It’s the first week of September. Fall hasn’t quite hit — especially in our Fort Lauderdale offices, with a Miami Heat index well over 100 degrees Wednesday — but it is getting closer. The most obvious sign of that is the NFL’s kickoff this weekend, but for me, there is a more meaningful harbinger: Our first Fantasy basketball mock draft.


One reason to schedule a mock draft so early is as a kind of test drive of the projections and rankings. We’ve still got more than a month and a half until the season starts, and another month or so until draft season really kicks off, so this is the time to figure out where everything is supposed to fit.

For example, it is pretty clear I have Pau Gasol ranked too high. He went 40th overall in our 10-team, H2H points league Wednesday, whereas I had him ranked 21st in my top-200 for this format. That could turn out to be a huge value for Igor Mello, who paired him with Kevin Love at the four-five turn, but it’s no sure thing. Pau was solid yet again in 2015-16, averaging 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 blocks per game while appearing in 72, but the 36-year-old went from a Chicago team that desperately needed to ride him, to a San Antonio Spurs team that is going to lighten his load. Minutes and shots are going to be a bit less plentiful for Gasol, who also carries obvious injury risk. At No. 40 overall, I think he’s a fine gamble; not so much at the end of the second round.

I think I came away from the draft with a solid team. I was able to balance out the risk of Anthony Davis at No. 9 overall by grabbing John Wall and his huge assists totals in the second round. However, in my next draft, I am going to make one change: I’m going to focus on forward earlier.

Anthony Davis is terrific, and his 39.7 Fantasy points per game will be well worth the draft slot if he can just manage to stay healthy for 75 games (for the first time in his career). And my combination of Davis-Wall-Al Horford to open the season gives me three of my top-five at their positions, a nice place to end up.

However, I might have been better off snagging someone like Paul George in the second round, because small forward gets shallow really quick. Heath smartly paired George with Stephen Curry , and Scott White also did well by grabbing Kevin Durant in the first round and Blake Griffin in the second; add on Nicolas Batum in the fifth, and Scott has arguably the strongest stable of forwards in the game.

And, the good news for Scott is that he didn’t have to sacrifice much else to get that strength at the shallowest position in the NBA. Potential breakout star Dennis Schroder is a solid value in the fourth round, Darren Collison could have a huge season in Sacramento, and Rajon Rondo in the seventh round gives him really terrific depth — even if I am wary of the whole Chicago situation this season. Add in Brook Lopez in the eighth round, and Scott comes away with arguably my favorite draft of the league.

Mine didn’t go so well overall. There is a lot of boom-or-bust on this roster, with Andrew Wiggins and C.J. McCollum hopefully ready to take another step forward, and the likes of Tyreke Evans , Dwyane Wade and Jrue Holiday all representing major risks. Holiday in particular enters the season with an extremely cloudy outlook after announcing he will be out indefinitely dealing with a family matter; he and Chris Bosh are the toughest players to peg right now, and both stayed on the board until the reserve picks started in Round 11.

The good news is this was just a test drive. I didn’t total the car, but I’m not totally pleased with how my first ride went either. I have some changes to make to my rankings, and maybe some tips to learn from Scott — he’s not just a baseball expert, apparently!

This is a H2H scoring format, with one point per point, rebound, steal and block, two per assists; you lose one point for every turnover as well. Our rosters required one PG, SG, SF, PF and C each; one forward and guard; and three flex, with three bench spots as well.

Our draft order is as follows:

1. Igor Mello, Editor

2. Michael Gallagher,

3. Jared Dubin, Writer

4. Brandon Wise, Editor

5. Heath Cummings, Senior Fantasy Writer

6. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer

7. Kyle McKeown,

8. Joe Polito, Social Media Coordinator/Fantasy Basketball Co-Host

9. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer

10. Joseph Levin, Producer

Mock Draft Results
Round by Round
Round 1
1MelloRussell Westbrook, PG, OKC
2GallagherJames Harden, SG, HOU
3DubinLeBron James, SF, CLE
4WiseDeMarcus Cousins, C, SAC
5CummingsStephen Curry, PG, GS
6WhiteKevin Durant, SF, GS
7McKeownGiannis Antetokounmpo, SF, MIL
8PolitoChris Paul, PG, LAC
9TowersAnthony Davis, PF, NO
10LevinDamian Lillard, PG, POR
Round 2
11LevinKarl-Anthony Towns, C, MIN
12TowersJohn Wall, PG, WAS
13PolitoKyrie Irving, PG, CLE
14McKeownHassan Whiteside, C, MIA
15WhiteBlake Griffin, PF, LAC
16CummingsPaul George, SF, IND
17WiseCarmelo Anthony, SF, NY
18DubinIsaiah Thomas, PG, BOS
19GallagherAndre Drummond, C, DET
20MelloKyle Lowry, PG, TOR
Round 3
21MelloNikola Vucevic, C, ORL
22GallagherKawhi Leonard, SF, SA
23DubinPaul Millsap, PF, ATL
24WiseKemba Walker, PG, CHA
25CummingsJimmy Butler, SG, CHI
26WhiteDeMar DeRozan, SG, TOR
27McKeownD’Angelo Russell, PG, LAL
28PolitoGordon Hayward, SF, UTA
29TowersAl Horford, C, BOS
30LevinLaMarcus Aldridge, PF, SA
Round 4
31LevinVictor Oladipo, SG, OKC
32TowersCJ McCollum, SG, POR
33PolitoDraymond Green, PF, GS
34McKeownNikola Jokic, PF, DEN
35WhiteDennis Schroder, PG, ATL
36CummingsReggie Jackson, PG, DET
37WiseBen Simmons, SF, PHI
38DubinDerrick Favors, PF, UTA
39GallagherEric Bledsoe, PG, PHO
40MelloPau Gasol, C, SA
Round 5
41MelloKevin Love, PF, CLE
42GallagherMike Conley, PG, MEM
43DubinKlay Thompson, SG, GS
44WiseGoran Dragic, PG, MIA
45CummingsKhris Middleton, SG, MIL
46WhiteNicolas Batum, SF, CHA
47McKeownKristaps Porzingis, PF, NY
48PolitoMarc Gasol, C, MEM
49TowersAndrew Wiggins, SF, MIN
50LevinElfrid Payton, PG, ORL
Round 6
51LevinDevin Booker, SG, PHO
52TowersTyreke Evans, PG, NO
53PolitoBrandon Knight, SG, PHO
54McKeownRicky Rubio, PG, MIN
55WhiteDarren Collison, PG, SAC
56CummingsDwight Howard, C, ATL
57WiseDeAndre Jordan, C, LAC
58DubinJeremy Lin, PG, BKN
59GallagherChandler Parsons, SF, MEM
60MelloRudy Gay, SF, SAC
Round 7
61MelloDirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL
62GallagherEmmanuel Mudiay, PG, DEN
63DubinJonas Valanciunas, C, TOR
64WiseEvan Fournier, SF, ORL
65CummingsBrandon Ingram, SF, LAL
66WhiteRajon Rondo, PG, CHI
67McKeownAaron Gordon, PF, ORL
68PolitoKris Dunn, PG, MIN
69TowersJeff Teague, PG, IND
70LevinTobias Harris, SF, DET
Round 8
71LevinThaddeus Young, SF, IND
72TowersDwyane Wade, SG, CHI
73PolitoClint N’Dumba-Capela, C, HOU
74McKeownJabari Parker, PF, MIL
75WhiteBrook Lopez, C, BKN
76CummingsJulius Randle, PF, LAL
77WiseHarrison Barnes, SF, DAL
78DubinGeorge Hill, PG, UTA
79GallagherMyles Turner, PF, IND
80MelloMonta Ellis, SG, IND
Round 9
81MelloBradley Beal, SG, WAS
82GallagherRudy Gobert, C, UTA
83DubinSteven Adams, C, OKC
84WiseSerge Ibaka, PF, ORL
85CummingsNerlens Noel, C, PHI
86WhiteDeron Williams, PG, DAL
87McKeownJordan Clarkson, PG, LAL
88PolitoDanilo Gallinari, SF, DEN
89TowersNikola Mirotic, PF, CHI
90LevinDerrick Rose, PG, NY
Round 10
91LevinRyan Anderson, PF, HOU
92TowersEnes Kanter, C, OKC
93PolitoSergio Rodriguez, PG, PHI
94McKeownJustise Winslow, SF, MIA
95WhiteJoakim Noah, C, NY
96CummingsJae Crowder, SF, BOS
97WiseMarkieff Morris, PF, WAS
98DubinRodney Hood, SG, UTA
99GallagherZach LaVine, SG, MIN
100MelloZach Randolph, PF, MEM
Round 11
101MelloChris Bosh, PF, MIA
102GallagherJusuf Nurkic, C, DEN
103DubinMason Plumlee, C, POR
104WiseWesley Matthews, SG, DAL
105CummingsBuddy Hield, SG, NO
106WhiteEvan Turner, SF, POR
107McKeownMarcus Smart, PG, BOS
108PolitoAndrew Bogut, C, DAL
109TowersJrue Holiday, PG, NO
110LevinAvery Bradley, SG, BOS
Round 12
111LevinOtto Porter, SF, WAS
112TowersJahlil Okafor, C, PHI
113PolitoDario Saric, SF, PHI
114McKeownRondae Hollis-Jefferson, SG, BKN
115WhiteMarcus Morris, PF, DET
116CummingsJamal Murray, SG, DEN
117WiseMichael Carter-Williams, PG, MIL
118DubinRobert Covington, SF, PHI
119GallagherKenneth Faried, PF, DEN
120MelloTrevor Ariza, SF, HOU
Round 13
121MelloJ.R. Smith, SG, CLE
122GallagherGreg Monroe, C, MIL
123DubinJJ Redick, SG, LAC
124WiseRobin Lopez, C, CHI
125CummingsWill Barton, SG, DEN
126WhiteMarcin Gortat, C, WAS
127McKeownGary Harris, SG, DEN
128PolitoTy Lawson, PG, SAC
129TowersEric Gordon, SG, HOU
130LevinTony Parker, PG, SA
Team by Team
Heath Cummings
1.5Stephen Curry, PG, GS
2.6Paul George, SF, IND
3.5Jimmy Butler, SG, CHI
4.6Reggie Jackson, PG, DET
5.5Khris Middleton, SG, MIL
6.6Dwight Howard, C, ATL
7.5Brandon Ingram, SF, LAL
8.6Julius Randle, PF, LAL
9.5Nerlens Noel, C, PHI
10.6Jae Crowder, SF, BOS
11.5Buddy Hield, SG, NO
12.6Jamal Murray, SG, DEN
13.5Will Barton, SG, DEN
Jared Dubin
1.3LeBron James, SF, CLE
2.8Isaiah Thomas, PG, BOS
3.3Paul Millsap, PF, ATL
4.8Derrick Favors, PF, UTA
5.3Klay Thompson, SG, GS
6.8Jeremy Lin, PG, BKN
7.3Jonas Valanciunas, C, TOR
8.8George Hill, PG, UTA
9.3Steven Adams, C, OKC
10.8Rodney Hood, SG, UTA
11.3Mason Plumlee, C, POR
12.8Robert Covington, SF, PHI
13.3JJ Redick, SG, LAC
Michael Gallagher
1.2James Harden, SG, HOU
2.9Andre Drummond, C, DET
3.2Kawhi Leonard, SF, SA
4.9Eric Bledsoe, PG, PHO
5.2Mike Conley, PG, MEM
6.9Chandler Parsons, SF, MEM
7.2Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, DEN
8.9Myles Turner, PF, IND
9.2Rudy Gobert, C, UTA
10.9Zach LaVine, SG, MIN
11.2Jusuf Nurkic, C, DEN
12.9Kenneth Faried, PF, DEN
13.2Greg Monroe, C, MIL
Joseph Levin
1.10Damian Lillard, PG, POR
2.1Karl-Anthony Towns, C, MIN
3.10LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, SA
4.1Victor Oladipo, SG, OKC
5.10Elfrid Payton, PG, ORL
6.1Devin Booker, SG, PHO
7.10Tobias Harris, SF, DET
8.1Thaddeus Young, SF, IND
9.10Derrick Rose, PG, NY
10.1Ryan Anderson, PF, HOU
11.10Avery Bradley, SG, BOS
12.1Otto Porter, SF, WAS
13.10Tony Parker, PG, SA
Kyle McKeown
1.7Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, MIL
2.4Hassan Whiteside, C, MIA
3.7D’Angelo Russell, PG, LAL
4.4Nikola Jokic, PF, DEN
5.7Kristaps Porzingis, PF, NY
6.4Ricky Rubio, PG, MIN
7.7Aaron Gordon, PF, ORL
8.4Jabari Parker, PF, MIL
9.7Jordan Clarkson, PG, LAL
10.4Justise Winslow, SF, MIA
11.7Marcus Smart, PG, BOS
12.4Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SG, BKN
13.7Gary Harris, SG, DEN
Igor Mello
1.1Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC
2.10Kyle Lowry, PG, TOR
3.1Nikola Vucevic, C, ORL
4.10Pau Gasol, C, SA
5.1Kevin Love, PF, CLE
6.10Rudy Gay, SF, SAC
7.1Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL
8.10Monta Ellis, SG, IND
9.1Bradley Beal, SG, WAS
10.10Zach Randolph, PF, MEM
11.1Chris Bosh, PF, MIA
12.10Trevor Ariza, SF, HOU
13.1J.R. Smith, SG, CLE
Joe Polito
1.8Chris Paul, PG, LAC
2.3Kyrie Irving, PG, CLE
3.8Gordon Hayward, SF, UTA
4.3Draymond Green, PF, GS
5.8Marc Gasol, C, MEM
6.3Brandon Knight, SG, PHO
7.8Kris Dunn, PG, MIN
8.3Clint N’Dumba-Capela, C, HOU
9.8Danilo Gallinari, SF, DEN
10.3Sergio Rodriguez, PG, PHI
11.8Andrew Bogut, C, DAL
12.3Dario Saric, SF, PHI
13.8Ty Lawson, PG, SAC
Chris Towers
1.9Anthony Davis, PF, NO
2.2John Wall, PG, WAS
3.9Al Horford, C, BOS
4.2CJ McCollum, SG, POR
5.9Andrew Wiggins, SF, MIN
6.2Tyreke Evans, PG, NO
7.9Jeff Teague, PG, IND
8.2Dwyane Wade, SG, CHI
9.9Nikola Mirotic, PF, CHI
10.2Enes Kanter, C, OKC
11.9Jrue Holiday, PG, NO
12.2Jahlil Okafor, C, PHI
13.9Eric Gordon, SG, HOU
Scott White
1.6Kevin Durant, SF, GS
2.5Blake Griffin, PF, LAC
3.6DeMar DeRozan, SG, TOR
4.5Dennis Schroder, PG, ATL
5.6Nicolas Batum, SF, CHA
6.5Darren Collison, PG, SAC
7.6Rajon Rondo, PG, CHI
8.5Brook Lopez, C, BKN
9.6Deron Williams, PG, DAL
10.5Joakim Noah, C, NY
11.6Evan Turner, SF, POR
12.5Marcus Morris, PF, DET
13.6Marcin Gortat, C, WAS
Brandon Wise
1.4DeMarcus Cousins, C, SAC
2.7Carmelo Anthony, SF, NY
3.4Kemba Walker, PG, CHA
4.7Ben Simmons, SF, PHI
5.4Goran Dragic, PG, MIA
6.7DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC
7.4Evan Fournier, SF, ORL
8.7Harrison Barnes, SF, DAL
9.4Serge Ibaka, PF, ORL
10.7Markieff Morris, PF, WAS
11.4Wesley Matthews, SG, DAL
12.7Michael Carter-Williams, PG, MIL
13.4Robin Lopez, C, CHI

Source: CBS Sports Headlines / 2016 Fantasy Basketball Draft Prep: 10-Team H2H Mock Draft