1. Who should be the first pick in the draft: LeBron James or Kevin Durant?
Brandon Di Perno: LeBron James. He's a Magic Johnson type player, meaning he has an elite shooting percentage, and will get you many points, blocks, and assists. With the first pick in the draft you need to choose the best player in the world.
Matt Pineda: I believe LeBron should still be the number 1 draft choice. He will still make up for the fewer points with his steals, assists and blocks. Durant and James are about even on rebounds and I think LeBron fills that complete stat sheet much more than Durant does.
Surya Fernandez: Such a tough decision but I'd still go with LeBron and have Durant second, his usual spot when it comes to MVP voting (zing!). Yes, Durant is the undisputed #1 scoring option on his team and that definitely counts for something but the fact is that LeBron fills the box score like no other player.
Jay Ramos: You can't go wrong, but i'll go with Durant. Both players are still improving, and LeBron is the better player, but Durant is probably going to still be slightly more efficient offensively, and LeBron's defense won't show up in fantasy. Durant's assist numbers also continue to climb, so although he won't be the passer LeBron is, he's gaining a little ground.
2. Are Greg Oden and Michael Beasley worth drafting? How good will they be?
Brandon: No, not unless you need a bench player and are in a really large league. Beasley won't get enough playing time to make him a decent fantasy pick up like in previous years, and we still haven't seen Oden compete for large periods of time.
Jay: No, they aren't. I'm not convinced Greg Oden will be in the NBA very long to begin with, and Michael is going to have to prove he can put the basketball in the hole with some efficiency. He may be a decent source of points on a fantasy bench, but it's not valuable at 43 percent shooting.
Matt: Oden and Beasley are not worth drafting. Oden will not be a consistent player and Beasley is so unproven on this team. He is still behind Battier on the forwards depth chart and until he emerges as a worthy bench player, you can't put stock in him as a reserve.
Surya: I wouldn't draft them knowing they won't be plugged into every game. Much like Mike Miller's role on the Heat, they could sit for stretches of the season before being called upon to play. And we still don't know what their role will be on the team yet as it's still up in the air.
3. Is Mario Chalmers finally the starting point guard your fantasy team needs?
Jay: The answer is, as in real life, YES, but it's all about context. Is he a championship point guard (The old out-of-context question gasbags liked to ask)? Yes, when he is surrounded by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, yes. Is he a fantasy starter? Yes, if you don't draft a PG early and are loaded somewhere else. He's a decent source of 3-pointers and has decent efficiency. Plus, steals.
Matt: No, Mario should never be your starting point guard. He's a good player and he will help the Heat win, but he will not be consistent and he isn't a top 12 point guard in the NBA. I love Mario as the Heat's point guard, but your fantasy team can do better.
Surya: No, simply because he's inconsistent and he plays with LeBron and Wade who like to have the ball in their hands and create for others.
Brandon: No he is not, despite his elite play at times Mario is inconsistent and unless you desperately need threes he's not your guy.
4. Is Dwyane Wade still a first round, elite fantasy pick?
Brandon: Dwyane is an elite second round pick, or at least that's where I picked him up. While he's been the best fantasy shooting guard in season's past his injuries have hindered his selection, as a good NBA fantasy pick for shooting guard in the first round you should look at James Harden.
Surya: So much depends on his health but you could do worse if he's still on the board. Still, there are plenty of high-usage players on bad teams that will have the ball in their hands a lot more.
Matt: Dwyane Wade is no longer an elite fantasy player. He is an elite player and top 10 talent in this league, but he won't fill the box score like others will. Guys like Westbrook, Rose, Curry, and Irving are all going to be better fantasy players than Dwyane, although I would still want Wade on my team when the playoffs roll around.
Jay: Absolutely. Dwyane Wade is still one of the 10 best players in the world, fantasy and real life. Even with the minor drop in minutes, 20 points, 5 assists and five rebounds, along with a steal and a block, on good efficiency is All-World stuff.
5. Will Chris Bosh continue to struggle with rebounds? How much will that hurt his fantasy value?
Brandon: Chris Bosh is always a solid fantasy pick, I'm expecting big things from him this season you would be a fool not to pick him up.
Jay: Let's just accept that Bosh will probably never grab double-digit rebounds on this Heat team. He's constantly being dragged away from the basket as a decoy and jump shooter to unclog the paint for the Heat's elite perimeter scorers. He wasn't a great rebounder in the first place. He could be a little better, but he brings so much value to this team that I'm not going to pick on him for not being a great rebounder. It does hurt his fantasy value, however, because he won't score like he used to. Then again, if he keeps the uptick in 3-pointers, he'll more than make up for it.
Matt: Yes, Bosh is who he has been. He won't jump over 8 rebounds per game and that should be expected. It will continue to hurt his value, but he is still a pick I would take in the 4th or 5th round depending on the depth of teams.
Surya: He's always going to be a solid pick-up but I agree with Jay, I wouldn't hold my breath on double-digit rebounds but he is such an efficient player and his role might increase should Spoelstra limit Wade's minutes or hold him out of games to rest his knees. Bosh always steps up when one or both of his superstar teammates sit out.
6. With the departure of Mike Miller, can we expect more playing time from Shane Battier and lead to more fantasy value from him?
Jay: Battier can be a source of 3-pointers, but next to nothing else in fantasy value. Depends on how many teams are in your league and how badly you need 3-pointers.
Surya: I don't anticipate Battier playing a significantly bigger role this season and while he can score from long range, he's the kind of player that Spo values for his contributions beyond what shows up in the box score.
Matt: No, Battier won't contribute more in fantasy stats. Miller didn't play much in the regular season anyway, and Miller's extra minutes will go to Beasley, not a more productive 34 year old Battier.
Brandon: Shane Battier is not an elite fantasy player, nevertheless that's not to diminish anything he does for the Heat. I just wouldn't have him starting on my fantasy team.
7. How valuable will Ray Allen be this season?
Matt: I would expect Ray Allen to be as effective as he was last season. He is going to have some solid nights and nights where he doesn't score much. He is worth having on a roster, but he isn't an early pick.
Surya: I agree with Matt, he's not an early pick but he might be a fun pick-up late or if you have a particularly deep league.
Brandon: If you need a three point shooter, you can't go wrong with Ray. He is still elite, and averages about 10 points a game. Definitely a solid pick-up.
Jay: Double digit scoring and lots of 3-pointers. Free throw percentage. Still probably a own-able player.