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Fantasy Basketball: Are Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard and Paul George First Round Picks?

Phil answers your Fantasy Basketball Draft questions about Paul George, Damian Lillard and Blake Griffin

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Fantasy Basketball season is right around the corner and that means owners everywhere are getting ready for their Fantasy Basketball Drafts. That also means the inbox at Phil's Fantasy Sports is quite full with your let's get started.

Dear Phil,

What are your thoughts about Blake Griffin. Do you think he's a first round draft pick?

Thanks for the question.

I guess it all depends on how big your league is and what your scoring categories are but I don't see him getting drafted in the first round of any size league this season. I just took part in a 20 team draft and Griffin was taken #10 but that is an aberration and certainly not the norm.

What does Griffin actually do? Let's take a closer look at his stats.

He scores about 20 per game, gets about 7-10 rebounds a night and drops 4-5 dimes per night. He'll be decent from the floor and average from the line. That's five categories and what you want from a first round pick is someone who will win as many categories as possible. If your first round pick isn't strong in just about every scoring category than he had better be outstanding in at least one or two of them and Griffin just isn't.

In a 10-12 team league Griffin should go in the mid to late second round and certainly not any earlier. He's a great player, he's fun to watch but he's not a Fantasy Basketball first round pick. Plus what's not to love about dunking over a Kia?

Dear Phil,

What are your thoughts about Paul George. Where do you think he should be drafted?

Thanks for the question.

Based on what we saw upon his return from that horrific injury you almost have to consider Paul George a first round draft pick in any format. He does a bit of everything and he does it well. He doesn't help much in blocks but he's solid in every other scoring category as you can see below.

The other thing that makes me really excited about George this season is this; he has shooters like C.J. Miles and newly acquired Monta Ellis to help him carry the offensive load. Add to the mix PG George Hill who last season proved he could do more than just facilitate and backup PG Rodney Stuckey and you have a nice group surrounding him. If nothing else look for George's assists and FG percentages to increase this season. You can get scared off because of the injury but he's a legit 1st round pick.

Dear Phil,

Where do you see Damian Lillard being drafted this season?

Thanks for the question.

A couple of weeks ago I stated on Phil's Fantasy Sports that I believed Damian Lillard to be a first round pick in any format and any sized league. Just this past weekend I had the opportunity to take Lillard in the first round but chose LeBron James instead with my 5th pick in a 20 team Head to Head League. I did consider Lillard though but it's hard to pass on the King in a 20 team league. Had James been taken already I would have made Lillard my first round pick. It isn't a stretch either as Lillard has a pre-season ranking of #9 and as I will try and explain it isn't really a homer move either.

Let's have a look at what Lillard has done per game over his first 3 seasons in the league

Other than three point shooting percentage Lillard's 2014-2015 numbers were better than his career and that was one a 50 win team mind you. Lillard hasn't been the main focal point of the offense but you can see that he was steadily heading in that direction and this season he is the man in Portland.

Something that hasn't been talked about all that much is pace. Last season the Trail Blazers played at a pace rate of 96.5 good for 12th in the NBA and about 3 points above the league average. This season the Trail Blazers are much younger and might just be more athletic than they were in 2015. With the additions of Al-Farouq Aminu and Henderson they might be better defensively at the 2 and 3 so it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility to see plenty of steals and transition opportunities. Get that pace rate to around 98-99 and that should mean more layups and fast break assists for Lillard.

Rotowire NBA and Fantasy Basketball expert Alex Rikleen said drafting Lillard in the first round is a bold move; I think a bold move would be drafting him ahead of Anthony Davis, Lebron James and Kevin Durant and that I agree on. Based on what Lillard has already accomplished as the second or sometimes even the third option alone could warrant such a pick but as the number one option I think barring injury Lillard is going to finish the season as the #1 PG in Fantasy Basketball. For me he's a no-brainer first round pick. I also like to choose players that I like watching play and how could you not love watching stuff like this 82 nights this season?

If you have any questions that you would like to see anwered in this space please write to me at

Good luck this season Fantasy Basketball owner!

On this edition of Phil's Fantasy Sports Phil is giving away a 25 dollar pre-paid Visa card to one lucky listener per week for signing up at his new Daily Fantasy Sports site Draft Dragons. Rotowire NHL writer Brian Rutherford and Phil discuss Fantasy Hockey mid-tier forwards, Fake Teams Ray Guilfoyle joins Phil and the guys try and figure out who will be the #1 Fantasy Baseball player taken in next seasons draft as well as several Cubs players and pitchers and their possible 2016 values. Draft Kings Playbook writer Jason Walker joins Phil and the guys share their FanDuel and Draft Kings Fantasy Football picks and Rotowire NBA writer Alex Rikleen and Phil discuss Fantasy Basketball sleepers and busts at the Center position. You can download the show from my site or listen below.