We’ve written thousands upon thousands of words this preseason, ranked players ad nauseum and pored over statistics. And we haven’t received a single traceable cent for our efforts. But thankfully all of our grunt work led to that magic moment when, a few days before the season, Tom, Greg and I were rewarded with the best fantasy moment of the year: the draft. We gathered on line Sunday night for this occasion, and one thing became clear: this was not that moment. For four and a half grueling hours, featuring owners arriving late, not knowing the rules, or complaining about things that were explained to them plain as day as if they were rhesus monkeys, we were reminded how painful a draft can be.
But, you see, the three of us welcome the pain. We thrive on it. We live for it. And it is only one one-millionth as painful as any given fantasy football Sunday. That’s how painful it was. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. So without rambling further, here are the Damn Lies Guys recapping their 10-team, 8-category rotisserie draft from Sunday, Oct. 25 (and into the early morning of Mon., Oct. 26).
Team Name: Lorenzo (Editor’s note: He’s not the creative one)
Owner: Tom Lorenzo
2008-09 Finish: N/A, First year in league
His team (draft round in parentheses):
G – Brandon Roy (2), Jason Kidd (4), Jameer Nelson (6), Leandro Barbosa (9), Ronnie Brewer (12), Anthony Morrow (14), Chris Douglas-Roberts (17), Brandon Jennings (18), Marcus Thornton (20)
F – Kevin Durant (1), David West (5), Anthony Randolph (8), Ron Artest (10), Danilo Gallinari (15), DeJuan Blair (16), Ersan Ilyasova (19)
C – Brook Lopez (3), Andrea Bargnani (7), Roy Hibbert (11), Chris Andersen (13)
Tom’s Take: I suppose you can say I started off the draft with the first curveball after passing up on Dwyane Wade at No. 3 and opting for Durant instead. I just couldn’t pull the trigger on Wade’s erratic style of play. All I could envision was him going down for 6-8 weeks after playing in just 22 games this season. Durant just felt safer. After that, Roy fell to me on the turn (pick 18). I was completely surprised, to say the least. There was no way I was passing up Roy. I now have, potentially, two of the top five scorers in the league. My next two picks, Lopez and Kidd were merely icing on the cake. In the fifth round I got excellent value in West. He’s a plus free throw shooter and a 20 and 9 threat nightly. Bargnani (threes and blocks), Nelson (FG%, assists, threes and steals) and Randolph (blocks and upside) were my next three picks. At this point I’m extremely happy with my team. I added Artest (1.5 steals, 1.5 threes) and Barbosa (1.3 steals, 1.3 threes) to round out my starting lineup. I filled my bench with players I love (Gallinari, Morrow, Blair, and Jennings) and players other guys were targetting (Andersen and Hibbert). I really can’t say I didn’t like any of my picks. At least not the ones that matter.
Tom’s Favorite Non-Tom Pick of the Night: I think Ray Allen in the 8th round was a great value pick (kudos to Keith Closs Dynasty owner Dan). Allen isn’t the player he used to be, but he’s still good for 90-percent from the free throw line and 2-plus threes per game. He also can pick up some steals, add in points, and his FG% has improved each year since he joined the Celtics.
Tom’s Choice for Strangest Pick of the Night: The strangest pick has to be Mike Bibby at the end of the 4th round (by Phil of the Fighting Kazemi’s). Bibby is not the point guard he used to be, and with Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague on the Hawks’ bench Bibby is going to see his minutes decrease this year. I’m not one to jump on owners about who they pick, but Bibby went far too soon.
Tom’s Last-Minute Bold Prediction for the Upcoming Season: My bold prediction is that Rajon Rondo will be a first-round candidate next season. He’s going to be the next Jason Kidd of fantasy basketball — Kidd makes more threes, but Rondo is a much more efficient shooter. Rondo is needs to improve on his free throw shooting, but I can look past that deficiency should he up his assists to nine per game.
Tom’s Final Parting Shot at Greg: My other bold prediction is that Greg will hate the fact that I drafted Roy Hibbert and he won’t see the light of day on my roster. It’s one of those c-block picks. I’m sure we can swing a deal, but it’s going to cost him.
Team Name: Unhappy Hairstons
Owner: Greg Fox
2008-09 Finish: First
His team (draft round in parentheses):
G – Devin Harris (2), Derrick Rose (4), T.J. Ford (8), J.R. Smith (10), Raymond Felton (12), Jonny Flynn (15), Brandon Rush (17), Kirk Hinrich (20)
F – Carmelo Anthony (3), Rudy Gay (5), Trevor Ariza (7), Al Harrington (9), Corey Brewer (11), Ryan Gomes (14), Ryan Anderson (19)
C – Amar’e Stoudemire (1), Andrew Bynum (6), Jermaine O’Neal (13), Marreese Speights (16), Hasheem Thabeet (18)
Greg’s Take: After an evening of night terrors and a morning of neck and eye twitches, I think I’m finally back to my neurotic self and am ready to begin talking about last night’s epic draft. I went in to this thing with 342,684 different drafting scenarios and I was forced to stray from all of them by round three. Knowing going in that I had the seventh pick, I eyeballed Amar’e Stoudemire, but was ready to stutter-step over to Danny Granger (ended up going 6th) or Kobe (went 8th) if he was gone. My approach was to take the best multi-category player available each round and then fill in with some high upside young guys or single-category dominators late. I had five guys on my wish list last night, including Rose, Ariza, Tyrus Thomas, Corey Brewer, and my recent man-crush, Hibbert. I scored three of the five, but Jeff beat me to Thomas and Tom broke my heart with Hibbert. I was never as upset about not getting a player.
All in all I was pleased with my draft. I think Rose is going to be ridiculous and I think I stole Ford, Harrington, Felton and Gomes. My acid reflux was at Defcon 4 as I selected Gay in the 5th, and 6th round selection Andrew Bynum needs his hooves to remain intact past the month of January.
Greg’s Favorite Non-Greg Picks of the Night: Some of our fellow owners did a nice job last night, particularly Dan who pounced on the versatile Russell Westbrook in the 6th and Scotty who shrewdly took D.J. Augustin in the 11th and followed with injured grizzly bear Kevin Love in the 12th.
Greg’s Choice for Strangest Picks of the Night: As usual, we had our share of interesting moments, including Scotty going back-to-back to back with Ben Gordon, Eric Gordon and Commissioner Gordon, beginning in the 5th round. James threw us by grabbing rookie James Harden in the 10th and I was shocked to see Tom allow one of his pre-draft faves, Jason Thompson, fall to the 11th where Joey reeled him in.
Greg’s Last-Minute Bold Prediction for the Upcoming Season: The Clippers, yes the Clippers, with the addition of studly Blake Griffin will be much improved and will go a long way towards removing their laughing stock image. They won’t sniff the playoffs or anything, but I don’t see them as a complete embarrassment. Rose, Westbrook, Griffin and Brook Lopez will establish themselves as big-time fantasy guys and we should see all four in the top two rounds next season.
Greg’s Final Parting Shot at Tom: I thought for sure Big Roy would be there for me around the 13th. I had envisioned long walks on the beach on moonlit nights, romantic dinners, me jet-setting to Indiana on a whim. But no, Mr. Lorenzo saw to it that my dreams would be shattered. I had a good mind to draft Tom’s lovechild, Danilo Gallinari, as well as Andrea Bargnani, Marco Belinelli, Giorgio Chinaglia and any other Italian who has ever been in an NBA arena from the seventh round on.
Team Name: Damn Near Barbecuin’
Owner: Jeff Andriesse
2008-09 Finish: Second
His team (draft round in parentheses):
G – Kobe Bryant (1), Rajon Rondo (4), Michael Redd (7), Mario Chalmers (10), Tyreke Evans (13), Lou Williams (14), Stephen Curry (16), Jarrett Jack (20)
F – Rashard Lewis (6), Tyrus Thomas (8), Luis Scola (9), Corey Maggette (12), Yi Jianlian (15), Mike Miller (17), Ronny Turiaf (19)
C – Chris Bosh (2), Troy Murphy (3), Andris Biedrins (5), Greg Oden (11), Andray Blatche (18)
Jeff’s Take: Not only was I already grumbling internally about both picking right after Greg and having a burrito before the draft, my blood pressure started spiking right away when I realized the player I loathe the most in the universe was going to fall to me at No. 8. But I had to take Kobe there. And while the scowl didn’t leave my face until mid-afternoon on Monday, I managed to have a pretty good draft despite some speed bumps. Bosh made sense for me in the second round even though I was salivating at Roy’s availability. Damn you, Tom. From there I loaded up on centers with Murphy and Biedrins sandwiching my only true point guard, Rondo. There’s my problem: assists. I missed out on some points and went in a different direction, choosing to concentrate on threes with Lewis and Redd, and scrambling for forwards in the middle rounds. I’m happy with Thomas and Scola and hope Maggette can last three weeks while I wait for Lewis to come off suspension. I keep telling myself this is possible, but I’m sure Maggette will be modeling suits by the weekend. I have some PG options in Chalmers, Evans and Williams, but assists might be hard to come by. Other than that, if my team can stay healthy, I’ll compete. That is if I don’t unload Kobe to Tom for Ersan Ilyasova in the next 20 minutes.
Jeff’s Favorite Non-Jeff Picks of the Night: The middle of the fourth for Kevin Martin is a great spot, so kudos to Joey. I also thought James made some nice mid-to-late selections, including Andrew Bogut in the 9th, Michael Beasley in the 12th and Channing Frye in the 14th.
Jeff’s Choice for Strangest Picks of the Night: I’m not sure how an aging, minutes-controlled Shaquille O’Neal is justified as a 10th-round pick in a 10-team roto draft, but that’s just where Joey took him. He will be very disappointed if he has to start the big fella every week.
Jeff’s Last-Minute Bold Prediction for the Upcoming Season: With little fanfare, Bobcats Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw are going to have career seasons. With Emeka Okafor gone, these guys will get all the touches around the paint. Good things will happen for this stat-stuffing duo, and Wallace is going to return 2nd-round value while everyone will wonder, by the end of the year, why Diaw didn’t get taken much earlier. I see 16-7-5 in his future with around a three, steal and block.
Jeff’s Final Parting Shot at both Tom and Greg: Tom and Greg are rather miffed at me for taking Rondo and Thomas right before they were going to take them. They both returned the favor a few times as well. Little did they know that I have been throwing smokescreens at them in this blog for months and almost everything I wrote has been a cleverly-designed ruse leading up to Sunday night. Just the other day I said I wouldn’t draft Greg Oden! Suckers! I’m already in their heads, and thanks to my drafting of Kobe I’m already in mine as well. With the league’s top phony leading the charge, I had no choice but to back-stab my envious bloggers as much as possible. I’ll conclude on this note: my Machiavellian maneuvers don’t end here. The season starts Tuesday, and that’s when the real work begins.
Jeff, Tom and Greg will have regular content posted during the 2009-10 season. Check back often and thanks for reading this preseason!