Thursday, June 29, 2006

Draft Recap!

It's been awhile since we've checked in here at FBB, but we just couldn't resist taking a look at the draft from a fantasy standpoint. Here's what we were thinking as it all went down last night ...

DM: Ah, it's that time of year again. The time of year where Chad Ford runs up to strangers on the street babbling incoherently about mockdrafttradeupwingspanworkedoutwellmockdraft!!! Yep, the NBA draft, the sort of kickoff to the nba offseason. Sure, there have been a couple of minor trades, but tonite is the night that teams really start to shape their rosters for next season, so we thought we'd bring FBB out of its hibernation. BV and I will be trading e-mails back and forth throughout the evening giving our thoughts on the proceedings and perhaps whatever else is on our minds. We've never claimed to be draft experts but that means the only thing differentiating us from everyone who does claim to be a draft expert is that we're not lying bastards. Right, BV?

BV: NOT lying bastards ... yeah, that's the ticket. This draft is going to be very dangerous for fantasy basketball players, because it's so weak but that doesn't mean that you haven't heard a TON about these guys who are, at best, going to be moderately OK this year. Remember, back in 2000-2001, Mike Miller was ROY but only put up 11.9/4.0 with 1.8 threes, moderate fantasy value at best.
Still, we're off to a great start, with a trade of Sebastian Telfair to Boston, freeing up time for FBB favorite Steve Blake. He won't have enough time to get fantasy value, but will Jarrett Jack ?

DM: Yeah, that's an interesting trade between the Blazers and the Celtics. I know Telfair is still young and with plenty of upside (there's 1), but he better not eat into any of Delonte West's time. I suppose West can shift over to SG, but he's got his most value at PG. Perhaps it's just stockpiling assets for a possible Allen Iverson trade? Nah...

BV: The Raptors have 14 - FOURTEEN - people in their draft room. and that was just on-camera. impressive. and those 14 people produce ...Andrea Bargnani. Fran Fraschella says he'll contribute to the team ... but, i dunno. first year? not likely. I won't be drafting him, that's for sure. And I'm still not sure there's room for both him and Villanueva.
I actually just counted 16 people in that room on the second take.

DM: Yeah, unless he has some sort of monster preseason, I would think that Bargnani would have the lowest ever average draft spot in fantasy leagues for a #1 overall pick in his rookie year. Still, Colangelo has earned a bit of leeway after making over the Suns. So the Bulls draft LaMarcus Aldridge for the Blazers it would seem. Jay Bilas likens him to Chris Bosh, but that might be a bit of a stretch. Channing Frye with more blocks maybe? I dunno. With Theo Ratliff gone, Joel Przybilla maybe gone and Raef Lafrentz fragile, Aldridge might be in for a decent amount of PT in Portland. If he can pass Ha Seung-Jin on the depth chart, that is.

BV: well, first of all, the fact that the blazers traded up to 2 and DIDN'T draft the stache is an absolute embarrasment. That said, Aldridge indeed seems due for a good 25-30 mpg if he can earn it, and assuming he qualifies at center, that means he'll be worth a mid-late round pick.
and speaking of the 'stache, there he goes to charlotte, which is really a great place for him. other than raymond felton, there's not a pure scorer on the bobcats, who i like to make the playoffs this year - yeah, you heard me. he and felton provide scoring, and if emeka okafor and gerald wallace stay healthy, they'll be able to cover for him on defense. but from a fantasy perspective, morrison should be good for at least 12-15 ppg this year ... but will he contribute anything else?

DM: Morrison does have a chance to establish himself as a top option on the Bobcats, but the Bobcats are one of those teams on which minutes can be an issue. There were a whole lot of players in that 20-35 mpg range last year, so consistency might be an issue. It'll probably be trendy to call Morrison an overrated fantasy prospect at this point, but I'm just never sold on drafting rookies with fairly high expectations.
Did Dan Patrick just make a Wilco reference?
As expected, Tyrus Thomas gets picked by the Blazers, for the Bulls. LSU underclassmen, freakish athlete, attack the basket ... too much like Stromile Swift for my liking.

BV: YES Dan Patrick made a Wilco reference!!
Ty Thomas in Chicago ... that's fine. But he will never see consistent minutes enough to play. Skiles can and will be ruthless with minutes. But what i don't understand is, why did they go after Viktor Khryapa? I mean, trade down and get a piece, by all means, but i don't understand how that piece fits.

The Hawks, here's the thing. Shelden WIlliams is a GREAT pick for them, for sure. In fact, he could very well be ROY there. but why not move down a pick or two (or three) and get him then? If i'm Minnesota or Portland or Houston, I'm salivating over Brandon Roy right now.

DM: The Hawks are such a reactionary franchise, which really isn't the way to be in a league that rewards long-term planning. They thought they needed a star, so overpaid for Joe Johnson. Wanted the "most upside" last year and went with Marvin Williams. And this year they clearly wanted the "solid pick" and went with Shelden Williams. His presence might hurt the value of Zaza Pachulia, but that remains to be seen. Williams' fantasy value is tied into his blocks, but remember that in his rookie year, college blocks machine Emeka Okafor averaged only 1.7 bpg. Very good, but not really a difference maker as a center.
Well you can stop your salivating now, BV. The Wolves grab Brandon Roy, who has turned into everyone's favorite pick over the past week or so. But that's some reactionary thinking, too, as Dwyane Wade's emergence as the star of the league will make anyone who at all resembles him more appealing. The Wolves backcourt is a mess. Marcus Banks was a non-factor in Boston and managed 31 mpg once he got to Minnesota. Roy will certainly be one to watch.

BV: Agreed about Roy. Meanwhile, the Blazers make the right choice, finally, with Randy Foye. So they'll have two lottery picks in Aldridge and Foye, got rid of Khryapa, Telfair and Ratliff ... but they STILL haven't moved Miles or Randolph. I don't think we're done dealing this summer with portland.

Here's my quick-fix ranking of the first seven picks in terms of fantasy value right now:
1. Brandon Roy
2. LeMarcus Aldridge
3. Randy Foye
4. Adam Morrison5. Shelden Williams
6. Andrea Bargnani
7. Ty Thomas

DM: It's going to take a lot of work to get rid of Miles or Randolph, that's for sure. And man is that a lot of money they are paying to those two and Raef Lafrentz over the next few years. The Blazers selections this year remind of the Bobcats last year, going for upside and solid college performance at the same time. The volatility of the Blazers might make me put them behind Morrison on that list. Rudy Gay ... sure. He might develop into an all-star, and Jerry West wants someone to eventually emerge as a reliable second option behind Gasol, so it works there. Shane Battier in Houston, I like it a lot. He's always an underrated fantasy contributor and might be able to increase his 3s as Houston players gets lots of open looks with McGrady and Yao often double teamed. Now we move into the portion of the draft where I stop knowing anything about these players.

BV: Shane Battier just vaulted up the fantasy boards going to houston. Remember Jim Jackson in Houston, when every time on offense he would just settle into the corner and chuck threes whenever the ball went to him? He hit 2 treys a game doing that, and he was at that point 34 years old and had never averaged more than 1.5 threes at any point in his career before that. That's what Battier is going to do in houston, but his defensive stats and rebounding will make him a great value. He was a borderline player the last few years, now he's a surefire fantasy starter.
Patrick O'Bryant in Golden State? Whatever. I'm sure they'll like his cheesecake. I'm also sure we'll never hear from him again.

DM: The O'Bryant pick is a classic, "We don't really need anything and there's no one we particularly like, so let's just draft the tallest dude and see if he pans out."
The Wolves trade Roy straight up for Foye? That's confusing on many levels. There obviously has to be something else in that deal or else the teams would have just drafted the players they wanted. Right?
Alahu Akbar, we have our first surprise! Saer Sene to the Sonics. Hard to understand this one. The DeSagana Diop comparison is easy and we saw how that worked out for the team that spent a lottery pick on him. Robert Swift, Johan Petro and Saer Sene. Makes me feel good about the Wizards status in the middle.

BV: Good. get out of my face, JJ Redick. Go to Orlando and go away. and boy, dick vitale is thrilled as expected. did you see the smile on his face?! oh man, quote of the night - "You'd better give me some free tickets JJ, after all the publicity I gave you!" man, NO KIDDING. Really though, Redick could/should put up numbers similar to mike miller when he was a rook in memphis. i won't draft him, though, on principal.
Yeah, Golden State and Seattle both made "eh, i guess so" picks, as expected. we'll see them both in the lottery next year, huh?

DM: I'm definitely going to avoid Redick, not just on principle, but playing in a league with people who are extremely familiar with the ACC, he's bound to be overrated. I just have a hard time believing he'll be able to physically keep up with NBA guards. What's the over/under on what percentage of Redick's shot attempts will be 3s next year? I'll put it at 78.
Hilton Armstrong ... like I was saying before, um, sure? It would be surprising to see anyone drafted from here on out be a contributor to your fantasy team next year, at least early on in the season. Does that sound about right, BV? And back to Battier for a moment, can't you see Van Gundy falling in love with him and giving him close to 40 mpg? I can.

BV: well battier was already seeing 35 mpg in memphis, but yeah, i can see him getting closer to 40 a night in houston.

as for any more contributors being drafted, i think that's right, but right now the concern is the depth chart. remember, the stat we love most is minutes - and right now, minutes are up for grabs all over the place. So for example, Thabo Sefolosha going to Philly, will he cut into the minutes of Andre Iguodala, who was seeing 37 mpg? Will he cut the minutes of Kyle Korver, who was seeing 31 mpg, enough that Korver is no longer a spot starter for a fantasy team?

And with that, apparently Thabo is headed to Chicago. but you get the point - don't consider the player at this point, you consider who his minutes are going to affect.
Who do you see as the biggest 'winner' tonight so far, DM? Either a draftee or a current nba player? my pick is battier.

DM: You could just tell that Stern wasn't going to let Patrick get away with that one. I like how Stern even got Stuart Scott to ask Tyrus Thomas about any advice he got from the chick that was the #1 pick in the WNBA draft.
Ronnie Brewer to Utah ... it seems like the Jazz have drafted tons of players over the past few years but none of them ever get any sort of extended shot, which is no doubt in part due to Jerry Sloan. Wingspan, slasher, basketball IQ ... lot of buzzwords around him, but we'll see what happens. Big winner of the night, I might say Adam Morrison. Not because I think he will necessarily be a stud this year, but because of everyone drafted tonight he seems like the only one who could legitimately turn into his team's #1 scoring option in the near future.

BV: switching roy and foye, i don't like it. I think minnesota had the best player, but apparently they like foye more. looking at how good their scouting is, i don't trust it.
You say that at this point nobody drafted is going to have an impact, but in NO, Cedric Simmons and/or HIlton Armstrong could have an impact on that front line. It's not like NO is going to compete this year, and with PJ Brown in the last year of his contract, why not just play the youngsters? looking at the salaries on hoopshype.com, i can't believe how much the hornets are going to be under the cap next year. so just keep developing the youngsters, right?

DM: Rodney Carney ... I was getting him confused with Ronnie Brewer all week. Swingmen from southern schools and all that.
I think what I said was that nobody would have fantasy value at the beginning of the season. Did I say that? I don't remember. But yeah, there's always a chance someone will emerge as the season goes on, and Simmons and/or Armstrong could be those guys. I just don't see it happening at the beginning of the season. Only a couple more picks until our Wiz are up...

BV: Shawne Williams to the Pacers? Bad move. They needed a point guard and I really thought that they would take the other WIlliams here, as in Marcus. I don't really think that he fills a need for them either, y'know? They've already got Granger at the 3. What this really says is that they don't really expect to re-sign Peja.
As for the Wiz, they had better take Williams. Take the guy that falls to you, that's what I say. He coulda gone top 10 and nobody would have blinked. blunk?

DM: I don't understand the Shawne Williams pick either, but it's clear that a few teams at this point have gone out of their way to not pick Marcus Williams. Shawne won't see too much time this year it would seem, which looks like good news for guys like Sarunas Jasikevicius, Danny Granger and Fred Jones.
Well, Chad Ford was right for once. The Wiz go with Olexsiy Pecherov, a guy who looks even skinnier than me and gets bonus points for crazy ass first name spelling. So now the Wiz have both Petrov and Andray Blatche in the works. We'll see how that goes. I wouldn't have minded Marcus Williams myself, but oh well.

BV: Well, on the TV they spelled it with a "k" and not an "x", but i really don't think there's any chance he'll have a fantasy impact year. As for Quincy "Ooby" Douby, remember when Mike Bibby went down and Bobby Jackson was a fantasy stud for like 2 months? I'm just saying, it could happen to ooby douby too ... by.

DM: I will say that it's about damn time the Wizards got a European player. They were among the last holdouts, weren't they? Quincy Douby should always be introduced by Adam Sandler. "AH-QUIN-CAY DOOOOBY-DOOOOBAY-DOOOO!!!"
Who? What? Ronaldo Balkman? Chad Ford had him going at #53. And he goes #20. And the draft is Isiah's strong suit, right? It's going to be a fun year in New York. Congratulations to the Balkman family -- you're millionaires!!!

BV: I have nothing to say about balkman, as for the brian grant trade, addition by subtraction for the suns ... i guess. his contract isn't all that big though, right? i don't really understand that one. I think this though - if you're looking for a guy who could have a major impact right away being drafted this late, it's rondo. He could very easily start over sebastian telfair - who's pretty injury prone - and average 6-8 apg. I'd say that depending on how the preseason shakes out, rondo could be worth a last-round pick.

DM: It's nice that Rondo has a "special" talent, that being his rebounding ability for a PG. Granted, that's sort of negated by his lack of an outside shot, but still, it's something. You always need to look for that sort of competitive advantage.
Marcus Williams finally goes, to the Nets. Free Dells for everyone! Maybe an heir to Jason Kidd? Attitude problems, out of shape, pure point guard -- maybe a little Rod Strickland there? Just throwing ideas out there. Hard not to like the Nets choice here, and he could keep Jason Kidd's minutes down, but of course that could keep him in more games.

BV: The Nets, they scored on one with Williams, but I think they blew the other one with Boone. But you know what? If he can take time away from Jason Collins, that's fine with me. Collins is one of the ultimate minutes wasters in the league, so if Boone can step in and take up 15 mpg or so from the get-go, he might earn himself more minutes fairly quickly with good play.

DM: Boone does seem like a bit of a reach. I'm not convinced he'll be all that much better than Collins, really. But at this point in the draft it's hard to really complain too much. And it'll be an easy story in New Jersey, drafting to two Connecticut guys, yadda yadda.
Lowry's a pretty good pick for Memphis. Stoudamire is coming off of serious surgery, Chucky Atkins is up there in age, so maybe Lowry should be able to at least give them some minutes this year and maybe develop into something bigger. He averaged 2.3 steals in 29 mpg at Villanova last year. Just something to keep in mind.

BV: Here's what I'm talking about when it comes to PT. Shannon Brown is going to get his minutes from Larry Hughes and Flip Murray, and that means both of those guys are going to take a dip in fantasy value. That's going to be an interesting situation to watch.
Agreed about Lowry. I believe Atkins is a FA, so he certainly could see serious minutes. It's no surprise that we love point guards here at FBB, and the ones taken here in the late first are all an injury away from seeing major minutes and having a chance at major value.

DM: Atkins a FA? Well, I think Murray is a FA. So take that!
The Lakers make a hometown pick and go with Jordan Farmar. I was one of those people who picked UCLA to go far in the tourney so I watched most of their games and while I do like Farmar, he seems like a guy that could drive Phil Jackson insane with unnecessarily showy play. Reminds me a bit of Sebastian Telfair, for whatever that's worth. I'm getting sleepy.

BV: just a few more picks ... and maybe another trade!

ok, so the suns took their two picks and traded them away - for cash? really? i guess that means that they're going to try and re-sign Marion after all? I dunno about all that. I mean, they could certainly have used some help SOMEwhere, right?
As for Portland, who the hell knows. In fact, i might write a column in the next few days that will go over their new roster, which certainly is still in major flux. but adding another point guard doesn't seem to make much sense.

DM: It is interesting that the Suns ended up going out of the draft altogether. I mean, this was the team that was using a 7-man rotation in the playoffs. Maybe they have something else planned.
Dallas is a hard team to find value on since they are so deep, but Ager seems like a nice pick. I was pretty bummed the Mavs didn't pull out the championship. And that will have to go down as a pretty big choke. They were just a few possessions away from putting away that Game 3. Seriously two more buckets the game, series and season would have been over. But they couldn't do it and then forgot how to shoot. Funny how Shaq was the fifth or sixth best player on his team in the championship clinching game, too. Knicks up next. After that last one ... maybe it's Nik Caner-Medley time!

BV: I also like the Ager pick. there's been talk that marquis daniels is on the outs in dallas, and this sort of works with that idea.

Here's the role that Mardy Collins is going to play in New York. Isiah's gonna get real mad at some halftime and yell, "FINE! Stephon, Steve, I've had it with you two! you're sitting on the bench for the second half. Who's left ... oh yeah! Mardy! You're in!!"

Ah, the last pick. Portland takes Joel Freeland, the tall Brit. sounds good to me.

I'll have more on portland later this week. I liked Roy the best coming in, but I don't know about him anymore. We'll take a closer look.
Anyhow, the big winners? Foye, Morrison, Shelden Williams, and Battier. DM, any final thoughts?

DM: Chad Ford is reporting that Stromile Swift was part of that Rudy Gay/Shane Battier trade, heading back to Memphis. That might be one of the more interesting aspects of this draft so far. I'm sure there will be more people predicting a breakout for him, but it's just hard to see at this point.

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