With less than three weeks until the NBA season, we present out first Head-to-Head mock draft. The participants include CBS Fantasy Sports editorial staff and it is a standard scoring format.
The first round of the draft went about as expected, though it is interesting to see 76ers center Andrew Bynum go ahead of his former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant in the first. The second and third rounds feature few surprises, though we do see Denver's Ty Lawson and Detroit's Greg Monroe fall off the board. These two enjoyed big breakouts last season, but could be in for even more this year as they continue their development. We expect big things from both, especially with the offseason moves their teams made.
Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire will be one of the big fallers in most drafts, as he was a borderline first-round pick last season. After a disappointing second season in New York, he tumbles to the end of the third round here. The fourth round featured a big run on centers -- six of the next 12 picks are centers, including Bosston's Kevin Garnett making his debut as a primary center. The third center taken in the round was the first rookie off the board. No. 1 pick Anthony Davis of New Orleans went No. 41 overall. He might be worth an even higher pick in Rotisseries formats. In 30 minutes of preseason action against the Bobcats in his first game, he finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and a block. His growth as a Fantasy contributor will be one of the key storylines this season and it may be accelerated after spending the summer learning from the best players in the world on Team USA.
Seemingly everyone went for a home run in Round 5; some of the biggest question marks in the NBA went off the board. This includes centers Andrea Bargnani of Toronto and Brook Lopez of Brooklyn, as well as Hornets guard Eric Gordon. The three of them missed 153 games combined last season, but have second or third-round talent, at least. A pair of supremely talented guards with big bust-or-boom potential and new hometowns also went, in Houston's Jeremy Lin and Phoenix's Goran Dragic. Myself, I like Dragic's potential more this season -- his track record is lengthier and probably has more help offensively. He was also arguably better than Lin at their respective peaks last year, averaging 18.2 points and 8.3 assists per game once he became the starter.
We saw some of the injury risks go off the board starting with Bulls guard Derrick Rose in Round 6 while Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio went in Round 11 and Clippers guard Chauncey Billups followed in Round 12. The latter two should be back earlier than Rose, who has hinted that he may not even return this season if his recovery from a torn ACL does not go as swiftly as planned. A more minor injury risk is Wizards guard John Wall, who went in Round 3 and should be back after just three or four weeks of the regular season.
We had nine rookies drafted, culminating with the selection of Jonas Valanciunas of Toronto with the 166th overall selection.
League rules: 10 active spots, 4 reserve spots; Starting lineup consists of four guards, four forwards and two centers
1. Nando DiFino, Fantasy Writer
2. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
3. Scott White, Fantasy Writer
4. Peter Madden, Editorial Director, Fantasy Sports
5. Jeffrey Tobin, Associate Managing Editor, Fantasy Sports
6. Dave Richard, Fantasy Writer
7. Bill Passonno, Fantasy Writer
8. Jeffrey Lippman, Fantasy Writer
9. Michael Hurcomb, Fantasy Writer
10. Jamey Eisenberg, Fantasy Writer
11. Adam Moore, Fantasy Writer
12. Igor Mello, Fantasy Writer