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August 23, 2011
Redrafting the NBA
Round Two

Basketball Prospectus

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After Drew Cannon ranked the NCAA's top 100 players, we wanted to do the same for the NBA. In the interim, a host of player rankings popped up all over the Internet. So instead, we decided to try something different: Redrafting the NBA.

Over the next three weeks, Basketball Prospectus' four NBA analysts will be drafting two teams apiece for a total of eight teams and 96 players. We will be selecting players strictly on the basis of expected performance during the 2011-12 season, giving our own ranking of sorts--though one affected by positional scarcity and other outside factors.

9. Dan B - Pau Gasol, F/C, L.A. Lakers
I considered Deron Williams, but Gasol's size and ability to mesh with Kobe team set him apart. Gasol is a complete player, and the combo of him and Kobe will leave plenty options later in the draft. Which remaining player wouldn't fit well with these two?

10. Bradford B - Deron Williams, PG, New Jersey Nets
I strongly considered Russell Westbrook here but whereas Dan felt comfortable with Bryant and Gasol's history together, I feel a little uneasy about the Westbrook/Durant pairing after last year's playoffs. I am a bit concerned that Westbrook is becoming increasingly imbued with bad ideas. Durant is the cornerstone of this team and I feel more comfortable with Williams' ability to make those around him better..

11. Kevin B - Blake Griffin, PF, L.A. Clippers
Starting last night, I agonized over this pick. I've gone back and forth several different times because there's a large pool of second-tier big men that could end up here. I completely understand now how LaMarcus Aldridge ended up 11th on Zach Lowe's top 100, since I gave him strong consideration. I think Tim Duncan still has plenty left in a single-season format, but ultimately I'm betting on the upside of Griffin, who is after all only 22 and still evolving as a player.

12. Sebastian B - Manu Ginobili, SG, San Antonio Spurs
For my second team, I am going to take Manu Ginobili and pair him up with Dirk Nowitzki to complete my starting forward rotation. The reason why I am pairing these two guys together is you have Nowitzki who can dominate the ball in the post and draw attention, so putting him with a slasher who can spot up and hit the open three makes sense in my mind.

13. Sebastian A - Tim Duncan, F/C, San Antonio Spurs
For team A, I am going to take Tim Duncan for the power forward spot. Obviously, if we are picking a team for this year and then moving forward, Duncan wouldn't be the pick, but as Kevin mentioned, this is a single-season format and Tim Duncan has a lot to give, especially when paired with a quick point guard who's comfortable in the pick-and-roll.

14. Kevin A - LaMarcus Aldridge, F/C, Portland Trail Blazers
With this pick, I'm going with Aldridge. What separates him from a few of the other big men available right now is his ability to play both frontcourt positions and contribute at both ends of the floor. That versatility makes him ideal for this format and gives me some flexibility with my third pick for this team.

15. Bradford A - Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
In terms of best player available, I would have been tempted to take Love anyway. From a mad hoops scientist perspective, I can't resist the idea of pairing Love and Howard. I think Love's face-up and passing abilities can make it work and having Howard to protect the rim can paper over Love's defensive shortcomings. And don't expect to ever get a rebound against my team. At the same time, I kind of worry about the diminishing returns of having a pair of dominant defensive rebounders.

16. Dan A - Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns
A chance to get LeBron more fast-break opportunities? Yes please. If Nash isn't the best fast-break point guard in the league--in terms of both creating opportunities and finishing them--he's certainly the best available.

Complete draft order

1. Dan A - LeBron James, SF, Miami Heat
2. Bradford A - Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic
3. Kevin A - Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat
4. Sebastian A - Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets
5. Sebastian B - Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks
6. Kevin B - Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago Bulls
7. Bradford B - Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
8. Dan B - Kobe Bryant, SG, L.A. Lakers
9. Dan B - Pau Gasol, F/C, L.A. Lakers
10. Bradford B - Deron Williams, PG, New Jersey Nets
11. Kevin B - Blake Griffin, PF, L.A. Clippers
12. Sebastian B - Manu Ginobili, SG, San Antonio Spurs
13. Sebastian A - Tim Duncan, F/C, San Antonio Spurs
14. Kevin A - LaMarcus Aldridge, F/C, Portland Trail Blazers
15. Bradford A - Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
16. Dan A - Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns

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Premium Article Taking the Next Step (08/23)
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Premium Article Can He Bounce Back? (08/24)

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