Dynasty Deconstructed: Rebuilding a Fantasy Basketball Team – The Takeover (Part 1)
If you’ve followed sports for any period of time in your life, you’re guaranteed to have questioned decisions made by executives and General Managers in charge of your favorite teams that leave you scratching your head and wondering why’d they do that? Why would you trade away one of the best and most exciting young players in the league away for a bag of peanuts?!
Dynasty leagues are the closest thing that arm chair general managers can get to feeling like the president of team operations by deciding the direction and fate of their team. This is the reason dynasty leagues are my drug of choice when it comes to the world of fantasy sports. Putting your savvy up to the test against other seasoned sharks who are looking to find the next best thing
The journey of rebuilding a dynasty team is one of the greatest challenges that any fantasy owner can take on. Playing in re-draft leagues and smaller keeper leagues are fun and dandy however nothing compares to the joy that comes with the fruits of labor over years of decisions culminating into being the last team standing as league champion.
Scrounging the waiver wire to find solutions for your squad is like putting lipstick on a pig when owners have the ability to keep a player for the duration of their career if that’s their prerogative, it might help in the short term but contingency plans must be put in place to build a core that can compete season after season. The inaugural draft during a dynasty league plays an essential part of bringing your vision to life of how you wanna shape the team you’ll be going to war with in the future. That’s if you have the benefit of taking part of the start up festivities, otherwise chances have it if an invitation is being sent out to join the league, it’s to replace an owner of a dead team or someone not up to up to the challenge ahead.
Foresight, patience, shrewd trade negotiating skills, having a keen eye for player developmental arcs, understanding the entire landscape of the rosters in the league and where you fall within the league’s hierarchy of the pretenders and the contenders, are all just scratching the surface of things that have to be taken into heavy consideration when figuring out your best path to the cream of the crop while rebuilding a dynasty roster.
The purpose of series is intended to be a retrospective analysis of a lowly roster i took over in the summer of 2011 and the process of how it went from a perennial cellar dweller to a league champion, and review the positives and negatives of my processes throughout the rebuild from July 2011 to present.
- 12 team H2H each category (Pts, FG%, FT%, 3PM, AST, REB, STL,BLK, TO)
- League originated in 2008. Took over the team after the completion of season 4.
- 2 round Annual rookie draft takes place after the completion of NBA Draft & start of NBA summer league. Picks can be traded at the leisure of each owner
- Top 6 teams make the playoffs with byes for the top 2 seeds. 3 round championship bracket
Now let’s get to the fun part! This is the beauty of a roster i inherited once upon a time..
For organizational purposes players will be deemed as nucleus players, key contributors, developmental assets, and waiver fodder
2011 Original Roster
Nucleus players: Stephen Curry (24), Tyreke Evans (23), Blake Griffin (23)
Key contributors: Zach Randolph (31) , Tyson Chandler (28)
Developmental assets: OJ Mayo (24)
Waiver Fodder: Gilbert Arenas(30) , Vince Carter(36), Corey Magette(33), Anthony Toliver(27), Brandon Haywood (33) , Hasheem Thabeet (25) , Baron Davis (32) , Rashard Lewis (33)
With the benefit of retrospect and a time machine that dropped us right back into the summer of 2011, it’s interesting to take a look at the original roster. Lord knows, i was a conductor on the Tyreke Evans bandwagon coming off his rookie of the year campaign when he averaged 20-5-5 on 45% FG, so i was delighted to acquire a roster with what i thought was a future all star.
Blake Griffin was fresh off his rookie of the year campaign where he put up 22-12-4 on 51% FG and earned his right as one of the most exciting and best dynasty assets in the league.
Year 3 was the apex of his troubles with his ankle injuries for Steph Curry, although when he was on the court he was showcasing the potential to be the rare high volume high efficiency shot maker as his career shooting splits through his first two seasons were 18 points-rebounds-6 assists on 47% fg 44% 3pt and a nasty 58% true shooting percentage.
Overall, this roster had a couple appealing pieces but had absolutely nothing else in terms of players that had value on the trading block or anything else that could be counted on being apart of the future iteration of this roster when it would be ready to compete. It was time to get to work.
The Opening Trades (2011-2013):
Adding insult to injury, not only did i inherit a roster that couldn’t compete with the top dawgs in the league, but the previous owner in a half baked attempt to turning around the team traded away 2 years worth of 1st round picks which hamstrung the ability to rebuild the young core through the yearly rookie draft.
1. These are all real transactions agreed and negotiated upon between two independent owners in the league.
2. All trades will be highlighted red indicating what was received in transactions*
OJ Mayo (24)
Channing Frye (27)
Miami Heat receive
Demar Derozan (22)
2nd round pick
Stephen Curry (24)
Blake Griffin (23)
Tyson Chandler (30)
2 2nd round Picks
Miami Heat receives
Kevin Durant (23)
Luol Deng (26)
Roy Hibbert (24)
2nd round pick
Zach Randolph (31)
Tony Allen (29)
2nd round pick
Miami Heat receive
Enes Kanter (21)
Derrick Williams (21)
Darren Collison (24)
Byron Mullens (23)
NYK 1st round Pick (Austin Rivers, 8th overall)
Miami Heat receive
Gordon Hayward (22)
1st round pick (Andre Drummond, 9th overall)
Andre Iguodala (28)
The first major transaction after taking over this team was trading away the future 2 time MVP, in a deal to get the 3x reigning scoring champion, Kevin Durant.
Can you blame me? As much as i loved Steph, this is a deal that i would probably make every time considering the information that we had at the time.
It’s hard to keep it in perspective, but once upon a time Roy Hibbert was one of the most feared rim protectors in the league at the time, and one of the main thorns in the path of Lebron James quest towards the finals. His base as a anchor in blocks made him an attractive piece to build around for the future. Luol Deng probably has a strong case in litigation against Tom Thibadaeu for the wear and tear he put on his knees in Chicago, likely to get lost in history but during his prime he was one of the most steady two way forwards in the league and as a fantasy option, off volume alone.
One of the unique aspects of dynasty leagues is the revolving door of aspirations. Taking advantage of owners looking to make a deep playoff run is always one way to jump start the rebuilding process and pick up pieces that will be able to assist your realistic window of contention. Trading away Andre Iguodala ended up netting me two young growth assets in Gordon Hayward and Andre Drummond who would become one of the pillars of the rebuild.
After 1+ years on the post the team looked like this after the 2013 season:
Nucleus players: Kevin Durant (24), Andre Drummond (20)
Key contributors: Luol Deng (26), Roy Hibbert (24) , Darren Collison (24), Demar Derozan (22) , Tyreke Evans (25)
Developmental assets: Austin Rivers (21), Gordon Hayward (22) , Enes Kanter (22) , Derrick Williams (22),
Waiver Fodder: Michael Beasley (25), Gerald Green (27) , JJ Hickson (24)
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series….