A Brief History
4 Pennsylvania Plaza is our first foray into fantasy basketball. Out of the four major sports on the North American continent, we know the least about the National Basketball Association.
Once upon a time, in the 1990’s we were a basketball fan. Thanks to the strong frequency of AM radio at night, we were able to listen to WFAN 660 out of New York and became a New York Knicks fan during their most recent run of success. Two trips to the NBA finals (1994 and 1999) were as close the Knicks would get to end their own curse of 1972. They were led by Patrick Ewing, the only jersey we’ve ever owned.
Middle school was tough since the Bulls owned the hardcourt during this time, so while everyone else wore Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman jerseys, we were the outsider with our #33 Knicks jersey.
As a casual fan who reads the headlines, we know a little about whose who in the league. After participating in baseball, football, and hockey fantasy leagues, we were convinced to join a basketball league. Instead of spending money on a sport we should be a bottomfeeder in, we decided to join a free public league called The Bubble.
The league launched its live draft on Friday, December 18, 2020. We were told a few days before that we would draft 8th out of 10 teams. When we logged into the draft room about 20 minutes before tip-off, the draft order was restructured again, and we moved up to 4th overall. Since we practiced four mock drafts from the 8th spot, we were caught off guard with this new position.
In the snake draft, our picks came in at 4, 17, 24, 37, 44, 57, 64, 77, 84, 97, 104, 117, 124, and 137.
After a few mock drafts, we didn’t know what to think and who to select. Then we devised a strategy and rolled with it. Our league scores points for the following categories: points scored (1), total rebounds (1.2), assists (1.5), steals (3), blocked shots (3), and turnovers (-1). We decided that our focus would be on players who excelled at steals and blocked shots. We didn’t focus on points scored but paid attention to players who collected a lot of assists. The benchmark was set at 100, so if a player put up triple digits in steals or blocks, he was on our watch list.
When the clock started on 4 Pennsylvania Plaza’s first selection, we grabbed power forward and center Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Clippers). He was the second PF/C taken after Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee) was taken first overall.
The rest of the first-round picks went as follows, Stephen Curry (Golden State) went second overall, followed by Luka Doncic (Dallas). LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) went fifth, James Harden (Houston) sixth, Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota) seventh, Nikola Jokic (Denver) eighth, Damian Lillard (Portland) ninth, and Devin Booker (Phoenix) went tenth.
Our next pick in the second round was center Andre Drummond from Cleveland. He is the only player in our lineup with projected triple digits in steals (127) and blocks (108). Drummond was the second natural center taken in the draft after Towns in round one.
As the draft entered the third round, we snagged another center, selecting Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz. Gobert is projected for the second-best blocks on the team with 146. Like Drummond, he’s also projected to collect over 900 assists.
Armed with three centers and one power forward at this point, we turned our attention to other positions. DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio) was still available and became our fifth pick. Just like in many of our mock drafts, DeRozan was bypassed round after round and fell into our lap time and time again. DeRozan is projected to score the second-most points on the team with 1534, compared to Davis’ 1812.
In the fifth round, we decided that you can never have enough of a good thing and took another center, this time Jusuf Nurkic from the Portland Trail Blazers. Serving as a utility player, Nurkic is on pace for 86 steals and 103 blocks on top of 1157 points.
We had a handful of players in our queue when the draft reached the sixth round. As the most clueless guy in the draft room, we surged ahead with our strategy, which landed us Dejounte Murray from San Antonio. He was our first point guard selection, who may score close to 1000 points to go along with 132 steals and 455 rebounds.
With a handful of important positions left to fill, we grabbed Charolette’s Devonte’ Graham to be our main guard. The PG/SG should collect 1243 points with 409 assists and 66 steals. He is one of three players who failed to meet our triple-digit requirements for steals or blocks. In the eighth round, we selected OG Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors. OG is on pace for 109 steals to accompany his 927 points and 393 rebounds.
The snake draft continued into the ninth round, leaving us with six selections left. Mikal Bridges from the Phoenix Suns was our next selection. Bridges will fill in our forward position and brings a projected 132 steals to the team.
As a loyal fan who tends to pick fantasy teams based on personal preferences, we selected our first and only New York Knicks player, RJ Barrett. The SG/SF will serve as a utility player who plans to chip in 91 steals and 1198 points.
By this point, we had all but filled out our main roster, so the final four spots went to bench players. First up in the 11th round was Robert Covington out of Portland. Robert was one of the few remaining players with triple digits in the categories we cared about, with 117 steals and 81 blocks. Those numbers are not that bad up against his 866 projected points.
In the 12th round, we took another center, this time Brook Lopez from Milwaukee. He’s projected for 148 blocks, which is supposed to be the second-highest total on the team. His steal numbers may be low at 46, but he’s also on pace for 844 points. With only two picks left, we grabbed Donte DiVincenzo, also from Milwaukee. He’s another player projected to collect 103 steals and score 816 points.
Our final selection in the 14th round was Matisse Thybulle from the Philadelphia 76ers. Matisse was one of the last players on the board, with many steals, 124. The SG/SF is our weakest entry on the bench with just a projected 422 points, but he is on pace to secure the fourth most steals on the team.
Based on the 2020-21 projections, Davis (1st round) should be our best player with an estimated 3468 points. That should be 433 points ahead of Drummond (2nd round). These two players are the only ones projected to amass over 3000 points, while eight other teammates should collect between 2000-3000. There should be four players who don’t reach the 2000 point mark; Bridges, Lopez, DiVincenzo, and Thybulle.
Drummond will be our rebound leader with 940, just 13 points ahead of Gobert with his 927. The next closest teammate will be Nurkic, who is on pace for 641 and Davis with 640. No one else on the team should eclipse 500 rebounds, with Thybulle coming in last with just 146.
Charlotte’s Graham should be our assist leader with 409, 53 ahead of DeRozan (356), and 87 ahead of Murray. The trio will be our highest scorers in the category since no one else is on pace for over 300. Only two players will fail to reach the century mark, Lopez (99) and Covington (89).
Half of our team is projected to collect over 100 steals, with Bridges and Murray leading the way with 132. The player who will collect the least steals, Lopez (46), will make up for those numbers with the second most blocks (148). In terms of blocks, only five of our 14 players are projected to collect more than 100, with Davis leading the way with 151.
Turnovers are the only league category that we could lose points in, and 10 of our players are projected to finish with over 100 turnovers. We accept that these players will lose us points; we just figured those numbers would come out of their points scored category and not hamper our chances to win weekly.
According to Yahoo’s early matchup predictions, 4 Penn Plaza is on pace to score the most points in the league, securing the top spot by 309 total points.
We will spare you all the pictures and just break down the critical projected stats for you to read.
As a team, we are supposed to amass a total of 32,358 total points. We know that majority of those points will come from our centers since we are the only team to eclipse 10,000 points in the category. It is only one of two categories that we are projected to lead the league; the other is with shooting guards. We are on pace to score 8002 points from that position, a small cushion of 54 points.
Since our team comprises primary centers and shooting guards, our numbers in the other three categories are not as impressive.
According to early projections, we will be the second to the worse team in terms of points scored by power forwards (5521), shooting forwards (2074), and point guards (6325).
When you dig deeper in the numbers, Giannis Akumpo could be the only team to score 10,000 points with their PF, which means we are on pace to score less than 4,897 points than the league leader. In the shooting forward’s department, Ka’Wine & Dine will be the only team to collect over 9000 points. Two teams are on pace to score 2000 points, and we are one of them, putting us about 7193 points out of first in the category. Finally, Caldwell-Pope Mobile is supposed to score 14,300 points from their point guards, a cushion of 2000 over second place and 7,975 points ahead of us.
By joining The Bubble this season, we have officially managed a team in all four major sports. We have never drafted a projected number one team, so it will be interesting to see how the 2020-21 fantasy basketball season will go. Follow 4 Penn Plaza‘s season on social media @keepingthestats and facebook.com/keepingthestats.