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Draft Hits and Misses


With the regular season set to tip-off Tuesday, fantasy basketball draft season is nearing its end. I'm playing in 10 leagues this year. Nine of my drafts are completed, with Monday night's Rotowire Staff Keeper Auction League being the last of the bunch.

There are always certain players you target or avoid in drafts, but when you are in double-digit leagues with varying roster and scoring settings, you'll likely end up with a wide net of players. Lets take a look at some of the players who I scooped up on multiple teams, and other players who I missed out on completely.

Owned (Number of Leagues owned)

Derrick Williams, F, MIN (5 of 10) -- Williams takes home the prize as the player I own the most shares of this season. He was always a late-round pick, often times my last pick in 12-team leagues. I was higher than most on Williams, even before Kevin Love suffered his broken hand. Oddly, it seems like that injury did little to move the needle for Williams. I happily took fliers on Williams' vast potential at the end of the drafts. Remember, this guy was the No. 2 overall pick last year and was a legit 2011 NCAA player of the year candidate. The Timberwolves will need production out of Williams while Love is out and Michael Beasley is no longer around to stunt the sophomore's development. Look for a solid jump in production during Williams' second campaign.

Klay Thompson, G/F, GS (4 of 10) -- I've touched on Thompson multiple times this preseason, and he's easily my favorite man-crush of the 2012-13 season. After joining the starting five on the heels of the Monta Ellis trade last year, Thompson performed like a top-30 fantasy option. In 29 starts, he averaged 18.1 points, 2.1 threes and 1.1 steals while shooting 90.1 percent from the charity stripe. He should be able to reproduce those numbers over the course of a full season while also making the typical strides you'd see in a second-year player. Thompson has been going in the sixth to seventh round range on Yahoo. Don't hesitate to reach a round or two earlier to grab him. My only regret is not owning him in all 10 leagues.

Greg Monroe, C, DET (4 of 10) -- Our projections have Monroe ranked in the top-10, so I wouldn't practiced what I preached if I didn't grab him early in drafts. The great thing about landing Monroe is that it never costed more than a third-round pick. I wouldn't be surprised if he develops into a 20-10 guy this season.

JaVale McGee, C, DEN (4 of 10) -- As the preseason wore on, it become more evident that McGee would start off the regular season in a reserve role. For that reason, I was admittedly lukewarm on him. Nonetheless, I still managed to be in the position to select McGee in numerous drafts, as everyone else in the draft rooms cooled on him as well. He was routinely available in the ninth or 10th rounds. At that point in the draft the upside far outweighs the risk. After all, we're talking about an uber-athletic 24-year-old who finished second in the league in blocks per game last season. Even with limited run, McGee has the skill set to make a fantasy impact.

Brandon Jennings, G, MIL (3 of 10) -- Our projections on Jennings have been lofty since he came into the league, and we finally saw him fulfill some of that potential last season. At just 23, I expect him to only build on last year's success. He's a great point guard to target in the second or third rounds if you miss out on the upper-tier players at the position.

Ersan Ilyasova, F, MIL (3 of 10) -- Like Thompson in Golden State, Ilyasova became a fantasy beast after landing a permanent spot in the starting lineup last season. In 28 games after the All-Star break, Ilyasova averaged 16.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.1 threes, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 steals in under 31 mpg, which was top-10 fantasy production on a per-game basis over that stretch. He'll open the 2012-13 season with the same role he played for the Bucks last year. A fourth or fifth round pick for a guy with top-10 upside is too good to pass up.

George Hill, G, IND (3 of 10) -- Hill has dealt with a hip injury that kept him out of action all preseason, but I still feel he deserved more attention in drafts. The Pacers rid themselves of Darren Collison and signed Hill to a long-term contract this past summer, effectively naming him the starting point guard of the present and future. In his late-season nine-game stint as the starting point guard last season, Hill averaged 13.9 points, 5.3 assists and 1.4 treys. Those numbers are sustainable over the course of a full season and an absolute steal at the 10th or 11th round pick it usually took to land Hill.

And here are the players who I would have loved to land but always seemed to be out of reach:

James Harden, G, HOU -- Admittedly, I only came to regret not owning any shares of Harden after this weekend's trade to Houston. Prior to being traded to the Rockets, Harden was a second or early-third round pick. While his performance the past two seasons justified that high of a ranking, I always considered his upside capped when he played alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. After making the necessary projection changes following Saturday's trade, Harden jumped up to No. 5 on our cheat sheets. During Sirius XM's fantasy basketball draft last week, I said Harden had the ability to score well over 20 points per game and be a top fantasy option if Durant or Westbrook suffered an injury or if he ever got traded, I just didn't expect the opportunity to come so soon. Needless to say, I spent the entire morning sending out trade offers for the Rockets'new star shooting guard.

Serge Ibaka, F/C, OKC -- Ibaka was one of the most dominate one-category players in fantasy last season, averaging 3.7 blocks in just 27 mpg. I had designs to grab him in the lone draft where I held the No. 1 overall pick, but he was snagged just prior to the second/third round turn. But there in lies the problem with Ibaka -- he can give you a strangle hold on blocked shots, but the rest of his overall production makes it difficult to justify grabbing him before the third round. That said, he should play a larger role on offense for the Thunder this year, and he even showed off some newfound three-point range this preseason. I wouldn't be surprised if he's ranked as a top-15 player heading into the 2013-14 season.

Anthony Davis, F, NOH and Damian Lillard, G, POR -- Heading into drafts this year I knew Davis and Lillard were the two rookies that I wanted to target. Davis was quickly ruled out after seeing his price tag typically land in the fourth-round range. He will probably earn that slot, but there was always another player or need that I was targeting when the time came to grab Mr. Unibrow. Lillard was one of my favorite sleepers since being selected in the lottery by Portland. Immediately after selecting Lillard, it became evident that the Blazers would hand him the keys to the starting point guard gig. After an MVP performance in the summer league and an equally strong preseason showing, Lillard quickly shot up everyone's draft boards. He ended up going anywhere from the fourth to sixth round in the majority of my drafts despite being ranked in the 80-90 range of most draft rooms. That deceiving draft room ranking often led me to believe I could hold out just one more round to snag Lillard, but here I am empty handed.

Jonas Valanciunas, C, TOR -- After watching Valanciuanas play late in the preseason, I became a believer. Unfortunately I was a little too late to the show, as most of my drafts had already come and gone. I blame Raptors' big men Amir Johnson and Ed Davis, both of whom disappointed enough last season to convince me I'd be better off avoiding players from Toronto's frontcourt this year. Valanciaunas should be a fantasy asset from the get-go, providing solid percentages with blocks and the possibility of near double-double production if given enough playing time.

Comments

By: Perry Missner
On: 10/30/2012 6:03:00 AM
I have worries about Thompson (similar to my worries about Jeremy Lin) in that they were the main player on a team racked with injuries. Thompson was great when Ellis was traded and Curry was injured, but can he still be productive with Curry? I have my doubts (and I feel the same way with Lin playing with Harden).
 
By: Shannon McKeown
On: 10/30/2012 6:18:00 AM
I think you're worrying too much, Perry. Curry has shown the willingness to be a distributor and play alongside other scoring options in the past. Thompson might not average 18 ppg, but I think the rest of his production (tons of threes, great percentages, sneaky defensive value) will make him plenty worthy of his cost on draft day.

Not worried about Harden either. If anything, his presence will hurt Lin's value.
 
By: nayfel
On: 10/30/2012 7:01:00 AM
I am in 3 leagues and bought G Hill in 2 because he was one of the cheapest starting point guards. Also bought Dunleavy in all 3 as he was very productive in the second half last year and doens't get the proper attention because he is white and his ceiling is known.
Also bought KG in 2 leagues as he was a top 20 player all season last year because of his all-around play.
Only got Millsap in one league even though nobody else in my leagues knew that he had top 10 value last year.
Hoping patience pays off in regard to McGee as he will be productive even with only 20 minutes per game.
Bought Lin in 2 leagues, don't ask me why :)
 

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