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'Experts' NBA Fantasy DRAFT League

by Roland Beech, 82games.com

The day before the start of the NBA 2007-08 season saw an event of historic proportions!
Earth shattering revelations! World changing decisions being made!
...well, the first annual 82games.com 'experts' fantasy draft.

Most fantasy leagues are set up to make the participants sweat through the season on a daily basis -- start/bench decision, scanning the free agents for worthy pickups, wondering when to give up and drop the draft day disappointment, evaluating trades, and so on. Not at 82games! We're too busy for that, and have elected to go with the most PURE league you could imagine:

  • Standard 8-cat Roto league
  • Draft 12 players
  • All 12 players start the entire season
  • no pickups/drops/trades or roster changes of any kind
We sent out invitations to notable NBA minds, and while some were too cowardly to accept the challenge of pitting their wits against the cream of the crop (and you know who you are..), there were eventually twelve brave souls who stepped forward. Draft order was randomly set as follows:

1. Henry Abbott - TrueHoop
2. Jeff Ma - PROTRADE
3. Brandon Funston - Yahoo! Sports
4. Matt Berry - ESPN
5. Jon Loomer - NBA.com
6. Rick Kamla - NBA TV
7. Justin Kubatko - Basketball-Reference.com
8. Tommy Craggs - Writer
9. Eric Wong - 82games fantasy expert
10. Roland Beech - 82games founder
11. Andre' Snellings - Rotowire
12. Chris Liss - Rotowire

Now to entice the troops to be a tad serious about this endeavor, 82games.com has thrown into the pot...

ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!

...um, yeah okay, not a big incentive admittedly, but what the heck, the winner does get a grand (or in Jon Loomer's case along with some others giving it to charity...also note this league is in no way endorsed or affiliated with the NBA itself).

So the draft played out yesterday (thanks to Jon for taking the reins) and the tension was palpable as the team owners tried to construct a team that could contend for the title. Given the particulars of the setup (no replacements, all players drafted start all year) there was some aversion perhaps to 'injury risk' types compared to the usual fantasy league 'average draft placement' ratings.

Eric will no doubt be providing his thoughts on the draft over in the 82games Fantasy Section, but being the numbers oriented guy I am, I've gone ahead and projected out the standings for the various rosters using the NBA.com player projections which kindly provide a games played estimate and minutes per game estimate.

This last part is big -- a guy may be a star but if he only plays 50 games, that's 32 games in this league where he's giving you zeroes across the board...and he may not be as valuable as a journeyman off the bench playing 20 minutes a game, but all 82 games! That's the key to this league, guys who produce, and guys who produce over the full schedule!

So throwing the projections into the computer, and letting it whirl to add up the expected stats (including the zeroes for predicted games missed), reveals the following results:

Predicted Standings (by NBA.com player projections)

82games.com DRAFT SUPERSTARS League Category Points
Pick   Team Owner Fg%  Ft%  Pts  Reb  Ast  Stl  Blk  3Fg  Fg  Ft  Pts  Reb  Ast  Stl  Blk  3Fg  Total 
10   Roland Beech - 82games 0.472  0.773  14838  5474  2898  1002  595  989  10  11  61 
11   Andre' Snellings - Rotowire 0.451  0.790  14834  5203  2992  920  785  1016  10  12  12  60 
 Matt Berry - ESPN 0.475  0.771  14801  5026  3425  949  623  815  10  12  57 
 Justin Kubatko - Bask-Ref. 0.470  0.764  15012  5335  3315  840  676  871  11  11  57 
 Jeff Ma - Protrade 0.466  0.792  14673  6046  2471  1001  754  705  11  11  10  56 
 Rick Kamla - NBA TV 0.490  0.715  15575  6188  2878  833  724  609  12  12  12  55 
 Henry Abbott - TrueHoop 0.463  0.732  14282  5089  3242  1106  782  760  10  11  11  52 
 Brandon Funston - Yahoo! 0.472  0.766  13938  5638  2950  1108  672  575  12  49 
 Jon Loomer - NBA.com 0.461  0.777  14081  5734  3045  1074  582  648  10  10  48 
 Tommy Craggs - Writer 0.471  0.808  14105  5259  3023  816  495  915  12  10  47 
 Eric Wong - 82games 0.479  0.779  13011  5260  2871  906  601  747  11  44 
12   Chris Liss - Rotowire 0.473  0.779  14728  4990  2560  954  514  571  38 

And once again this just goes to show how smart computers are, picking me to win.

A balanced team is seen to edge out dominators like Snellings (king of blocks and 3fgm but last in fg%) and Kamla (tops in fg%, Pts and Reb but last in ft%).

Ah, but of course the standings are super tight based on the projections, and this league could dissolve into a last man standing affair when injuries and Artest-quality suspensions start taking their toll. Expecting the actual results to be anything close to the above is foolish.

Indeed if you ignore the games played projections and just pencil in every player for the full 82 games, the prediction looks quite different:

66 - Snellings
61 - Berry
55 - Ma, Kamla, Beech

If you were to use a different source for player projections (Rotowire, Eric's own RotoEvil #'s, etc) it would again shuffle up the rankings dramatically.

Still, since Andre' places in the top two in both looks, he is duly installed as the favorite.

We'll keep tabs on how the league unfolds through the year and if you're thinking you could take down this field, work on your qualifications and maybe we'll open it up to some more folks for 2008-09!

For the pick-by-pick drama, feast your eyes on the following!

ROUND PICK  TEAM  PLAYER
1 1  TrueHoopers  LeBron James
1 2  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Kevin Garnett
1 3  Brandon Funston  Shawn Marion
1 4  Fightin' TMR's  Kobe Bryant
1 5  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Gilbert Arenas
1 6  NBA TV  Steve Nash
1 7  Basketball-Reference.com  Dirk Nowitzki
1 8  LUOLcats  Yao Ming
1 9  A Tribe Called Evil  Dwight Howard
1 10  Roland Beech - 82games  Amare Stoudemire
1 11  Professor  Josh Smith
1 12  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Pau Gasol
2 1  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Dwyane Wade
2 2  Professor  Chris Paul
2 3  Roland Beech - 82games  Andre Iguodala
2 4  A Tribe Called Evil  Chauncey Billups
2 5  LUOLcats  Jason Kidd
2 6  Basketball-Reference.com  Tim Duncan
2 7  NBA TV  Al Jefferson
2 8  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Chris Bosh
2 9  Fightin' TMR's  Deron Williams
2 10  Brandon Funston  Vince Carter
2 11  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Paul Pierce
2 12  TrueHoopers  Joe Johnson
3 1  TrueHoopers  Gerald Wallace
3 2  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Ray Allen
3 3  Brandon Funston  Marcus Camby
3 4  Fightin' TMR's  Allen Iverson
3 5  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Caron Butler
3 6  NBA TV  Carmelo Anthony
3 7  Basketball-Reference.com  Tracy McGrady
3 8  LUOLcats  Rashard Lewis
3 9  A Tribe Called Evil  Kevin Martin
3 10  Roland Beech - 82games  Carlos Boozer
3 11  Professor  Michael Redd
3 12  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Luol Deng
4 1  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Brandon Roy
4 2  Professor  Jermaine O'Neal
4 3  Roland Beech - 82games  Kirk Hinrich
4 4  A Tribe Called Evil  Ben Gordon
4 5  LUOLcats  Leandro Barbosa
4 6  Basketball-Reference.com  Mehmet Okur
4 7  NBA TV  Kevin Durant
4 8  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Baron Davis
4 9  Fightin' TMR's  Emeka Okafor
4 10  Brandon Funston  Josh Howard
4 11  Jeff Ma - Protrade  LaMarcus Aldridge
4 12  TrueHoopers  Rasheed Wallace
5 1  TrueHoopers  Raymond Felton
5 2  Jeff Ma - Protrade  David West
5 3  Brandon Funston  Andre Miller
5 4  Fightin' TMR's  Lamar Odom
5 5  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Antawn Jamison
5 6  NBA TV  Mo Williams
5 7  Basketball-Reference.com  Mike Miller
5 8  LUOLcats  Tyson Chandler
5 9  A Tribe Called Evil  Andrei Kirilenko
5 10  Roland Beech - 82games  Jason Richardson
5 11  Professor  Zach Randolph
5 12  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Ron Artest
6 1  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Corey Maggette
6 2  Professor  Manu Ginobili
6 3  Roland Beech - 82games  Danny Granger
6 4  A Tribe Called Evil  Andrea Bargnani
6 5  LUOLcats  T.J. Ford
6 6  Basketball-Reference.com  Tony Parker
6 7  NBA TV  Ricky Davis
6 8  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Andrew Bogut
6 9  Fightin' TMR's  Al Harrington
6 10  Brandon Funston  Monta Ellis
6 11  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Rudy Gay
6 12  TrueHoopers  Nenad Krstic
7 1  TrueHoopers  Andris Biedrins
7 2  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Zydrunas Ilgauskas
7 3  Brandon Funston  Stephen Jackson
7 4  Fightin' TMR's  Jason Terry
7 5  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Randy Foye
7 6  NBA TV  Chris Kaman
7 7  Basketball-Reference.com  Ben Wallace
7 8  LUOLcats  Richard Hamilton
7 9  A Tribe Called Evil  Devin Harris
7 10  Roland Beech - 82games  Stephon Marbury
7 11  Professor  Peja Stojakovic
7 12  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Charlie Villanueva
8 1  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Richard Jefferson
8 2  Professor  Andrew Bynum
8 3  Roland Beech - 82games  Shane Battier
8 4  A Tribe Called Evil  David Lee
8 5  LUOLcats  Boris Diaw
8 6  Basketball-Reference.com  Tayshaun Prince
8 7  NBA TV  Al Horford
8 8  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Rajon Rondo
8 9  Fightin' TMR's  Samuel Dalembert
8 10  Brandon Funston  Brad Miller
8 11  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Jameer Nelson
8 12  TrueHoopers  Darko Milicic
9 1  TrueHoopers  Jamal Crawford
9 2  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Andres Nocioni
9 3  Brandon Funston  Chris Wilcox
9 4  Fightin' TMR's  Walter Herrmann
9 5  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Nick Collison
9 6  NBA TV  Eddy Curry
9 7  Basketball-Reference.com  Jarrett Jack
9 8  LUOLcats  Kyle Korver
9 9  A Tribe Called Evil  Josh Childress
9 10  Roland Beech - 82games  Troy Murphy
9 11  Professor  Raja Bell
9 12  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Larry Hughes
10 1  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Bonzi Wells
10 2  Professor  Rafer Alston
10 3  Roland Beech - 82games  Anthony Parker
10 4  A Tribe Called Evil  John Salmons
10 5  LUOLcats  Drew Gooden
10 6  Basketball-Reference.com  Delonte West
10 7  NBA TV  Paul Millsap
10 8  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Travis Outlaw
10 9  Fightin' TMR's  Marvin Williams
10 10  Brandon Funston  Al Thornton
10 11  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Tyrus Thomas
10 12  TrueHoopers  Corey Brewer
11 1  TrueHoopers  Sam Cassell
11 2  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Ruben Patterson
11 3  Brandon Funston  Acie Law IV
11 4  Fightin' TMR's  Jamaal Tinsley
11 5  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Channing Frye
11 6  NBA TV  Mike Dunleavy
11 7  Basketball-Reference.com  Hedo Turkoglu
11 8  LUOLcats  Wally Szczerbiak
11 9  A Tribe Called Evil  Udonis Haslem
11 10  Roland Beech - 82games  Nene Hilario
11 11  Professor  Kendrick Perkins
11 12  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Ike Diogu
12 1  Chris Liss - Rotowire  Morris Peterson
12 2  Professor  Mike Bibby
12 3  Roland Beech - 82games  Bobby Simmons
12 4  A Tribe Called Evil  Luke Walton
12 5  LUOLcats  Nate Robinson
12 6  Basketball-Reference.com  Grant Hill
12 7  NBA TV  Shaquille O'Neal
12 8  Jon Loomer - NBA.com  Joel Przybilla
12 9  Fightin' TMR's  Trevor Ariza
12 10  Brandon Funston  Ronnie Brewer
12 11  Jeff Ma - Protrade  Kyle Lowry
12 12  TrueHoopers  Daniel Gibson


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