Steve Alexander

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Fantasy Draft: Durant New #1

Friday, July 09, 2010


OK. So LeBron James has shocked the world and will join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Carlos Boozer is in Chicago, Amare Stoudemire is in New York, David Lee is (likely) in Golden State, Corey Maggette, John Salmons and Drew Gooden are in Milwaukee, Travis Outlaw is in Jersey, Hakim Warrick is in Phoenix, Paul Millsap is the man in Utah, John Wall is in Washington and Joe Johnson (Hawks), Rudy Gay (Grizzlies) and Paul Pierce (Celtics) are back with their teams.

So where does that leave the first round of your fantasy draft? I am still dealing with a case of LeBron-induced vertigo, but will attempt to answer the question for what the first round of your draft should look like.

1. Kevin Durant F Thunder

Durant becomes the clear and no-brainer No. 1 pick in fantasy. He's easy to love, handled his extension with the Thunder with nothing but class and is set to take the league by storm. If you can find an enemy of Durant, let me know.

2. Chris Paul PG Hornets

He desperately wants to join the Heat, but will have to spend another year playing for an inferior team and ownership. He was injured a lot last year, but LeBron's hookup in Miami is going to make CP3 the easy No. 2 choice this season. Let's just hope he's 'live on two legs' for an entire season.

3. Kobe Bryant SG Lakers

Can I realistically sit here and say I would definitely take Kobe over LeBron in my fantasy leagues this fall? Maybe. He's still the man in LaLa Land and is about as reliable as they come. With, or without an index finger.

4. LeBron James F Heat

Yes, he's going to be watered down with Wade and Bosh, but come on…He's still LeBron. And he didn't sacrifice his world to be Wade's whipping boy in Miami.

5. Dirk Nowitzki F Mavericks

Perhaps Dirk has had nothing to prove compared to this year, as the New Big 3 settle in Miami. Dirk had an incredible season last year and all signs are pointing to another big performance in 2010-11. Perhaps he should be taken in front of LeBron?

6. Deron Williams PG Jazz

Carlos Boozer is gone, meaning D-Will will really shine this time around. His tender ankles make me nervous, but it's hard to argue with taking Williams any time after the No. 1 and 2 picks. Boozer's bolt to Chicago hurt him a bit, but Paul Millsap should be right there to fill in the hole.

7. Danny Granger F Pacers

Granger's gimpy knee scare me, I will not lie. I also hated the way he stood around and launched 3-pointers last year. But with the watered-down situation in Miami these days, Granger looks like a lock to be taken between picks No. 5 and 10 this season, and No. 7 seems to make a ton of sense.

8. Pau Gasol F/C Lakers

Yes, Andrew Bynum may be healthy this year, but that's far from a sure bet. Gasol has proven to be as reliable as any fantasy player when healthy, and he should have another dominant season. He missed the first month of last season, but should enter this campaign at 100 percent.

9. Carmelo Anthony F Nuggets

What did the Nuggets do this summer? Nothing. Melo was the No. 11 fantasy player last year and there's no reason to think he won't build on that ranking this time around. He missed 13 games, but since this is a contract year, I look for that number to be closer to five.

10. Josh Smith F Hawks

Smoove is either going to take that next step or fall into a hole. Given the fact he bumped up his field goal percentage last year in a big way, and continued to block shots and steal the ball, there should be more good things coming from him this year. The free throw percentage is a problem, but he's all upside, and should take a big step.

11. Stephen Curry PG Warriors

Curry had a monster rookie season for the Warriors last year and should do it again this time around. However, there's still no word on how long Don Nelson will be coaching, as well as an ownership question hanging over his head. But one thing is clear - Curry is the future of the Warriors – period.

12. Dwyane Wade SG Heat

Wade is likely giving up control of the Heat to LeBron, which is going to take a toll on both of their numbers. However, he's still D-Wade, and having the burden lessened could add a year to two to his career. Maybe he deserves to be taken a few picks earlier, but for now, I'm content with letting Wade sit until the end of the first round of fantasy drafts.

Others To Consider, In No Particular Order

Jason Kidd PG Mavericks

He's basically old as dirt, but continues to get it done in Dallas. He won't score much, but proved last season that he can be a fantasy stud while averaging just over 10 points per game. He was worth a late first-round pick, and might be again this year.

Monta Ellis SG Warriors

When healthy, he's one of the best players in the league. Can he co-exist with Curry again? We're about to find out. The bigger question is, will he be with the Warriors when the season starts?

Steve Nash PG Suns

The loss of Amare Stoudemire, who was replaced with Hakim Warrick, is a big deal. Nash is always going to be a leader in assists and will score, but his lack of steals and high turnovers will be a concern. That said, he's a very safe fantasy pick in the first or second round.

Gerald Wallace F Bobcats

Wallace had a great year last season, playing in 76 games and averaging a strong double-double to go along with more than a steal and block per game. If you took him in the first round, you'd be hard-pressed to find an argument from me.

Rajon Rondo PG Celtics

A lack of threes and poor free-throw shooting make Rondo a tough call for a first-round pick, but his steals, points, assists, rebounds and constant flirtations with triple-doubles make him an incredibly valuable second-round pick. Would I take him with the 12th pick in the draft? I'd strongly consider it.

Amare Stoudemire PF Knicks

He's in New York and now playing for old coach Mike D'Antoni. While that could be a match made in hell, and we still don't know who will be throwing him the ball, say hello to the face of the Knicks. His rebounds and blocks should go up for the depleted Knicks, and Stoudemire should be a steal in Round 2.

Chris Bosh PF Heat

Bosh is going to have to share the ball with LeBron and Wade, and while he isn't worthy of a first-round pick, I can't imagine him falling out of Round 2.

Gilbert Arenas G Wizards

Arenas is coming off injuries, a suspension and will be playing alongside the new face of the franchise in John Wall next year, but he's still got big-game potential. That being said, I wouldn't take him before the end of Round 3. Would you?

Dwight Howard C Magic

Howard stinks in free throw percentage, turnovers and assists, but basically rocks everywhere else. Depending on your format, he could be the No. 3 pick in your draft.

David Lee F/C Warriors

Lee was a stud in New York, and could really flourish in the GSW as long as Nellie is coaching. That said, he will be one of the riskier earlier picks in your draft. For the record, we said that last year, too – and he averaged 20 points and 11.7 boards per game.

Carlos Boozer PF Bulls

Boozer may be the man for the Bulls this year, and if nothing else, you're guaranteed a double-double if you draft him. He won't block many shots, but he will be motivated and won't hurt you anywhere.

Tyreke Evans G Kings

Evans had a fabulous rookie season and should only build on it this year. He was limited by playing in just 72 games last season, but I bet he plays in 80 this year. He will be a quality second-round pick, and could even reward a gambling owner who blows a late first-rounder on him. Yes, he's that good.

Brook Lopez C Nets

Lopez is a quality fantasy center, and worth of a second-round pick. However, we've seen his ceiling, and he's probably not worthy of a first-round pick at this point.


Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2014-15 NBA season marks his 13th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
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