Fantasy Playoffs Draft, or How I Learned to Take Chris Paul in the 7th Round and Love the Grizzlies

Get ready for this, America.

On Thursday night, I organized and participated in a Fantasy Playoffs Experts Draft that featured the finest minds in fantasy hoops who also happened to be free that night and not clipping their toenails or something. Many jumped at the chance, actually, the idea of having a draft – a fantasy basketball draft no less – too good to pass up. The final 10-man roster was as such (in draft order):

1. Steve Alexander, Rotoworld
2. Justin Phan, Yahoo!
3. Jason Hahn, fBasketballBlog
4. Ryan Lester, Lester’s Legends
5. Matt Buser, Buser Sports/Yahoo!
6. Jeff Andriesse, Damn Lies & Statistics/RotoExperts
7. Tom Lorenzo, Damn Lies & Statistics/RotoExperts
8. Greg Fox, Damn Lies & Statistics
9. Eric Wong, RotoEvil
10. Patrick Madden, Give Me the Rock

The rules: Draft eight players (2 G, 2 F, 1 C, 3 Flex); No transactions or bench; Accumulating points – categories are Points (1), Rebounds (2), Assists (2), Threes (3), Steals (5), Blocks (6), Free Throws Made (1), Turnovers (-3).

The strategy was obviously to pick the best players from the teams you thought would go the farthest. This worked for a round or two at most, as all the relevant Bulls, Lakers, Celtics, Heat and Spurs were gone quickly. The choices from there were either to take scrubs from those teams or studs from the teams that were going to be one-and-done. Let’s go through the rounds and take a look at everyone’s picks.

1. Alexander – LeBron James
2. Phan – Kobe Bryant
3. Hahn – Derrick Rose
4. Lester – Pau Gasol
5. Buser – Paul Pierce
6. Andriesse – Kevin Durant
7. Lorenzo – Dwyane Wade
8. Fox – Russell Westbrook
9. Wong – Dwight Howard
10. Madden – Manu Ginobili
A fascinating round. Had I picked first I probably would have grabbed Rose, but Dr. A has a feeling about the Heat. It’s hard to knock him for going after LeBron James, and if the Heat make the Finals he’ll reap major benefits. Buser’s pick of Pierce was a vote of confidence for the beleaguered Celtics, at least in this Boston fan’s mind. I was more than happy to settle for Durant with the sixth pick, and feel pretty confident that OKC can make the conference finals. Wong was in a tough spot as studs from Finals contenders were already essentially gone. He grabbed the potentially-beastly Howard (the best single-game option in a league where blocks are worth six and FT% isn’t a category) and now must hope for as many games as possible out of him.

11. Madden – Tim Duncan
12. Wong – Chris Bosh
13. Fox – Rajon Rondo
14. Lorenzo – Lamar Odom
15. Andriesse – Joakim Noah
16. Buser – Andrew Bynum
17. Lester – LaMarcus Aldridge
18. Hahn – Kevin Garnett
19. Phan – Luol Deng
20. Alexander – Serge Ibaka
Madden, kinda screwed by his No. 10 overall pick, chose to go all-in on the Spurs with his selections of Ginobili and Duncan. Now he just has to hope Manu is healthy, a big ‘if’. Odom could turn out to be a great pick for Lorenzo if Bynum is at all limited and the Lakers go far. I’m happy with Noah as my second player, as the Bulls are my favorite to come out of the East. I almost took Ibaka as a sure-fire shot-blocking specialist. Nice get there for Dr. A. Phan also did well nabbing Deng at 19 and Carlos Boozer at 22.

21. Alexander – Jason Kidd
22. Phan – Carlos Boozer
23. Hahn – Dirk Nowitzki
24. Lester – Tony Parker
25. Buser – Ray Allen
26. Andriesse – Josh Smith
27. Lorenzo – Gerald Wallace
28. Fox – James Harden
29. Wong – Amar’e Stoudemire
30. Madden – Carmelo Anthony
Kidd was a puzzling one for Dr. A, who claimed in the draft room he didn’t realize Nowitzki and Boozer were still available. He must have been watching the Braves game. Parker is a nice grab for Lester at 24, and after Buser took Allen I was left wondering what the heck to do. I think Atlanta is cooked, but they could take Orlando to seven games and Smith is getting a boost in this scoring format. I hated having to take him here, though. Fox is confident in OKC going deep into the playoffs, so Harden was a no-brainer for him.

31. Madden – Chauncey Billups
32. Wong – Jason Richardson
33. Fox – Glen Davis
34. Lorenzo – Ron Artest
35. Andriesse – Zach Randolph
36. Buser – DeJuan Blair
37. Lester – Andre Miller
38. Hahn – Al Horford
39. Phan – George Hill
40. Alexander – Hedo Turkoglu
If the Spurs meet the Knicks in the Finals we can give Madden the title. Three Knicks in a row! Some folks think they can give Boston fits, and they could, but Boston conceivably has another gear they can kick things into. Fox agrees, taking Big Baby in the fourth. With my Smith pick, I laid out my strategy: take studs and hope for the best. I have a feeling this first-round series between Memphis and San Antonio is going seven games, so Randolph was my pick. With both conferences being so wide open in my mind, I would rather take sure thing players than scrubs on good teams that could lose in the second round. For instance, Hill is a nice pick for Phan if the Spurs get to the Finals, but not if they bow out in the second round.

41. Alexander – Raymond Felton
42. Phan – Taj Gibson
43. Hahn – Ryan Anderson
44. Lester – Jameer Nelson
45. Buser – Tyson Chandler
46. Andriesse – Jason Terry
47. Lorenzo – Kendrick Perkins
48. Fox – Jeff Green
49. Wong – Mike Bibby
50. Madden – Richard Jefferson
Felton is the first Nugget off the board, and Dr. A feels Lawson’s ankle injury limits him, or they indeed both start together as George Karl is suggesting. I really wanted Nelson in this round, but Lester was all over him. I settled for Terry, who could give me a couple of solid rounds (and I needed a guard). Perkins was a nice pick this late for Lorenzo, and Fox has officially doubled (tripled?) down on the Celtics this postseason. From his cheat sheet to God’s ears…

51. Madden – Shawn Marion
52. Wong – Derek Fisher
53. Fox – Joe Johnson
54. Lorenzo – Mike Conley
55. Andriesse – Marc Gasol
56. Buser – Brandon Bass
57. Lester – Wesley Matthews
58. Hahn – Ty Lawson
59. Phan – Nene Hilario
60. Alexander – Gary Neal
Marion and Johnson are solid value picks this late as both teams have a chance to play a few rounds. I went with Marc Gasol while talking myself into a Grizzlies championship complete with a giant blow-up Elvis float on Beale Street. Believers in the Trail Blazers (hey, why not?) have to be happy there are still a few good ones available, such as Matthews, Marcus Camby and Nic Batum.

61. Alexander – James Jones
62. Phan – Danilo Gallinari
63. Hahn – Nicolas Batum
64. Lester – Shaquille O’Neal
65. Buser – Wilson Chandler
66. Andriesse – Chris Paul
67. Lorenzo – Joel Anthony
68. Fox – Jamal Crawford
69. Wong – Marcus Camby
70. Madden – Elton Brand
Chris Paul in the seventh round. This will be the only time I’ll ever be able to say that, so I took him. Is one round of Paul really worse than three of James Jones or Shaq? If the Hornets get swept, maybe. And that could easily happen. Whatever, my team will be a lot of fun to follow for two weeks. Nice value for Wong with Camby this late, and Brand is the first 76er off the board.

71. Madden – Jrue Holiday
72. Wong – Matt Barnes
73. Fox – Andre Iguodala
74. Lorenzo – Danny Granger
75. Andriesse – Tony Allen
76. Buser – Kyle Korver
77. Lester – Shannon Brown
78. Hahn – J.R. Smith
79. Phan – Ronnie Brewer
80. Alexander – Mario Chalmers
Madden has three Spurs, two Knicks and two 76ers. This is the way to do it, now he just has to sit back and root for two huge upsets in the East. Granger falls into the Chris Paul category of one-round wonders for Lorenzo. I pushed my chips to the table on Memphis, taking steals hound Tony Allen.

At the end of the day, I need Memphis to take San Antonio to seven games at the very least and for New Orleans to put in a strong showing vs. the Lakers. I need Oklahoma City to face Chicago in the Finals. I need Dallas to beat Portland in seven and give L.A. a scare. I’ll also need another upset somewhere, maybe Atlanta over Orlando? I like my team in terms of having a lot of steals and blocks guys, but I can’t be considered anything close to a favorite with so few players from the top seeds. Justin Phan has Kobe Bryant and four Bulls, putting him in great position to win if the conventional wisdom plays out like I think it might. I had Kobe last year and won the whole thing. It’s as nauseating as it sounds. But it’s been the path to the fantasy playoffs championship for several years now.

But this is a new year. Grizzlies mania will sweep the nation.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

3 responses to “Fantasy Playoffs Draft, or How I Learned to Take Chris Paul in the 7th Round and Love the Grizzlies

  • bubbly

    TIME FOR SUPERKEWL COMMENTARY ON THE PLAYOFF LEAGUE BY bubbly! 35 players drafted above are gone gone gone! Here is a quick look at how things stand. PATRICK MADDEN. Wow. Done. One player left. What an old team! Where was Abe Vigoda? RYAN LESTER. Done. Too many Blazers! ERIC WONG.Longshot. JASON HAHN. Longshot. Both have 4 players left. JUSTIN PHAN. Contender! Also only 4 players left but this team is strong. MATT BUSER. Contender! Sneaky Matt is at it again! DR. A. Contender! Chalmers was the last pick but plainly is first in doc’s heart! VERY PRIDEFUL ABOUT THE THREE CO-FAVORITES! With only 4 players lost amongst them the DLAS trio will be tough to beat! PLEASE POST CURRENT STANDINGS! bubbly

    • Jeff Andriesse

      Here’s an update, Bubbs: I’m dominating! I drafted three Grizzlies, so I am enjoying their upset. Getting six games out of Chris Paul, and Josh Smith advancing a round, have helped me a lot. As I write this I have 2,558 points. The second place team has 1,775! My goal was to take as many good players as possible and hope for an upset. Mission accomplished. That all said, I probably still need Durant and/or Noah to make the Finals.

  • bubbly

    It seems clear that Jeff will be the winner of the experts playoff league! I dont see how he can be caught. At the very worst Jeff moves on with two players after having seven going all this round. Dr.A, Justin, Tom and Greg need too many things to break their way. WELL DONE FEARLESS LEADER!

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