2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Mid-Season Industry Mock Draft and Review
I was chatting a couple of weeks ago with a friend about a few fantasy basketball players who thus far seem to be the biggest breakout and bust players of the season. We debated where they would go if we were drafting right now, disagreed on several and instantly I knew what had to be done. So, I went to the Twitterverse and sought out some of the great fantasy hoops minds in the industry to conduct a mid-season fantasy hoops mock draft.
We drafted with the mindset that we’d be playing out this league from this point until the season’s end, so what a player has done up until this point is totally irrelevant. There’s no penalty to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, etc… for missing games in the first half, it only matters what the players will do from right now and onward. The draft settings were that of an 8-category (Points – Rebounds – Assists – Steals – Blocks – 3PtM – FG% – FT%) roto league and went 11-rounds. Beneath every round of picks I will do a brief commentary on the notable selections of the round and also discuss my own picks.
This is a great opportunity for you to see how some of your favorite fantasy analysts are valuing players. Are they buying in to Draymond Green and Jimmy Butler? How are players battling injuries like Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan being valued going forward? All this and more will be answered in the mock draft recap below. You know every member of this group puts in a ton of time watching and researching the NBA, and if they’re reaching for a player, there’s a good reason for it.
Without further delay, here is the mock draft crew, followed by the draft recap:
Note: This was a slow mock and took over two weeks to complete. Players like Draymond Green were drafted before his recent slump, Al Jefferson was drafted before we knew he’d return a few weeks earlier than anticipated, etc…
1) Anthony Davis – Matt Moczygemba
2) Kevin Durant – Russell Peddle
3) Stephen Curry – Ricky Sanders
4) James Harden – Zack Rewis
5) Russell Westbrook – Joe Polito
6) DeMarcus Cousins – Ryan Knaus
7) LeBron James – Seth Klein
8) Chris Paul – Mark Kaplan
9) John Wall – Nick Raducanu
10) Damian Lillard – Michael Gallagher
11) LaMarcus Aldridge – Sam Macey
12) Marc Gasol – Scott Malewig
Nothing too out of the ordinary in round one, but it was odd seeing LeBron James fall outside the top-4 picks for the first time within memory although understandable. Harden, Westbrook and Cousins all have been incredible this season and deserve to be right in that 3-6 range.
My pick: I landed the fourth pick in this mock and felt Harden was simply too good to pass up here with his fantastic line of 27.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.9 blocks and 2.7 treys while shooting a fair 45% from the field and 89% on 8.9 FTA per game. Most wouldn’t but he really does deserve discussion even at the top overall pick.
13) Draymond Green – Scott Malewig
14) Kyle Lowry – Sam Macey
15) Jimmy Butler – Michael Gallagher
16) Pau Gasol – Nick Raducanu
17) Blake Griffin – Mark Kaplan
18) Andre Drummond – Seth Klein
19) Klay Thompson – Ryan Knaus
20) Serge Ibaka – Joe Polito
21) Eric Bledsoe – Zack Rewis
22) Paul Millsap – Ricky Sanders
23) Chris Bosh – Russell Peddle
24) Jeff Teague – Matt Moczygemba
BOOM goes the dynamite! Three players I was very curious to see where they’d land went in the first four picks of the 2nd round. I was shocked to see Draymond go at 13 (he was still killing it at the time he was drafted), I had him pegged for late 2nd-early third round but if he had kept up his then numbers it could’ve held true. A couple weeks later though, we see that his minutes and stats have slowly declined and it’s hard to say if they’ll ever get back to where they were without an injury to David Lee or possibly Andrew Bogut.
Jimmy Butler went 15th to Gallagher which is right where I had him pegged to go with the way Jimmy has put up numbers like was expected of Kawhi who Gallagher took in this same spot in the preseason draft. Butler has held up pretty well but his field goal percentage has been down over the past month dropping his PPG slightly. Pau Gasol was a player I loved going into the season as a value pick and it showed here as he went 46th in the preseason mock and a deserved 16th in this one.
My pick: I reached maybe a little bit here to get Eric Bledsoe. I just loved pairing him up with Harden and I am a believer that Goran Dragic will be traded before the February 19th trade deadline which would boost Bledsoe even more. Millsap was my other primary consideration here but I was hoping to land another solid big man on the turn.
25) Nikola Vucevic – Matt Moczygemba
26) Gordon Hayward – Russell Peddle
27) DeAndre Jordan – Ricky Sanders
28) Kevin Love – Zack Rewis
29) Dwight Howard – Joe Polito
30) Mike Conley – Ryan Knaus
31) Ty Lawson – Seth Klein
32) Kyrie Irving – Mark Kaplan
33) Kawhi Leonard – Nick Raducanu
34) Al Horford – Michael Gallagher
35) Rudy Gay – Sam Macey
36) Tim Duncan – Scott Malewig
I was a little surprised to see my boy Vucevic go this early with his lack of blocks limiting his upside, but his points/boards/percentages are elite big man numbers. Dwight Howard going mid-3rd round of an 8-category roto league is puzzling as his blocks and rebounds aren’t elite enough to carry his value anymore. Kawhi Leonard was snatched up by Nick which if he remains healthy will be a great value pick. Leonard was still out with an unclear timetable when drafted here. Really like Ricky’s start of Curry – Millsap – DeAndre.
My pick: I was pleased to get Kevin Love at 28th overall although that is pretty close to where his stats have his value lying currently when LeBron and Kyrie are active. Still I am happy with his 17 points, 10 boards, two assists and 1.6 treys as a “down” line and optimistic that he’ll improve as the Cavs overall team chemistry gets better as the season goes on.
37) Kemba Walker – Scott Malewig
38) Derrick Favors – Sam Macey
39) Victor Oladipo – Michael Gallagher
40) Brandon Knight – Nick Raducanu
41) Greg Monroe – Mark Kaplan
42) DeMar DeRozan – Seth Klein
43) Jrue Holiday – Ryan Knaus
44) Kobe Bryant – Joe Polito
45) Monta Ellis – Zack Rewis
46) Darren Collison – Ricky Sanders
47) Dirk Nowitzki – Russell Peddle
48) Tobias Harris – Matt Moczygemba
This is the round we really saw people open up to players playing above their off-season projections. Brandon Knight (drafted 89th in pre-season mock/drafted 40th here), Greg Monroe (53rd/41st), Darren Collison (93rd/46th) and Tobias Harris (96th/48th) all saw significant jumps in their draft slots while Dirk fell 19 spots and Monta Ellis 10 spots. The Monroe pick was about a week after the Josh Smith trade, so it wasn’t certain if he’d keep it up but since Smith was booted Monroe has rolled out a 16 points, 12 boards, 2.8 dimes, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks while shooting 50% from the field and 78% from the line. Kobe is an interesting pick here as the rumbles of potential shut down loom, a bit high to take on the gamble for me. Knaus obviously made this pick before Jrue Holiday was injured.
My pick: I was actually hoping to land Jrue here but I was still happy to add Monta Ellis to my team. Love my guard trio of Harden – Bledsoe – Ellis through four rounds although I did become aware here that while I have time to salvage it a bit, my team likely wasn’t going to be near the top in the field goal percentage category. Now, while I don’t want to totally punt any category in an 8-cat roto, I’m ok with being bottom-third in one if I’m strong in the other seven.
49) Dwyane Wade – Matt Moczygemba
50) Goran Dragic – Russell Peddle
51) Rajon Rondo – Ricky Sanders
52) Tyson Chandler – Zack Rewis
53) Kyle Korver – Joe Polito
54) Danny Green – Ryan Knaus
55) Al Jefferson – Seth Klein
56) Tyreke Evans – Mark Kaplan
57) Andrew Wiggins – Nick Raducanu
58) Markieff Morris – Michael Gallagher
59) Joakim Noah – Sam Macey
60) Giannis Antetokounmpo – Scott Malewig
Noah who was a popular pick to be a let down for his ADP this year falls from 38th in the preseason mock to 59th here and this was before his recent injury. I’m OK with Noah here but I would have preferred Gobert the rest of the season. I think this round went pretty well for everyone. We had some roto friendly guys like Korver and Green go, the first rookie in Wiggins and the Greek Freak who jumped up a full round since the preseason mock. When Seth took Jefferson here I thought he was crazy because all we knew at the time was he was expected to be out “at least” another 2-3 weeks. We know now that he came back within the next week and if he remains healthy is a major steal in this draft.
My pick: With my strong guard trio, I knew I needed to add some boards and blocks and despite the fears of Chandler’s injury past, I felt he was just too damn good to pass up at this spot with my needs. I like having a pair of double-digit board big men who both hit their free throws well and while Tyson isn’t elite in blocks, he gets me started.
61) Kenneth Faried – Scott Malewig
62) Ricky Rubio – Sam Macey
63) Bradley Beal – Michael Gallagher
64) Gorgui Dieng – Nick Raducanu
65) Zach Randolph – Mark Kaplan
66) Wes Matthews – Seth Klein
67) Rudy Gobert – Ryan Knaus
68) Brook Lopez – Joe Polito
69) Joe Johnson – Zack Rewis
70) Marcin Gortat – Ricky Sanders
71) Nicolas Batum – Russell Peddle
72) Trevor Ariza – Matt Moczygemba
Right here in the draft I was notified by Russell that he was at the hospital with his wife having their first child. Congrats to them and big props for him continuing to draft blindly for a few rounds via phone while at the hospital.
As the draft goes on it’s common to see more and more risky selections, here there were a few that could be looked at as ‘risky’ considering it’s just the 6th round. Ricky Rubio still hasn’t returned from his ankle injury and with Doctors warning him that a rushed return could result in a stress fracture, he only gets sketchier. If he returns soon as he’s saying and plays the rest of the way, it will work as Sam definitely needed the assists and steals. Gorgui Dieng was playing at a top-65 level but now Pekovich is back in the fold and how it will effect Dieng is unknown. Either way he’ll get minutes but there’s uncertainty if he’ll be able to live up to this draft spot, but Pekovich is the strongest fragile man alive, so more missed action could come at any time. Nicolas Batum goes at 71 which is double where he went in the preseason mock (34) due to his numbers lower across the board from last season.
My pick: Yes, I absolutely shed tears when Gobert went two picks before I planned to grab him. In a way though I was glad to see where others viewed him not just where I felt he was a good pick. In the preseason I predicted he’d be a top-60 player from the new year on and he looks like he can definitely accomplish that. Anyways, my pick was Joe Johnson as I was in need of a small forward. I just haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Batum and Ariza’s role was looking downward post-Josh Smith trade. I felt iso-Joe was a safe pick here that complimented my team well.
73) Robert Covington – Matt Moczygemba
74) Chandler Parsons – Russell Peddle
75) Ryan Anderson – Ricky Sanders
76) Jusuf Nurkic – Zack Rewis
77) Luol Deng – Joe Polito
78) Brandon Jennings – Ryan Knaus
79) Isaiah Thomas – Seth Klein
80) Trey Burke – Mark Kaplan
81) Alex Len – Nick Raducanu
82) Jared Sullinger – Michael Gallagher
83) Jonas Valanciunas – Sam Macey
84) Derrick Rose – Scott Malewig
We began to see some players who went undrafted in the preseason start to trickle in at round 7. Covington, Nurkic and Len all went undrafted in the preseason and have catapulted their values enough to be grabbed in the 70-80 range which is quite significant to leap from off the radars to prime picks in a mid-to-end of season mock. Knaus got a real bargain on Brandon Jennings (pre-injury) here when the point guards remaining were quite bleak. Jennings had been much improved since the Pistons parted ways with Josh Smith although his downfall is still in his 38% shooting from the field. It’s really unfortunate that Jennings season will be cut short due to a torn achilles.
Derrick Rose was one of the biggest fallers from pre-to-mid season mocks, going early-3rd round in September and end of the 8th here. Rose was going through his brutal shooting stretch right about the start of the year but has played better the past few games. If he stays healthy and can keep up his recent play, this could be a steal of a pick but there’s definitely reason for concern. It was a gamble that Malewig needed to take as he went big man heavy early and now adds Rose as just his second point guard behind Kemba.
My pick: I needed to add another big fella here who helped in the block category and in hindsight I probably should’ve went with Len or Valanciunas but at the time Mozgov had recently been traded and there was a wide-open path for the emergence of 20-year-old rookie, Jusuf Nurkic. I am confident that the young Bosnian center will produce the boards and blocks I sought after but oddly enough it’s been his field goal percentage that’s been his issue recently. Over his last six games he’s shot a poor 40% from the floor. I can’t help but be optimistic that he’ll improve on that as he takes 85% of his shots at the rim, yet shot just 16/41 (39%) from there the past six games. Hopefully he can get that back up to a more respectable 46% and I’ll be fine with it, and he’s also been a plus free throw shooter despite a low number of attempts. Still, I’d feel much better if I had gone with Len since it appears the Nuggets for some insane reason don’t like playing Nurkic over 22 minutes…
85) Mason Plumlee – Scott Malewig
86) Arron Afflalo – Sam Macey
87) David West – Michael Gallagher
88) Roy Hibbert – Nick Raducanu
89) Timofey Mozgov – Mark Kaplan
90) Thaddeus Young – Seth Klein
91) Andrew Bogut – Ryan Knaus
92) Tony Wroten – Joe Polito
93) Lance Stephenson – Zack Rewis
94) Nerlens Noel – Ricky Sanders
95) George Hill – Russell Peddle
96) Hassan Whiteside – Matt Moczygemba
This was a popular round to go with paint dwellers as eight of the twelve selections were of the PF or C variety. Scott started off the round with Mason Plumlee — who I actually drafted in the 15th round of the preseason mock *pats self on back* — who has been good enough recently for Lionel Hollins to start Plumlee ahead of Brook Lopez at least for the time being. His value would take a big jump if Lopez were to suffer another injury or be traded. Mozgov looks like he could wind up being a value pick here for Kaplan as Moz has really looked better each game he’s been with the Cavs. Whiteside went for a triple-double with blocks this weekend in just 23 minutes and there’s nobody in Miami to stop him from gaining more PT. He could easily end up being the best value pick of this draft if he continues to improve.
My pick: I took a little bit of a gamble here with ‘Born Ready’ Lance Stephenson who was just about to return from his injury to play when I made the pick. I knew he had been brutal to start the season but when I looked at his percentages from last season I felt there was plenty of room for improvement. I also know that he’s on the trade market and about anywhere he’d go couldn’t possibly make him less productive. So far he has not been good in his return to the court and I may have made a mistake here and a better risk would’ve been on Whiteside or George Hill.
97) Michael Carter-Williams – Matt Moczygemba
98) Jordan Hill – Russell Peddle
99) Carmelo Anthony – Ricky Sanders
100) Tony Parker – Zack Rewis
101) James Johnson – Joe Polito
102) Kelly Olynyk – Ryan Knaus
103) Josh Smith – Seth Klein
104) Donatas Motiejunas – Mark Kaplan
105) Elfrid Payton – Nick Raducanu
106) Patrick Beverley – Michael Gallagher
107) Jamal Crawford – Sam Macey
108) Taj Gibson – Scott Malewig
MCW finally goes off the board at pick 97. His season averages of 15-6-7 with 1.5 steals is awesome but he’s so brutal at both percentages that everyone has to look away until he falls so far that one man can’t resist any longer. Despite his percentage woes he ranks 82nd on BasketballMonster’s 8-category rankings for the season. Another name we knew would fall but weren’t sure how far, Carmelo Anthony went off the board at pick 99 to Ricky. I think the potential reward outweighs the risk at this point in the draft even if he’s eventually shut down. Not sure how he fell 55 picks further than Kobe who had the same worries at the time we ran this draft. Two Rocket players (Smith and Motiejunas) who could potentially feel the effects from the return of Terrence Ross very soon went in round nine and it will be interesting to see how that all shakes out.
My pick: I needed some point guard help and I was pleased to see Tony Parker still on the board at pick 100. I know there’s always concern of the Spurs vets resting late in the season but that’s when they’re safely in the playoffs. This year because of injuries to Parker and Kawhi, they find themselves only in 7th place in the West and the Thunder and others are hungry to catch up meaning the Spurs will have to play until the end. Sure, they’ll rest here or there but not like the past couple of seasons. I’m hopeful that Tony’s numbers continue to rise over the next couple of weeks and returns to his normal self after the All-Star break.
109) Nikola Pekovic – Scott Malewig
110) Lou Williams – Sam Macey
111) Khris Middleton – Michael Gallagher
112) P.J. Tucker – Nick Raducanu
113) K.J. McDaniels – Mark Kaplan
114) Reggie Jackson – Seth Klein
115) DeMarre Carroll – Ryan Knaus
116) Deron Williams – Joe Polito
117) Amir Johnson – Zack Rewis
118) Jarrett Jack – Ricky Sanders
119) J.J. Hickson – Russell Peddle
120) Kevin Martin – Matt Moczygemba
Everybody was targeting upside guys and/or players who helped in an area of weakness the final two rounds. Nothing very notable happened in round 10 besides Deron Williams finally getting selected. He’s still not playing but he’s nearing a return and while his upside is limited, he’s not a bad choice here with the lack of point guard options left.
My pick: After Middleton and Carroll were taken by the Rotoworld duo, I aimed at my need for rebounds/blocks and took Amir Johnson. He struggles with consistency but at the end of the week usually gives you what you drafted him for.
121) Robin Lopez – Matt Moczygemba
122) J.J. Redick – Russell Peddle
123) Jeff Green – Ricky Sanders
124) Marcus Smart – Zack Rewis
125) Tristan Thompson – Joe Polito
126) Avery Bradley – Ryan Knaus
127) Nene Hilario – Seth Klein
128) Eric Gordon – Mark Kaplan
129) J.R. Smith – Nick Raducanu
130) Terrence Jones – Michael Gallagher
131) Shabazz Muhammad – Sam Macey
132) Langston Galloway – Scott Malewig
Moczy decided it was time to grab and stash RoLo here and I think that’s a good spot for him since he’s due back around early February. If Lopez can come through with top-80 value or better from the All-Star break to season’s end, it’s a real nice pick. Eric Gordon has been productive since he’s returned from injury for the Pelicans, but you’re always wondering when his next injury will occur and that’s why he was still on the board at pick 128. JR Smith seems to have a nice role in the Cavs offense and if he can maintain a steady shooting percentage he could definitely outproduce this draft spot.
Gallagher took on Terrence Jones here who is soon to return from a long absence. His role upon returning is questionable with Josh Smith now in town and Motiejunas playing so well, but Jones was playing at a top-30 level pre-injury so there’s surely reason to like the pick this late. Langston Galloway who a couple of weeks ago nobody even knew exsisted, ended the draft for us and has been playing real well lately even with his shots reduced a bit since the return of Carmelo. I like the no risk pick by Malewig here.
My pick: I’m a believer in the growth of Marcus Smart‘s game over the remainder of the season. The Celtics have no reason not to allow him to gain experience the rest of the way and his ability to knock down threes and rack up steals while improving as a passer was too tempting this late.
You can view the full mock results here and I’d like you to look it over and in the comments below let us know what analyst’s drafts you liked the most as well as picks you thought were great values or too big of reaches. If you have questions, feel free to ask those in the comments also.
A big thanks out to all of the draft participants for doing the mock allowing us to analyze how players are being valued the rest of the way and how players values have risen or fallen since the preseason mock. If you want to look back at the preseason mock to compare, you can hop in the time machine and check it out right here. As you’ll see, all of the analysts who did both the pre and mid-season mocks were slotted in the same draft positions.
For more fantasy hoops analysis and to have any questions you may have answered, follow Zack on Twitter @BigZack44