- Neil Tardy, Fantasy Basketball
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Wow. It just hit me that the NBA season starts next week. It hardly seems that it's already time for fantasy hoops, but maybe that's because I still have three drafts between now and Tuesday. My guess is that most of you have at least one draft to complete this weekend, too. And that's the reason for this final ADP report -- to help prepare you for your unfinished business.
Again, the information here is based on the activity logged by ESPN.com's Live Draft Results tool. It's not a rankings list; it provides composite results of fantasy hoops drafts -- and auctions -- that have taken place on ESPN.com so far. For instance, Kevin Martin's average draft position (ADP) is 32.7 (and climbing). So if you're in a 10-team league and you want Martin, figure on spending a fourth-round pick on him -- or a late-third rounder if you really want him.
This week's Live Draft Results reveal a few shakeups and mild surprises, so let's look at the latest changes.
Piling on the bandwagon
Andrew Bynum, C, Los Angeles Lakers (ADP: 63.2, 10th among centers): Two significant injuries in two seasons sure aren't scaring off ESPN.com gamers. Bynum has climbed the Live Draft Results ladder throughout the preseason; just seven days ago his ADP was 66.7. Certainly the soon-to-be 22-year-old is capable of at least Emeka Okafor (ADP: 65.3) numbers, and frankly, his potential to average a double-double with two blocks and reasonable foul shooting makes him seem rather like a bargain version of Brook Lopez (ADP: 36.0). I guess what I'm saying is that Bynum is still undervalued. Even though Phil Jackson hasn't hesitated to call the kid out on his poor defense, I see Bynum as a borderline top-50 pick.
Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers (ADP: 76.4, 19th among power forwards): I've been trying to fight this hype, but then Gregg Popovich calls him a monster. How can you not like this guy? I mean, would you rather have Griffin or the three power forwards in front of him? I know what my answer is, and admittedly, it's evolved over the past two weeks.
Joakim Noah, PF/C, Chicago Bulls (ADP: 104.2, 19th among centers): Not sure where the recent surge of love is coming from, but Noah is up almost three spots (plus-2.6) in a week. Yeah, I remember his great first-round series against the Celtics in the spring, but for this season, I prefer Chris Kaman (ADP: 103.7) or even Jermaine O'Neal (112.9).
Jason Thompson, PF, Sacramento Kings (ADP: 114.5, 26th among power forwards): As often as I wrote about Thompson last season, I cooled on him after his so-so performance in the Summer League. Plus, even with the regular officials working, Thompson is foul-prone. Still, games of 20 points and 20 rebounds versus the Warriors and 19 points and 14 boards against the Lakers, preseason or no, gives you an idea of his ability. Currently the fastest mover on Live Draft Results (plus-6.3), Thompson is another nice upside pick at the end of a standard-league draft.
Shane Battier, SF, Houston Rockets (ADP: 118.6, 21st among small forwards): ESPN.com gamers are betting that Battier (plus-4.6 this week) will be healthy this season, and that the Rockets sans Yao Ming will need him to do more offensively. Sure, I get that.
Jumping off the bandwagon
Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago Bulls (ADP: 34.5, 10th among point guards): Despite not playing since the Oct. 2 preseason opener, Rose has essentially held his ADP (down 1.1). However, maybe it's time for concern. Early this week, Rose ran for about 30 minutes, then the next morning he awoke with right-ankle soreness. Rose still insists he'll be ready for opening night, but the fact that he's experiencing pain three weeks after the initial injury suggests a problem. I know that every injury situation is unique, but with Rose, I can't help but think of all those weeks I wasted last season waiting for Josh Howard to get better. I'm not sure how far Rose will drop on my draft list, but I do know of a ton of other, healthier point guards available in the early rounds.
Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves (ADP: 88.3, 22nd among power forwards): Love could miss up to two months after breaking his left hand in an Oct. 16 preseason game versus the Bulls. Still, plenty of owners, particularly in H2H leagues, will stash him on their opening rosters. Whenever he does return, Love will give you a double-double a night, so depending on, of course, the size of your league and the composition of your roster, Love becomes a draft-day value at some point. But I think that point is well beyond pick 100 now.
Roy Hibbert, C, Indiana Pacers (ADP: 123.1, 29th among centers): Word is that Hibbert will be the Pacers' starting center, so his declining ADP (down 2.1) comes as a big surprise to me. I'm sure he'll struggle at times, but the chance to pick up a whole bunch of rejections makes Hibbert one of the draft's best upside picks. I can see taking him before the final round of a standard league draft, say, around pick 110.
Brandon Rush, SG, Indiana Pacers (ADP: 140.0, 36th among shooting guards), Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, New Jersey Nets (ADP: 140.0, 46th among shooting guards) and Channing Frye, PF, Phoenix Suns (ADP: 140.0, 34th among power forwards): A 140.0 ADP means that Rush, Douglas-Roberts and Frye are basically going undrafted in ESPN.com leagues. Here's something else these three have in common: They'll all be starting this season. In this group, Frye appears to have the most fantasy value. While he's replacing Shaquille O'Neal in Phoenix, for fantasy, Frye could wind up doing a solid impression of Mehmet Okur. Yes, Frye has made only 20 3-pointers in his first four seasons, but he's with Steve Nash now. In his past four preseason games, Frye's swished eight from downtown, including four in a 29-point showing against the Kings. Granted, his offense has been very sporadic in the preseason, but depending on your team's needs, Frye is still an intriguing end-of-draft pick.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.