Monday, October 27, 2008

Fantasy Basketball Draft Analysis

Welcome all to the first Public version of The People's Draft Analysis, NBA style and the first analysis PERIOD for TPC in the league called The Shark Tank.
For those unaware, The People's NBA League disbanded two seasons ago after a nice 7 year run. Unfortunately the interest in Fantasy Hoops didn't match the interest in Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football. However, TPC's round the clock fix of Fantasy action needed to be adhered to, so TPC joined DTA as The Wild Samoans in the league called The Shark Tank.
The Shark Tank is much different than The People's League. First off, most of the teams are jointly owned. A very weird dynamic. Second, the draft takes place in an AOL chat room. Two main problems with that:
1) AOL???????? Sorry fellas, this is no longer your Aunt Susan's internet of 2001. There are more efficient ways to do this. Which leads me to my next point.
2) There are only two ways top do a draft. 1- Live Draft where all the members are there making fun of each other, trash talking and hopefully eating some really good grilled animal of some kind. This is not too efficient but a lot of fun nonetheless, or 2- an online drafting service like Yahoo Sports which allows for a system that keeps track of all taken players (by team and position), all available positions and most importantly gives A TIME LIMIT for each pick. It also has a chat board for the mandatory trash talking portion of the draft.
The Shark Tanks draft system allows for people to in reality take as much time as they want and allows for the constant error of picking someone that was already picked (we will get into this a little later)...
With that being said, the only characters from this league that you have read about prior are DTA- my current tag team partner here, The Ducks- this is his rookie season , and Forties and Dimes (known as the Yeshiva Bochers in this league) who also handles the role of league Commissioner.

With that being said, as always, , I need to preface with the following.
This is not an analysis on who will win this seasons league. It is an analysis on how they drafted. Keep in mind this is extremely difficult in the current drafting format so we need to give everyone a little rope. not as much as The Ducks (which we will get to later) but in general. This draft was also tougher than usual because of the first year institution of keepers (basically anyone drafted last season can be kept by forfeiting this seasons pick 5 rounds earlier than last years draft. So, if you took someone in round 9 last year you can keep him in round 4 this year). I also dont know the players in this league that well, so many wont have much background.
The leagues roster and points settings are: PG, SG, G, SF, F, PF, C, C, Util, Util- 7 bench spots
Categories are points, reb, assists, blocks, steals, FG %, 3PT made and FT made.
Without further ado, The People's Analysis:

Yeshiva Bochers (Forties and Dimes)- A great job by the Commish for fixing........I mean earning the #1 pick in this draft. Lebron was the obvious and rightful choice. On the wraparound picking 24th and 25th, the YB picked Andre Iggy and David West. I like both picks however I think both were picked early especially with Butler, Jamison, Gasol, Pierce, Wallace and Rashard Lewis still available. Turk went to them in round 4 as their keeper (last pick) and Maggette in 5. I'm not sure if Hedo can repeat last years performance but being the draft position, a good keeper play by the YB. Maggette was a reach in round 5. I love their 6 round pick David Lee and although they reached with Mayo in 7, it was a great gamble as Mayo looks awesome early on. I think YB took two chances with Thorton and Nene at 8-9 which were big reaches, especially with proven assets like Al Harrington, Troy Murphy and Drew Gooden picked after. Plus there were many great keepers to target there if you wanted to go that route. I love Tyrus at 10 and Ridnour at 11. Both solid picks. Amir Johnson and Westbrook followed. Not much 2008 value but some possible value down the road. Two solid picks in Simmons and Posey ended things for the YB. Overall Grade: 5.5. Decent all around squad with many questions and many questionable picks.

KARAT PLATINUM- KP took Kobe went #2 overall with his first ever draft pick in the Shark Tank; a big reach in my opinion. I think Kobe is on the wrong side of the Peak and CP would have been the much better choice. On the other hand, Kobe is still damn good so he wont hurt KP in the end. First rule: You dont win leagues in the first 2 rounds you can only lose them (as all Tom Brady owners can attest). Jason Kidd went 2nd which was just awful. Keep in mind, Kidd helps you in 3 categories (reb, st and assists). He kills you in 4 and is decent in 1. He's no better than a 4th rounder in my book. No way he goes 13 picks before Billups. The numbers arent even close. Vince Carter, another disaster in the making went in round 3. KP apparently hasn't watched the NBA much in the last 3 seasons. Okafor and Miller (Andre) then went, very safe picks, two of the best players available on the board. Bibby was a steal in round 6 while TF Ford was okay in 7, someone please explain to me the strategy of drafting 4 PG's with your first 7 picks? Kenyon Martin had no business going 8 except that KP is probably a closet Nets fan. I like Gooden at 9. Noah and Moon 10-11 are non factors, although there is some slight upside to each. Same with Boone at 12. Warrick was decent at 13. Mo Pete and Curry rounded up the lousy effort. Overall Score: 2. A very inaspicious debut to say the least. Just a horrible job. Team will win assists going away but basically booted the rest of the categories.

EAST SIDERS- The East Siders were the Champs in TPC's first season and have been the league doormat the last two. Has the game passed by one of the great all time Shark Tank franchises? ES took CP at #3, the no brainer pick there. Boozer went to them in round 2, a solid pick at that spot. Maybe he doesn't block enough shots (or any) for a big man, but he does everything else well. Joe Johnson went 3, another solid pick. Bogut at 4 and Dunleavy at 5 (their keeper pick). To this point, I dont think you can fault one pick. A great job so far. Plus, they locked up their frontcourt and have a great PG-SG combo. Beasley can become a monster at 6. Dalemebert was a questionable at 7 but nothing to fret over. Shaq at 8 was bad. He will be a non factor this season- at least until playoff time. I like Terry a lot at 9, Stuckey was a good keeper pick at 10, the East Siders version of trading for the future during last years dismal season. Anthony Parker is serviceable enough but at 11 there was more value out there. Quinn, Miami's #3 PG was awful at 12, I love Sessions at 13 and like Gomes at 14. Good value there on both and I liked the shot with Augustine at 15. Overall Grade: 8. Textbook first 6 rounds and didn't do much to screw up the rest. An excellent job.

2X Defending Champs (AKA N Connection). Like their namesake, NC is looking for their 3rd straight title. Lucky for us, lightning doesnt strike 3 times in the same place. Howard was the worst of all the first round picks (we'll get to the Baron Davis pick. I dont even consider it a pick therefore the qualification here). D-Howard is an extremely overrated fantasy player. He doesn't get a ton of points, so his FG %, while being excellent isnt as effective as one might think. He does dominate the boards and gets nice blocks, but for my money i take Amare over him easily. You cant take Yao in round 2. Yes, when he plays he's very good, but you already locked up a big man, you cant take a health risk in round 2 when you already have that position secure. You have to love Butler in round 3. Many expert drafts had him early round 2. Redd went in round 4, another overrated 2 category player. Tony Parker in 5 could pay huge dividends. Someone has to pick up Manu's slack and Mr. Eva can and will do just that. I still would rather have Mike Bibby who went 16 picks later, but thats nitpicking. I like Oden in round 6. I dont see how he doesnt average 12pts 10boards and 2.5 blocks a game. He has monster potential, although you have to question a 3rd center when the team donly has one real G or SF (depending on where you play Redd). I dont understand Arenas at 7 at all. he's out 3 months with knee surgery for a guy who makes a living using his knees. Plus, its his second one in 3 years. Doesn't a healthy Mike Miller make so much more sense? Not sure what the fascination with Udrih is. I dont like him at all. He showed me nothing as a starter last year, dont know what changed. Murphy was a solid pick at 9. Another good one at 10 with Prince. About time NC showed up to the draft. Took Bayless at 11. No value there. Same with Pietrus at 12. I like Q at 13 and took the wrong Lopez at 14. Hibbert could be one of the drafts major sleepers and a great keeper at 15. Overall Score: 3. That's giving a "curved score" for the Champs track record.

DOLPH SCHAYES- Named after the first great Jewish NBA player, DS gets extra credit for creativity. For background, Dolph was mired in the basement most of the season. He decided to puropsely tank the remainer of the games leading to the All Star Game in order to win Most Improved (an award given to the team with the most points improved over the 2nd half of the season). While technically within the rules a move that came under incredible criticism and in The People's opinion, rightfully so.
I know D-Wade plays the game looking to get hurt and I know Amare is the better and safer pick, but I think D-Wade is on a mission to remind people who he is. It says here he competes with Lebron for MVP consideration and posts monster numbers. Kevin Martin is a fine player but how he goes in round 2 is beyond anyone's explanation. I love Durant but still think Round 3 is a bit early for him. Brand was their keeper at 4, a steal considering where he would have been drafted (end of round 1). Lots of points and good FG for his first 4 picks. Richard Jefferson is ok at 5 but shouldn't you pick someone who can get an assist at this point? Not sure why you go for a risky O'Neal here with Beasley, Bibby and Lee still around. I like Rondo at 7 but this might be a case of too little too late. Kirilenko still gives you value and even more so in round 8. Nice pick. Thaddeus went 3 rounds too early. Still only one PG on this squad. Bargnani was a nice pick at 10 considering he's also O'Neals handcuff. I love Green at 11. Dont understand ANOTHER big man at 12 with Sean Williams. West, Anthony Carter and some upside in Farmar round out the draft. Overall Score: 3. Would have been a 2 but got Brand as a 4th rounder as a keeper. Some good talent but no plan. All big men or shooters and the big men are all question marks. Very little game plan if any.

BONEZ N NUTZ- The Don Morocco to TPC's Jimmy Snuka. The Mortgage Backed Security to TPC's Banking industry. The Obama to TPC's McCain and most fittingly, the Barzini to TPC's Don Michael Corleone. Going into last seasons trading deadline, TPC was negotiating 2 different deals. One with Bonez and one with his brother YB. TPC was at the time in 4th place and needed to make a chance. In a very controversial move, TPC dealt the #1 overall player at the time, Chris Paul to YB for Manu Ginobelli (the #11 rated player) and Jermaine O'Neal. There were reports that O'Neal would have been back for the remaining 6 weeks of the season (he actually played a very ineffective 3-4 weeks). Manu filled needs Paul didnt for TPC and the upside of O'Neal would have helped TPC finish in the money. What in fact happened is the opposite. Manu played okay but O'Neal was largely ineffective. The Wild Samoans ended up in 6th (where they were prior to the deal) and YB was helped by paul to a second place finish. Bonez' CEO, Barzini, was in an uproar. In TPC's opinion not so much because of the deal TPC did make, but rather the deal that TPC didn't make with Barzini. Either way, The Wild Samoans and Barzini have put that behind them (or at least they will after Barzini takes a little car ride..). Barzini, I knew it was him all along.
Barzini picking 6th was given the gift of Amare (the #2 player in TPC's preseason rankings) because of the above errors. He then took Duncan in round 2 in typical Barzini fashion (he loves Duncan. However he doesn't know this isn't 2003). Duncan is no longer the force he once was and is only getting older. Richardson, the 2007 steal of the draft for The Wild Samoans, went 3rd, a very solid choice. Here was possibly the most curious pick of the draft, Jamal Crawford, who at best is an 8th rounder, going before a ton of talent. Odom went 5th, normally a good spot for him, but the news he will be coming off the bench this season makes this a risky play. Josh Howard was a steal in round 6. I love Foye, just not sure if round 7 was the place for him. Interestingly, Bonez took Manu (a very injured Manu) in round 8. Alston solid enough in round 9. Raja at 10, Eric Gordon 11 (a nice sleeper), Ben Wallace at 12, Hawes another nice sleeper at 13. Varajeo at 14 and Gerald Green at 15. Overall Grade: 3. He started things great with Amare and made a great pick with Howard, but nothing else the rest of the draft.

CELCIUS (FKA TEAM TABC)- Team TABC has been a middle of the road squad since The Wild Samoans have entered the league, finishing 8th, 8th and 5th. Celcius grabbed Dirk #7 and being this isn't a playoff league, a very solid choice. Carmelo fell to them in the second round, a pick I really like this year. Camby could be a steal in the 3rd round if he plays as much as last year, but he is already showing signs of injury and Kaman will eat away at his rebound totals. Gay was a keeper in round 4, a TPC favorite this season. The highly underrated Devin Harris went in round 5 a great choice considering he went after Andre Miller and Tony Parker and is probably the better player with the most upside. Biedrins may have went a bit early at 6, but with all the points locked up in Mello, Dirk and Gay, the cats Biedrins brings was a smart choice for this squad. I love Ray Allen at 7. He might not 2004 Allen, but he's still better than a 7th round pick. He finished as the 42nd overall player last year. Good for a mid 3rd rounder. Felton went in round 8, a player I think who will lose time as the season goes on to DJ. Marc Gasol went 9th, a curious pick at best considering Al Harrington was picked two slots later. I dont know if he'll even contribute that much this season. Marcus Williams went 10, another non factor. Blatche was a keeper at 11, would probably have been a 13-14th rounder. Earl Watson could be a steal at 12 if he continues to start and since rookie PG's generally have trouble, it looks like that's how it's going to play out. I love Chandler at 13. While C-D Roberts might not bring much this season, he will be a great keeper going for next season. And to complete the rookie roundup, Brandon Rush went 15th. Overall Grade: 6. A lot of very good choices with no major blunders.

SMOKING ANTELOPES- With the 8th pick of the draft, The SA's made a huge blunder taking Baron Davis. Remember TPC's rule- you dont win a league in rounds 1 and 2 you only lose them- well, SA just did by taking a player who last year played more than 67 games for the first time since 2001, oh and by the way-shocker of shocker- it was in the last year of his contract. Big mistake. If you want a PG yopu take Nash there. Or even AI. Not Davis. Chris Bosh, another frail player (a stud when he does play for 65 games or so) went in round 2. Not a good start. I like Jamison a lot. To drink and also as a 3rd round pick. Stephen Jackson- if he stays out of trouble- is a nice choice at 4. Mo Williams, another injury prone player- albeit a fine player, went 5. Are we following this pattern folks? I love Tyson Chandler in round 6. Same with Mike Miller in 7. Zach Randolph at 8 fills some needs and so far has looked good in D'Antoni's system. There are rumors he will be dealt so stay tuned there. Either way, a solid choice. I dont like the Nelson pick at 9. Not when Derrick Rose and Gordon are still on the board. Collison, a perennial disappointment at 10. Brewer, the keeper at 11- some say he is the sleeper of the year. I'm not sure about that but he's definitely worth a keeper at 11. Monta Ellis at 12 could be a great bargaining chip late in the season- except TABC is going to be needing to trade for keepers, not the other way around. I like the potential of Louis Williams at 13 and Diaw at 14. Two nice late value picks. Not exactly sure what Maxiel is doing on a roster right now at 15.
Overall Grade: 4. Some nice picks late made up for some horrible draft strategy. You dont fill a roster with injury prone players hoping everything works out "this year".

The Ducks- Yes, the same nagging and annoying Ducks from The People's League. For those who need a history lesson, The Ducks were once a fantasy force and despite a recent revival (getting nicked on the last day by Forties and Dimes for the TPL Baseball title) The Ducks have not been the same since their early TPL dominance, especially in hoops, which included a 3 peat early in the century. The Ducks also win the Award for this years most annoying drafter constantly picking players already taken, including trying to draft Baron Davis in round 6 and Kevin Love 2 picks after he was drafted. With that being said, The Ducks actual picks started with KG at #9 a great pick in 2005, not so great in 2008-9. KG has moved nicely into his role as complimentary player on the Champion Celtics and will continue in that role even more so since Pierce's ascendancy to the games elite. The Ducks went with the chalk with Granger at 2 a pick every major prognosticator likes, except TPC. I just dont see Granger as a top 20 pick at this point. I like Gasol at 3, a player who someone got lost in the Laker shuffle, but who will make Duck fans very happy. I think Calderon is overrated. he doesn't score much and doesn't get enough steals to be an elite Fantasy PG and with good talent still available, I dont see him going 4th. Bynum was a steal at 4. He will 18 ppg 11 reb and 2.5 blocks easily this season as he develops into the leading big man in the west. Okur was good value at 6 and is poised for a big season. Biggest problem I see at this point is not nearly enough scoring an assists. Barbosa will address some of that in round 7, although this is no longer the run and gun D'Antoni Suns, so we might see a drop off in production here. Love Rip at 8. While Rip's scoring totals have gone done his shooting percentage, steals and assists are rising. Points proving what a great all around and smart player Hamilton is. Harrington was another great choice at 9. Battier healthy is a reach at 10 and out at least a month increases that error. Obviously, the Ducks last two picks and this one (Grant Hill at 11) have shown why the Ducks were good in fantasy NBA 5 years, but have no clue. This is the point of the draft where The Ducks only know a few players. Interestingly though the Ducks make a good choice with Mike Conley at 12- a very solid keeper to add. I guess he remembered the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Round 13 got the Ducks back to form with JR Smith and Wally at 14. Chris Wilcox ended things for the Ducks at 15. Overall Grade: 5.5. A really good job for 9 rounds and his non NBA knowledge came through after that. Either way, a very decent draft for The Ducks.

The Mighty Moose- The league representative for the soon to be World Champion Phillies, MM was gifted Josh Smith at #10. There isn't anything Smith doesn't excel at. He can score. Rebound. Block shots and get steals, all the while playing any of the F positions. He is like the 2005 version of KG. Deron Williams, injured at draft time, ends up being a great choice as the early reports of him missing a month were exaggerated and the Utah Stud will probably only miss 2 games-4 games. Pierce went 3. A very solid choice for the 2008 CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES MVP. I love Roy at 4- he is primed for his breakout season along with Oden and Aldridge- the 5th round pick of MM- in Portland. While T-Mac might be a shadow of his former self, he is still a solid value at 6 especially considering the 5 players already on the MM's. MM's addressed one of their issues by taking the Big Z at 7 a player who always goes later than he should. Hinrich was a decent choice at 8 but Moose already had enough PG types. Villenueva at 9 could be a huge sleeper. A lot of upside on that pick. Not sure what Davis's role will be in LA, and he wont put up the numbers he did in recent years but then he would have been a 6th rounder not a 10th where he was grabbed. Scola is a steal at 11- a player The Samoans wanted at that slot. Klieza is a great upside choice in round 12. I dont see Niocioni being a factor anymore in Chicago (13). Marbury was a throw away pick at 14 and the Moose forfeited their 15th. Overall Grade: 6.5 . Yes, the picked great players and almost always the best player on the board, but sometimes you need to address your needs and the lack of big men on this squad is very apparent.

THE U- The hist of the draft and BBQ and probably reason #1 for the above ridiculous format (not his fault but the Commish's obvious need for grilled meat at a drafts fault) The U took AI with the 1th pick of the draft. AI is especially studly in this league as TO's do not count and he has shot a respectable 45% from the field the last two years. Marion went to them in round 2, I believe will be a major bust in his second year in Miami. Marion formerly the #1 roto player while in the Suns system decided he would rather play in Miami then contend for NBA titles. Well, he shot 46% to the field instead of the 52+ he was used to getting fed by Nash. I think his numbers will continue the downtrend as now Wade is healthy and Beasley is the #2 offensive option. As good as Artest is I like to stay away from those kind of players- too much risk this early in a draft. I love Rashard Lewis at 4. I dont see Rasheed as a viable 5th rounder anymore. His minutes and effectiveness are only decreasing. Horford is a nice breakout player in round 6 but you dont take him before Beasley, Chandler or Oden. More risk then the guys I mentioned without nearly the upside. I love Peja at 7. Great value at that spot. Miller, overrated in recent years, is now underrated and The U took advantage in Round 8. Kevin Love was a big reach at 9. He had enough big men at this spot and instead of going with Gordon or Rose, he was left with Fischer at 10. Big mistake there. Not sure what Garcia brings to the table at 11. McCants at 12 could prove to be very nice as he has looked great in the preseason. Haslem a very solid choice at 13 (sometimes it pays to pick local) The Chairman is a nice sleeper at 14, and the Darko pick at 15 has some upside but not much. Overall Grade: 4. Front court is very weak and made to many early errors.

THE WILD SAMOANS- The TPC- DTA team was named after their favorite wrestling tag team of the 80's- from the Isle of Samoa, led in by their Manager, Lou Albano, weighing in at a combined weight of 649 pounds, Affa and Seka, THE WILD SAMOOOOOOOOOOOOOANS.
The Wild Samoans started off the draft picking the Great White Hope- Steve Nash. In an election year where The White Man is doomed, TWS are trying to do their part by represent. That and the fact that Deron Williams was expected out for a month brought a great increase in value to Mr. Nash. On the back to back, TWS secured their #1 Center with emerging star, Al Jefferson. Round 3 ended with Billups falling to TWS- Billups still finished the 2008 season as the #10 overall player in The Shark Tank. After a large debate , the next pick was Gerald Wallace (over Rashard Lewis) a serious stud if he can stay healthy and early indications are he is being taught to play hard and RIGHT under Coach Larry Brown. Marvin Williams was a questionable keeper at 5. If we had to do it again, he would not have been kept. Although TWS do have high hopes for Marvelous Marv, we would rather have had other players at that spot. Kaman was a steal at 6. Same thing with Deng at 7. Deng should be a 4th rounder next year. TWS took a shot with sleeper John Salmons at 8, someone TWS thinks will have a breakout year. The next two picks were probably the best 9-10th rounders in draft history. Ben Gordon, a stud in his contact year should have gone no less than round 6. Derrick Rose, also an incredible keeper in round 10 went 3 rounds after TJ Ford, Rondo, etc. a joke. D-Rose will be a force for TWS for the next two seasons. It says here, he has a similar rookie campaign to CP's two years back. Round 11 brought TWS another major sleeper and potential stud in Matt Barnes. Rudy Fernandez, the Spanish sensation was nabbed at 12. Kendrick Perkins, a legitimate Center was taken at the end of round 13 and another incredible value- PG Chris Duhon of the Mike D'Antoni New York Knickerbockers was TWS 14th rounder. TWS mailed in Sean May with the 15th pick.
Overall Grade: 10- I spent two days on this damn write up, I get a 10. That's the rule. As for teh squad, incredible balance and players at every position. No real weaknesses and some major upside. Plus, D-Rose as TWS 2009 5th round pick.

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