And here comes part three of the Beale Street Fantasy Draft Series!
A reminder of how this works: four of us are participating; Hal, Daniel, Kevin, and Andrew. We randomized the names and the resulting draft order was Daniel, Hal, Kevin, Andrew. The order “snakes,” meaning that Daniel picked first, but will pick last in the second round, and so on.
We’ll have a post for each round, with everyone listing their picks and their reasons for picking them. Each post will end in a summary of each writer’s team up to that point.
The success of the team is based off of real-life skill and construction, not the stats someone would use for actual fantasy basketball. So, for example, the floor spacing that Marc Gasol brings to the table would be relevant in picking him for this team, while it wouldn’t matter in real fantasy. In that sense, we’re trying to build teams that would really work.
At each step, let us know what you think of the teams! Do you agree with the picks? Disagree? What would you have done?
With the ninth selection of the draft, I select Kevin Love.
He can stretch the floor and rebound the hell out of the ball. With Lebron James as the primary ball handler, and with Tim Duncan as a low-post threat, Love will have the opportunity to play within himself.
With the tenth selection of the draft, I take Joakim Noah. Noah is, in many ways, Marc Gasol lite. Like Gasol, he’s a brutal defensive anchor capable of completely ruining any offensive player’s day; he was the first player to get a triple double with blocks since the 70′s. His defensive presence should easily make up for Steph’s weakness on that side.
His motor is incredible: he played brilliantly through the playoffs with an injured roster, carrying the team on one foot while he battled plantar fasciitis. But unlike Gasol, he isn’t much of a post threat, but he is yet another Pick and Roll force of nature to add to my PnR roster. No one can ignore Noah flying his way to the rim, and also like Gasol, Noah is amazing at turning PnR’s at the elbow into virtuosic passes, which will take full advantage of the shooting that surrounds him.
Noah, more than anyone else, will be the offensive anchor from which the ball moves around the court from shooter to shooter to shooter, as his paint presence and pick and roll duplicity will confuse any defense.
With the eleventh pick in the draft, I’ll take Paul George. He’s possibly a bit of a reach, this early into the draft, but he is a great fit for this team between his defensive length and his versatile offensive game, with or without the ball.
George has the size, speed and length to guard the league’s best wings, fitting in nicely with fellow defensive studs in Paul and Howard. Offensively, he comes in as either a weapon for CP3 to use, or a secondary scorer/playmaker for the team on the wing.
With the 12th overall pick, I’ll take James Harden of the Houston Rockets. Harden has, in my opinion, the ultimate shooting guard skill set. His three-point shot is deadly, but don’t try to guard it — because he averages 1.51 points per possession on drives to the basket, an insane number. He draws and-1’s on a third of those drives, and shoots 85% from the line. All this adds up to 25.9 PPG (5th best in the league) in a fast-paced system that spreads the floor better than anyone other than maybe Golden State.
Harden shrank in his Finals appearance with the Thunder, but in the starting lineup with Houston, he nearly doubled his PPG average and led a struggling team back to the playoffs.
Teams so far:
Daniel: LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Kevin Love
Hal: Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Joakim Noah
Kevin: Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Paul George
Andrew: Derrick Rose, Marc Gasol, James Harden