Ahhh another NBA season…Another draft day…
The fantasy basketball season is under way…And believe me peoples, for me and my boys in the AAANYC league, this is serious business.
With fantasy hoops, your draft strategy could turn in an instant. Your whole season could twist in the wind with a pre-season sleeper pick-up (Luol Deng), a pre-season night-club incident (Jamal Tinsley), an eight game suspension for fighting (‘Melo), or a broken fibula (Yao Ming)…Ah, last year’s up-and-down woes are over.
Well, yesterday, we held our AAANYC draft of which I’m glad to say is over…
As a fantasy vet, most of the leagues that I’ve been involved with have utilized Yahoo!, CBS Sportsline, and ESPN.
Each site separates itself through unique bells and whistles that come across through drag-and-drops, special color features , featured tabs with stats, or even through the use of profile icons, and on my end, I’ve been most impressed by Yahoo! because of their ease-of-use, search, content, and most importantly their draft applet.
Yet, when our AAANYC Commish mandated that we will be switching over to NBA.com for this year’s league, I have to admit that I was intrigued by the switch because I hadn’t tried the tools provided by a league site. So, I figured that there was no better time to try the tools utilized by a professional league like NBA.com, and why beef about a move.
What was I thinking…?
At first try, my intrigue grew to nervousness.
From the get-go, the log-in process was a doozy. Several visits to the NBA.com site elicited invalid log-ins and a user is still provided a difficult time to find direction of where to log-in. After registering and discovering that one has to enter the league by not clicking your profile but by clicking through the word ‘Commissioner’, which has no tie-in for a non-commish, I do have to admit that there were a lot of cool icons and cute pics to go along with their message boards.
However, when you look at the whole enchilada, I feel like those features are the hot blonde in the fur coat…Looks good, but wait until you have a convo…This interface is a box of rocks.
I expected more from the interactive division of the NBA. After all, this is the league that debuted an exhibit in Second Life in May, and the league has done a great job of issuing past highlight packages and features on YouTube. Yet, my interest was left standing in the wind.
A league’s fantasy tools ARE something that a league office can control…Their “front door” if you will. Yet, believe me, with their fantasy draft kit tools, I almost tore apart my couch cushions. Here are my gripes:
(Please keep in mind that with these listed problems that this draft was held during ‘lunch hour’, which is an off-peak server time.)
1.) Applet Hell- First off, each team was given a choice to either conduct the draft through a HTML format or utilize the NBA’s new featured “Draft Applet.”
With the HTML version, there was no queue feature that allows you to list players that you potentially could or will draft. There was only a ‘Draft Player’ selection that didn’t work. Now, without a queue system or a ‘Draft Player’ icon that works, how the hell were you supposed to select a player?
After 15 minutes working before our draft was to start at noon. I gave up and made the immediate switch to the ‘Draft Applet.’
At noon, I learned that 8 out of our 10 teams have the same problem. Our result…Have each team switch into the applet version. Yet, because the ‘Draft Applet’ eats up so much memory, we extend the draft time of each selection for 2 minutes…Double Brutality.
Result – ‘Draft Applet’ gloms up my computer for not only the remainder of the draft, but also I have tremendous difficulty tabbing between GoogleNews, newspaper sites, and search engines in order to find info on players from news sites or through other fantasy sources, which is key in the late rounds.
I had to even shut the computer down after using the draft applet…Great feature…Yeah right.
I understand that memory can come and go with an applet. That comes and goes with tech. Yet, what was even worse was the panic that ensued when the player that you wanted to draft was on the board and you couldn’t make the selection.
My fifth round pick was Rasheed Wallace. He was on my hit-list at #41. (He’s lost 25 pounds, he’s a great three-point shooter, he has eligibility at two positions, and he’s a Carolina guy…Back off.) According to the draft applet, I had him listed as my immediate selection. Yet, his name disappeared when my fifth round pick came around. Panic ensued…Would I now be stuck with a Zach Randolph set loose in NYC?!
When the ‘Draft Player’ button didn’t work for selecting ‘Rasheed Wallace’, I practically pounded my ‘Enter’ button through my table. After thinking about the true definition of ‘Garbage In- Garbage Out’, I logged-out to register the pick.
My selection was made with ten seconds on the clock.
This occurred with three other teams in our draft.
Draft day is horrid enough on my nerves with me deciding whether or not to go with Chauncey Billups or Deron Williams. Why make the agony harder?
Dear NBA, please fix this problem for future users.
2.) No Positions Listed – I was shocked on this one. Yet, there’s a great feature that most leagues list the positions of players when you’re drafting for your team.
The feature is called ‘Position Eligibility!’
Throughout the whole draft, there were no positions other than ‘C’ and ‘All’ listed. Try wondering if Josh Smith will be eligible at either Small Forward/Guard, or pondering whether or not Boris Diaw will be listed as a Guard/Forward or Forward/Center with no positions listed in the applet…What is up!?
3.) Who was Drafted? – A main part of any draft day strategy is to be able to have either a listing of who has been taken at each position in order to see the supply run on a certain position that is in high demand…For the reasons why, check out Matt Berry’s Draft Day Manifesto on ESPN.com.
Other than a scrolling feature that left a long round list tallying all selections and took forever to scroll through, each team was left in the cold. The only way to keep record or see what positions had a run on them was by utilizing your memory or gleaming the basic info that says who is left from the players available off the main selection board.
Result – Major Glitch…No features that would allow you to toggle between positions available such as PG, SG, SF, PF, or C. Ouch! Give me the info that I need now…Choosing between Andrea Bargnani and Al Harrington is a desperate time.
4.) No Roster Records Found – Here’s a real wham-bango…Want to work a deal right away after the draft? You could not only access your team, but also the draft results for the league for six hours.
Now, any fantasy fan enjoys peering at the ‘Draft Results’ and nailing their boys after the draft. There’s nothing like wondering why the hell someone selected Ray Allen over Deron Williams, or why the hell Raymond Felton fell to the 58th pick in the sixth round. Immediately after the draft, this is time to fleece someone with a quick deal, or at least make someone feel edgy by sending a wacko offer that makes an owner wonder whether or not they should they have made that draft day deal for at least a couple of weeks.
Well, you couldn’t even access your own team’s roster until the early evening from a noon draft. What the hell? Where’s the fun after waiting for six hours….What a snafu.
Well, that’s enough banging on the NBA.com Fantasy game. Now, here are some features that I do enjoy with NBA.com’s fantasy tools.
1.) Week by Week Advanced Schedules – This was a problem with Yahoo!’s fantasy basketball leagues last year. With Fantasy Football, Yahoo! added this feature through a tab on their “My Team” page. I’m assuming that this feature will be added to all versions throughout Fantasy Sports. So, I guess this competitive advantage may be a moot point by now, but I’m listing this feature as an advantage.
I actually believe that this one feature is the real reason why our commissioner made the switch…That or as my boy, Andrew proclaimed midway through the draft, “he (our commish) received a $5 Off coupon for a LeBron replica jersey”
2.) Three-Way Trades – This is a good feature that Yahoo! does not have, and I haven’t discovered on ESPN.
The three-way trade…A very interesting feature and a very enjoyable tool…I’m already thinking of how I can work a deal that will allow me to send LeBron for a two player deal that will eventually allow me to capture assists and more points. I’ll give a nice dap to NBA.com for this solid feature.
3.) Better Icon and Profile Features – I have to hand it to the league…A cute bell and a nice whistle for allowing people to choose their team “Icons” or old player photos such as Dr.J, MJ, or Bird through the use of NBA photos or logos…Very cute. You can also add your own.
4.) News and Notes – I’m nervous about the journalistic integrity with the news and notes on a player. Will the league produce content that will take shots at a player, his team, or his coach?
They do provide a lot of news info and updated scoring features with each player profile. I would like to say that this is the reason why our league made the switch from Yahoo! this year. The player profiles are excellent.
I’m hoping that the news and notes features make up for the loss of my Rotowire content and fantasy experts who are not afraid to pull punches on sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline. If I don’t get the real scoop, I could be utilizing GoogleNews like a mo-fo this season.
With that said, the pressure for NBA.com is on…I’m just hoping that the league rents some server space from Amazon, Yahoo!, or Google because my “Enter” button just can’t take the panic any more.
In terms of an interface that loads fast and gives a ton of information at a click, I’m a Yahoo! fantasy guy. The Big Y! still receives a five-star rating in my book for their fantasy sports gaming tools.
Our league supposedly made the switch because of the now pay-for-realtime with Yahoo!’s stat-tracker, but I’m wondering about that replica jersey deal…;)
I’m now more than happy to pay the extra ten bucks rather than deal with the lags and shams of bad drop-down windows through NBA.com or any other site that doesn’t have the server space that Yahoo has.
Live from the Post-Draft War Room for the McCauley St. Aces,