As a newbie to the Charity Stripe Fantasy Basketball League, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It features many notes basketball journalists and other assorted media types, so I figured I better get my shit together and do plenty of research after mostly ignoring hardwood happenings during the summer months.
The participants in the league include Elliotte Friedman, CBC’s hockey and basketball sideline reporter; Eric Smith, who covers the Raptors for the Fan 590; Adam, who covers the Raptors for Hooplife.ca; Tommy Beer, an analyst for Hoopsworld.com; Ryan, from HoopsAddict; Tim Chisolm, from TSN; Scott Cullen, from TSN.ca; Ali Lila, who calls himself White Chocolate; and Muhammad Lila, a CBC News at Six reporter.
My indoctrination into the league got off to a shaky start when my team was somehow omitted from the draft selection – a process that was videotaped and put up on YouTube for dramatic effect. Well, imagine the dramatic effect that had on me when I watched the whole damn thing and failed to hear my team name picked! It turns out just 11 teams in this 12-team, H2H league were picked from the hat, but the commissioner managed to address that situation, and I wound up with the 10th overall pick.
Not great, but at least I had a friggin’ pick now!
I was sitting on Al Jefferson as my first round pick, having ranked him 10th overall, but when Deron Williams slid to me, I had to bite. That selection drew its share of pissed off reactions, which made it all the more satisfying. But when Big Al fell to me in the second round, I felt like I had somehow stolen the equivalent of two first-round talents. Not too shabby, considering I was batting in the 10-hole. Things were looking up.
My goal heading into this draft was to aim for a well-balanced team, but my specific focus was to make sure I didn’t leave myself short in dimes – a trait I’ve been known for in my excursions into expert leagues before. Getting D-Will with my top pick certainly helped address that, and I later added Ray Felton, Rafer Alston and Mike Conley for good measure.
For scoring, both Williams and Jefferson will help, but I’m hoping my third rounder – Jason Richardson – will come close to repeating his 2007-08 season. My fourth rounder – Kevin Durant – could easily wind up as the top scorer on my team. Other picks that should help in scoring include Ricky Davis and Rudy Fernandez.
I’m good in rebounding with Jefferson, Andrew Bogut, Chris Kaman, Andrei Kirilenko (assuming he bounces back in that area this year), Chris Wilcox and my last-round flyer – Spencer Hawes.
I love this team’s 3-point shooting with J-Rich, Alston and Ricky Davis. And I should be in solid shape in blocks thanks to Big Al, Bogut, Kaman and AK-47. I’ve got steals covered with Williams, Richardson, Kirilenko, Davis, Alston and Felton.
Where I may fall a bit short is in the percentages, especially FT shooting. On the FG percentage side, Williams is great for a guard, Jefferson rocks, and Bogut and Wilcox will both do well. In terms of FT shooting, Durant might be my best, and it’s not a major strength for anyone else on the team.
But the beauty of a H2H league is I can still do extremely well even if punting one or even two categories, so I’m not too worried.
Anyways, let’s review the draft results, round-by-round, with my commentary after each round.
1. LeBron James Team Steroids
2. Chris Paul RapsHQ Runni…
3. Kobe Bryant Eazy E’s
4. Dwyane Wade TSN Takedown
5. Amare Stoudemire Cabbage Blat…
6. Dirk Nowitzki Starbury Bea…
7. Caron Butler CBC Shot Cal…
8. Elton Brand TeeBall
9. Kevin Garnett media whores
10. Deron Williams RotoRob
11. Shawn Marion TSN.ca
12. Allen Iverson White Chocolate
I would have taken Chris Paul first in a turnover league, but it’s hard to argue with LeBron at one, considering that 30-10-10 season is coming one of these days. I was surprised to see Flash goes this high, and Caron Butler as well, but this round was mostly on track. Having Williams fall to me at 10 made my pick a no-brainer. I got the player I felt was the best available off the board and solved my age-old assist crisis in one fell swoop.
1. Danny Granger White Chocolate
2. Chris Bosh TSN.ca
3. Al Jefferson RotoRob
4. Steve Nash media whores
5. Josh Smith TeeBall
6. Carlos Boozer CBC Shot Cal…
7. Baron Davis Starbury Bea…
8. Tim Duncan Cabbage Blat…
9. Dwight Howard TSN Takedown
10. Yao Ming Eazy E’s
11. Jose Calderon RapsHQ Runni…
12. Chauncey Billups Team Steroids
I love Granger, but this felt too high for me and Bosh going this high in the round also surprised me. But hey, it worked out for me, because I like Big Al more than either of those two, so I felt like I was sitting pretty after two rounds, and well on my way to a balanced attack as well. Nabbing Josh Smith this low was a solid pick.
1. Pau Gasol Team Steroids
2. Joe Johnson RapsHQ Runni…
3. Marcus Camby Eazy E’s
4. Andre Iguodala TSN Takedown
5. Carmelo Anthony Cabbage Blat…
6. David West Starbury Bea…
7. Kevin Martin CBC Shot Cal…
8. Paul Pierce TeeBall
9. Rudy Gay media whores
10. Jason Richardson RotoRob
11. Vince Carter TSN.ca
12. Rashard Lewis White Chocolate
Gasol as the top pick in this round is a reach; I had him scheduled to be picked early in the fourth round. I think Team Steroids reached for Billups too soon in the last round as well, but it didn’t jump out at me like the Gasol pick did. I really like the Joe Johnson pick in this round – I think that’s a great value selection. I was happy to get J-Rich here to fill my SG slot, giving me positional flexibility (I can use him at SF as well) and filling in the area I had yet to address with my first two picks – 3-point shooting.
1. Ron Artest White Chocolate
2. Andrew Bynum TSN.ca
3. Kevin Durant RotoRob
4. Brandon Roy media whores
5. Hedo Turkoglu TeeBall
6. Antawn Jamison CBC Shot Cal…
7. Mo Williams Starbury Bea…
8. Josh Howard Cabbage Blat…
9. Jason Kidd TSN Takedown
10. Andre Miller Eazy E’s
11. Stephen Jackson RapsHQ Runni…
12. Rasheed Wallace Team Steroids
Bynum’s selection here jumps out at me as too high. I guess when Camby went high in the third round, Scott felt that he better take a No. 1 centre off the board. Personally, I would have preferred Bogut or Mehmet Okur here, as Bynum is still a risk, as far as I’m concerned. With the propensity of power forwards that also qualify at centre, I think Bynum is a borderline No. 1 centre. Mo Williams before Jason Kidd and Andre Miller? That surprised me, and I think that TSN Takedown and Eazy E’s said ‘thank you, very much,’ and nabbed themselves solid No. 1 PGs in the process. Some may think I reached for Durant here, but I wanted to fill my SF slot (he also qualifies at SG, so that’s a bonus) and get a guy who could potentially score close to 30 PPG. There’s major upside here, and that was another goal of mine – try to focus on players poised to take their games to the next level. Williams, Jefferson, Durant, Bogut, Conley and Hawes all fit into this category, and Fernandez is a major sleeper, of course.
1. Michael Redd Team Steroids
2. Al Horford RapsHQ Runni…
3. Gerald Wallace Eazy E’s
4. Tyson Chandler TSN Takedown
5. Emeka Okafor Cabbage Blat…
6. Mike Dunleavy Starbury Bea…
7. Devin Harris CBC Shot Cal…
8. Greg Oden TeeBall
9. Mehmet Okur media whores
10. Andrew Bogut RotoRob
11. Jamal Crawford TSN.ca
12. Andris Biedrins White Chocolate
Horford going second in this round continues the trend of centres going far above slot. I love “the other” Big Al, but I had him going in the middle of Round Six. Tyson Chander’s selection here kept that pattern alive. The Dunleavy pick was a superb selection; I was primed to grab him if he fell to me, and I started thinking he might for a while there. But when Oden was grabbed (again, perhaps two rounds too early), I’m sure media whores was stoked to get Okur and I was only too happy to take breakout candidate Bogut. Not only did this give me a true centre (Jefferson qualifies there), but it really provided a shot in the arm to my team’s rebounding and shot blocking capabilities. Bogut is slagged as a bust because he went No. 1 overall and got a the huge contract, but he just keeps getting better and we haven’t come close to seeing the best he has to offer yet.
1. David Lee White Chocolate
2. Tracy McGrady TSN.ca
3. Chris Kaman RotoRob
4. Corey Maggette media whores
5. Lamar Odom TeeBall
6. LaMarcus Aldridge CBC Shot Cal…
7. Mike Miller Starbury Bea…
8. Samuel Dalembert Cabbage Blat…
9. Peja Stojakovic TSN Takedown
10. Tony Parker Eazy E’s
11. Zydrunas Ilgauskas RapsHQ Runni…
12. Ray Allen Team Steroids
Wow, I love David Lee as much as the next person; in fact, he almost single-handedly carried my expert team to a title a couple of years ago, but this is way too early. On the other hand, getting T-Mac in the sixth round? Sweet score. I was primed to take McGrady, and suck up all the panic attacks that owning him entails, so in a weird sort of way, I was happy the choice was taken out of my hands. But then came the glitch. I had a quick Internet hiccup (there was a thunderstorm), and that’s all it took for the system to autopick Kaman for me. Now, if you’re going to be screwed into an autopick, there are worse ways to go – a couple of years ago, I got stuck with Eddie Jones this way. Yikes! So, I sucked it up, and figured, what the hell, that takes care of my second centre. I had planned to take Richard Jefferson in this slot to give me a true SF, but maybe it’s for the best – RJ seems to be struggling to find his offense in Milwaukee. Other picks that jumped out at me in this round: Ilgauskus — this is way too early for Big Z – another centre getting pulled up the draft. However, Ray Allen lasting to the end of this round provides a great value pick.
1. Richard Jefferson Team Steroids
2. John Salmons RapsHQ Runni…
3. Brad Miller Eazy E’s
4. Mike Bibby TSN Takedown
5. Luol Deng Cabbage Blat…
6. Jermaine O’Neal Starbury Bea…
7. Randy Foye CBC Shot Cal…
8. Rajon Rondo TeeBall
9. Michael Beasley media whores
10. Andrei Kirilenko RotoRob
11. O.J. Mayo TSN.ca
12. Jason Terry White Chocolate
There goes RJ – a nice pick this late in the draft, giving Team Steroids a nice one-two coup in the middle of the draft. I was planning to take J.O. in this round, and got scooped, but that may be another situation where the pick you don’t make winds up being your best choice, as Starbury should count his lucky starts if O’Neal plays 65 games. So then I set my sights on Beasley, but got beaten to him by one freaking pick. My consolation prize is an athlete who openly cries in front of the media. That’s okay – he’s sensitive. And although he has never touched his numbers from three and four years ago, AK-47 remains a top shot blocker, and that’s shaping up like an area where I am going to be very competitive in. Plus, this pick seems to piss off a couple of people, so that’s always sweet.
1. T.J. Ford White Chocolate
2. Derrick Rose TSN.ca
3. Raymond Felton RotoRob
4. Zach Randolph media whores
5. Charlie Villanueva TeeBall
6. Troy Murphy CBC Shot Cal…
7. Al Harrington Starbury Bea…
8. Leandro Barbosa Cabbage Blat…
9. Thaddeus Young TSN Takedown
10. Marvin Williams Eazy E’s
11. J.R. Smith RapsHQ Runni…
12. Richard Hamilton Team Steroids
I love the Derrick Rose pick here, even though it’s a bit gutsy. I chose a much safer (and less dynamic) option in Felton, yet again thinking that “I won’t get screwed in assists…I won’t get screwed in assists…” Z-Bo is a tremendous pick in the eighth round and I also love the Marvin Williams pick – I wanted him in Round Nine coming the other way. Young, however, feels early. Others seemed quite stoked about this pick, but maybe I’m just not as high on him as most. I didn’t love the Harrington pick here, either.
1. Manu Ginobili Team Steroids
2. Gilbert Arenas RapsHQ Runni…
3. Shane Battier Eazy E’s
4. Anthony Parker TSN Takedown
5. Jameer Nelson Cabbage Blat…
6. Kirk Hinrich Starbury Bea…
7. Matt Barnes CBC Shot Cal…
8. Monta Ellis TeeBall
9. Mickael Pietrus media whores
10. Rafer Alston RotoRob
11. Al Thornton TSN.ca
12. Jason Maxiell White Chocolate
And so it begins – the round of taking players who are currently out with long-term injuries. Manu, Hibatchi and Ellis all go in this round, but with just two bench slots, it seems early to use up half your bench on a player who won’t play for two months (Ginobili) or longer (Arenas, Ellis…although reports on Arenas coming back earlier make this choice much easier to swallow). But hey, you’ve got to take risks to win, and each of these three owners had the balls to go get marquee talents in the ninth round. I don’t like Battier here – it’s too early, and although he helps in everything, he really doesn’t excel in anything, especially since defensive acumen and leadership aren’t fantasy categories. Jameer Nelson here could be a very solid pick. Once he was gone, I opted to take another PG (I shall not leave dimes on the table) in Alston. Skip to my Lou could kill my FG percentage, but the threes are sweet.
1. Jamario Moon White Chocolate
2. Andrea Bargnani TSN.ca
3. Ricky Davis RotoRob
4. Luis Scola media whores
5. Drew Gooden TeeBall
6. Kenyon Martin CBC Shot Cal…
7. Beno Udrih Starbury Bea…
8. Ronnie Brewer Cabbage Blat…
9. Wilson Chandler TSN Takedown
10. Ben Gordon Eazy E’s
11. Nick Collison RapsHQ Runni…
12. Tayshaun Prince Team Steroids
Moon scares me…I am not liking the reports I hear; Bargnani, on the other hand, could prove to be a great pick. I opted for a safe scorer – going with Davis, who could put up big numbers on a Clipper team that no longer has Elton Brand. I love the Prince selection at the end of this round; he could be poised for a big season.
1. Boris Diaw Team Steroids
2. Joakim Noah RapsHQ Runni…
3. Jeff Green Eazy E’s
4. Nene Hilario TSN Takedown
5. Andray Blatche Cabbage Blat…
6. Kevin Love Starbury Bea…
7. Luke Ridnour CBC Shot Cal…
8. Chris Andersen TeeBall
9. Brook Lopez media whores
10. Mike Conley RotoRob
11. Chris Duhon TSN.ca
12. Francisco Garcia White Chocolate
I’ve soured on Noah this fall; maybe I’ll be proved wrong, but I’m not that high on him right now. Chris Andersen is a seriously deep sleeper – that pick could have been had in the last round, in my opinion. I may regret taking Conley over Duhon here, but it just seems to me that Conley’s upside is far higher, even though Duhon seems to have the job nailed down.
1. James Posey White Chocolate
2. Shaquille O’Neal TSN.ca
3. Rudy Fernandez RotoRob
4. Rodney Stuckey media whores
5. Ramon Sessions TeeBall
6. Udonis Haslem CBC Shot Cal…
7. Tyrus Thomas Starbury Bea…
8. Kendrick Perkins Cabbage Blat…
9. Nate Robinson TSN Takedown
10. Travis Outlaw Eazy E’s
11. Brandon Bass RapsHQ Runni…
12. Antonio McDyess Team Steroids
We’re starting to see players that I would have assumed would be available on the waiver wire here. Posey? Sessions, to a lesser extent? Certainly Bass as well could have been had later on. It’s hard to believe Shaq has fallen to the 12th round…wow. I went for the media darling sleeper here in Fernandez as it felt like people were starting to reach for their sleeper picks (once Blatche went in the previous round, it was getting to that time). Stuckey follows in this pattern and so do Thomas and Robinson – all of which could be fantastic picks.
1. Andres Nocioni Team Steroids
2. Amir Johnson RapsHQ Runni…
3. Raja Bell Eazy E’s
4. Marc Gasol TSN Takedown
5. Rashad McCants Cabbage Blat…
6. Marcus Williams Starbury Bea…
7. Hakim Warrick CBC Shot Cal…
8. Delonte West TeeBall
9. Robin Lopez media whores
10. Chris Wilcox RotoRob
11. Vladimir Radmanovic TSN.ca
12. Sean Williams White Chocolate
Johnson is another sleeper pick that’s gained tremendous media appeal. We’ll see – I love the shot blocking, but the dude can’t really score. The Gasol pick was sweet – another great sleeper, and Marcus Williams may fall into that category once Nellie realizes that Captain Jack isn’t really a PG. I wanted Warrick here – I love that pick by CBC, but I settled for Wilcox. My team was feeling a bit small, so I wanted another big rebounder here. Sean Williams is another super sleeper – man, would I love to see how many shots he’d block with 30 MPG.
1. Ryan Gomes White Chocolate
2. Louis Williams TSN.ca
3. Spencer Hawes RotoRob
4. Kelenna Azubuike media whores
5. Tim Thomas TeeBall
6. Earl Watson CBC Shot Cal…
7. Paul Millsap Starbury Bea…
8. Jerryd Bayless Cabbage Blat…
9. Stephon Marbury TSN Takedown
10. Yi Jianlian Eazy E’s
11. Grant Hill RapsHQ Runni…
12. Ben Wallace Team Steroids
And so it ends. I went for a flier and tried to bring in more rebounding with Hawes. What the hell. If he sucks, I will use the wire. I love CBC getting a starting PG (for now, anyways) in Watson this late, although I really expected Russell Westbrook to go before him and he’s still sitting on the wire. Millsap is a great final pick, and so are Marbury and Jianlian.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with my team. I feel like I stuck to my plan and didn’t get sucked into any runs for centres, PGs, injured players or what have you. I walked away feeling pretty stoked about my team — especially given my low draft standing.