As we head into fantasy basketball draft season, we gathered our experts for our second mock draft of the preseason. This time, we did a 10-team roto format after taking part in a 10-team, points-based mock last week.
Regardless of whether you are a rookie or a grizzled fantasy hoops veteran, it is a wise move to take part in at least a couple of mocks to work out the kinks and ace your real drafts. Head to our Mock Draft Lobby and give it a try.
The participants in our 10-team roto mock, in order of draft position, were: Tom Carpenter, Joe Kaiser, André Snellings, Jim McCormick, Kyle Soppe, Eric Karabell, John Cregan, Marc J. Spears, Damian Dabrowski and Ohm Youngmisuk
Read on for some of the experts' takeaways and the full results of the draft.
Tom Carpenter: The downside of drafting on the turn is the long, long wait between picks. It's hard to catch value picks who are sliding, like you can when picking in the middle. The upside is that you can pair players when making back-to-back picks. To wit, I really liked pairing Victor Oladipo and Paul George as well-rounded scoring wings in Rounds 2 and 3, then following that up by pairing up centers Myles Turner and Hassan Whiteside to lay claim to a strong position in blocks in this roto format.
Joe Kaiser: A couple key points I noticed in the roto draft. First, Lou Williams and Isaiah Thomas are two players who dropped really far, and it's easy to guess why that might be. For Williams, he is mostly a scorer and 3-point threat and age is a real concern because at some point he has to slow down, right? He's kind of like the next Jamal Crawford in that way. Still, Lou Will is coming off an unbelievable season and was a top-40 type of roto contributor, so perhaps he shouldn't be so overlooked.
For Thomas, he is coming off a wasted season split between the Cavaliers and the Lakers, and he's returning from hip surgery on a Nuggets team that's loaded in the backcourt. Gone are the days of Isaiah getting the ball on every possession for the Celtics. That being said, at a certain point, it's worth taking a chance on a guy who is only a season removed from finishing third in the league in scoring.
Some other big-time roto contributors who slipped and might be available in your draft later than you might expect - Julius Randle of the Pelicans and Joe Ingles of the Jazz. I was lucky enough to land both of them, and these guys play numerous positions and contribute assists from the forward spot. Randle is a constant double-double threat who showed improvement with the Lakers last season, and Ingles is a sneaky source of both 3-pointers and steals, and he was a vital part of my championship team in my league last season. I truly wouldn't have won without him.
André Snellings: Starting at the top, I strongly considered James Harden, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry with the third overall pick. All are worthy and could challenge for the top spot. I ultimately chose Karl-Anthony Towns with the idea that he has a lot of bounce-back potential (his scoring decreased solidly last season) and that, at age 22, he still has plenty of unrealized upside potential, as well. Add in that he has never missed a game in his NBA career, and that there is a non-zero chance Jimmy Butler could be traded to clear up even more opportunity for the Big KAT, and I made him my selection.
My first five picks are stable, productive players with strong upside in Towns, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Paul Millsap. The obvious trend of my mid- and later-round picks, then, was taking chances on upside. I drafted several rookies in Deandre Ayton, Trae Young and Wendell Carter Jr., each of whom have legitimate Rookie of the Year potential.
Kris Dunn, D'Angelo Russell and Rodney Hood are all young veterans who look ready to settle into what should be larger roles in their second season on their respective squads. Trey Burke was a surprise fit for the Knicks late in the season whom I'm taking a flier on, while Kristaps Porzingis is an injured lottery ticket in the last round.
Jim McCormick: The list of players who averaged at least two steals, 1.5 3-pointers and five assists last season includes Eric Bledsoe and, well, no one else. During the past three seasons, this statistical blend has been accomplished five times; Stephen Curry, Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul have produced this line once since 2015, with Bledsoe claiming two such seasons during this sample.
I honestly don't get why the market is so soft for Bledsoe (the Terry Rozier effect?), who was eighth overall among point guards last season on the Player Rater, a standard deviation model that rewards balance and dominance across the key fantasy categories. With an expectation for increased efficiency in Milwaukee with a savvy new coach at the helm, I'm all about Bledsoe in roto formats this year.
Kyle Soppe: I'm anti-risk in the early rounds, so I was happy to pick up Draymond Green in the third round. Is he exciting? Nope. Will he make the highlight reel? Well, yeah, but not for any reason that will help your fantasy team. Will he hurt your team? Doubt it. Over the past three seasons, he has been making more than one 3-pointer per game while giving you basically 15 rebounds-plus-assists and 3.0 steals-plus-blocks. Green has played at least 70 games in all six of his NBA seasons, and while his scoring total isn't likely to budge, I view that as the category I can fill easiest as the season progresses.
The way this draft broke, I was able to take care of that with my very next pick in the form of professional bucket-getter Khris Middleton. I like having this tandem in the early few rounds, and I don't see that changing over the next few weeks when the real drafts begin.
Eric Karabell: It's tough to feel deficient in assists and steals after making awesome point guards your first two selections, but that's my takeaway from this mock! I like Westbrook and Wall -- hoping for 150 combined games! -- early and thought they were obvious choices there but didn't like the value on midround ones so much.
So I kept, um, passing and taking fine-shooting centers. In fact, I've got 'em in all three utility slots. Nothing like having bigs who board, block and hit their freebies. Next draft, I'd take one more point guard in exchange for a center, probably, but otherwise it's a balanced group, especially when you've got power forwards who drain 3s.
John Cregan: Looking at the player pool this draft season, there's a lot of upside in the middle rounds at point guard. At the same time, a lot of the elite point guards have injury-based red flags. So I wanted to experiment by not taking an elite point guard (usually my top priority) and instead waiting until Round 4 to load up on the position. I was happy with the three I came away with (Lowry, Mike Conley, and Jeff Teague).
I like Jokic at seven, but it was hard to pass on Durant. Both serve the same basic need: They provide a nice across-the-board statistical baseline, allowing you to take your draft in a multitude of directions. Butler at 14 is obviously a risk/reward play in terms of his trade demand. I was going to go Kawhi Leonard until Marc Spears scooped him up the previous pick.
I'm hoping Otto Porter Jr. justifies the sixth-round pick I spent on him. I debated going for Markkanen in that slot. I worry that Porter's fragility and the arrival of Dwight Howard will dent his end-of-season value. I'm high on the Hawks as an underrated source of fantasy production. Both John Collins and Taurean Prince offered great value in Rounds 8 and 9.
Marc. J. Spears: Lesson No. 1, make sure you know the correct time of your draft. I made the mistake of viewing it from Pacific Standard time instead of Eastern Standard Time and didn't realize I was late until five picks in. So, if you have to do an auto-draft, I guess my first picks will show why the computer can be hit and miss. While I got Durant and Kawhi, the computer also drafted me three centers in Jordan, Capela and Howard. So, let that be a reminder to be ready to draft.
I believe I drafted some starting guards with some great value in Goran Dragic, Zach LaVine and Reggie Jackson. I also drafted Jabari Parker late and expect him to fill up the stat sheet as the star of the Bulls. Another draft mistake was driving and drafting, as I thought I drafted Trae Young but actually took Thaddeus Young. Don't draft and drive!
I also love taking an injured star with the last pick, and DeMarcus Cousins was that star with high value.
Damian Dabrowski: In theory, rotisserie leagues are all about balance, but sometimes you just have to take the best player available, especially in the early rounds. While I didn't plan on taking three guards with my first four picks, I'm certainly not complaining about a team led by Curry, Lillard and Beal. Aside from scoring, I love the 3-point volume and free throw ratio assistance that this core provides. I know I'm going to be a little short on bigs and some of the defensive categories as a result, but having the advantage I do in the aforementioned areas makes it easier to pursue players with one-dimensional skill sets going forward.
Looking back on my team as a whole, the two players I really wanted but just missed out on were Blake Griffin and Jayson Tatum. Blake would have given me a bit more versatility than Beal, but I had them back-to-back on my board, so I didn't have a strong lean either way. I would have loved to pair Gordon with Tatum, though I still prefer Gordon and was fine grabbing Steven Adams as my consolation prize in the sixth round. One pick I do regret however was Andrew Wiggins. That was clearly a panic move, as Wiggins is deeply allergic to any stat category beyond points.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Picking last, I knew I had to come away with two very good players who can fill up a box score. I went in thinking I really wanted Ben Simmons and knew I would have to reach for him. I wasn't anticipating having to face the dilemma of picking teammates with my first two picks, but I couldn't resist the idea of Joel Embiid being my center and providing points, rebounds and blocks. Hopefully, his field goal percentage and games played go up in what will basically be his third season.
On the way back, I went with DeMar DeRozan, who will be motivated after the trade and will find himself with every opportunity in San Antonio to do what he does best. And I guess I am punting on free throw percentage because I couldn't stay away from taking Griffin in hopes that new coach Dwane Casey will have Griffin handling the ball a ton and filling box scores up with points, rebounds and an underrated amount of assists.
Unfortunately, I wanted Tobias Harris badly, and this is where I should have taken him -- over Griffin. I might also regret not taking LaVine on the Rounds 5 and 6 turn, opting for Tatum (I fear the return of Irving and Gordon Hayward will take away from his touches) and Luka Doncic.