The Yahoo! Friends and Family League is hot out of the oven and ready for your
scorn perusal , having drafted Friday morning, on the cusp of the final draft weekend before the '12-'13 NBA regular season tips off.
[Fantasy Basketball '12: Play the official game of NBA.com]
The league consists of 12 owners, pairing off weekly in a nine-category, head-to-head battle. The Family Division is made up of myself and five other Yahoo!s: Dalton Del Don, Andy Behrens, Scott Pianowski, Brad Evans and Guy Lake. On the Friends side, we have six esteemed industry experts, representing the sites of Basketball Monster (former Family member, Matt Buser), Rotowire (Chris Liss, and brothers Kyle and Shannon McKeown) and Rotoworld (Steve "Dr. A" Alexander and Adam Levitan).
After the proceedings, I asked everyone to send me their quick comments about their team selection process (14 rounds, the first 12 of which are listed below). I left it up to each individual to decide what they wanted talk about in their short post-draft analysis. Here are some excerpts from the experts:
Said Shannon McKeown: "I was lucky enough to land the top spot in the draft. LeBron James has been the most popular No. 1 pick this year, but I opted to go with Kevin Durant. You can't really go wrong with either … but I see more upside in selecting Durant with the first pick. Durant finished ahead of LeBron in five of nine categories last season, including sizable choke holds in three-pointers made and free-throw percentage. LeBron holds a massive advantage in assists, but I was able to make up ground in that category later in the draft. Plus, at just 24, we haven't seen the best from Durant yet. I expect one of the all-time great fantasy seasons from him this year."
Said Scott Pianowski: "The No. 2 slot is obviously an advantageous draw — you get a category-sweeping stud to start things off with, a no-risk pick — in this case, LBJ. Because my next two picks were on the small side (PG Ty Lawson, SF/PF Rudy Gay), I felt I was chasing the power positions later on."
Said Steve Alexander: "I was torn between Josh Smith and Kevin Love, who were both available at No. 7. Love is a nine-cat beast and I'm banking on him only missing about 10 games, and also hoping that he'll be able to shoot the ball when he's over his broken hand. Then I was thrilled to get Melo in Round 2, George in Round 3 … Some drafts go just as you envision them going, while nothing goes right in others. This was one where it seemed like guys I wanted were somehow lasting until I picked. But I'm sure it was very close on George, Goran Dragic (Round 4) and Nikola Pekovic (Round 5). When I took Love over Smith I subconsciously punted blocks, but I have a solid team in several cats — especially scoring, boards and 3-pointers."
Said Andy Behrens: "Upon learning that I had the No. 10 pick in the draft, I realized there was a decent possibility I'd end up building around Dwight Howard. This of course means category punting. The man lives at the free throw line, where he's a legendarily awful percentage shooter (58.8 career, 49.1 last year). So when you plan to own Howard in head-to-head, you basically have to throw away FT% and construct a roster that can reliably win 6-3 each week. I think I've done just that … After Howard, my next three selections were Blake Griffin, Rajon Rondo and Andre Iguodala. That's a badass group, if you're punting free throw percentage."
Said Dalton Del Don: "I went pretty much with a best player available strategy but came away envious of Andy's clear willingness to punt FT%. Getting Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin and Rajon Rondo couldn't have been more perfect execution. I know taking Andrew Bynum was extremely risky, but in the middle of Round 3, I couldn't resist. He'll likely make or break my team."
Said Matt Buser: "I got off on the wrong foot by not waiting to see if I could get Serge Ibaka in Round 3 — my reasoning was that I didn't want to see the Durant or LeBron team end up with Ibaka, but now I do wish that I had drafted Ty Lawson in Round 2 and let things play out from there. That said, my team has good balance across the board and I'm comfortable with my chances from week to week."
Said Guy Lake: "I went with three bigs who are all pretty boring but quite dependable. Al Jefferson was best available player at No. 9 and when my Round 2 pick came back I decided to double down on big men with great percentages who hurt you nowhere; Pau Gasol fit the bill perfectly. Turns out I tripled-down on this type of player with Paul Millsap, whom I fully expected to be long gone by the time we got to the No. 33 pick. Having a deep pool of point guards helped me go big early.
Said Chris Liss: "I really thought my team was dominant while we were drafting, but now that I look at it I could be in some trouble. I tanked blocks on purpose, but rebounds by accident. If I don't get good FG, threes and points, I could be in trouble. Overall, I think I should have gone with a third PG instead of Greg Monroe in Round 3, and really tanked bigs all the way. But I'll still do better than Funston and Evans, whose drafts were truly abominable."
Said Funston: "After defending Kobe Bryant over Kyrie Irving in our Spin Doctors series, I knew that's the direction I would go if both were available at No. 11, which they were. But I was hoping to get Kyrie on the comeback. That didn't happen, so I went a different direction with DeMarcus Cousins. And when Behrens snaked my next attempt at a point guard, Rajon Rondo in Round 3, I took Kyle Lowry, which cemented my direction of no longer giving a damn about FG%. From that point on, I pretty much ignored that category as a draft prerequisite … Oh, and Chris Liss is suffering from head trauma. Take everything he says with a grain of salt."
Said Adam Levitan: "When it came time for my back-to-back picks in Rounds 3 and 4, I had to decide what direction to go. In a vacuum, Paul George was the highest rated player on my board. But H2H isn't played in a vacuum. So I stuck with the tried-and-true "big and little" strategy, building my team around large men that block shots and smaller men that score and steal. Perhaps I'll regret it when George is a household name — or at least a name in households that watch the NBA.
Said Brad Evans: "Admittedly, I'm not the biggest NBA brain. My basketball passion resides in the college game. However, I was thrilled to score Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the 76th overall pick. The rookie is an outstanding talent equipped with a strong work ethic, top-flight athleticism and speed. His explosiveness in transition, defensive savvy and available minutes in Charlotte should make him an instant impact player."
Said Buser: "Rounds 8-10 were a bit bumpy for me: I took J.R. Smith (8) when, in retrospect, David West made more sense; then I assumed I could wait on George Hill (9) but was proven wrong; and Elton Brand was taken two picks before me (10), much to my chagrin."
Said Alexander: "Deng in Round 8 seems like robbery to me, but people are (justifiably) scared of his wrist and last year's field goal percentage. But he's a no-brainer this late."
Said Kyle McKeown: "I usually like to target value in guys who drop, and I am willing to take the risk on injured players. However, in this draft, I felt like it was hard to get anyone on the cheap. I'm happiest with my pick of Devin Harris in Round 11. He's being undervalued too much in drafts this season. Scott Pianowski made a speculative pick of Jae Crowder in Round 12, and that could end up being the steal of the draft."
Said Evans: "I sorely regret passing up another youngster, Bradley Beal, in Round 9 for a very questionable Derrick Rose. Beal is an absolute monster in the making. His range is limitless and he's a very adaptable player. Though he needs to become a better creator inside the arc, given his superb efficiency profile while at Florida, he could score big out of the gate. It would be no shock if he tallied 17-19 points per game, many of those coming from distance."
Said Funston: "I should feel good that Jeff Green was the only player outside the first three rounds that was yanked out from right under me (I was ready to go, with my finger on the draft button), but it still stings. I was a big fan of his game before he missed last season because of heart surgery, and he's looked real good this preseason."
Said Alexander: "The only guy I wanted and didn't get was Jamal Crawford, who Buser sniped me on late, so I took another PG in Ramon Sessions instead. It sounds (judging from the draft chat room) like I kept taking players other guys wanted, which is always a good feeling. Obviously I'm happy with my draft, but I have never done too well in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League, so I'm just going to be cautiously optimistic and hope for the best.