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A Fantasy Basketball H2H 9-Cat "Snake" Draft Walkthrough

What's good readers, we're now officially into October and draft season is in full swing. I hope y'all are excited as I am to put together some nice teams, trash talk your friends and add some hardware to your mantles. I just had my first draft of the season which is always the most exciting, and I'm here to share with you guys what I saw and my thought process behind my picks.

I'll be utilizing a lot of the concepts I harped on all throughout our NBA Draft Kit so check that out first if you want to get the most of this walkthrough!

Now that you're caught up, let's get right to this! Note: My team name is the Snake Emoji. It'll make sense after round 1.

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Fantasy Basketball Draft Analysis - H2H 9-Category

Round 1

Round 1 is usually pretty straightforward so I'll go over the history of the league first as that influenced my decisions through this draft quite a bit. Prior to last season, most of the league didn't really know how to punt save for a select few, but last season about half the league discovered punting and used it to pretty good effect.

The important part of that is 4 teams went with Punt Assists and 3 of them found very good success, so I anticipated the strategy to be very popular among my league mates. There is almost always at least one Punt FT% team as well meaning I expected there to be maybe 4-6 big teams punting guard stats, with maybe 5-7 more teams going balanced because they don't have a history of punting. That means there would be a maximum of maybe 2-3 small teams and that ideally, I would end up in one of those strategies: Punt Rebounds, Punt FG% or Punt Blocks.

Of course, it's silly to lock into a strategy so early, and my usual play is to take the best values on the board in the first couple rounds and evaluate the landscape before deciding on my strategy around round 3-4, and I am by no means locked into anything here. I had pick 6, and my league mates are all friends who know about my disdain for Kevin Durant's lack of competitiveness and attitude since leaving OKC, and even before the draft started I kind of knew this was happening.

KD is definitely the best player on the board here, and his flexibility is perfect as he acts as a pivot for all 3 of the guard heavy strategies due to his out of position blocks and FG%, while also being able to slot into the bigger strategies quite nicely due to his points and 3s being great coverage stats. I opened myself up to a lot of LOLs and memes but it was an easy pick for me here.


Round 2 and 3

For round 2 I still like to stick to best player available, and I was thrilled to scoop up Jimmy Butler here, as I believe he is worth early 2nd round to 1st round value in a ton of different scenarios. The trade request concerns are a non-factor for me, and if he ends up somewhere like Miami, he has a clear path to late first round value so getting him at 23 is an absolute coup and I'm really happy he dropped this far.

After round 2, I look to take the temperature of the league, and see what my opponents are doing. I anticipated a flurry of big teams and at this point I can start to point out which teams I expect to go with those strategies. I had Monstars, DILBO, #Huynhing and Kobe Buffalomeat pretty easily pegged to big teams, with the former three likely locked into punt 3s or punt FT% and the latter looking like punt assists.

The harder one to peg was Damian Thrilliard, but he had finished 1st in the regular season last year with a punt assist team and his reach for Paul George at 9 in the first round meant I could make a judgment call to put him on that build again. (It turned out to be correct). Yolodipo similarly found success with the build last year and him starting off with Oladipo also signaled it was fairly likely he would be dipping in that build once again. Dolla Dolla Beal was probably the hardest to read right away but Giannis/Jrue seemed like a solid base for punt 3s or punt FT% so I assumed big here as well, putting the count of big teams at 7, even more than I had expected.

BigBallerBrand was pretty firmly on a guard build and the rest were still wild cards at this point, either expected to go balanced because I didn't expect them to run a punt strategy or not showing enough information to really peg them for a build. With the landscape the way it was and the history of the league considered, it made sense to go after a small category, and I locked into Punt Rebounds during round 3, as it made more sense with my picks than punt blocks or punt FG% did.

Here's where I feel like I made a pretty big mistake. I had LaMarcus Aldridge and Al Horford queued up as extremely strong pivots for the build due to being able to provide high FG% and blocks while supplementing guard stats (assists and 3s for Horford, points and FT% for Aldridge), but I opted to take Eric Bledsoe instead - a more natural fit for a punt rebounds build, but someone who's production is more replaceable later in the draft without reaching. By missing my chance at 2 of the best center pivots on the board here, I had to make a couple reaches later on to fill my C slot, and it definitely cost me some value. This is a clear example of the concepts that I covered in the draft kit, and I ended up paying the price for not following my own advice!


Rounds 4-6

Round 4, J-Rich is someone I absolutely wanted to target here due to the blocks coverage he gives along with his reasonable shooting percentage. Really happy to scoop him up here and he will play a role in keeping me competitive in blocks against at least half the league.

At this point, I needed to fill my contrary categories as well as fill the C slot to have a shot at a great team, and it's where missing out on that pivot in round 3 is starting to bite me. The last great pivot for the build left was Brook Lopez, and I had to reach a bit here to get him, as he provides the blocks coverage I need with a bit of 3s thrown in helping out my weakest complementary stat at this point of the draft.

It's looking like I won't be able to field a competitive enough team in FG% all because of my 3rd round gaffe, but I felt like blocks was definitely doable and I looked to go after guards with at least some contribution in blocks to round out my roster. That began with Kris Dunn in round 6, who not only provides a small serving of out of position blocks, but also is a 3rd round value in the build. I'll gladly take 3 rounds of surplus value here with a guy that fits my needs too.


Round 7-9

At this point, I've accepted that I'll probably be soft punting FG% along with the hard punt in Rebounds, so while I will still be paying attention to FG% and trying to at least project above a couple teams in that category, I don't expect to be competitive against over half the teams in the league in it.

I also knew I was weak at 3s at this point, and needed to supplement that category pretty hard with less focus on Steals and Assists because I already had fairly elite marks in those stats. With that said, I took a bit of a hit on FG% to snag these 2 upside rookies. I do take a hit in my projected FG% as both have pretty terrible projected shooting %s over moderate volume, but there is a reasonable chance these guys can overperform those marks, especially Doncic.

Doncic clocks in as a 4th round value in the build and is an excellent pickup, with solid 3s as well as a little bit of out of position blocks as a bonus. Trae Young also provides ample 3s and projects as 5th round value. Both these guys have the potential to overperform their projections, and serve as solid trade chips due to the league's affinity for rookies, making them great pickups for what I'm trying to do.

In round 9, I have another reach that's made purely to patch over my team's weaknesses. Lamb provides 3s and points and can block a few shots from a guard spot, on top of sporting a solid FG%. This was purely a fit pick, and I'm looking more for fit to round out my roster at this point with only 2 rounds to go.

Again due to my mistake in round 3, I'm scrambling for coverage late, which is not a position I like to be. Rudy Gay is a perfect fit here, as he provides a triple-one to go with a solid shooting percentage from a PF eligible player, something that attacks my weaknesses quite nicely. Finally, in the last round I needed a second C eligible player, and I had to find one who could shoot 3s as well as provide some semblance of block value to go with a reasonable FG%. That's a tough ask in round 11 (sounds a lot like LaMarcus Aldridge's profile doesn't it..) and Kelly Olynyk is the closest thing to that left so I grabbed him here.



Overall, I ended up drafting an alright team that projects fairly well, a punt rebound team that looks to be highly competitive in blocks against the majority of the league. I ended up a little less competitive in field goal percentage than I had hoped, but it's not a disaster and any upside in that category from the rookies could lead to an improvement there.

The key takeaway in this draft is to show what happens when you don't cover your pivots early, as it can lead you scrambling to fill those holes all the way throughout the draft. I hope you can learn from my mistake and find success in your own draft. And best of all, the season's back, let's enjoy it!

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