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Welcome to my first Daily Dose of the season! There’s only so much you can learn from the preseason and now that there’s only one day left in it, a lot of the studs are resting up for the real deal. So instead of a recap of what happened on Thursday night I’ve decided to take a look at a (rough) draft I participated in that night.
I was a multitasking fool during this thing, drafting a couple teams live, making a few picks in two slow drafts, and hosting/DJing a live trivia game at a restaurant – all between the hours of 7 and 8 p.m. My team will probably be fine, but my point guards are shaky and my centers are weak - and ‘my guys’ constantly got picked off as I was waiting to make back-to-back picks with the last pick in a 12-team draft. There were a few managers auto-picking at times, but here are some things to take away from this draft as you get ready for yours.
Yahoo! nine-cat, 12 teams, H2H league draft notes
This is one of my Rock and Roll Leagues that features rock stars, friends and my young son, who slept right through the whole thing because I wasn’t home to wake him up for it. It’s a laid back, super-fun league with nothing but pride on the line. But most of the people in the league generally take it very seriously and it might as well have a $200 buy-in. It’s a tough one to win.
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My friend Amy started trolling me early and made a pretty shocking pick at No. 7 when she took LaMelo Ball. As you (and Amy) know, I love LaMelo this year and was all set to kick my night off with him and Michael Porter Jr. with the 12th and 13th picks, but she rained on my parade by reaching for him before Karl-Anthony Towns, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis and Trae Young were even off the board. Amy is always a strong competitor in this league and while she went off the beaten path, I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s doing. And while I doubt you have to worry about Melo going Top 10 in your draft, just beware that the secret’s out on Ball and he’s not going to be on draft boards for as long as you might think.
I had a choice between Anthony Davis, Michael Porter Jr., Jayson Tatum and Paul George for the 12th pick, and while I wanted to go with PG, I ended up taking AD in the two-center league. To say I was distracted while trying to make this pick is a massive understatement. Try to draft your teams in the comfort of your home with all your attention focused on your draft and queue. That’s the opposite of what I was doing in this one.
After going AD with the 12th pick, I had George, Tatum and MPJ to choose from for the 13th pick. As usual, I went with my guy – MPJ. I probably should have taken PG-13 or Tatum, but I love MPJ and take him whenever I have the opportunity after Round 1. My buddy Eli took LeBron at No. 20 and I wonder if he could have waited and gotten him at No. 29? Probably not, and I don’t hate Bron any time after the 19th pick or so. My friend Zach took Russell Westbrook with the last pick in Round 2 and while I think that’s a little early given all the flaws in Westy’s game, he could actually end up being the most reliable Laker this season. Westbrook’s flaws make him a tough guy to roster in nine-cat, but the counting stats should be solid, as usual.
Amy and Daniel got me again with Christian Wood and De’Aaron Fox with the seventh and ninth picks of Round 3, leaving me with Anthony Edwards with the final pick of the round. It was a little surprising to see my friend Bo take Zion Williamson with the 10th pick in Round 3 given that he’s still not ready to go and may be playing on one foot for some time. But as someone who burned their first pick of a 30-team draft on Zion a week earlier, I’m hoping Zion will be ready to roll sooner than later. As for Edwards, I would have preferred to have Fox or Wood, but anytime I can get Antman, I’m happy.
In a surprisingly conservative move by yours truly, I grabbed Khris Middleton with the first pick of Round 4. He’s boring and won’t be on SportsCenter most nights, but he’s also incredibly efficient and reliable. Benny, who was late to the draft, got stuck with Kyrie Irving with the third pick of Round 4 in an autopick and it will be interesting to see if he can overcome it. Irving has been an autopick in the last few drafts I’ve done, so if you’re possibly going to be autopicking in yours, make sure you bump him way down your list when you edit it. In fact, at this point, you might as well just remove him from your draft pool altogether, as it sounds like he is perfectly fine with missing the entire season.
Nothing too interesting happened in Round 5, other than me realizing that I didn’t really have any point guards or centers. Therefore, I grabbed the best point guard left on the board in the form of Derrick White. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been drafting Spurs more this season than in most others, as I like White’s potential and think Keldon Johnson is a nice sleeper. I was contemplating punting assists at this point but managed to find a couple point guards later that give me some hope.
I was really lacking in centers at this point and with us having to start two of them, they were going fast. Jarrett Allen looked like the best one available and I went ahead and grabbed him and his upside with the first pick of Round 6. Other Round 6 grabs included rookie Cade Cunningham, C Isaiah Stewart and PF/C Chris Boucher, while point guards Malcolm Brogdon, D’Angelo Russell, Kyle Lowry and Collin Sexton were the final four picks of Round 6. Yep, it looks like I’m going to have to punt assists and my centers are going to be weak.
I was sad to see my guy Kevin Porter Jr. go with the third pick of Round 7, Ben Simmons was an autopick with the 8th pick of Round 7, and I was able to grab my man Nickeil Alexander-Walker with the final pick of the round. Now I’ve got White and NAW as my point guards so there’s hope I’ll be able to add one more to the squad with the first pick of Round 8 and not have to punt the category.
Mike Conley was waiting for me with open arms with the first pick of the round and I didn’t hesitate. Now, with White, NAW and Conley I at least have a fighting chance at point guard. Bo rolled the dice on Al Horford in Round 8 and while I think it’s a little early for him, centers were really drying up quickly. Am I going to have to punt at center? It looked like a real possibility with me not picking again until the end of Round 9, but I was trying to keep the faith. Amy reached for Jordan Poole here but with Klay Thompson still not ready, it could end up being a pretty savvy pick. And my friend Doug got Caris LeVert with the ninth pick of Round 8, where he could be a real steal if he can somehow stay healthy. The last real point guard left was autopicked by my sleeping son in the form of Marcus Smart near the end of Round 8.
Nothing too exciting happened in Round 9, although Kyle Anderson and Keldon Johnson got ripped from the top of my queue by Bob and Bo. But with the final pick of Round 9 I was able to grab Daniel Gafford, one of the last surviving starting centers. With AD, Allen and Gafford I at least had enough centers to possibly get by.
But feeling the heat of not having enough bigs I went ahead and grabbed Mason Plumlee with the first pick of Round 10. I’m not proud of it, but I at least have four serviceable center options in a two-center league. My buddy Yuri, who was also multitasking with two drafts at the same time, hurt my heart a little when she grabbed rookie Josh Giddey with the 10th pick of the round. Giddey is running circles around Aleksej Pokusevski in the preseason and is one of my favorite late-round targets right now.
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Yuri hurt me again with De’Anthony Melton with the third pick in Round 11 and Doug broke my spirit with Tim Hardaway Jr. with the fourth pick. Melton is a per-minutes monster and could finally be ready for a breakout season and, believe it or not, a lot of people are predicting big things for THJ this season. I’ve even heard some All-Star chatter, so I’ve been trying to get him late in my drafts. Stephen grabbed Kyle Kuzma and I kind of like him with some new life in Washington. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kuzma ends up being one of the steals of this year’s drafts. I was apparently still in panic mode over my centers situation and channeled my inner Jonas Nader, grabbing Wolves big man Naz Reid with the last pick of the round. He’s a cut candidate, but I won’t be surprised if he gets off to a quick start this season, despite KAT being healthy and ready to go. If he’s not getting it done in the first week or two, I’ll be moving on.
Realizing I finally had enough bigs to survive I took 3-point specialist Joe Harris with the first pick of Round 12, which saw guys like Derrick Rose, Saddiq Bey, Gary Trent Jr., Jae’Sean Tate, Darius Bazley, Isaiah Roby, Aaron Gordon, Kelly Oubre, Matisse Thybulle, Patrick Williams and Malik Beasley taken. I’m fine with most of those picks, although the auto-picked Williams probably belongs on waivers. Once my son woke up, he dropped Williams and picked up Precious Achiuwa, which was a pretty smooth move.
My favorite pick of the 13th and final round was Scottie Barnes, who should fill in for Pascal Siakam in Toronto until he’s ready to return from his shoulder injury. Knowing that my point guard stable wasn’t exactly stuffed, I was able to grab Eric Bledsoe with the final pick of the draft. I don’t love Bledsoe, but he seemed like a great way to use the last pick of the draft. He’s going to play a ton for the Clippers and might be due for a bounce-back season.