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NBA Roundtable

NBA Mock Draft Review

by Jonas Nader
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! In case you missed it, Ryan Knaus organized a mid-season mock (It was originally a mock but we decided to play it out because this does look interesting) draft using the NBA’s new official fantasy scoring system this week. It’s basically a points league and I’ll copy/paste the league rules below.


Scoring: H2H points. NBA 'official' points system (PTS = 1, REB = 1.2, AST = 1.5, STL = 3, BLK = 3, TO = -1)

Lineups: Weekly (lock on Monday)

Rosters: 13 players, 10 active (PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C, Util x2, Bench x3)

Draft Type: Snake

Playoffs: Weeks 22-24



If you want to see the results of the draft, open a new tab and click here!


Here are the two questions we will be focused on for our review:


1.) Who were the best value picks?


2.) Who were the biggest reaches (players drafted too early)




Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)


1.) Who were the best value picks? 


Andre getting Ben Simmons in Round 3 stands out to me as the best overall value. I took Draymond Green two spots earlier, but in hindsight I think that was a mistake. Everyone was so worried about his durability and possible restrictions before the season (the way they handled Joel Embiid last season scared me), but he’s only missed one game and is averaging just under 36 minutes per contest. In this points format, Simmons is averaging 42.6 fantasy points per game which would rank 14th in the NBA. The 76ers should make a push for the playoffs and I love their schedule down the stretch with three 4-game weeks in a row from March 19 to Apr. 8. 


Damian Lillard slipped during our draft due to recent concerns about his health, but Renee Miller stealing him with the 26th pick was a tremendous value. He’s putting up 41.5 fantasy points per game this season which ranks 15th overall, and I love targeting superstars on teams that will be fighting for playoff seeding during the fantasy playoffs. 


While we’re on the topic of Portland, I have to say that Eric Andrews hit the lottery with C.J. McCollum falling all the way to No. 54! He is eligible for both point guard and shooting guard, and he’s on a mini hot streak with 24+ points in three straight games. He fell about 15 spots too far in my opinion. 



2.) Who were the biggest reaches (players drafted too early)


As much as I love Kyrie Irving, I think him at No. 12 was a bit too early, especially with point guards like Chris Paul, John Wall and Ben Simmons still on the board. Irving is averaging 38.2 fantasy points per game, and his value isn’t as high in this format due to a lack of defensive stats. The biggest concern about Irving is Boston’s schedule down the stretch, as they play 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3 and 3 games from Weeks 18 to 24. 


Tyreke Evans at No. 33 would make me very nervous, as the Grizzlies are already shopping him (they want a 1st round pick in return) and his injury history is concerning. He’ll become a shut-down candidate if the Grizzlies don’t move him, but if he does land in a new city it will likely be a playoff-bound team which would hurt his usage rate, production and fantasy value. 


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Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)


1.) Who were the best value picks? 


It must have been injury concerns that dropped Damian Lillard to No. 26 overall, where Renee Miller happily added him to a core of LeBron James and Nikola Jokic. Considering Kyrie Irving went at No. 12 and John Wall at No. 14, it makes no sense that Dame would fall so low -- he's a complete stud who has been an iron-man throughout his career, and his recent injuries were of the 'relatively minor' variety. What a steal.


Nikola Vucevic was a big gamble from Stroup because the 'regular season' in this league is so short -- it lasts from Weeks 14-21. If Vuc returns from hand surgery toward the beginning of his 6-8 week timetable, though, taking him at No. 70 could be a genius move. Stroup already has a pretty stacked team with Steph, VO, Aldridge, Griffin, Middleton and Schroder, and he finished the draft with more safe, healthy picks in B. Ingram, H. Barnes and W. Barton. He could cruise into the playoffs with a healthy Vuc in tow, and that concerns me.


I also loved Kemba Walker at No. 32, D'Angelo Russell at No. 82, Taurean Prince at No. 99, Nikola Mirotic at No. 88 (likely headed for a starting PF job no matter where he lands), and Carmelo Anthony at No. 94. Melo's lack of statistical diversity doesn't really hurt him in this format, and he's one of the few players in this range who can get hot and hang 40 fantasy points with some regularity.


2.) Who were the biggest reaches? 

This draft was based on a very simple points-league format, which de-values efficiency, specific categories, and to some extent even positions. Hassan Whiteside went at No. 18 overall and Rudy Gobert went at No. 25, and both feel like reaches by owners used to drafting in category-leagues. That's not to say Hassan & Rudy can't be studs in this format, but neither guy has produced to expectations, both have dealt with injuries, and we're still not even sure when Rudy will get back on the court (or who will be playing PF alongside him).


For the same reason, a 3-point specialist like Klay Thompson (No. 28) doesn't thrill me, and as much as I love Kawhi Leonard (No. 37), I'm not spending a top-40 pick on a guy with a partial tear in his strained shoulder, chronic quad tendinopathy, and a team that habitually plays it safe with injuries.



Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)


I agree with Ben Simmons and Damian Lillard as clear value picks. I also really like Dwight Howard, Lonzo Ball, Clint Capela and DeAndre Jordan in this format. They’re almost guaranteed to be value picks because we’re so used to being scared away by their percentage issues. C.J. McCollum (54) and Kris Dunn (45) are a couple others that jump out at me. And how about Michael Beasley at 104? He and Trey Lyles (109) are the only guys in that part of the draft who have been at or over 30 points in this format for the last month. Lastly, Isaiah at No. 59 could end up being a monster value for Jonas.


For reaches, I’ll throw a flag at myself – and I may really regret taking Vucevic over a much safer option like Goran Dragic. But I have Vuc in a number of leagues this season and expect big things when he comes back. Zach LaVine (also my pick) may have been a little foolish with options like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope still on the board.



Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)


1.) I like the Lonzo Ball pick in Round 5. In nine-category leagues, Ball’s awful percentages really drag down his value. But in this points-based league, his terrible field goal and free-throw percentages don’t hurt him at all. Over his last four games, Ball is averaging over eight assists and eight rebounds per contests, to go along with 2.5 steals. He has an excellent chance to return third-round value in this format. 


Lou Williams at in the sixth round was a great value as well. Yes, he exploded for 50 points on Wednesday night, but not just for that reason. He’s been on fire for a couple of months now, as the shorthanded Clippers have little choice to make him a focal point of their offense. In fact, over his last six games, Williams is averaging 34.3 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.3 rebounds.


One other solid late pick was Trey Lyles in round 11. Over Denver’s last 15 games, Lyles is averaging 17.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 2.5 triples and just 1.2 turnovers.


2.) Echoing the sentiments of Ryan and Jonas, I thought Kyrie Irving and Hassan Whiteside went off the board too early. 


Joel Embiid remains a fascinating selection. If he stays healthy over the season half of the season, he is well worth a second-round pick. If he loses time to injury, he could single-handedly sink a team. I also would have waited on DeMar DeRozan. He’s one of the league’s top scorers, and he’s been incredibly consistent as expected, but his upside is not quite as high as some of the players drafted behind him.  



Steve Alexander (@Docktora)


1. Who were the best value picks?

This might sound dumb, but Russell Westbrook at 2 in this format is probably a steal. Just like injured James Harden at 3 is pretty risky. I was hoping for LeBron James at No. 9, but Renee got him at 6. 

I thought Devin Booker at 35 was pretty smooth since he was hurt for much of the first half and flying under the radar a bit. 

Isaiah Thomas at 59 looks pretty good to me, if he can stay healthy and play heavy minutes the rest of the way. With the talk of Nikola Mirotic being traded, Lauri Markkanen at 53 also looks pretty good. 

I liked my back-to-back picks of Dario Saric at 69 and Kyle Kuzma at 72. Neither of them are going away and both of them have been healthy. 

And how could any Rotoworld column be complete without mention Mr. 76 – Marquese Chriss. I’m mostly kidding, but he’s been hot and was actually picked by a non-Rotoworld employee, which is interesting. 

I love Caris LeVert at 80, Dennis Smith Jr. at 87, a climbing De’Aaron Fox at 92, my man Delon Wright at 96, Julius Randle at 101, Michael Beasley at 104 and Josh Jackson at 129. 


2.) Who were the biggest reaches?


I would say my first two picks probably deserve to be on this list, but I was drafting with primarily one thing in mind – get healthy players. My teams have been so injured all season that I simply wanted guys who were relatively healthy and who might have a big second half. I passed on Stephen Curry and Victor Oladipo, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to touch Kawhi Leonard in any round. I went with Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving. Some might argue that Irving is as injury prone as anyone in the league, but I predicted big things from him this season and he still has a real shot at a great second half.  And Butler has been wrecking people after a slow start to his season. Another reason why I put health at a premium is that this is a weekly league where we just set our lineup and go, no pickups allowed. 


I thought Tyreke Evans at 33 was interesting, as the Grizzlies continue to tank and trade talks are heating up about Evans. But he’s had a great season and has managed to stay pretty healthy throughout, so it’s hard to hate the pick. 


Kawhi Leonard, even at 37, was still a reach for me. I drafted him in one of my more important leagues and the team has simply crumbled around him. You can’t produce if you’re in street clothes, and even though it feels like Leonard is healthy right now, he still plays for Gregg Popovich and he’s still appeared in just eight (EIGHT!) games. No thanks. 


It would have been fitting had I gotten Lou Williams at 50 instead of 52 after last his Wednesday night explosion, and he’s another guy I might have reached for. The Clippers might eventually finally get healthy, but until it happens, he’s going to be a monster. 


Nikola Vucevic with a broken hand and Bismack Biyombo makes me pretty nervous, especially in a league with no pickups allowed. So 70 seemed a little high on him. 


And as you all know, I’m in the “anti” camp for Zach LaVine, so for me, taking him any time before the last round of this thing was too early. Then again, the other players taken near LaVine are nothing to write home about, so it probably wasn’t a bad move for Stroup. I just think LaVine’s going to take baby steps, and I can’t wait to see if I’m right, or if he comes out of the gate and looks like an all-star. It could go either way.