Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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Stew: 30-Deep Draft Recap

Friday, October 6, 2017

“We’ve been coming to the same party for 12 years now, and in no way is that depressing.”
-Ron Burgundy to Brian Fantana in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Yes that’s right, we have arrived once again at the multi-day extravaganza that is the 30-Deep draft, a fire drill of a fantasy league in which 30 fantasy hoops experts fight it out for some serious bragging rights (and this year, a brand-new championship belt). Rotoworld’s own Mike Gallagher has won this league two years in a row, and quite simply must be stopped.

As I’ve chronicled in this recap in the past, I’ve had a somewhat silly run of luck getting high draft picks. To review:

2013-14 - #3 pick - Stephen Curry (won championship)

2014-15 - #5 pick - Chris Paul (lost in finals)

2015-16 - #1 pick - Anthony Davis (lost in semis)

2016-17 - #3 pick - Stephen Curry (lost, I think, in first round of playoffs, but I’m too upset to verify)

As you can see, I’ve been gradually trending in the wrong direction in the standings, but my blind luck continues unabated. This year, out of 30 teams, I randomly pulled #4.

Now to the first 100 picks — posted 10 at a time — pausing after each group of 10 for some analysis (with picks No. 100-200 to come in Part II of this recap). Also, for more 30-Deep-related reading, be sure to check out Ryan Knaus’ recap of the draft as well. Off we go…

The 2017 30-Deep Draft and Cheese Tasting Event

1. Karl-Anthony Towns - Dr. A
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
3. Stephen Curry
4. Kevin Durant - me
5. James Harden
6. Russell Westbrook - Gallagher
7. Anthony Davis
8. Nikola Jokic
9. John Wall - Knaus
10. LeBron James - Daniel E. Dobish

Comments: Hard to argue with this top four, though I would probably take Giannis over KAT and Durant over Curry. But let’s be frank — that’s my personal preference, and if you’re in the top four you have very little to be concerned about. … This is a 9-category head-to-head league, and Harden and Westbrook both scare me a little bit for those purposes — largely because of their potential to do significant damage in FG percentage and turnovers. The good news is that Harden’s 5.7 TOs per game will be hard to duplicate with Chris Paul in Houston, and Westbrook shouldn't repeat 5.4 TOs playing a perhaps slightly less reckless style alongside Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Ultimately, I can’t argue with drafting either one in the middle of the first round. … I said on the Rotoworld podcast recently that I wouldn’t want Jokic to be the best player on my team, because while his stats are likely to be stellar across the board, he may not be a weekly difference-maker in any one category. I go back and forth on whether that argument is completely silly, so don’t let me sway you if you’re dead set on taking Jokic. … I’m not sure who at Rotoworld bribed the braintrust of this league to get four of us drafting in the top 10, but well done. … Ultimately, there is one thing that truly stands out to me about these first 10 picks, and I’ll get to that in just a second…

11. DeMarcus Cousins
12. Damian Lillard
13. Chris Paul - Nick Raducanu
14. Kawhi Leonard
15. Rudy Gobert
16. Kyrie Irving
17. Myles Turner
18. Kyle Lowry
19. Draymond Green
20. Kristaps Porzingis

Comments: The thing that really stood out to me about the first 10 picks: Kawhi Leonard wasn’t among them. Yes, he’s been dealing with a quad injury during the preseason, but to me, getting this man at 14 — the No. 4 overall player on Basketball Monster’s 9-category leaderboard last year — is borderline absurd. It’s also a reason I really don’t mind drafting toward the end of the first round this year, because you’re looking at the potential of a LeBron (or a Kawhi) paired with a Lillard, Boogie or a CP3. That’s a pretty ferocious start to any team. … It may be inflammatory to some of my colleagues, but I’m not quite sold on Myles Turner at No. 17. To be clear, I get why we’re drafting him here: He’s still just 21, and is coming off a season of difference-making defensive stats (0.9 spg, 2.1 bpg) with an emerging 3-point stroke (0.5) plus 14.5 ppg and 7.3 rpg. And honestly, it’s those last two numbers that concern me. I know you’re not drafting Turner just for points and boards, but 7.3 is not a stout number, and Turner getting to something like 20 and 10 or even 18 and 10 would require a pretty significant leap. The counterpoint is that Turner at something like 17 and 9 with his defensive stats is still really valuable, so just be aware of the potential limitations in points and rebounds if you draft him.

21. Kemba Walker
22. Jimmy Butler
23. Hassan Whiteside - Ethan Norof
24. Paul George
25. Blake Griffin
26. Gordon Hayward
27. Joel Embiid
28. CJ McCollum
29. Mike Conley
30. Marc Gasol

Comments: This group of 10 illustrates why it’s really hard to compete for the title in this league if you’re picking toward the end of the first round. If your best player is Mike Conley and mine is Kevin Durant, chances are you’re not going to beat me. Unless I make some really dumb draft picks, and the good news for you is, there’s plenty of time left for that. … Jimmy Butler is an outright steal at 22 in my opinion. I would happily take him in the top 15. … Paul George is an interesting case. I obviously liked him more before Carmelo went to OKC, but I still think there’s room for him to put up good numbers playing alongside Melo and Westbrook even if he is scoring a bit less.

31. Bradley Beal
32. Klay Thompson
33. Paul Millsap
34. Devin Booker
35. DeMar DeRozan
36. Al Horford
37. Kevin Love
38. Khris Middleton - Norof
39. Nikola Vucevic
40. Andre Drummond

Comments: Paul Millsap was a bit of a disappointment last year in terms of overall rating (No. 45), but he still piled up an impressive heap of numbers — 18.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.9 bpg and 1.1 3s — and as recently as 2015-16 this man was the No. 10-ranked player. … Devin Booker at 34 scares me. I know he’s only about 11 years old and there’s a ton of room for future upside, but there are a couple of notable red flags here: 1) He was not the highest-rated Booker in the league last season (Trevor Booker: 102, Devin: 129). And even if you wipe away his relatively slow first half (19.0 ppg on 40.6 percent shooting), Booker's second half stats — 24.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.7 apg, 0.9 spg and 2.1 3s on 43.7 from the field with 3.5 TOs — land him exactly at No. 100 overall for that stretch. And yes, I know he went bananas for his final eight games (32.9 ppg, including the 70-point barrage), but I’d still be wary of counting on top-40 value from Booker this year. … Nikola Vucevic posted some quietly strong stats last year (14.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.0 spg and 1.0 bpg), and may be ready to add the trey ball to his repertoire: He canned two 3s in 14 minutes on Thursday night.

41. Eric Bledsoe
42. Ben Simmons
43. Otto Porter
44. Dennis Smith Jr.
45. Dennis Schroder
46. Victor Oladipo
47. Brook Lopez
48. Lonzo Ball - Raducanu
49. DeAndre Jordan
50. Andrew Wiggins

Comments: 41-50 is a land of intrigue. You’ve got Simmons, who showcased some pretty obscene passing skills in his preseason debut (six points, seven boards, nine assists in 22 minutes). Then you’ve got Ball, who would not surprise me if he went completely retro and did an impression of Jason Kidd’s rookie year back in ’94-95 (11.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 7.7 apg, 1.9 spg and 0.9 3s — on 38.5 percent from the field). Then you’ve got the dynamic Dennis Smith Jr., who appears in this particular draft applet simply as “Dennis.” And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Wiggins, who made a run toward fantasy prominence during the second half of the season (last 40 games: 25.7 ppg, 1.3 spg and 1.3 3s). However, Wiggins seems to need high volume to succeed, and isn’t exactly the most active player when he doesn’t have the ball. The bad news is, he may be doing even more standing around this year while Butler and Towns take turns bludgeoning people. … I’m as big a Hawks fan as anyone, and as much as I like Schroder, I would expect him to land closer to No. 75 in the rankings than No. 45. During his breakout 2016-17, Schroder was No. 108 overall. 

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Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup

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