A Draft is BACK!
First and foremost I would like to formally welcome everyone to the highly coveted and prestigious A Draft here at the CAC. I, Matt “Kap” Kaplan will be taking over for the man, the myth, Mike Gerrity this season and I couldn’t be more honored to run one of the best and most fun leagues CAC has to offer. Gerrity did an excellent job of keeping A Draft among the elite leagues but it is my goal this season to raise the level of league coverage to a whole other echelon. This largely depends on you guys though. The banter and message board smack talk is what drives this league so never hesitate to speak your mind or talk some shit. Even throw in a “Tibbs is a BITCH!” here or there if needed. That does the trick too.
This season we are looking at one of the deepest and most competitive A Draft leagues we have seen in quite some time with some big names returning to the draft pool. A Draft welcomes back some of CAC’s most prestigious legends after some time away from the league:
Terry “Mike Tolbert” Henderson
Vladi “CAC’s resident Russian” Nechev
Jason “I can’t beat Gerrity in 1v1” Tibbetts
Tommy “Defense? What’s That?” Kahana
Chris “I just want to have fun, not actually win something” Kerr
Damian “Two picks away from Serge” Ruff
Danny “I can yell louder than you” Salazar
Khalid “What will I do if the ball’s not in my hands?” Lakanwal
Brian “Drummer Boy!” Sundell
Matty “Let’s GOOOOO!” Bells
This crop, however, will have some big shoes to fill. As usually is the case A Draft lost some quality players this season. Durbrow, O’Cal, The Trevor’s, AB, BArms and GERRITY have taken their talents elsewhere. I wish them all the best wherever their rec basketball careers may take them.
Of course, anytime you lose such quality talent (minus Gerrity) it is important to replace them with solid rookies to help fill the void. With that I would like to introduce the rookies to the league:
Mike Strange – reigning B Draft MVP; solid inside outside threat and great passer
Ryan Ouellette – bona fide baller; B2 Champ last season and has a smooth mid range shot (SLEEPER ALERT!)
Drew DeBari – a BITCH! Kidding…Drew is a solid guard who can shoot the ball from deep with the best of them
Adam Nestler – 6’ 5” apparently?
Joe Hoerner – club hoops at Duke has to count for something right?
Tyler Smith – 1 year of D3!
Brandon Olszewski – had to refer to the draft board 4 times to spell that; another 3 point shooter!
It will be interesting to see which rookie ends up being the steal of the draft or best value pick. My gut tells me that Ouellette is the RoY frontrunner. But hey, what do I know.
Now that we have all said hello and all the legends and rookies have been introduced, let’s get onto the meat of this preview. Before I get to pre-season power rankings I want to provide everyone with a draft recap where I will highlight my thoughts and observations one day after the draft. There were a few surprises and quite a few value picks in this season’s draft that should be noted and I will try to include them all in my “Draft Knee Jerk Reactions.”
Draft Recap: Knee Jerk Reactions
We had another solid draft on Tuesday 9/6 with 8 teams and captains in action who were ready to roll. Bells, Mals, Covert, Sundell, Noah, Raj, Cheese and Jono captained the 8 teams and all did a solid job of drafting their teams. There were quite a few items that caught my eye though that I would like to comment on as I look back on the draft…
1. Before the draft, Covert and Sundell made a 3 pick trade. Sundell acquired the 3rd, 22nd and 38th overall picks from Covert in exchange for Sundell’s 4th, 21st and 37th overall picks. We all know this trade was made so Sundell could move up a spot and pick his lover, main squeeze and butt buddy SMul. It ended up working out for Sundell though as he was able to pick SMul 3rd overall.
2. Terry was taken 1st overall by Bells and this was a safe pick in my eyes. You know what you are going to get from Terry: a solid big man on both ends, great rebounding and a whole lot of whining. Works for me and should work out for Bells and his clan.
3. I would be remiss not to mention Jono taking BMul in the first round and 8th overall. Here’s the deal: Jono is a noob captain so I will give him some slack but the bottom like here is BMul is NOT a first rounder, especially in this season’s player pool. Period. He is no doubt a solid player but he often gets drafted based on his size. Don’t let it fool you though. He is a big guard who wants to jack threes, like RoY, DRuff and myself. In the end guess what? We are all the same player! Why take BMul there when you can take DRuff in the 5th or ME in the 3rd. If I were Jono I would have taken Ouellette, Tibbs or even JMul in that spot. But hey, that’s just me.
4. How in the hell do SMul and JMul end up on the same team!? Two of the best defensive big men in the league on the same team scares me. Oh wait, no it doesn’t because I am on that team and don’t have to play any defense! Wooooo! Seriously though Team Moose Knuckles boasts the best frontcourt in the league (Yes Majic and Tibbs I said it and believe it!) and even have The Ghost just chillin’ in the wings as a third solid big. Obviously I am biased, but anytime I can turn around after a player blows by me and see these two trees waiting in the paint to come to my rescue I am happy.
5. Biggest Steals…
Damian Ruff – I am not sure if people were turned off by Ruff’s “I will miss games if they interfere with MNF” comment or not but that doesn’t matter. Anytime you can get DRuff in the 5th round you have got to be pleased. He is capable of burying 7 threes in a game at anytime and that kind of production out of the 5th round rarely comes around.
Will Silton – This is my vote for biggest steal of the draft. Hands down. Silton was on my squad last season and he is the definition of a complete player. Sure he takes some wild shots, but his intense defense and underrated rebounding tenacity makes up for that. This season’s talent pool is certainly deeper, but getting Silton in the 4th round, and consequently Mals’ 4th starter, is criminal on all levels.
Vladi Nechev – It’s pretty simple with Vladi. He isn’t good at basketball. He doesn’t play defense. He sure as HELL doesn’t pass. So why is he a steal? Well, to be honest Vladi is a really good shooter and can score the basketball with the best of them. Vladi is more than capable of being in the top 5 in scoring at the end of the season and that production out of the 4th round is value at its best. All that matters here is that I got drafted before Vladi, so at least someone has been paying attention for the last 3 years.
6. Biggest Reaches…
Tommy Kahana – Holy shit is this a reach. Tommy is a solid ball player but 13th overall!?!? Not only is he downright WORSE than Silton, Nechev, KAP, Ollquest, Khalid, Kuz…(shall I continue?) his production could have been obtained 2 or even 3 rounds later. Kahana is the same exact player (minus defense) as all of the players listed in the previous sentence (except Kuz…Kuz is just better) and those players came at a much cheaper rate. Most importantly folks remember one thing: hate = love.
Brad Mulholland – I went on enough about this one earlier but let me reemphasize my point. BMUL IS NOT A FIRST ROUNDER! EVER. NOT IN A MILLION YEARS. BMul is a solid player but let’s face it. He’s Not. That. Good.
Xavier Holland – Sure he’s tall. Sure he can jump. Sure he’s athletic. Problem is I’m more of a big man than him. After watching Terry bitch him around in pickup like a rag doll it became clear to me that STAT IS SOFT. Yeah, I said it. Please don’t hard foul me or anything it’s not personal, just facts. Seriously though…6 overall? What am I missing here? Off the top of my head players I would rather have than STAT that got chosen AFTER STAT (I love caps in this paragraph): Kap, JMul, Tibbs (ugh), BMul, Ouellette. Now that’s some talent! STAT is an impact player though so he will make his presence felt and well I’m just mean.
7. Biggest Bust – Jason Tibbetts: Options galore for this one. Could have gone with Tommy, Vladi or BMul but let’s face it…Tibbs sucks! Majic is ranting and raving about his team and all that nonsense but the bottom line is Tibbs is not good. The second his team goes down in the game (for example…1-0) he will check out mentally. Tibbs will be a NON FACTOR this season and will average 12 pts and 10 rebounds a game. Not bad you say? Well, it is bad for your 2nd round pick.
8. Super Sleeper – Drew DeBari: I played against Drew and he is a lot better than I initially gave him credit for. Not only that, I watched him fill in and put up 30+ in a B Draft playoff game. You can say what you want about it being B Draft and all but you still have to hit the shots. When DeBari is on, he can hit 3s in bunches. I expect him to have a nice season in his A Draft debut and surprise a lot of people. I still don’t like you though Drew.
That’s about all I can possibly think of in terms of the draft. I’m sure someone will tell me something I forgot but that’s ok. Now that we have 8 full teams let’s take a look at my pre season power rankings and thoughts on each team. Starting at the bottom…
Pre Season Power Rankings
8. Free Hat (Cheese): I like the Strange pick a lot as he can play with the best of them but what the hell is going on here afterwards? I know Cheese LOVES the rooks and taking chances on players but a lot is going to have to work out for this team for it to be successful. This team is very much like my fantasy football teams: if all of my guys work out I am going to win a lot of money…if not, I ain’t winning shit.
Player to Watch: Tyler Smith – Cheese took Smith 15th overall so the pressure is all over this rook to perform. Can he rise to the challenge? We will see. One thing I do know is that the success of Free Hat will ride on this guy’s shoulders.
7. Hurricane Season (Jono): Jono made a trade today to acquire some size, dealing Khalid to Noah’s team for Nestler the 6’ 5” rookie. I still think the jury is very much out on this team. I feel like BMul, Wilson and Jono are all the same guy. Of course, if Nestler is a legit 6’ 5” guy this team will be legit but it is impossible to predict rookies just like it’s impossible to predict how much BMul will actually pass in a given game. This team just has the look of a team that will be out of sync from the get go…but I have been wrong before.
Player to Watch: Adam Nestler – I promise I am not going with a rookie theme here. Nestler is the obvious choice for this selection though. He is the only size on this team and size is immensely important in A Draft. If Nestler is legit look for Jono’s crew to shoot up the rankings.
6. X-Men (Raj) – HA! Raj sucks! Kidding, but I don’t like your team all that much. I love Kuz, but I know nothing about Hoerner, STAT is overrated, Nate jacks wayyy too many 3s and McCarthy is MEH. I just don’t see this team being successful. STAT and Nate both want/need/fiend for the ball in their hands and this just will not work if you have title hopes. I could have ranked this team lower, but my respect for Raj and Kuz bumps them to the 6 spot.
Player to Watch: Nate Mendes – If Nate can conform and play the true “team” game this team has a chance to be good. I emphasize “a chance” because I just don’t see it. With Kuz running the point, Nate will play SG and have plenty of chances to bombs away. This won’t work in the long run though so he will have to change if he wants another title shot.
5. Greene Machine (Noah) – Cute name and all but that doesn’t sell me on this team. Greene, RoY and Khalid pose a formidable trio but how well it actually works is yet to be seen. I like Greene’s game as he passes the ball very well for his size and is a beast under the rim. The question I have though is who handles the ball…RoY or Khalid? Both love the ball in their hands like I love TDs cheeseburgers and I don’t foresee a 50-50 split. The talent is there though and if all parties involved dedicate themselves to WINS this team will be a brutal matchup week in and week out.
Player to Watch: Danny Salazar – Someone has to be the 4th wheel on this team and I think Salazar is that guy. Salazar is kind of a hybrid guard/big man type of thing and can do a lot of good things when he plays within himself. A good season out of Salazar means a good season for the Greene Machine in my opinion.
4. Team Moose Knuckles (Sundell) – I mean we clearly have the best team but I don’t want to deal with all the shit I would get for putting my own team first…so I will put us safely in the 4 hole. I do know that size will NOT be an issue for our guys with SMul, JMul and Ghost manning the paint. Many have questioned our offensive firepower but do not fret. Kap can lead a team a scoring! Yeah I said it…and with confidence! Moose Knuckles should be a monster on the glass and will arguably be the best defensive team out there. If Ruff, Sundell and myself can provide enough offense from the guard position week in and week out this team will be solid and in the hunt for a title.
Player to Watch: John Mulholland – JMul will have a much larger role than he is used to on offense and I am officially giving him the green light from deep! He is an underrated 3-point shooter and should let it fly this season. If JMul can avg in the 15-20 ppg range Moose Knuckles will be a dangerous team come playoff time.
3. CAC Elite…and Serge (Matty) – Nothing wrong with this team whatsoever; I just think the last 2 are better. Number 1 overall pick THend has a lot of pressure on him to carry this team to the promised land, as any #1 pick would, but he is surrounded by help up the ass. Ouellette is going to take this league by storm, Carpin is a nice “all around guy” and we all know what Vladi brings to the table (I love that he’s a 4th wheel…at best!). This team’s downfall will be their bench. Serge and Bells? Gross. I’ve seen better looking chunks of corn in my crap (stolen from Austin powers) than this bench. Bells is lovable so we will give him a pass but Serge? Nope. Good luck managing that ego Bells.
Player to Watch: John Carpin – With a season under his belt in wall-ball I am looking for Carpin to take the next step. He put up solid numbers last season but I felt he was never truly comfortable. It usually takes people a season to get fully acclimated to the small court, unless you’re me, a bona fide LEGEND (haven’t said it yet…I think?). Carpin should improve this season and he is a HUGE X-factor for Matty’s team.
2. Just One Ball? (Mals) – Man I love this team. Let me rephrase: Man I love this team minus Majic and Tibbs. HAHAHA they are Garb! I can’t tell who actually drafted this team, Majic or Mals but the bottom line is this team is DEEP. Majic is obviously a half decent player, Tibbs takes up space in the paint, and a Tosti/Silton backcourt is lethal. Hell even Mals can play a little bit for an old guy. There is a lot to like about this team, especially the fact that they got Silton in the 4th! Ridiculous. If everyone can share the ball, hold hands and be happy Mals’ team will make some serious noise this season.
Player to Watch: Ian Tosti – Tosti can have attendance issues at times so I am looking for him to put together a complete season and make most of his games. If he does, this team will be very dangerous with Majic and Tosti bombing away from deep. Tosti is the most prolific 3 point shooter in the league, so Just One Ball? will really benefit from his specialty if he is in attendance.
1.Overrated (Covert) – There is nothing overrated about this team. Kerr and Dorey present a dangerous 1-2 punch, especially on the defensive end. I really like the way covert put this team together. Start with a big in Kerr and surround him with versatile guards in Dorey and Ollquest and you have a nice core. Also, Fincke has the label “lower PR because away from CAC for a while” or whatever and that makes me think he is a pretty decent player. The one thing I have to wonder about this team though is if they can actually win. The pieces are there on offense and defense but I don’t think I have ever seen Kerr actually win. He always gets picked in the top 5 and always falters. I love the guy though and if my team can’t win I will be pulling for Overrated.
Player to Watch: Dan Ollquist – Ollq is way too talented to be considered a 3rd wheel and I am eager to see how he handles it. Two seasons ago he was a co-mvp of this league and now he is a 3rd round pick? Shows you how deep the talent pool is. Ollq had a roller coaster season last session so I look for him to come in with a chip on his shoulder.
With the power rankings complete I will tend to a few housekeeping items before I wrap up the A Draft F11 Preview.
1. Don’t forget to go to Tommy Doyle’s in Kendall Square after your games for half priced appetizers and cheap pitchers! I have done it numerous times and it is always a good (and cheap) time.
2. This season I will be doing a “A Draft Legend of the Week” blog post for my homepage blog. Go to http://www.cacbasketball.com and click the link that is right next to my picture along the right hand side. This blog will highlight the top performer/performance each week in A Draft along with a couple of notables from the past week’s games.
3. If I have time, and don’t get lazy, I will start a “MVP Watch” (which I created and has been hijacked by STAT, Tibbs and probably others) by week 5. We shall see.
4. The big news of the day is….I will be tracking turnovers! We have never tracked them before and I don’t know why. It is a very important stat and I feel people should know when Tommy has 8 turnovers to accompany his 8 assists in a game.
That’s it for your A Draft F11 Preview boys and girls. 3500ish words later and I am TIRED. If you only take one thing out of this it should be that this is ALL IN FUN. There is a lot of hate and shit talk here and it is out of love. Give it back to me, post your hate and your thoughts and let me know what’s on your mind! That’s why we have a message board after all.
Over and out.