Roto Arcade - Fantasy

The overwhelming success of our fantasy football mock left us little choice but to follow suit for fantasy hoops now that the NBA Draft has come and gone. And let's face it - it's never too early to mock draft. The plan is to have four rounds done by Thursday, and then we'll pick things up again after the July 4 weekend. The participants: Jonathan Tom, esteemed Fantasy Basketball Cafe contributor and winner of the 2007-08 Y! Friends and Family League; a Yahoo! Sports triumvirate of Brandon Funston, Matt Buser, and Matt Romig; Justin Phan, an FBC and fantasybasketball.com contributor; and David Klyce of HoopsKlyce.com (and 2006-07 F&F league champ).

For settings, assume the standard nine categories (FG%, FT%, 3PTM, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, TO) and roto scoring format. Individual draft rounds can be found at the following links: 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Tim Duncan, San Antonio FC - Round 3, Pick 1. Roughly 20 PTS, 10 RBS, 3 ASTS, and 2 BLKS - you can go ahead and chalk it up right now. Naysayers have been speculating a Duncan let down for years now. Duncan's response? Finishing No. 25 and No. 15 in the Y! game the past 2 seasons. Last season was actually one of Duncan's best in terms of the free throw line and turnovers. He upped his FT% to .730 (up from .637) while lowering his FTA's to just 5.9 (the lowest it's been since his rookie season). He also averaged 2.3 turnovers per game, which was the second lowest average of his 11-year career. By teaming Duncan with Paul and Ginobili, I have established a potent threesome to build upon as together they have no weakness. (Tom)

Carlos Boozer, Utah FC - Round 3, Pick 2. After appearing in only 84 of his first 164 games for Utah, Boozer has rebounded nicely, posting a total of only 9 DNP's in his last 2 seasons combined. Last season Boozer missed only one contest, prompting him to a No. 15 finish in the Y! game. He is a heavy contributor in PTS (21.1), RBS (10.4) and FG% (.547) while still managing to contribute modestly in STLS (1.2) and ASTS (2.9). Carlos doesn't block shots which is a weakness that this team will have to address somewhere down the road. But his FT% (.738) will be nicely offset by my high volume, high percentage FT shooters in Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas. Yao Ming was the other guy I considered with this pick. But the bottom line with Yao is that he has averaged 30 DNP's for the past 3 seasons. Translation, he hasn't posted a cumulative value above 41 in the last 3 years (56, 62, 41). The chances that you will be rewarded for drafting Yao above 35 in a ROTO league are slim to none. (Tom)

Jason Richardson, Charlotte GF - Round 3, Pick 3. Over the final four months of the season, J-Rich was a top 10 fantasy contributor. He trailed only Peja Stojakovic in three-point value, he's a strong scorer (21.8 ppg) and pick-pocket (1.4 spg), and his sometimes erratic percentages will be nicely offset by the presences of Amare and Calderon on this squad. (Funston)

Monta Ellis, Golden State G - Round 3, Pick 4. With Baron Davis headed to Los Angeles, Ellis assumes the go-to role for the Warriors - although, you could argue that he carried that mantle last season after averaging 20.2 points. The Warriors will have to figure out what they want to do now at PG, but Ellis should continue to post a high-scoring, ultra efficient (.531 FG%, 2.1 TO) fantasy line, while possibly improving upon his 3.9 assist mark as he steps up a little more as a distributor in Davis' absence. Ultimately, it's that efficiency I mentioned that gave Ellis the nod here over a strong group of names (Iguodala, Pierce, Gay, Kidd, Carter). (Funston)

Pau Gasol, LA Lakers FC - Round 3, Pick 5. Forget the playoffs and concentrate on what Gasol did in 27 regular season games after being gifted to the Lakers by the Grizzlies - 18.8 points on 59 percent shooting, 7.8 boards, 3.5 assists (just 1.6 turnovers), and 1.6 blocks were good for a per-game ranking of 13 during that stretch. It's not unlikely that he'll miss some time again this season (39 DNP's over the past two seasons) but the upside is worth taking a chance in the third round. His game is a near-perfect fit alongside Kobe's. No, I don't expect Andrew Bynum to negatively affect his numbers (at least not more than negligibly) and, no, I don't expect some kind of carryover affect from the finals let-down. This team now consists of Gasol, Shard Lewis, and KG. (Buser)

Yao Ming, Houston C - Round 3, Pick 6. I can't resist taking Yao with a third-round pick, even if logic dictates otherwise. Sure, his per-game ranks over the past three seasons are 12, 12, and 14 - as Jonathan so eloquently stated earlier in his analysis, his top final season rank during that time is 41 and his average is 53. I absolutely expect Yao to suffer another injury in 2008-09 that forces him out of the lineup for more than a few games - since December 2005, he's dealt with a left toe injury and infection that required surgery, a broken bone in his left foot, a broken bone in his right knee, and a stress fracture in his left foot. While rest and rehabilitation would seem to be exactly what he needs this offseason, he'll be dealing with the opposite, instead carrying the weight of China's hoops dreams on his back (and feet/knees) in the Olympics. So here's how I deal with the pick: if by some incredibly unlikely scenario Yao isn't down for the count at some point this coming season, it's a might-win-me-the-league-level steal; since I'm not counting on that, I'm drafting a very solid C3 with the assumption that it will be a virtual platoon for the season - 50ish games of top-15 production from Yao and 30ish games of reasonable production from the C3 to be named later. This team's roster is now Yao, Granger, and Marion. (Buser)

Paul Pierce, Boston GF - Round 3, Pick 7. Pierce's scoring totals were bound to take a hit after Danny Ainge assembled Boston's championship roster, and sure enough his shots per game dipped substantially and he averaged fewer than 20 points per game for the first time since 1999-2000. Across the board, however, Pierce remains a huge fantasy asset, averaging in the range of five rebounds, five assists, a steal, two treys and half a block per game. Joining Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash on Team Romig, maybe some of that championship heart will rub off. (Romig)

Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia GF - Round 3, Pick 8. Gotta admit as a native Californian, I've got a little West Coast bias going. Haven't seen a ton of Iguodala in action and what I have seen is generally his highlight-reel athleticism. Can't say I've ever owned him in a fantasy league, so I was a bit surprised at how well-rounded his game is. Twenty points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals is a nice start, and Iguodala doesn't stop there, adding a few threes and solid shooting figures for a guy as active as he is. A nice do-it-all complement to Baron Davis and Elton Brand on Team Mig II. (Romig)

Rudy Gay, Memphis GF - Round 3, Pick 9. It's tragic that the Grizzlies were only able to keep the Gay/Love connection alive for a day, but you can rest assured that Gay will continue his surge towards fantasy stardom. He showed tremendous improvement last year and redefined breakout season, going from waiver wire fodder (ranked 138th) to borderline second round material (ranked 26th). With Mike Miller's departure to Minnesota, Gay will be expected to carry even more of the offensive burden next season and he should approach 25 PPG and average more than 2 three-pointers a game. (Phan)

Vince Carter, New Jersey GF - Round 3, Pick 10. I was debating between Vince Carter and Kevin Martin here, but went with Carter because of the window of opportunity created by the Richard Jefferson trade. Without Jefferson there anymore, Carter will be the clear go-to man on offense and his FG and FT attempts should both normalize back to his career averages of 19.5 and 6.1, respectively. Look for him replicate his 2006-2007 production of 25.2 PPG and 1.9 3PTM, which put him 23rd in per-game value. (Phan)

Carmelo Anthony, Denver SF - Round 3, Pick 11. I really think I need to reevaluate why it is I seem to rate Anthony higher than everyone else. I have him 16th overall and here he is easily at the 33rd overall. This happens with him it seems when I draft in these types of leagues. Since he does not excel in assists or blocks I think there is a certain stigma about him. He does excel at points and he doesn't really stink in any category. Since this team already has Deron Williams and Josh Smith he would be a great compliment however I am already looking ahead to what this team will do for a center. (Klyce)

Kevin Martin, Sacramento SG - Round 3, Pick 12. This pick is strictly taking the best available player, although he also happens to be a good guy to join Allen Iverson to help counteract the free throw percentage problem created by having Dwight Howard. Beyond scoring points though he really is not that notable, but his scoring and percentages are exceptional. This team will need to pick a player whose value does not come from points in the next couple rounds. (Klyce)

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