Following up our first mock draft, which was a 10-team roto-style format, we got together for a 10-team head-to-head points mock draft. Of important note is that this draft took place before the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott to the New York Knicks, and before Dwyane Wade was bought out by the Chicago Bulls.
The participants, in order of draft position, were Tom Carpenter, Eric Karabell, Leo Howell, Austin Tedesco, Seth Walder, Renee Miller, Joe Kaiser, Kyle Soppe, Jim McCormick and John Cregan.
Below, you'll find one takeaway from each manager, followed by the draft results.
Tom Carpenter: I had the good fortune of landing the No. 1 pick, but there simply isn't one obvious standout choice this season. In a points format, I could easily make a case for about a half-dozen players, but it came down to Russell Westbrook versus Karl-Anthony Towns for me. I gave Russ the edge, because even with Paul George at his side, I couldn't pass up his massive usage, especially when KAT had more teammates to share the ball with. But now that Melo is in the mix in OKC, I would lean toward Towns, especially with standard ESPN points scoring, which gives extra weight to big-man stats. Westbrook is still going to rack up huge numbers, but I think KAT's ceiling in this format may actually be higher now.
Eric Karabell: One of the things I find myself doing in these mock drafts is ending up with the utility slots filled with centers because I can't pass up the potential numbers. It's not the most versatile strategy, of course, and in leagues we play out, I could have problems if it's a daily format or when injuries occur. But the centers seem to be falling, and I can't help myself! Take Joel Embiid, for example. I was surprised he was there at pick No. 39. He won't play 70 games, but when he plays, he should be awesome. A few rounds later Jonas Valanciunas was curiously available. Mine! Then it was Marcin Gortat! These guys should shoot well and provide the numbers I expect and need, but if swingman Jimmy Butler were to get hurt, my team might have a problem. In future mocks, I want to see how it feels to build with 2s and 3s. I imagine I won't enjoy it as much.
Leo Howell: Unlike our previous mock draft, which was a roto format, I felt a lot more free to make choices based on talent and general feel for a player and not be bound to categories and balance. I found myself gravitating to guys who have solid roles and established production, because in a points format, talent + volume = victory. From my first rounder (James Harden) to my last starter (Dwyane Wade), I feel like I have both elements in large amounts. Normally in fantasy sports, I like young players and potential breakouts, but when I need to maximize counting stats and production, I don't want to take as many gambles when it comes to role or inexperience.
Austin Tedesco: Myles Turner felt like a reaaach, but look at these dudes around him in the draft. It's a sea of injury histories and/or cramped rosters with opportunity risks. Hard pass. So I'm banking on Turner upping his 3-point attempts per game from 1.4 to closer to 4.0 (let it fly, Myles!). The rest of his game should naturally improve in Year 3. He's already a good defender, and a bump in his RPG and BPG would make him a monstrous fantasy center with power forward flexibility. If he doesn't average 20 and 10, I'm blaming Victor Oladipo and Kevin Pritchard. The only thing he doesn't do is dish. On this Pacers team, I hope it stays that way.
Seth Walder: I actually pondered DeAndre Jordan with my second-round pick but had a sneaking suspicion that the Clippers' center might last until the third round -- our interface's pre-draft rankings were based on rotisserie scoring, and therefore he was ranked 46th -- and decided to push my luck to test that theory. It worked out. By ESPN's projections, Jordan is forecasted to score the 16th-most points in this format. Jim McCormick ranked him 16th in his points rankings. And FiveThirtyEight's CARMELO projects him to have the 19th-highest WAR in 2017. While CARMELO isn't forecasting with fantasy in mind, it's still nice to look to another projection system to confirm Jordan's overall value is in this range. This early on, a roughly 10-spot value in a draft is about as good as you can hope for. Jordan may have fallen because he doesn't score as many points as some of the other big men we often seek for points leagues, but that irrelevant at the rate he hoovers up boards.
Renee Miller: With a solid center, a best-is-yet-to-come power forward and Kevin Durant already on my team I was thrilled when Eric Bledsoe was available in the 4th round. A triple-double threat when healthy, Bledsoe has averaged 32-34 minutes per game with around 18 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and almost 2 steals per game during his four seasons in Phoenix. The Suns play at a fast pace, which benefits point guards (and power forwards), specifically. It doesn't hurt that he's pretty efficient (45 FG%, 81 FT%) either. The knock on him is health and the risk of being benched for a younger model (Tyler Ulis). However, he's healthy now, entering just his eighth season in the league (age 27), with a well-rounded skill set that shores up my team at the point.
Joe Kaiser: I'm already having buyer's remorse for taking Kawhi Leonard over LeBron James in a points league. That shouldn't have happened, and if LeBron is there with the seventh pick you take him every time. The lesson here is that it's easy to let yourself get swayed by efficiency, even when it doesn't matter as much, as is the case in a points league. My strategy in the later rounds was to get scorers, and I was happy to get pretty good values in players like Dario Saric (67th), Tobias Harris (74th) and Lou Williams (107th). Unfortunately, passing on a center in the middle rounds for the sake of selecting the best player available backfired, as I was left choosing from the likes of Pau Gasol, Mason Plumlee and Frank Kaminsky. Once Gasol came off the board, I reluctantly took Plumlee as my one and only center. If I had to do it over with the whole wait-for-a-center approach, I'd make sure to get someone like Clint Capela in the 60-70 range.
Kyle Soppe: My biggest takeaway from this draft was that I'm likely fading the masses this season. We are in a golden era for point guards and that was reflected in this mock, as half of our league had a starting point (and McCormick had two) within the first 16 picks. Yes, I understand how good these players are, but there is sneaky depth at the position, and by zigging when others are zagging, I love the value I got inside the top 100. D'Angelo Russell and Dennis Smith Jr. are the two players I base this strategy on, as I truly believe they are the top values on the board, given their current ADP, and the ability to wait on filling my backcourt allows me to capitalize on any frontcourt player who falls as a result of the early run on guards.
Jim McCormick: Full disclosure: A traffic jam on the "Blue Route" (people from Philly understand) saw me autodraft the first six rounds of this draft. Full disclosure: I actually like the build of this team, save for the far-too-early Isaiah Thomas selection. With that Thomas pick, I'd instead prefer the volume rebounding potential of Kevin Love or Andre Drummond in a points format than the risk Thomas presents. The auto portion of my roster should prove elite in 3-pointers, assists, steals and volume scoring but entirely thin in boards and blocks. Given we don't need to worry about categorical balance as much in a points format, I spent the second half of the draft building on the strengths the first six rounds established -- resulting in a blend of 3-and-D perimeter specialists. It's a bit of an atypical build, but with a bevy of top guards, there is at least an intriguing ceiling for this small-ball collective.
John Cregan: Following on the heels of my second-year breakouts column, I wanted to use this draft to highlight where I'd pick some of my favorite sophomores. I selected Marquese Chriss and Willy Hernangomez in the eighth round, Malcolm Brogdon in the 10th, and Buddy Hield in the 12th (I had the wraparound pick). Of the four, Chriss has the most upside, while Brogdon is the safest pick. 71st may feel like a reach for Hernangomez, but with Joakim Noah out the first month of the season, Hernangomez has a huge opportunity to dramatically increase his minutes per game for the duration.