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Liberty Ballers SBNBA Fantasy Mock Draft Email Thread #1: The Picks

An inside look into the shenanigans of the SB Nation NBA mock draft from the Liberty Ballers email thread.

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For the past five years or so, SB Nation's network of NBA blogs has performed the enviable task of having a fantasy mock draft among the blog managers of each team. In prior years, Michael Levin went bonkers, and then I took over and was more tame. You can spend an unnecessary amount of time reading the results from 20132014, and 2015 (no thread) at the embedded links. In those drafts, we acquired DeAndre Jordan for Spencer Hawes (ahahahaha), predicted the Kevin Love trade, traded up for Anthony Bennett, traded up instead of down for Dario Saric, got Mario Hezonja and Stanley Johnson in last year's haul, voided almost all of our trades, and just generally engaged in a lot of shenanigans.

This year was, well, not as eventful on the surface. But we tried.

We broke our thread into events that happened - the draft picks we made at 1, 24, and 26 - and the events that didn't, like all the Jahlil Okafor trade proposals made that went absolutely nowhere, along with asinine suggestions like getting Dante Exum for literal dirt and trading Okafor for basically nothing. These emails are unfiltered, and we all look stupid. That thread is more entertaining and will be another post.

Here is a mostly unedited email chain describing the events that went down.


Sean O'Connor: Hey guys,

I'm leading the SBN Mock Draft effort for the second year in a row. Will keep you updated on it all but if you have any ideas for people you want either in the draft at 24/26 or trade targets I'm all ears.

I'm Simmons for pick one and it'll take a lot of convincing to get me off that.

(note: nobody argued for Ingram in the thread, so literally no convincing happened)

Marc Whittington: Trade targets: Wade Baldwin, Denzel Valentine; 24, 26 Targets: DeAndre Bembry, Patrick McCaw, Isaia Cordinier

Michael Baumann: (I know I'm not really part of the blog anymore but) MUST HAVE FURKAN KORKMAZ

Wesley Share: If we take Cordinier at 24/26 in this mock I'm resigning from LB. (note: as of this time, Wesley Share has not submitted his resignation letter)

Kyle Neubeck: A Cordinier skeptic? SHUN THE NON BELIEVER

Share: I'm somehow the only one. I'd take him in the early-mid second.

Derek Bodner: "19 year old kid tore up a league of grown men with an improving outside shot, elite athleticism, and showing real potential off the bounce, then struggled in one game against high schoolers"

Jake Fischer: I think sometimes people undervalue Euros' production in weak leagues to a fault. Like, who did Giannis ever play against? If you have the physical tools to survive in the league, it will likely translate.

Bodner: I think we get too nitpicky about form and taking a snapshot of current results when talking about 18/19 y/o kids. Can't ignore progress. This is a kid that didn't shoot it at all prior to this year. For him to be an even streaky (in form or results) outside shooter was an accomplishment


Whittington: Also not sure why the assumption is that he has a poor IQ and/or feel. The kid put up a 20% AST rate, had a positive AST:TO ratio, and got steals at a high rate. That all seems to indicate a positive understanding of the game to me.

Michael Levin: I endorse Isaia Cordinier as a lottery pick and I endorse this mock draft email thread becoming entirely about Isaia Cordinier.

Share: For sure, not downplaying it. I just think too many people saw a Draft Express video and talked themselves into him as a real guy when he barely knows how to play basketball. Think there'll be real prospects with much, much better shots at being good NBA players in the top 30-40. Like Zagorac! Take Zagorac please.

(skips ahead to the draft day trade proposal post, about 2,500 words in all)

O'Connor: Alright, so we're far away from 24 and 26. Who would you like me to consider in that range? I'm not proposing any deals for now.

Carey: Bring me Malik Beasley

Neubeck: McCaw and Cordinier, thank you kindly.

Share: Assuming we make both picks, guess one should realistically be a stash....Zagorac, Cornelie, Yabusele are all solid prospects. Malachi, Brogdon, Ulis and I guess Beasley work for me too.

Fischer: I'm also in favor of Beasley.

Bodner: Anyone but Donotwante Murray.

Whittington: I'm against Beasley. One-way player who only shoots 3's. I am for McCaw or Bembry with the first pick, and Cordinier with the second to stash.

O'Connor: Picks 14-23 for posterity: Baldwin, Ellenson, Sabonis, Korkmaz, Prince, Diallo, Hernangomez, Jackson, Zicic, Ulis

If we take Cordinier, we should wait until 26. Clips are desperate to get someone to plug in now, so if we want someone like that (like, DeAndre Bembry) I say we go for it now. Agreed?


Levin: I'm okay with either Bembry or McCaw and definitely Cordinier at 26.

Fischer: My vote is Bembry over McCaw. Just as athletic, already a more refined game. All the skills in the world for the modern day perimeter game.

O'Connor: Well except for the shooting, you gotta pray or do some voodoo for that.

O'Connor: Yeah as much as I'm not really in on Cordinier personally, there's enough support here where I'm doing it at 26, plus it makes sense from a roster perspective. Anyone else?

Whittington: I would be happy with either of them (Bembry or McCaw). If you prefer one, go ahead and take him, I think.

Carey: I'll continue to stan for Malik Beasley.

O'Connor: I'm taking Bembry. He ranked highest on our staff big board, also I like him the most. I think LA was going to take him and they asked for 24 in exchange 33 and C.J. Wilcox. Told them no, because Wilcox couldn't get time with that bench.

(LB takes DeAndre Bembry 24th overall)

O'Connor: LA Clippers wanted Bembry. They're trying to trade out of 25 now.

Fischer: Atta boy, Seany!

O'Connor: Gary Payton II went to Phoenix with the 25th pick, because the Suns are trading for everything. I'm waiting until the deadline to put in the Cordinier pick because I want to make sure he's in before I make the pick.

Carey: Cordinier's staying in. I endorse his candidacy.

O'Connor: I just made the pick. So we're done here, unless we decide we want to trade for number 30 and make a run at it?

Carey: What do we even have to trade for #30?


Fischer: I honestly would trade Jah for 30. Y'all know how I feel about that.

O'Connor: That would be phenomenally dumb and you both know it.

Whittington: Yeah, at least I was kidding.

Fischer: I know it would be dumb value, but that's how drastically I weigh his eating minutes next year will negatively impact every other players' development. Can't stress that enough. Every minute he plays in a game and every second he spends working with a player dev coach is time that could have been otherwise spent on growing Simmons/Ingram, Embiid, Nerlens, Grant, Richaun and maybe Saric.

Rappaport: We should probably use the Lakers pick as sweetener to dump his contract.


And I think that's how we should end it. So we traded nobody (which is against our site's values) and endorsed trading the Lakers pick to dump Okafor's contract. Uhhhh.

But we did draft Simmons, Bembry, and a potential draft-and-stash in Mike Levin favorite Isaia Cordinier. I think we did okay. Check in later for all the trades that did not happen!

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