Welcome to “Under the Dome,” Big Head Trom’s opportunity to be blunt and direct with all of us about his feelings. It’s just good for the guy to have an online outlet since he’s so reluctant to share his true feelings in person. One day he’ll break out of his shell, until then, he can hide behind the digital wall that is the internet. Tom will be blogging primarily about basketball, however, he may add some additional topics here and there as he gets rolling.
One potential stumbling block, I have never had to edit submitted posts more than I had to for Trombone. Believe it or not, everything Trombone says is offensive. Additionally, despite years of efforts to remove all of our names and likenesses from the blog, Trombone just wrote them right into his posts. Didn’t even fucking think about it. He later confessed to me that he simply hates the nickname “Frenchy.” Go figure. Without further adieu, the edited version of the first set of Trombone’s draft grades:
Frenchy: I’m not sure what prevented Frenchy from making the draft – his newborn child, his other child, Mrs. Frenchy making him do stuff, or the fact that he’s probably hanging from a rope in his basement, but either way, I can’t imagine even Human French would have done much worse than Auto French. First, the obvious – he had $70 left over. Leave it to a guy with a [antisemitic remark about a feature of Frenchy’s anatomy] to try to finagle the budget to his advantage, too bad the money doesn’t roll over to next year’s auction. Much like the Egyptian pharaohs found out in their pyramid tombs, you can’t bring it with you. Secondly, Frenchy’s keepers were AWFUL. JR smith for $2 is still JR smith, and I’m saying this as a huge Knicks fan. The guy has terrible FG%, doesn’t pass well, and goes into terrible hot/cold streaks. Luol Deng is decent at $11. In reality though, his team from 2012 was quite disgusting, and his only alternative would have been to keep one of Kyrie Irving/Blake Griffin/Paul Millsap for a high price. Then again, he had $70 left over b/c he didn’t do anything with his pre-draft rankings, so this might have been the better move in hindsight. On to the analysis:
Guards/SF – Wade ($40), Wes Matthews ($10), Iggy ($10), Marcus Thornton ($4), Crawford ($4), Stuckey ($1), JR Smith (keeper, $2), Deng (keeper, $11). Honestly this isn’t a bad group. It’s unfortunate though b/c (editor’s note: was it really that hard to simply write out “because.” You wrote this entire thing for a blog read primarily by your buddies, and you drew the line at fully writing “because?”) outside of Wade, the rest are OKAY but not on the superstar level. Iggy is a stat filler that will be rotating minutes with Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson at the 2/3, and might be Frenchy’s best keeper option for next year based on his price point. Thornton can score but SAC has an EXTREMELY crowded back court with Isaiah Thomas, Vasquez, Jimmer, #7 pick Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum Jr, and the corpse of John Salmons.
Bigs – Bynum ($7), Hilario ($4), KG ($9), Pekovic ($14), Chandler ($10), Amare ($3), Len ($1). Again – not terrible. Auto French rolled the dice on Bynum (who A1 got for $50 last year, amazing) and Hilario, these are basically two big black versions of Softness who IF (but only IF) healthy can be huge contributors. KG is KG, old, terrible, and sweaty but he grabs some boards and can score a little bit. The real find here is Pekovic. With K Love back healthy and Rubio running pick and rolls all day, I can see Pekovic being a double double machine and the 2nd keeper for Frenchy. Chandler provides solid numbers on defense, and Len is intriguing (although historically, and currently, injury prone) and can take over Mason Plumlee’s starting job when healthy now that Gortat is traded (or Miles Plumlee, I forget who is who and quite honestly hate all Duke players including them).
Overall grade for Auto French: C+. Overall grade for Human French: F-
Snowman: Another auto draft cretin (editor’s note: Leave it to Trombone to take the time to extensively review the drafts of the two guys who didn’t show up and submit them first, way to think it through big head). What’s your guys’ problem with attending a draft on a computer in the comfort of your home (or Mexico City?). Just put the kids in a closet or the washing machine or whatever it is you do with them when the wife doesn’t have them. Or keep them standing next to you while you rest a beer on their head and explain to them while the Johnny Depp version of Willie Wonka is SO MUCH WORSE than Gene Wilder. As an aside, Snowman mentioned how he never took part in an auction draft keeper league and needed help on who to keep. I should have kept my mouth shut and let him keep Melo and Dirk for half his FAT STACK but I had a moment of weakness/food poisoning and told him to keep Nicolai Vucevic.
Interestingly enough, Auto Snowman had ZERO dollars left over at the end. If he pre-set his ranks with accompanying salary limits per player, kudos to him.
Guards/SF – Durant ($79), Lin ($9), Foye ($2) Lou Williams ($1), Chalmers ($1), Ariza ($1)
Bigs – Love ($58), Splitter ($2), Okafor ($1), Dalembert ($1), Humphries ($1), Prince ($1), Brand ($1), Vucevic (keeper, $1), Melo (keeper, $41)
I lumped these together b/c I wanted to discuss the obvious dichotomy here. With Melo, KD and Love, Snowman has 3 of the top 10 players in the league. It is quite incredible and also extremely risky (I did a similar thing in a football auction league with Megatron, Ray Rice and Doug Martin with obvious mixed results). While KD and Melo have proven durable, Love has been anything but. Vucevic is a top 30 fantasy player, and I like Lin (former Knick bias here) even though he’s splitting time with Patrick Beverly at the point. Outside of those 5 players, the rest of his team is horrendous. Really, really bad. These guys are older than the Captain and grayer than Silverfox. Humphries has some SLIGHT upside on a brutally terrible C’s team just due to a lack of competition outside Olynyk/Injury Prone Sullinger and his ability to grab boards. The rest of the team is not worth discussing as no self respecting fantasy owner would own any of these guys, either for a fantasy team or real life slave-style. I also fully expect Foye to lose his starting job to Evan Fournier w/in the first month of the season. This high risk high reward style will likely lead to a playoff appearance IF Snowman checks his team and makes appropriate roster adjustments/trades throughout the season.
Overall grade for Auto Snowman/Regular Snowman (credit for presumably adjusting his predraft auto bid limits): B
This next set of draft analysis pairs JPOWW and myself, since we made a fairly significant preseason trade subsequent to the draft.
JPOWW: Powers went against his normal liberal proclivities and took the fiscally responsible route with his keepers (Jeff Green and Jonas Valanciunas for $1 each), giving him the most possible money to work with in the draft. However, in hindsight, he could have kept Paul George for $35 (who went for $50 this year), as well as Anthony Davis for $32 (who he RE-SELECTED for $52). This was the opposite of efficient, and really example #1 of a self-munging. In addition JPOWW had some other quality players he could have kept (Kirilenko for $2, Drummond for $5, Tobias Harris for $1), Wes Matthews for $18), but Green and Valanciunas are quality players who are worth around 10 x as much as he kept them for. So it’s hard to make a wrong decision here – except for not keeping Anthony Davis.
Now to the draft results and grades:
Guards/SF: Conley ($30), Hayward ($15), Holiday ($22), Harris ($13), Burke ($6), Barnes ($3).
I like this group a lot. Holiday is a quality PG who can score off the dribble and create his own shot, and he has enough talent on his team (Gordon, Evans, Anderson, Davis) to facilitate to and get some assists. Gordon is an above average (potentially top 5) two guard when healthy, which is no guarantee given that he’s been hurt almost nonstop since coming out of Indiana. Hayward is asked to lead his lottery bound Utah team this year, and early results have shown he’s a versatile wing who gives you across the board stats with the exception of blocks – he shoots well, hits 3s, gets some boards and assists, and scores. Trey Burke is hurt but will have all the opportunity in the world to take over the starting PG slot when he gets back considering the current PGs are older than dirt Jamal Tinsley and JOHN LUCAS III. Harrison Barnes will be the 6th man on one of the highest scoring teams in the league.
Bigs – Anthony Davis ($52), Boogie Cousins ($25), Hawes ($9), G Wallace ($4), Bennett ($4), Tristan Thompson ($3), Jeff Green (keeper – $1), Valanciunas (keeper – $1).
The big one here is A Davis. Early returns have shown he is a fantasy stud, and I am regretting every second of not keeping him in my other league and instead keeping ball hog Carmelo Anthony. He scores enough, rebounds, blocks, steals, has a high FG% and quality FT% for a center. He can easily finish in the top 5 this year. Spencer Hawes has been a nice find during the 76ers 3-0 start. Brett Brown is playing him major minutes (partly due to a lack of quality bigs) and he is responding with double-double level production. Wallace is washed up, Bennett is worth taking a flyer on, and Thompson is interesting b/c he can rebound with the best of them but is not much of a scoring threat, which warrants mentioning that he CHANGED HIS SHOOTING HAND OVER THE SUMMER. That is amazing. You play basketball for 22 years and then realize your other hand gives you a better chance of making buckets. Unreal. Valanciunas has a chance to be Pekovic 2.0 – he’s a big guy who can block shots, grab boards, and has a nice touch around the basket. Jeff Green, assuming his heart doesn’t explode, can be a stat filler on a really awful Celtics team. Cousins is Z-Bo pre current Z-Bo – he needs to harness his talent and if/when that happens he is without a doubt a top 5 center. But I’m not sure that happens when he looks in the locker room and sees that he’s hanging with Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons.
Trombone: Similar to powers (WASP minds think alike), I kept Parsons and Larry Sanders for $1 each. There were a couple of tough calls here – I could have kept Z-Bo for $13, Faried foror $8, D. Lee for $28, or Duncan for $12, but I was comfortable giving myself the most money possible to bid on guys.
Guards/SF – Bryant ($30), Irving ($62), Westbrook ($35), Redick ($4), Knight ($10), Collison ($1), Miller ($1), Jack ($1)
Bigs – Dirk ($36), Gortat ($10), Robin Lopez ($5), McRoberts ($1), Aminu ($2), Sanders (keeper – $1), Parsons (keeper – $1)
This wasn’t my greatest draft. Being in Mexico, drinking 8 beers after work, racing home to the draft, getting stuck in traffic with a Mexican cab driver who didn’t speak English, having to take a MASSIVE dump, racing to my room, turning on my computer and logging in while on the crapper – it was a juggling act which I barely made and didn’t take the time to pre-select and review players. Luckily I used my vast and superior knowledge of all things NBA and got some diamonds in the rough. Jack is Cleveland’s 6th man, is producing and well worth the $1 investment. I got caught trying to bid up Kobe, but I think he will come back and at the very least take 40 shots a game while the Lakers miss the playoffs. He’s also in the last year of his deal so he wants to prove he’s worth one more 2 yr max extension. Dirk is Dirk, I think I overpaid a little bit as he’s getting up there in age but when healthy he’s a top 10 fantasy player. Westbrook is solid, also coming back from injury and I got him for about ½ the price as last year. If I can weather the storm while Westbrook and Kobe are out, I will be in good shape. Don’t sleep on McBob – he’s irish and is a versatile big who is starting over Cody Zeller (for now). Most of my $1 players are not worth mentioning. I think Gortat is a quality big on a better team now after being traded to Washington.
Final Draft Grade: B+ (editor’s note: Pat myself on the back? Don’t mind if I do)
The postscript to all of this was the trade between JPOWW and I where I sent Irving/Knight/Lopez out to JPOWW for Davis/Hayward/Barnes in return. I basically punted the assists category since I currently have zero starting PGs, but my guards get a few and hopefully Kobe and Westbrook can add to that. I did it for Davis, and the stats he can produce, to fill up the other categories. I also think Hayward is going to be a stud this year. So far I’m WORKING powers in this deal, and if it pays dividends I will guarantee another #1 seed and choke job in the finals vs C-Lion/NTMVW. Ughhhhhhhhhhh. I hate (but really love) fantasy sports.
Editor’s Note: Not a bad first effort Trombone. Stop using the same phrases such as “Dirk is Dirk” or “KG is KG” since self defining terms are mentally retarded. Also, keep the codename convention in mind for your next set reviews so I don’t have to spend so much time cleaning up your mess. Oh yeah, often times when people write these types of reviews they use FULL NAMES for the guys they’re talking about and not just “Jack.” In fact, that you even spent a sentence talking about your $1 acquisition of Jarret Jack is ludicrous. Clean it up Trombone, that is, if you ever take the time to submit the rest of your draft grades.