averaged 14.7 points, 1.6 3PM, 1.1 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Right now, Lebron James is probably thinking the same thing.

While we're talking about the Cavs, let me digress and get something off my chest. When did Damon Jones EVER earn the right to complain about anything? Seriously, how does Damon Jones look anyone in the eye and issue a trade demand? The guy bounced around the league for years, had one good year camping out at the line while Wade and Shaq fed the ball out to him and parlayed that into a four year, $16.1 million contract. If anyone has a right to complain, it's Cavs fans. Damon, you should sit back, shut your mouth, count your money and count your blessings that Danny Ferry is as incompetent as he is.

Yao Ming
JIM 32.6 16.3 51.9% 0.0 7.96 85.0% 9.1 1.9 0.3 1.8 3.3 23.7 19
ALL 33.5 16.5 52.3% 0.0 8.30 85.2% 9.7 1.9 0.4 2.0 3.3 24.4 9

I like Yao as a fantasy player and have no problem picking him in the end of the first round despite his injury issues the last couple of years. The guys is a fantasy dream come true as a big man who can shoot 85% from the line. I'm still predicting very solid numbers for Yao. However, it's partly a function of how much you think T-Mac is going to play. A lot of Yao's ridiculously good games were when T-Mac was out of the lineup. Plus you've got a slew of new guards in Houston that aren't exactly known of distributors. Do you see Steve Francis passing into the post when he's on the floor for the 18 minutes a game he gets to play? Hopefully, the Adelman versus Van Gundy factor will help offset that. I'd be perfectly happy being wrong on this one.

Joel Przybilla
JIM 21.2 3.2 53.7% 0.0 1.56 51.2% 5.8 0.5 0.3 1.9 2.1 4.3 257
ALL 22.1 3.0 52.3% 0.0 1.13 48.5% 5.5 0.5 0.3 1.9 1.2 3.7 207

Joel drives me crazy because I can never spell the guy's name right. Seriously, with 40+ teams, I'm constantly typing guys names in on my master spreadsheet. I can rattle off Szczerbiak in my sleep. But I always get Przybilla screwed up. Can't he just change his name legally to the Vanilla Gorilla? (why don't we have cool nicknames like this anymore? How original is R-Jeff, K-Mart, D-Will, etc? J-Kidd isn't even a nickname, it's the guy's first initial and unabbreviated last name. We can do better. I don't know whether to blame T-Mac, A-Rod or J-Lo.

Looking at V-Gorr's projections for the first time, I notice now that I have his TO's screwed up. See what happens when you only play 8-cat leagues. Of course, I could omit him from the list, fix the error and find someone else to put in his spot, but that would require too much work at this point (can you tell I have a live draft in 13 minutes?), plus you'd miss out on my nickname diatribe. Sometimes things just need to be said. I'll fix the TO's later and take the 'L'. Just use the TO's from the consensus for now. And if your fantasy hopes end up hinging on the number of turnovers Joel Przybilla gets this year, I apologize in advance.

Michael Redd
JIM 37.4 18.1 46.0% 2.1 6.87 83.5% 3.6 2.3 1.1 0.1 2.2 24.4 33
ALL 38.1 19.2 45.8% 2.1 7.47 84.6% 3.8 2.4 1.2 0.1 2.2 26.0 23

Redd has taken his fantasy game to another level the last two years. I still believe he's a solid fantasy player, but I have a hard betting that he'll have another 26-pt season. Milwaukee had a wacky injury-plagued year last season: Redd missed 29 games, Mo Williams 14, Andrew Bogut 16, Charlie V 43, Bobby Simmons 82. Assuming those guys are going to be back and add Yi to the mix, there's gotta be slightly less shots to go around for Redd. He's still a solid 3rd-round pick.

Josh Smith
JIM 35.6 13.5 43.7% 0.5 5.43 70.1% 8.4 3.3 1.3 2.7 3.0 16.1 29
ALL 37.4 14.6 44.1% 0.5 5.68 70.1% 8.9 3.4 1.4 3.0 3.1 17.4 18

Even though he's on this list, I still see Josh Smith as a solid fantasy player and a guy you want to target in the 2nd or 3rd round (depending on if you count TO's or not). It's easy to look at Smith's second-half numbers the last few years and go crazy with projections for the following year. I just don't want to go overboard with my projections for Smith because of a number of factors: a) a full season of Joe Johnson, a traditional 82-gamer that's not likely to miss as many games this year and b) a very crowded Atlanta front court with Marvin Williams, Shelden Williams, Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. I anticipate that it has to have at lease some impact on Smith's minutes and overall production.

Wally Szczerbiak
JIM 26.2 10.9 42.3% 1.3 3.35 89.2% 2.8 1.6 0.5 0.1 1.5 13.5 166
ALL 27.3 11.2 45.5% 1.3 3.73 89.2% 3.1 1.8 0.5 0.1 1.6 14.8 128

I can't imagine Szczerbiak getting a lot of minutes on a packed Seattle roster that's destined to go 30-52 this season.

Sebastian Telfair
JIM 16.3 5.0 37.1% 0.4 1.00 80.9% 1.1 2.3 0.4 0.1 1.1 4.9 348
ALL 20.4 6.3 38.6% 0.5 1.56 79.3% 1.4 3.0 0.6 0.1 1.4 6.6 314

Seems like nothing more than a throw-in in the Garnett trade. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Bassie (By the way, I want to have another son just so I can name him Sebastian and call him Bassie. That's the best shortened name ever. Of course doing so may jeopardize that whole 'happily married' thing I mentioned earlier.)


Marco Belinelli
JIM 25.9 9.6 43.4% 1.3 2.23 76.0% 1.4 1.3 1.2 0.0 1.2 11.3 170
ALL 22.9 8.3 45.5% 1.5 2.35 78.3% 2.0 1.6 0.8 0.1 1.4 10.9 173

He torched the summer league. Nellie called him a budding superstar. What's not to like. Oh wait...Nellie loved Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy early last year too. How did that one work out again? Belinelli likes to shoot...a lot. He can got hot and hit threes in bunches. The biggest difference here is FGP. I just don't see him shooting a very high percentage.

Samuel Dalembert
JIM 31.4 8.5 52.4% 0.0 2.69 75.6% 9.2 0.9 0.5 1.8 2.0 10.9 62
ALL 32.0 8.4 54.1% 0.0 2.82 73.1% 9.2 0.8 0.6 2.2 2.1 11.1 56

The biggest difference here is blocks. I have them trending down while the consensus has him going back up. He did average more blocks after Iverson left.

Kevin Durant
JIM 33.4 16.0 43.1% 1.2 5.50 80.4% 7.1 1.4 1.2 0.8 2.6 19.5 60
ALL 33.8 15.2 44.5% 1.2 4.75 80.4% 7.0 1.7 1.2 0.9 2.4 18.5 54

Probably the biggest question mark in the draft, and the biggest disparity in projections. It's clear that Durant is a future superstar, but what about this year? He gets free reign to develop (and torque) on a pretty bad Sonics team. But he'll probably see some double teams as a result. I think you'll see more than a couple 5-of-22 and 8-of-21 nights, but you'll also see some 34 pts, 8 rebounds, 4 3PM nights as well. I spent a lot of time on Durant's projection, looking at college to rookie year transitions for Carmelo Anthony in particular. Even as a rookie, the guy has a very high ceiling.

Danny Granger
JIM 36.0 12.1 44.5% 1.9 3.90 80.3% 4.8 1.6 0.9 0.7 1.7 15.8 59
ALL 35.9 11.8 46.1% 1.4 3.96 80.6% 5.3 1.6 0.9 0.9 1.8 15.4 63

One thing I built into my projections for Indiana players is Jim O'Brien's love of the three ball. In his Boston days, they shot threes at a rate that was 40% higher than the league average. Of course, most of those were ill-advised shots by Antoine Walker, but still, O'Brien taking over for Carlisle (who wasn't shy about the 3-ball either) has to have some impact. A lot of people are pegging Granger has a breakout player in general; I'm even more aggressive due to a more 3PM.

Al Horford
JIM 22.5 7.2 51.6% 0.0 2.52 65.6% 7.0 1.6 0.5 0.9 1.2 9.1 138
ALL 24.7 7.7 51.5% 0.0 2.78 66.0% 6.9 1.3 0.5 1.0 1.6 9.8 148

Horford looks very good for the Hawks so far. The only question is how many minutes will he get in that crowded Atlanta frontcourt that we talked about. They need to trade one of the Williams brothers (for sale: recent top 5 draft pick).

Yi Jianlian
JIM 24.1 8.0 47.0% 0.0 3.23 77.3% 4.9 0.9 0.6 1.1 2.3 10.0 224
ALL 22.8 7.1 48.2% 0.1 2.63 75.9% 4.6 1.2 0.5 1.0 1.4 8.9 178

Biggest difference here is turnovers. I have no idea what to expect from Yi. He'll look great one minute, then look in over his head the next minute. I do know if this were a league playing against stationary chairs, he'd be a sure first rounder. Enjoy that Milwaukee winter!

Shaquille O'Neal
JIM 27.7 11.3 58.4% 0.0 6.04 43.6% 7.3 1.8 0.2 1.4 2.3 15.9 266
ALL 29.7 12.0 59.4% 0.0 7.38 44.7% 8.0 2.0 0.3 1.5 2.4 17.6 246

Just wen you think people have finally caught on that you never, ever draft Shaquille O'Neal, he goes and gets drafted in the fifth round like he did in my league tonight (By the way, here's my team. 12 team, 8-cat roto, 7th pick: Marion, Wade, Ray Ray, Caron, Mike Miller, Barbosa, Biedrins, Foye, Battier, Tyrus Thomas, Nene, Devin Harris, Haywood). The Diesel is on the slow, steady decline. If you own him, you're probably going to lose whether my projections are right or wrong.

Zaza Pachulia
JIM 24.3 7.5 47.8% 0.0 4.41 78.9% 5.8 1.2 0.9 0.4 2.0 10.6 168
ALL 27.1 8.1 47.0% 0.0 4.98 77.2% 6.9 1.4 1.0 0.5 2.1 11.4 145

You gotta believe Shelden is going to see at least some additional minutes this year. Plus throw Horford in the mix and I see Pachulia with significantly less minutes this year, even if he is the starter.

Ruben Patterson
JIM 26.7 8.9 52.4% 0.0 3.63 63.7% 4.7 2.4 1.2 0.3 2.0 11.7 175
ALL 28.0 9.7 53.6% 0.0 4.33 62.9% 4.8 2.4 1.2 0.3 2.3 13.1 166

Ruben actually had a very good year with the Bucks as the only guy who stayed healthy all year in Milwaukee. Again, I think his numbers were inflated due to the injuries there. Of course, we've got a bunch of injuries on the Clippers as well, but I don't think he'll be the first to benefit. I see less minutes for the Kobe Stopper.

Ben Wallace
JIM 33.6 5.2 46.8% 0.0 2.91 41.2% 9.9 2.3 1.3 1.9 1.2 6.1 68
ALL 34.4 5.4 46.2% 0.0 3.48 41.4% 10.5 2.2 1.4 2.0 1.2 6.4 70

Like Shaq, a slow steady decline. The Bulls have a pretty crowded frontcourt as well, with Joakim Noah and Joe Smith. Noah looks like he'll be a serviceable back-up center (just what the Bulls need, a 5-pt, 8-rebound hustle guy. As weird as it would be to see Kobe in a Bulls uniform, can you make the deal happen Pax? Having a scrappy, competitive, hard working team that'll win 50 games and lose in the 2nd or 3rd round, is that the goal here?)

I will track these progress of these projections at a couple of points during the regular season.

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