This article is part of our NBA Mock Draft series.
The NBA season starts on Tuesday, so time is running out to get in on some fantasy basketball drafts. I participated one of NFBKC's RotoWire Online Championship Drafts on Saturday night. Below are my results, strategies and tips.
Fantasy Basketball Draft Kit: Check out our Fantasy Basketball Rankings, plus our Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet. Want late-round value? Read my Fantasy Basketball Deep Sleepers article, or Henry Weinberg's NBA Fantasy Sleepers piece for players to add to your watchlist early in the year. In a salary cap league? Look into our Fantasy Basketball Auction Values.
It can't be emphasized enough -- know your league rules. I have only good things to say about NFBKC, but my strategy varies given the league format. You have to start two centers. There are no G/F eligible players -- only F/C, and those are few and far between. As a result, top options labeled F/C have way more true value than their projections may imply. Those players get the priority in my queue unless I think there's fantastic value elsewhere.
Skip to the bottom of the page for full draft results. Just up ahead are my thoughts on each of my picks:
Round 1 (pick 6): Luka Doncic (G), Mavericks
I think Jayson Tatum, James Harden, Trae Young and Steph Curry -- the players who went immediately after my selection -- all would have been fine here as well. But Doncic's league-leading usage rate is the safest. He has the highest upside if he fixes his free-throw percentage.
Round 2 (19): Kyrie Irving (G), Nets
I have far too much Irving this season, but I was shooting for upside. He was arguably the only player left with proven first-round upside. That said, I have a bit of buyer's remorse here and should have taken LaMelo Ball (22) despite the fact he may miss the first couple weeks of the season.
Round 3 (31): Paul George (F), Clippers
I considered plenty of guards here -- Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Bradley Beal -- but wanted to establish some roster balance by adding a forward. George hasn't been exceptionally healthy lately, but he can return first-round value when available.
Round 4 (42): Myles Turner (C/F), Pacers
I did not consider another player at this spot. I needed to get a center before things started getting thin, and Turner (for some reason) qualifies at forward as well. That makes him more valuable than usual. His upside is as high as ever on a rebuilding Pacers squad. Even if he gets traded, he should still see enough action to make this a value pick.
Round 5 (55): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (G), Thunder
My draft was on Saturday, and the news that SGA will play in the opener came out Sunday. It doesn't get much luckier than that. The "injury" concerns down the stretch with OKC tanking are fair, but SGA can produce second-round value per game. No one else left on the board had that kind of proven upside.
Round 6 (66): Wendell Carter (C), Magic
This is a reach, but I glanced at the remaining centers and realized he was one of my last hopes at a high-floor starter. The next centers off the board: Jusuf Nurkic, Mitchell Robinson, Clint Capela, Al Horford, Mo Bamba.
Round 7 (79): Klay Thompson (G), Warriors
Klay will probably get some rest days, but I think he'll return to near-prime form this season. He's consistently shown top-40 upside in the past, and even if he doesn't get quite back there, getting him in Round 7, where drafts usually start to fall off, is satisfying.
Round 8 (90): Draymond Green (F), Warriors
I realized here I was thin on forwards. Paul George is my only dedicated forward, though Myles Turner can play there if I need him. Still, I needed to pick forwards with my next three picks, no matter what. I put myself in a pinch, but I was happy to get Draymond at pick 90. I'm not worried about The Punch, and I'm confident he'll still return top-100 value despite his rapid aging. He also provides a hard commodity to find at this point in the draft -- assists.
Round 9 (102): Cameron Johnson (F), Suns
I'm not in love with this value, but I believe Johnson has top-75 upside as a starter with Jae Crowder out of the picture. Johnson ranked just outside the top 100 last year, so increased minutes and usage, in addition to development, is promising. And, of course, I needed a forward.
Round 10 (114): Kelly Oubre (F), Hornets
Should Kelly Oubre be starting for your fantasy team? Probably not. But, again, I needed a forward. I will admit that I think Oubre is very much a sleeper this season. He loves to jack up shots and will be more than happy to try to be the Miles Bridges replacement. Like Cam Johnson, I think Oubre has top-75 upside, and he's actually done it before. We also can't trust Gordon Hayward to stay healthy.
Round 11 (127): Malcolm Brogdon (G), Celtics
Free of the need to draft forwards, I sought pure value and decided on Brogdon. He's an injury risk and will be the sixth man for Boston this year, but he's surprisingly never ranked worse than 110th per game, even during his rookie year in Milwaukee, averaging 26.4 minutes. I don't think he'll stay healthy, but Boston is already thinned out with Robert Williams shelved for months, and missed time to any significant player should result in more minutes and touches for Brogdon. At 127, why not?
Round 12 (138): Kelly Olynyk (C/F), Jazz
No question, I jumped the line for Olynyk, but he was one of the few players left with upside that qualified at C/F, which is especially valuable in this league. He's going to start at center for Utah. Why? I have no idea. But he's an outstanding per-minute fantasy option. For example, in 2017-18, he ranked 95th in just 23.4 MPG. If he trends closer to 28 MPG, he could be in the top 75. And he should have some free reign on this rebuilding team.
Round 13 (151): Andre Drummond (C), Bulls
Again, no one will tell you this is fantastic value. But I needed another center-eligible player. Drummond is behind Nikola Vucevic but is so potent as a rebounder that he can be worth starting on four-game weeks. And if Vooch is ever sidelined for a stretch, Drummond will provide excellent value.
Round 14 (162): Jonathan Kuminga (F), Warriors
I created a bit of a Warriors handcuff between Klay, Draymond and Kuminga, but I think it makes sense. Injuries to either of the starters should result in more action for Kuminga, who was electric in preseason. I'm buying him as an impact player this year as the Warriors look to their youth for depth.
Round 15 (175): Malik Beasley (G), Jazz
Beasley loves launching shots and is going to start for the rebuilding Jazz. Sign me up. Two years ago, he ranked 91st in 32.8 minutes per game with the Wolves. It's hard to believe people are letting him slip this far.
Round 16 (186): Markelle Fultz (G), Magic
I expect Fultz to be out until mid-November with his broken big toe, but I'm fine with dropping him before then if I'm in a pinch. But he looked great at the end of last year. Orlando has a bit of a logjam at guard, but I still think Fultz has top-100 upside. He's also a capable passer -- few of which are left at pick 186.
Full Draft Results
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