The basketball season is nearly upon us. And to celebrate the occasion, we at FakeTeams have organized the first ever "FakeTeams Hoops Tournament of Mild Importance" -- a 14-team fantasy basketball league made up entirely of industry experts and quality writers. This Sunday, the three fantasy basketball writers at FakeTeams (Mike Gallagher, Tom Mahoney, and ZombieMonta -- AKA David Pincus) will go head-to-head in a snake draft against 11 other roundball know-it-alls. The winner will receive an infinite supply of bragging rights, along with the satisfaction that comes with being one of the greatest human beings in existence. The 13 losers will spend the rest of their lives wandering aimlessly in a state of shock, realizing one day that they're nothing but a crumbled heap of tears and broken dreams, forcing them to wonder what had gone so wrong. In other words, FUN!
If you follow fantasy basketball at all, a lot of these competitors should be familiar names to you. And let me tell you, it wasn't easy convincing 13 busy people to donate a few hours out of a holiday-shopping weekend to take part in a fantasy draft. David Stern's done a lot of terrible things lately, and forcing the fantasy community to do its drafting during the busiest, most hectic part of the year is certainly among the worst.
Here are the people who have joined the league so far, as can be seen through this link to the league homepage:
David Pincus (Inhistoric, FakeTeams)
Tom Lorenzo (RotoExperts, Fanhouse, Straight Outta Vancouver, Damn Lies and Stats, TalentedMrRoto)
Mike Gallagher (SB Nation New York, FakeTeams, fantasybasketball.com)
Tom Mahoney (FakeTeams)
Adam Madison (ESPN, TalentedMrRoto)
Neil Tardy (ESPN, TalentedMrRoto, SI, NBA.com)
Adam Shafer (Razzball)
Nels, Patrick and Erik from Give Me The Rock. (Pretty sure they've written for SI too.)
Michael Harmon (FOX Sports, Fantasy Freaks Online)
Jason Hahn (Fantasy Doctor, Dime Magazine, fbasketballblog.com)
Dennis Velasco (The Basketball Jones, TrueHoop, ESPN, SI, Blog Dudes) [co-run by Ken Gayton, Blog Dudes]
Aaron Bruski (NBC Sports, Rotoworld, ProBasketballTalk)
Jeff Andriesse (Damn Lies and Stats, RotoExperts)
Details after the jump...
Now, I'm sure those of you who are observant noticed that there are only 13 names listed. And you'd be right. Fantasy owner No. 14 was initially on board, however, it's unclear whether he or she will continue with his/her commitments due to an increased workload. Currently, negotiations are being held to sort out the problem, and like the Michael Crabtree holdout, it involves boatloads of money and MC Hammer. But rest assured: the last person to be announced as a member of the FakeTeams Hoops Tournament, or FTHT as I'll call it from now on, will be someone of considerable esteem in the fantasy world. It won't just be some dude I know.
For now, let's focus on the 12 people who are in the league besides myself. These people have written for pretty much everyone. I defy anyone to name a big-time sports site that hasn't been occupied at some point in time by one of these 12 writers. They are all masters at their craft. Any one of them could win this thing, and any one of them could finish dead last.
The rules of the league are as follows: nine categories head-to-head (turnovers were added at the last second), 7 playoff teams (6 seemed too few and 8 seemed too much) with the No. 1 seed getting a bye in the first round, while trades are handled by the league manager (since the team-veto-system is typically an unmitigated disaster). The draft will have a standard snake format with a randomized order one hour before it begins, putting every owner in the equally challenging situation of not knowing where and when they're going to pick.
It's poised to be a ragingly-difficult league, and it's something I plan to blog about extensively. The concept of the All-Star fantasy league isn't exactly new, and usually what happens is after the draft takes place, there's a big Q-and-A session about how the teams did, and maybe a follow-up article midway through the season, but that's pretty much it. We never get to see how the league transpired on a week-to-week basis, and that's why I've decided -- in addition to the wrap-up and Q-and-A articles -- that every Monday, I'm going to write a post about what happened in the FTHT over the course of the last week.
It'll help put a face to a name when interesting things happen in the fantasy world. Normally, when we read news that something terrible has happened, like that Greg Jennings has suffered a season-ending injury, we just sort of assume that it's something everyone is affected by, even though we never really appreciate it if we don't happen to own him ourselves. But here, when tracking it on a weekly basis, we'll be able to say, "Oh, so-and-so went down. Boy, that's got to suck for Neil Tardy," or, "Paul Millsap dropped 46? Man, Dennis Velasco is lucky."
Some might consider reading about someone else's fantasy league a tad uninteresting, but I would note that the basis of the entire sports industry is that people like to read about something that someone else is physically doing, not to mention that the people involved in the FTHT are smart, interesting people who are experts and are worthy of attention. Besides, there a hundreds of more self-involved subjects that get posted on the internet that people apparently have no trouble reading. Like sports pub articles -- I find articles about the art of drinking beer to be about as interesting as staring at a shower nozzle for 12 hours, and yet there seem to be plenty of blogs out there dedicated to getting hammered at a sports bar. Trust me, these articles will be way more entertaining than that, even if you don't like basketball. By the time the season is over, you'll be on pins and needles waiting to find out who the FTHT champion is, but for now, we still have to conduct the draft.
Stay tuned for updates as they come in, and feel free to take bets on who you think is going to win the whole thing. (Not literal bets, but you know what I mean.)