Roto Arcade - Fantasy

Throughout the week, we'll be mock drafting the first five rounds of a fantasy hoops league. The format should be fairly familiar to regular Roto Arcade readers - one round per day, with six managers drafting two teams each, adding their analysis for each pick along the way. As always, we look forward to your thoughtful discussion of the picks and analysis in the comments section. Assumed settings are 9-cat h2h.

Links to previous results: Round 1

2.01 Josh Smith(notes), F, ATL - He's been a minor disaster in free-throw percentage, but he's an asset everywhere else. The baseline expectation for Smith should be an 8-rebound, 1.5-steal, 2-block, 15-PPG season, and I like everything I've heard about the Hawks' offensive plans. Smith is a good bet to lead the NBA in steals-plus-blocks, so he'll provide cover for David Lee(notes), this team's first rounder. (Andy Behrens)

2.02 Steve Nash(notes), PG, PHO - We're all supposed to be down on Nash, now that he's old and Amar'e-less. But whenever I'm in a draft room, seconds ticking down, I find it easy to construct a case for Nash. He's 36, true, but this is clearly not a player in decline. Nash led the league in assists last season (11.0), his team plays at a crazy pace, and the Stoudemire move doesn't scare me off. (I worry more for Amar'e without Nash than for Nash without Amar'e). Most of Nash's fantasy value is obviously concentrated in one category, but this is head-to-head, where punting is acceptable. (Behrens)

2.03 Amar'e Stoudemire(notes), FC, NYK - While it's tough to know exactly what to expect for Amar'e's foray into non-Nash territory, we can say with a fairly high degree of certainty that he's going to score a ton of points for Mike D'Antoni while maintaining an elite field goal percentage and grabbing in the neighborhood of nine boards. The wild-cards are his free throw percentage, which dipped to 77 percent last season, and blocked shots, which have fallen from 2.1 three seasons ago to 1.0 last season. Raymond Felton(notes) is a decent enough point guard and Amar'e's usage will absolutely be unquestioned, so pick 15 is a good spot for someone who has ranked in the top five just two seasons ago. From a team perspective, the Deron/Amar'e pairing sets up threes, steals, and blocks as current weaknesses (but a solid base everywhere else), so we'll let the available players over the next few rounds determine where we're going in terms of a punt strategy. (Matt Buser)

2.04 Jason Kidd(notes), PG, DAL - With Kidd, I'm pairing a top-10 player from last season with Granger, and I'm looking at per-game ranks of fourth (Granger) and seventh (Kidd) last season with FG% removed from consideration. There is some potential for a drop-off if the Mavs happen to think Rodrigue Beaubois(notes) is ready to spend lots of time at the point, but that's unlikely to happen for this veteran team, particularly with Roddy likely to miss the entire preseason due to injury. And frankly, I'm getting value here even if there is some regression in Kidd's numbers. Boards and blocks become priorities moving forward, and I'll want to be sure to keep the FT% high and look for some scorers, as well. (Buser)

2.05 Gerald Wallace(notes), F, CHA - I'm pairing Crash with Dwyane Wade(notes) here, setting up a strong foundation for points, steals, rebounds, and blocks while ignoring turnovers. There's moderate risk here with the possibility for some missed games, but the payout of potentially having two top-10 players is worth it. Wallace finished 10th in per-game value last season, partially attributed to playing a career-high 41 minutes per game - second only to Monta Ellis(notes) (41.4). Even with the addition of Tyrus Thomas(notes), I don't see how the Bobcats can afford to play Wallace any less than 39 MPG with the losses of Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler(notes). There are some potential red flags here with possible regressions in perimeter shooting efficiency and free-throw percentage, but there is no doubt that the Bobcats will lean heavily on him once again this year and he will once again, deliver top-15 impact. (Justin Phan)

2.06 Brook Lopez(notes), C, NJN - It really is scary how similar Lopez and Yao's numbers are through their first two seasons. Getting a big man who shoots at an 82-percent clip on 6.2 attempts per game is a huge luxury from the center position, and is a perfect complement to build on Kobe's free-throw percentage. The Nets added Troy Murphy(notes) this off-season, but I don't see him significantly impacting Lopez's numbers since their games complement each other so well. Murphy's perimeter and mid-range game will force Lopez to cut down on those low-percentage jumpers he got suckered into taking last season, and will help keep Brook's field-goal percentage on the north side of 50 percent. Their rebounding skills complement each other too, with Lopez's strength being on the offensive glass and Murphy's strength coming on the defensive side. Moving forward my team's strengths are points and free-throw percentage while my weakness is clearly turnovers (not too big a deal this early on in the draft). This pairing gives me some flexibility in the remaining six categories and allows me to go in a number of directions with my next three picks. (Phan)

2.07 Carmelo Anthony(notes), SF, DEN - I considered grabbing a big man to pair with Stephen Curry(notes) but couldn't pass on Anthony's scoring ability (3rd in the league last season at 28.2 points per game). Also, since both guys are quite turnover prone, it makes sense to pair them up and punt this category right off the bat. Both rated in the top 11 last season when discounting TO's - it's nice to land two first rounders, no? As far as the current "Melo"-drama in Denver, I'm not too concerned about his production significantly falling if he does end up getting traded. Melo is one of the elite usage guys in the league (33.4% last season) so he'll get his no matter the situation. (Oleh Kosel)

2.08 Rajon Rondo(notes), PG, BOS - Rondo is an excellent choice to pair up with D12 since we're punting free throw percentage (rated 17th overall without FT%). I'm pretty sure we still haven't seen the best out of the young Celtic guard as he's still only 23 and his responsibilities should continue to grow as the original 'Big Three' continue to age. However, don't expect Rondo to become proficient from long range anytime soon. Last season, his fourth year, he posted a personal low of 30 percent from 16-23 feet, and his 21-percent from three was truly abysmal. This team now has a very strong start in REB, AST, STL, BLK and FG%, but I will likely have to address the issue of more points and plenty of threes as turnovers are now probably not salvageable (Dhow - 3.3, RR - 3.0). (Kosel)

2.09 Andre Iguodala(notes), GF, PHI - With the exception of TOs, Igoudala offers a nice across-the-board fantasy contribution. And Nowitzki's lack of TOs helps offset the one real weakness that Iguodala has. The real beauty of this pairing is the expected return on games played. Nowitzki has played in 76 games or more in 11 straight seasons. Iguodala has missed a total of six games in his entire six-year career. (Brandon Funston)

2.10 Tyreke Evans(notes), G, SAC - If you throw out FT% and TOs, which this team will be doing with LeBron James(notes) in tow, Evans was a borderline top 30 player as a rookie. And it's more than fair to expect improvement from a player that just turned 21 a few days ago - reports are that he was hard at work improving his outside shot and it wouldn't be out of the question to see his three-point shooting go from a negative in '09 to a slight positive in his sophomore campaign. (Funston)

2.11 Chauncey Billups(notes), PG, DEN - While no longer the elite source of assists he used to be (Chauncey topped out at 8.6 assists per game in 2005-06 with the Pistons), Billups is a model of consistent fantasy production rivaled only by the likes of Dirk Nowitzki(notes) and Jason Kidd. Constructing a winning head-to-head team in competitive fantasy leagues is all about building upon strengths. Drafting Billups in the second round to pair with Chris Paul(notes) gives this team a solid foundation in the traditional guard stats, with strengths in assists, steals, FT%, and to a lesser extent points and threes. The next few picks will be focused on shoring up some of this team's weaknesses (blocks, turnovers, rebounds and FG%) while continuing to build upon the team’s strengths. (Phil Londen)

2.12 Chris Bosh(notes), PF/C, MIA - The end of the second round is the perfect time to take a gamble on Chris Bosh this season. His ADP has dropped a bit from last year based on the uncertainty of how his fantasy value will be affected by his new role as Miami’s third option. Bosh’s demotion almost certainly means a hit in usage, and more importantly to fantasy managers, counting stats. However, the optimistic viewpoint is that any drop in countables will be offset by an increase in overall efficiency (higher FG% or less turnovers). Building around Durant necessitates drafting big men who shoot well from the free throw line in order to preserve KD’s biggest strength (FT%). Picking at the two/three turn allows you to add two big men who fit this description without having to reach to get them. (Londen)


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