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Fantasy Basketball: 12 team ADP imaginary draft

Seeing what an automated draft would look like.

USA TODAY Sports

Last season, we did a useful exercise for our pre-draft preparations: a 12 team ADP mock draft. I’ve done the same again this year. Below are twelve teams with players drafted according to their Average Draft Position as of 10/8/18. This lets us see what a fully automated, non-personal-bias league looks like (well, the bias is spread out and leavened by all the multitude of people doing the drafting). You can compare this “objective” draft against your league, or against your draft board, and see where the values differ. Do you think that some players/positions/stats are over- or undervalued? Do you notice any trends that you can use to strengthen your own team? Are people obsessed with assists while neglecting rebounds? Are people chasing steals while ignoring free throws?

The purpose of this is to help you get a sense for how the world, and probably your fellow drafters, are feeling about the NBA. Average Draft Position isn’t perfect, of course, but it gives you an idea of “what’s happened,” much like ERA does in baseball. ADP isn’t necessarily predictive, but it helps.

I’m using the ESPN ADP (which changes with updates from constant drafts), and so some of these values may change somewhat, but this is the ADP as of October 8, 2018. I’m also using base-line rosters: Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward, Center, and 3 Utility spots. I haven’t drafted for need and I’ve kept to the ADP unless it breaks the roster requirements (only ended up having to reach on 5 players due to this). Remember: most fantasy teams after a draft are not what they’ll look like one month into the season. People make trades, people fill out their rosters via waivers, etc. Having assets is what you want when you draft. If you have too many power forwards, try to combo them into a point guard. If you’re guard heavy, try to pick up a big man on the wire for cheap.

The draft is snake since that’s what most folks do in one year leagues.

Here are the results for each team, in their draft order, with the player’s ADP (I’ll list the entire draft at the bottom, if you’d care to look at it that way). Again, this is just an exercise, and a reminder to not panic, even if you think your draft went poorly. Even an autodraft will net you good players; filling in your bench is where you’ll prove your GM bona fides.

Team 1: Youth & Love

PG - De’Aaron Fox (#73)

SG - Luka Doncic (#48)

SF - Paul George (#24)

PF - Giannis Antetokounmpo (#1 overall)

C - Kevin Love (#25)

UTIL 1 - Brandon Ingram (#49)

UTIL 2 - Jaylen Brown (#72)

UTIL 3 - Reggie Jackson (#96)

Team 2: Incredible Passing but Possibly Boring to Watch?

PG - Chris Paul (#23)

SG - Tim Hardaway, Jr. (#95)

SF - TJ Warren (#74)

PF - Anthony Davis (#2)

C - Myles Turner (#71)

UTIL 1 - Kemba Walker (#26)

UTIL 2 - John Collins (#47)

UTIL 3 - Ricky Rubio (#50)

Team 3: Mayonnaise and Incessant Dribbling

PG - Jrue Holiday (#27)

SG - James Harden (#3)

SF - Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (#94)

PF - LaMarcus Aldridge (#22)

C - Nikola Vucevic (#70)

UTIL 1 - Lonzo Ball (#46)

UTIL 2 - Tobias Harris (#51)

UTIL 3 - Steven Adams (#75)

Team 4: Who Needs a Center When You Have Bron and Dray?

PG - Goran Dragic (#45)

SG - Donovan Mitchell (#21)

SF - LeBron James (#4)

PF - Draymond Green (#28)

C - Jordan Bell (#93)

UTIL 1 - Mike Conley (#52)

UTIL 2 - Will Barton (#69)

UTIL 3 - D’Angelo Russell (#76)

Team 5: I Swear To God, This Is How the ADP Drafted (I’m Not Trolling Timberwolves Fans!)

PG - Elfrid Payton (#77)

SG - Jimmy Butler (#20)

SF - Andrew Wiggins (#53)

PF - Derrick Favors (#92)

C - Karl-Anthony Towns (#5)

UTIL 1 - Bradley Beal (#29)

UTIL 2 - Dwight Howard (#44)

UTIL 3 - Zach LaVine (#68)

Team 6: There Will Be Scoring

PG - Kyrie Irving (#19)

SG - Devin Booker (#20)

SF - Kevin Durant (#6)

PF - Julius Randle (#43)

C - Jarrett Allen (#91)

UTIL 1 - Kyle Kuzma (#54)

UTIL 2 - Aaron Gordon (#67)

UTIL 3 - Marvin Bagley III (#78)

Team 7: Ferocious and Unrelenting

PG - Russell Westbrook (#7)

SG - Victor Oladipo (#18)

SF - Kevin Knox (#90)

PF - Dario Saric (#79)

C - Rudy Gobert (#42)

UTIL 1 - CJ McCollum (#31)

UTIL 2 - Al Horford (#55)

UTIL 3 - Trae Young (#66)

Team 8: (Too Many) Big Expectations

PG - Steph Curry (#8)

SG - Lou Williams (#41)

SF - Jayson Tatum (#32)

PF - Wendell Carter, Jr. (#89)

C - Enes Kanter (#56)

UTIL 1 - John Wall (#17)

UTIL 2 - Jonas Valanciunas (#65)

UTIL 3 - Willie Cauley-Stein (#80)

Team 9: Only Offense Matters

PG - Dame Lillard (#9)

SG - DeMar DeRozan (#16)

SF - Khris Middleton (#33)

PF - Paul Millsap (#64)

C - Jusuf Nurkic (#88)

UTIL 1 - Klay Thompson (#40)

UTIL 2 - Dennis Smith, Jr. (#57)

UTIL 3 - Jabari Parker (#81)

Team 10: Kyle and His Bigs

PG - Kyle Lowry (#15)

SG - Gary Harris (#87)

SF - Otto Porter, Jr. (#63)

PF - Laura Markkanen (#58)

C - Nikola Jokic (#10)

UTIL 1 - Deandre Jordan (#34)

UTIL 2 - Deandre Ayton (#39)

UTIL 3 - Jeff Teague (#82)

Team 11: Damn, That’s a Lot of Centers (and, Blocks)

PG - Trey Burke (#86)

SG - Jordan Clarkson (#83)

SF - Kawhi Leonard (#11)

PF - Harrison Barnes (#62)

C - Andre Drummond (#14)

UTIL 1 - Clint Capela (#35)

UTIL 2 - Marc Gasol (#38)

UTIL 3 - Hassan Whiteside (#59)

Team 12: The Turn Is The Process

PG - Ben Simmons (#12)

SG - Nic Batum (#85)

SF - Gordon Hayward (#36)

PF - Blake Griffin (#37)

C - Joel Embiid (#13)

UTIL 1 - Eric Bledsoe (#60)

UTIL 2 - Jamal Murray (#61)

UTIL 3 - Carmelo Anthony (#84)

Here are the positional breakdowns of the first 8 rounds: 24 point guards, 17 shooting guards (thin as ever), 15 small forwards, 20 power forwards, and 24 centers.

A few observations can be made. First, god damn, people are drafting Centers early! Jordan Bell is being drafted before Joe Ingles? Before Josh Richardson? Before Taurean Prince, Bob Covington, and, gasp!, Markelle Fultz?!?! I must be missing something with Jordan Bell because as far as I know, he’s just a 6’9” dude who won’t be shooting for the Warriors because, you know, they have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. Oh, and later this season, they’ll have Boogie Cousins. But, yeah, sure draft an undersized center who will probably take between 4 to 6 shots a night (that’s the Warriors average over the last three seasons for their Centers; thanks, NBA.com!). Cool. That’s definitely better than a top 50 player.

Second, we should move away from these antiquated positions. Small Forward and Power Forward just doesn’t work, anymore; perhaps, we could just call them Forwards? Or, Wings? Regardless, there are a ton of players these days with PF/C or C/PF after their names, and a ton more with SF/PF or PF/SF. For what it’s worth, my league’s positions are PG, G, F, F, C, UTIL x3. Makes things easier, and I highly recommend it for folks creating new leagues this year.

Third, people are still focused on point guards and centers, even though it’s getting easier to find assists, and rebounds, and blocks in positions other than PG and C. You might want to do a mock wherein you DO NOT take a Point Guard or a Center, and see what you end up with. Cody Zeller and Willy Hernangomez, probably the 1A and 1B Centers for the Charlotte Hornets (Biyombo is not a real player), are both getting drafted after the 200th pick. One of those guys will be the starting 5 for the Hornets, and the drafting public thinks JORDAN FREAKING BELL is a better option at Center than either of them. I call false. Jordan Bell doesn’t suck, but he will be completely insignificant in fantasy (again, four Hall of Famers play in front of him); at least Zeller or Willy will be allowed to shoot (Charlotte needs to distribute Dwight Howard’s 11 field goal attempts per game to someone, after all).

Meanwhile, ALL of the Spurs guards, including Derrick White and Patty Mills, are now possible starters because of Dejounte Murray’s (probably season-ending) injury. It’s a shame because Murray is great, and this was going to be a big year for him. But, it’s also awesome, because now we get to watch Popovich do something incredible (again), and he’ll most likely lead this team to a top 5 seed in the West because that’s just what Pop does. DeChozan MVP!

Wayne Ellington is going after the top 250. He’s in a, possibly, crowded backcourt in Miami with Dwyane Wade, Dion Waiters, and Goran Dragic. But, he was a top 150 player in my league last year: he averaged 39% on 7.5 3-point attempts per game. Only 14 guys averaged 7+ 3PA last year, and Ellington had the 5th best percentage of those guys, trailing Klay, Steph, Paul George, and Kyle Lowry, all of whom are top 50 fantasy players. Ellington’s elite from downtown. He also played the 2nd fewest minutes out of that group, 26.5 MPG. Imagine if he was given 30 minutes per game to work with?

I think the 4th round is where people are making their money (that is, value). The fourth round went like this: Ingram (overall pick #49), Rubio, Tobias Harris, Mike Conley, Andrew Wiggins, Kyle Kuzma, Al Horford, Enes Kanter, Dennis Smith, Jr., Lauri Markkanen, Hassan Whiteside, and Eric Bledsoe. That’s a whole sequence of players who could end the year providing you excess value than where you drafted them. Hell, each of those guys could end the year in the top 25, even Bledsoe (though, probably not; he’s still too ballhoggy without enough Westbrook in him; Bledsoe took the THIRD most dribbles last year; MOVE THE BALL!).

One last note: only 5 times through this draft did I need to reach for a player due to roster restriction. Team 2’s last pick had to be a Small Forward (ended up being TJ Warren); Team 4’s a Center (the infamous Jordan Bell); Team 6’s a Center (Jarrett Allen); Team 11’s a Shooting Guard (Jordan Clarkson); and, Team 12’s a Shooting Guard (Nic Batum).

Good luck in your drafts!