Early thoughts from hoop drafts 

October, 2, 2008
Well, that didn't take long. For much of the summer, when prompted for whom I would take with the first pick in a fantasy hoops draft, I said Kobe Bryant. Love the points, the shooting, the all-around game, look, the guy is a monster. I participated in two drafts in August, and somehow Bryant fell to me with the fourth pick in one of them. In another I drafted him first overall.

Then, I had the good fortune of getting the first overall pick in another draft last week, and I chose LeBron James. OK, so you might be wondering, what happened in that span to change my mind? Did Kobe get injured again? Well, kinda, but it's nothing to worry about. Did LBJ shoot a million free throws, with the promise of a much better percentage? Well, he went to the Olympics, but I doubt free-throw shooting was a major prerequisite to attend.

Before this latest draft, I took a long look at our fine projections in ESPN Fantasy, and saw that Bryant was listed first, James third. I also took a gander at the rankings of our crack staff, of which I was part, and there was Bryant third, with James first. So what gives? Well, the projections are essentially the numbers we think each player will provide, and when they are spit into our Player Rater, James' low free-throw percentage took a toll. For the staff rankings, Brian McKitish and Guy Lake each placed Bryant fourth, with Chris Paul and Amare Stoudemire better.