Before I can finalize my fantasy basketball player rankings I always have to participate in a few drafts to get a feel for things. Mock drafts aren't as big in the fantasy basketball world and what’s the point in a mock anyway? We play to win the games!
The first league I joined was an auto-pick league. I join one every year, pre-rank my players, and let the computer figure it out to get an initial pulse.
After the auto-pick league I did my first live draft. Here's how my teams shook out in both leagues.
1. (11) Amar'e Stoudemire - STAT at 11? I'm buying. The Suns are picking the tempo back up and Stoudemire has a new dedication to the game after almost losing his eye.
2. (14) Deron Williams - In four seasons Williams has seen his FT percentage go from 70.4 to 84.9, just one example of how his work ethic is paying off.
3. (35) Josh Smith - Maybe a little early for Smith but I am expecting a bounce back year, especially in blocks where he averaged less than two per game for the first time in his career.
4. (38) Jason Richardson - With Shaq and Matt Barnes gone there will be more shots to go around and with the Suns shooting more in general I expect Richardson to finish top five in threes.
5. (59) Charlie Villanueva - The Pistons are hurting in the post and I think Villanueva will be playing minutes like never before in his NBA career.
6. (62) Al Harrington - Quietly Harrington should be one of the most productive players in the NBA with threes, points, and rebounds.
7. (83) Spencer Hawes - Has the potential to be an elite NBA center and may average one three per game. Still needs to improve shot blocking ability.
8. (86) Ron Artest - He will see a dip in scoring but I expect a career high in assists and he should steal over two balls per game.
9. (107) Michael Beasley - A bit of a gamble with the offseason turmoil but he is very good at exploiting matchups and he should be the second option on O.
10. (110) Allen Iverson - Still unsure what role AI will play and how much he will play but his points, assists, and steals should make him worth the 10th round pick.
11. (131) Tyreke Evans - Front-runner for ROY, Evans won't get a lot of assists but he can score on most PGs with ease.
12. (134) Kirk Hinrich - I dropped him for Channing Frye but Hinrich's numbers will see a boost now that Ben Gordon is out of the rotation.
13. (155) Joe Alexander - The Bucks passed on a lot when they selected Alexander, they need to develop him on the court in 2009-10.
1. (8) Kevin Durant - Can Durant get better? Among other things he is one of the deadliest three point shooters in the NBA at 42.2 percent last year and he just turned 21.
2. (17) Dwight Howard - I concede turnovers in every league and I can do without FT percentage if it means having the leagues best rebounder, shot blocker, and game dunker.
3. (32) Jason Kidd - I like that Kidd plays a lot of games, gets a lot of assists, steals, rebounds, and threes, and people pass on him because he doesn't score.
4. (41) Baron Davis - There is a new mojo in LA and Davis should be playing with some of that old fire. Hopefully he can stay on the court.
5. (56) Rajon Rondo - Has all the things I like about Kidd without the threes, but on the positive his numbers are still going up.
6. (65) Charlie Villanueva - His ability to hit the three makes him more than your average power forward.
7. (80) John Salmons - Salmons will be Rose's go to man on offense. His non-scoring numbers aren't great but there is some production there.
8. (89) Wilson Chandler - He can play SG-to-PF in some formats and his numbers represent that ability. Gotta love that he plays in New York too.
9. (104) Jason Thompson - Will have a shot at a double-double average as a full time starter, good shooting percentages is a plus.
10. (113) Chris Duhon - Should rank amongst league leaders in assists and he can hit threes. On my PG-heavy roster he will be trade bait.
11. (128) Greg Oden - Could be one of the real steals this season, especially with centers at a premium. Oden has looked good in pre-season and makes things look easy at times.
12. (137) Tyreke Evans - With his long arms I expect Evans to have good rebound and block numbers for a PG and he is god at generating steals.
13. (152) Aaron Brooks - Brooks will have an opportunity to be the Rockets leading scorer for the first few months of the year, maybe even the entire season.