Last night, I had my first fantasy basketball draft of the 2016-2017 season. It’s a 9 category league with 10 members. I’ve been in his league with the same guys for the past few years. My team name is: MistaBountyKilla. That’s my team name in all my leagues. Why I name all my teams that? It’s a long story.

Last year, in this league we did head to head points, but, this year we decided to go with the standard 9 categories. The 9 categories are: Field Goal Percentage, Free Throw Percentage, 3 Point Shots Made, Points Scored, Total Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocked Shots and Turnovers.

This year, I had the 10th overall pick. I was able to pick back to back because I had the last pick. Picking 10th won’t get you a superstar in most cases, but, it gives you depth. Depth is very important throughout a fantasy season because injuries do occur. Although, I do like superstars, nothing is better than having two great players.

In a category league, your goal is to draft players that are versatile.  For the first 3-4 rounds, you always want to draft players that are well rounded. You want players that can help your team in at least 6 of 9 categories. After the first 4 rounds, it’s all about finding the requisite parts to make your team complete. So if I drafted 3 guards with my first 3 picks, I will now look for big men for my next 3 picks. You want your team to have more strengths than weaknesses. That’s the goal. These rules obviously change in a non-category league.

Last year, I ran into some bad luck as I always do. I drafted well, but injuries occurred. I made it to the playoffs but wasn’t able to make it far. I’m hoping that this year is different and that my team can stay healthy.

I will be going over just my first 4 picks. You can see the rest of my team below:

manliv

For my first pick, I took Kawhi Leonard. He fell in the draft. He was ranked 6th on my cheat sheet, but, I was able to get him with my 10th pick. He fell because he isn’t a big name. Now, with Duncan retired, he is the focus of the team. His usage rating will increase once again. Kawhi is a monster in category leagues. He isn’t one of those stars that just score, he plays defense as well. He gives you a high field goal percentage, high free throw percentage, rebounds, a few assists, steals, blocks and low turnovers. He’s the perfect guy to build your team around.

My second pick was probably the one pick I might have made a mistake on. I instantly picked Giannis Anteokounmpo with the 11th pick. After drafting him, I realized DeMarcus Cousins was still on the board. I ranked DeMarcus a spot higher than Giannis. Yahoo rankings confused me. They had DeMarcus ranked lower than Giannis and I thought he was taken. Now, I was trying to convince myself that Giannis was the better pick. I messaged another member in the league and asked for his opinion. He said I made the right pick. His confirmation made me feel a little better. But, let’s compare the two. Last year, Giannis averaged 16.9 pts (50 % FG). He added in 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks. From those stats, you can determine that he’s a very versatile player. But, he started to rise in the fantasy rankings because of his coach, Jason Kidd. Coach Kidd said he will be the starting point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks. Last year, Coach Kidd played him at point for the last ¼ of the season. In that time, he averaged 19.55 pts (51.5 FG%), 8.1 rebs, 7.15 asts 1.9 blks and 1.4 stls. He was absolutely killing it. He was putting up monster numbers on some nights. He will have a higher usage rating with ball in his hands. He’s a stat stuffer and he has triple double potential every night. DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most dominant players in the league. Now, without Rondo, his already skyrocketing usage rate will increase even more. Last year, he averaged 26.9 pts (45.1 FG%), 11.5 rebs, 3.3 asts, 1.4 blks and 1.6 steals. Now with his increased usage rating, he will have even more turnovers and a lower field goal percentage. This will probably be the same for Giannis, but, I like him to have a better FG% and lower turnover rate than DeMarcus. Overall, it’s pretty close. DeMarcus is a sure thing, but, Giannis’s upside is incredible. You can make an argument for both, but, I believe I’ll be ok with Giannis on my team.

My third pick, was Kemba Walker. I had Kemba in two of my leagues last year. Kemba has a high usage rating on a Charlotte team that is devoid of many stars. With a high usage comes reduced FG% and turnovers. But, you will also be rewarded more often than not with his big games throughout the year. He fell in the draft and was too valuable to let slide. I think it was a solid pick.

For my fourth pick, I took Carmelo Anthony. I was thinking about taking Brook Lopez ahead of Carmelo.  Lopez was higher on my rankings but his injury history scared me. Although, last year he played 73 games and started all 73, I went with the safer player. You can’t go wrong with drafting Carmelo is any draft.

I have one more draft this weekend. I don’t like to be in more than 3 leagues. If you have more than 3 teams, you will not have the time to maintain them all.

Regardless of the sport, I use a site called “FantasyPros” for my drafts. They have a cool application called “Draft Assistant.” They sync your draft with their application. It helps you make good decisions while you’re drafting. As your pick comes up, it will tell you which player is best for you. We’ve all had those moments when we don’t know who to go with. FantasyPros can help you with that real time. If you haven’t drafted yet, I highly suggest you use it.