It’s late October, which means two things: my wedding anniversary is coming up and so is the new NBA season!
Let’s, for the moment at least, forsake all romantic talk and focus on the topic of hoops.
I love the NBA, even if it breaks my heart on a regular basis (as a Spurs fan, I may never fully recover from the 2013 Finals. Up by 5 with 29 seconds in Game Six. Fuck).
For the past three seasons, I have taken part in a fantasy league. Actually, I lie – I started in the lockout season of 2011-12 and missed out last year. Now I’m back after a sabbatical.
The league I’m in this year has 16 participants and each player forms his own team of 12 NBA players. We enter into a draft, which is supposedly random. I say this with a reserved bitterness, as I ended up with pick #16, ie. the last pick of anyone in our league. The rule of thumb in the NBA – the real NBA, that is – is that you need a top 10 player to have any real chance of team success. This is certainly true if you go back into the history books and look at the teams that won titles. The possible exception to this, in modern times at least, would be the 2004 Detroit Pistons. They are outliers though, and they had themselves some fine players devoid of ego and willing to buy into the collective team spirit.
But I digress. I landed pick 16, which meant that the cream of the NBA crop would be long gone for my team, the Tuart Hill Teabaggers. No LeBron, Dwight, CP3, Durant or any of that ilk for me. They went pretty quickly, as could be expected. I have to wonder if there were any fantasy league anywhere in the known universe where LeBron/Durant didn’t go in the first two picks? Kevin Love was selected third in ours, which was curious as he only played 18 games last year and has been injury prone for most of his pro career. Kobe Bryant went 10th, which was a brave/foolish selection in my estimation, as no one knows when he will return from his Achille’s tear.
The silver lining: I also had pick 17 in the draft, meaning I had to be shrewd with my back-to-back picks. I ended up choosing Marc Gasol and Paul George, which I was very happy with at the time. LaMarcus Aldridge went at 18, and in retrospect I wish I’d chosen him instead of Gasol. But never mind. Al Jefferson lasted until pick 20, and even he might’ve been a wiser choice than the younger of the Gasol brothers.
As it stands, here are your 2014 Tuart Hill Teabaggers:
C Marc Gasol/Marcin Gortat
PF Serge Ibaka/Tobias Harris
SF Paul George/Caron Butler/Markieff Morris
SG Klay Thompson/Wes Matthews
PG Ricky Rubio/Jose Calderon/Greivis Vasquez
I’m happy with the team from 1 through 12, I think we’re pretty solid. I’ve since been told that if we were in a production league instead of a standard league, I’d do a lot better. I don’t really know what that actually means but I suspect it might’ve been sour grapes on his part. I am nervous about Rubio at starting point, if only because of his inability to stay healthy and his tendency to shoot poorly and turn the ball over frequently. I’m hoping he cleans all that up this year. Klay Thompson is a concern as well, only because I’m not sure how they divide playing time between the trio of Thompson, Iguodala and Harrison Barnes. None of my players are 20ppg scorers really, aside from George potentially. Gasol doesn’t rebound as much as I’d like for a 7-footer, and that is a real annoyance for me as a long time hoops fan. I just don’t get it when you’re 7 feet tall and can’t get double figure rebounds every night. Dennis Rodman averaged 18rpg a couple of seasons and he was 6’6”. Charles Barkley was barely 6’4″ and leads the NBA in rebounds one year. It’s effort and hustle, and I don’t question Marc Gasol’s presence of either, so I’m puzzled as to his low rebound numbers.
Only a week or so until the season starts! Exciting times. Hopefully the Teabaggers bring the noise, in spite of my poor draft positioning.
Bring on the NBA!!