The NBA's regular season is only three weeks away and fantasy basketball drafts have been underway since the beginning of this month. The top 5 picks in most drafts have been Chris Paul, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Amare Stoudemire and Elton Brand.
There is no secret to drafting a good fantasy basketball squad. There are many good draft strategies that work. My personal strategy is to draft for overall team balance. I believe it's critical to pick players who are well-rounded and do good in a few categories, such as rebounds, steals, and blocks over a player who just scores a lot of points.
My best draft strategy in fantasy basketball always has been to go with a top point guard or a top big man with my first round pick. The reason I do this is so I can avoid the "runs" that managers tend to go on with certain positions.
A run is where several players from the same position are drafted in a row. These runs usually happen to point guards and centers and deplete the talent pool significantly leaving you with very few options at the position when you get to the fourth or fifth round.
I've found that it's wise to draft a good core of guards and a couple good big men before moving onto the forward position where you have more choices and a deeper talent pool. I use the later rounds to round out a solid bench with a couple guards, a center and a forward.
This year, I joined a winner league on Yahoo where a group of last year's champions are pitted against each other to prove last year's win was no fluke. I didn't follow my usual draft strategy, but I believe my risks should pay off in the long run.
My first 3 picks in this draft were as follows:
• Kevin Garnett, power forward, Boston Celtics - I took KG with the 10th pick, and I feel like I got a top-five player for a steal here. His rebounding stats have dipped in the past couple of years, but his overall game still makes him a bona fide fantasy stud.
• Rudy Gay, forward, Memphis Grizzlies - Gay is going to be a great player this year because the Grizzlies will have to rely on him even more going into his third year.
• Greg Oden, center, Portland Trailblazers - Oden has the potential to be a dominant force in the paint this year, and I predict a stat line of near 20 points a game along with 10 rebounds, a block and a great field goal percentage.
Look for more fantasy football next week.
Craig resident and Fantasy Fix columnist Chris Gingrich can be reached at email@example.com