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Thursday August 10, 2006 10:40 am

First Round Summer Mock Draft

Posted by Alvin Lai Categories: Editorial, Props, Site Features, Talent,

Description The summer might be more about baseball, golf, tennis and fantasy football, but surely there are fellow hoopheads out there with fantasy roundball on the brain. Yes, it is SUPER early and a lot can change, but here is a walk-through of the potential first round come November.

1. Lebron James: To all focusing on upcoming football drafts, LBJ may be the fantasy basketball equivalent of Kansas City’s Larry Johnson. Both have sky-high potential for the upcoming year, but they (for now) lack the track record of their fellow superstars. In any type of league, ‘Bron is my top pick. And to all the critics out there, you can squawk about his free throw percentage, but his overall upside is too much value to pass up. Plus I expect his charity stripe numbers to improve.

2. Shawn Marion: Continuing our fantasy football analogy, here is our version of Shaun Alexander. Awesome stats for a few years running but both still seem to be slightly underrated and/or undervalued. Assists is a category that will need to be addressed with later picks, but the other stats for the Matrix are top of the class.

3. Kevin Garnett: Is that KG donning a helmet with lightning bolts across it? Meet the NBA’s LaDainian Tomlinson, ladies and gentlemen. Both KG and LT2 have been the main men in their respective leagues for a couple of years now. And though their final tallies from last season were solid, both let down a lot of fantasy owners with their late-season swoon. Still, just like there will be some guys picking Tomlinson first overall this year, Garnett will be tabbed as the top dog in certain leagues, especially if you like linking rebounds to assists and are willing to give up threes with your first pick.

4. Kobe Bryant: Kobe has already accomplished what we expect of Lebron. I fully expect him to return to full speed after knee surgery. To be able to land a player who has the potential to be #1 by season’s end in the four spot is more than you should ask for.

5. Dirk Nowitzki: Grabbing Dirk here would be like betting on tennis’ Roger Federer to win his first round match in any tournament. It is a safe and profitable venture. Packaging his shooting skills with his decent big man stats leaves any fantasy owner with lots of options in future rounds. Dirk may not win your league for you, but he certainly will not be the cause of your demise either.

6. Gilbert Arenas: You might have missed the fact that Arenas averaged more than 29 ppg last year. When it comes to fantasy ball, his three-point shooting puts him ahead of Dwyane Wade and his steals put him ahead of Steve Nash.

7. Elton Brand: Solid field goal percentage? Check. 20 points and 10 boards? Check. Dominant in the blocks department? Check. Brand personifies what people want from a big man in fantasy ball. He also was near the top in his position last year in assists and steals, and his free throw percentage will not kill you.

8. Dwyane Wade: Try to remember that these pro players are not robots. We try to put them on a pedestal and under a microscope at the same time. So although you can justifiably pass on Wade early in the first round because he does not shoot threes and turns the ball over, at this point in the draft these so-called shortcomings are well worth the assets he brings to the table (efficient scoring with upside, great rebounder and shot block artist for a guard, and a top 5 steals threat).

9. Chris Bosh: Except for 30-50 extra blocks a year, CB4 has everything you want in a big man with the added bonus of a solid free throw percentage. This ranking assumes that Bosh qualifies at center in your league.

10. Ray Allen: Here are three reasons to draft Ray Allen. 1) He will be asked to carry the load on the Sonics again this season. 2) He has very nice percentages for a guard, and an excellent free throw percentage PERIOD. 3) 3s, 3s, and more 3s.

11. Allen Iverson: If you were AI, what would your answer be to all the trade rumours and what appears to be a lack of love from Sixers’ GM, Billy King? How would you react considering you are already considered a courageous and gutsy player? Would you still feel like you have something to prove? Iverson will be on a mission this season, no doubt. Do not let perception distort the reality of his game; his field goal percentage was up to 44.7% last year, which makes him comparable to Kobe, Arenas and Michael Redd among top scorers. Closer to the season, he may drop down my draft list a bit depending on league format, but right now with all this happening to him this summer, I’m doling out the props.

12. Steve Nash: Except for 30-50 extra steals a year, Nash is an excellent lead fantasy guard. He is the only first-rounder here who does not clear 20 ppg, but grabbing a league leader in any major category at the end of the first round is nothing but sweetness. He is no one-trick pony; his FG% is better than some all-star power forwards and centers. He led the league in FT% and he will be top 20 in three-pointers made again.

Let us finish with a comment on a few players who did not make my first round for this mock draft.

Tim Duncan: Was tempted to put him at #12 to answer his growing legion of critics. A lot of people are sleeping on him but his game still has value. It is just that his free throw efforts are a very noticeable blemish now that the other parts of his game showed a down-turn last year.

Amare Stoudemire: Please delay your gratification and draft Amare in the second round at the very earliest…for the 2007-08 season.

Yao Ming: If it was not for the lingering foot problems and the second fiddle status whenever Tracy McGrady is playing, Yao might be a better fantasy option than CB4.

Tracy McGrady: His game has first round fantasy potential still, but he is a major injury concern. They do not make enough Pepcid for me to stomach that all year.

Andrei Kirilenko: He shattered my title dreams last year (and my bro won the league!). That warrants at least one year on the banned list.

Paul Pierce: No one real good reason for him to slip out of the first round here, assuming he recovers well from his elbow surgery. He stands to be one of the best second round picks though.

The idea is all of us writers here at Dropping Dimes will put up their first round picks periodically between now and the start of the season. This should give readers a few opinions and ideas to consider heading into pre-season. Check back for that!

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