*All combinations and comments are for 12-team leagues but many of these combinations will be available and will work fine in 14-team leagues.
**I used the Yahoo rankings to come up with these groupings. You should be able to do better than these combinations if you play on ESPN or are in an auction league.
Damian Lillard (Pick 5-7)
Lillard/Embiid/Siakam/Lowry/Covington – This group has zero weaknesses coming out of five. Threes, blocks, and FT% are excellent, and everything else is about average.
Lillard/George/Vucevic/Russell/Turner – An outstanding threes start. This group allows you to forget about threes for a few rounds to chase the big-man categories. Points are above average. FT% is elite, and blocks and turnovers are strong. Rebounds are the main issue here.
Lillard/Westbrook/Vucevic/Ingram/Porzingis – This is close to a perfect per-game start. Everything is well above average except steals and turnovers. Turnovers are slightly below average, which is fine for a punt FG% team at this point in the draft. You will not need to punt turnovers with this start.
Lillard/Irving/Nurkic/Lowry/Porzingis – Not as strong as the above group and riskier, but a nice fallback option. Rebounds are in a rough spot, and steals are slightly below average, but everything else looks good. Threes, blocks, and FT% are very strong.
Lillard/Ayton/Siakam/Russell/DeRozan – You will need to follow up this start with a big in six as rebounds, blocks, and FG% are a little low. However, this is an elite start in points, assists, and FT%. Threes are above average despite Ayton and DeMar but need to be watched.
Lillard/Booker/Vucevic/Ingram/Robinson – Points, threes, and especially FT%, are all in a great place despite Robinson. Mitch Rob puts you in an elite spot in blocks, but you’ll need more help in rebounds, and FG% is only so-so.
Lillard/Embiid/Ingram/Wood/Hayward – Assists and FG% need work. I would aim to clean up dimes first as they dry up quicker. Points, threes, blocks, and FT% are all in excellent shape.
Lillard/Ayton/LaVine/Ingram/Robinson – Points and threes are slightly above average despite Robinson. FG% and rebounds are about average. Blocks, FT%, and turnovers are looking very good
Nikola Jokic (Pick 6-8)
Jokic/Butler/Nurkic/Fox/DeRozan – Points are low here, but that is going to be the case with most Jokic/Butler starts. Assists and steals are beyond elite, so ignore them for a couple of rounds to clean up elsewhere. Both percentages are in good but not great shape.
Jokic/Ayton/Paul/DeRozan/Hayward – This is a dream percentages start. Both categories are exceptionally strong. The same goes for assists. Blocks are this starts’ biggest issue but can be fixed with one player. Points are below average but salvageable.
Jokic/Westbrook/Siakam/Hayward/Robinson – This is not a great start in the build’s two problem categories (points and FT%), but neither category is dead, and all the other counting categories and FG% are above average.
Jokic/Ayton/Lowry/DeRozan/Porzingis – Rebounds, blocks, FT%, and turnovers are all on the right path. Points and steals are low. Everything else is average.
Jokic/Irving/VanVleet/Brown/Valanciunas – Points are low, but everything else is average or better. FT% is in a very strong spot. A very balanced start for this build.
Jokic/George/Siakam/Fox/Valanciunas – Rebounds and steals are very strong, everything else except points and threes, which are slightly low, is average or better. This is another start that doesn’t have any major weaknesses but doesn’t have many major strengths either.
Jokic/Beal/Siakam/Holiday/Hayward – This group needs a big in six, but threes, assists, and FT% are in strong spots, so you can afford to take the hit that the big will bring. Rebounds are a bigger issue than FG%. Points are about average.
Jokic/George/Vucevic/Sabonis/Hayward – Rebounds and FT% should end up in a great spot. Everything else besides points, which is a little low, is average.
Trae Young (Pick 8-12)
Young/Embiid/VanVleet/Lowry/Porzingis – This is pretty close to the perfect standard-league Trae Young start. Rebounds are low, and turnovers aren’t great (but not dead), but points, threes, assists, blocks, and FT% are all in dominant spots. Steals are the only average due to Porzingis being a major drag on the category.
Young/George/Siakam/Lowry/Porzingis – This start doesn’t fix your issues with rebounds and blocks, but going into the sixth, you will be near the top of the standings in points, threes, assists, and FT%, so you will be able to easily take on the bigs that can get you where you need to be in boards and swats. A very strong start in almost all the categories that dry up quickly.
Young/Vucevic/VanVleet/Alridge/Porzingis – A nice 14-team league start and fine in 12-team leagues. Threes, blocks, and FT% are all excellent, and this is a great way to not punt turnovers with Trae. Rebounds are a little low, but not terrible. Steals are the main issue. Target Mikal Bridges and O.G. Anunoby later.
Young/Embiid/Russell/Aldridge/Covington – Points are still strong despite Covington. Threes are elite, and so are blocks and FT%. Rebounds are a bit of an issue, and steals are slightly low but in reasonable shape.
Young/Westbrook/Russell/Aldridge/Turner – This is a solid option for those who want to play it safe and get their blocks from Turner instead of Porzingis. You get enough blocks here, but rebounds will need a lot of work. Threes, assists, steals, and blocks all look very good. FT% is fine, but you could have some frustrating weeks due to Westbrook.
Jayson Tatum (Pick 8-12)
Tatum/Ayton/Siakam/Ingram/Covington – I am a very big fan of this group. FG% will be low, but it’s not a disaster. Threes, rebounds, blocks, FT%, and turnovers are all very strong, and points and steals are slightly above average.
Tatum/Durant/Siakam/Ingram/Robinson – If this is your start, you’ll want to move the obvious later-round steal targets up your draft board. FG% is average, but points, threes, and FT% are in good shape despite Robinson. Blocks are wrapped up.
Tatum/Ayton/Ingram/Wood/Oubre – This isn’t as strong as the previous Tatum/Ayton grouping, but it is a solid start in everything but steals. Rebounds, blocks, and turnovers are this build’s primary strengths.
Tatum/Embiid/Ingram/Hayward/Bryant – FG% should be solid once you get your third big. Rebounds and blocks are already very good. We need to target points and FT% early, and this start is strong in both. Steals are very low.
Tatum/Embiid/VanVleet/Lowry/Green – Points are low due to Draymond, but this is a pretty nasty start almost everywhere else. Threes, assists, steals, blocks, and FT% are all top-end. Rebounds are average.
Tatum/George/Siakam/Russell/Turner – Weak in rebounds as neither Siakam nor Turner is more than an average sources of boards. Threes and blocks are excellent. Points, steals, and FT% are all above average too. Assists are low, so make sure you grab a PG asap.
Tatum/Embiid/VanVleet/Russell/Turner – This start has no major weaknesses. Rebounds are a little low, but not by much. Turnovers are about average, as are dimes and points. Threes, blocks, and FT% are all in a very good spot.
Tatum/Leonard/Russell/Porzingis/Ball – This is a grouping for those who want to chase upside. This squad will be a headache at times, but during weeks when it is healthy, you will likely win your matchup comfortably. Points, threes, assists, steals, and FT% are all very strong. Blocks and turnovers are about average. Rebounds are low.
LeBron James (Pick 10-12)
James/George/Drummond/Russell/Capela – Points and threes are only a touch low, which is good for a LeBron-led punt FT% team that has two bigs on it through five. FG% is only average due to George and Russell. Rebounds, steals, and blocks are wrapped up. Assists are above average but not in the safe zone yet.
James/Westbrook/Drummond/Ingram/Porzingis – If you go with Westbrook in two, it’s going to be very hard to find enough threes if both Drummond and Capela are part of your first five. Swapping Capela for Porzingis allows you to go into the sixth in a very strong spot in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. This is an outstanding start, the only issue is Porzingis may not last to your pick in the fifth.
James/Leonard/Williamson/Russell/Robinson – This is a fun one. Points are one of punt FT%’s biggest issues, and this is a dominant start in the category. Threes are a little below average, and so are rebounds. Neither is a major concern, however. Steals, blocks, and FT% are all nasty. Assists are above average. If Robinson isn’t there, sliding in Capela leads to similar results.
James/Beal/Russell/Drummond/Porzingis – FG% is very weak for a punt FT% team, but not bad enough to finish you in the category. Capela or Adams will probably be there in six anyway. This is a very strong start in all of the build’s problem areas. Points, threes, and assists are all looking very good, and rebounds, steals, and blocks are above average.
Punt Threes (I am finding this one difficult to pull off due to Yahoo’s rankings. There are not a lot of quality bigs for this build available at the 3/4 and 5/6 turns. Because of this, I recommend starting with Leonard, as you’ll need the upside to make up for some potentially less than ideal picks over the next few rounds.)
James/Leonard/Ingram/DeRozan/Turner – Points and FT% are above average, and we’ll take that given that LeBron is going to be a below-average scorer for a first-round pick and a mess at the line. Assists and blocks also look good. Steals are average. Rebounds and FG% are only a little below average, which is impressive, as there is only one big on the roster, and that big is weak in both categories.
James/Booker/Nurkic/Ingram/Porzingis – This is an above-average start in threes, but that is OK. We need points and FT% early when punting threes with LeBron, and this start puts us in a very strong spot in both. FG% is low, but that can be addressed later since this squad is so strong in the guard categories. Blocks and assists look great as well.
James/Leonard/Ingram/Robinson/Porzingis – Assists and FT% are low. Everything else looks good, including points. Blocks and turnovers are very strong.
James/Butler/Siakam/Ingram/Porzingis – A rough FG% start, but there are lots of good targets late for this build, so you should be able to come back in the category. Points are very strong, and FT% is about average. Blocks and assists look great as well. Threes are slightly above average, so you have a lot of flexibility with this start.
Kawhi Leonard (Pick 10-12)
Leonard/Ayton/Siakam/Ingram/Bryant – When we punt assists, we want to be strong in both percentages category, and this group puts us on pace to achieve that goal. Rebounds and blocks also look great. Threes and steals are low, but I would only worry about steals. Threes are easy to find late.
Leonard/Ayton/Murray/Wood/Oubre – This is a very clean start. Points and threes are slightly below average, but neither are major issues. FG% and steals are about average. Everything else is very strong.
Leonard/Beal/Ingram/Valanciunas/Oubre – Rebounds, blocks, and FG% are low, but both will be in a reasonable position once you pick your next big. Add someone like Thomas Bryant to this group, and you’ll be in good shape. Points and steals are strong, and FT% is elite.
Leonard/Collins/Ingram/Brown/Bryant – This is more of a 14-team league group. In 14, you’ll go into the sixth happy with your points, threes, percentages, and turnovers. Steals are low, so get Bridges or Anunoby later.
Leonard/Ayton/Fox/DeRozan/Bryant – A very strong start in the percentages, especially if Fox improves at the line. FG% is elite. Steals and turnovers are also above average. Points and rebounds are average. Assists need a little work, but the hole isn’t very deep.
James/Leonard/Ingram/DeRozan/Turner – Points and FT% are above average, and we’ll take that given that LeBron is going to be a below-average scorer for a first-round pick and a mess at the line. Assists and blocks also look good. Steals are average. Rebounds and FG% are only a little below average, which is impressive as there is only one big on the roster, and that big is weak in both categories.
Leonard/Booker/Fox/Wood/Bryant – When punting threes, we have to hit points and FT% hard early. They are the two build’s problematic categories, and both dry up fast. It’s OK to put yourself behind the eight-ball in the big-man categories for the sake of both. This is the idea behind this start. FT% is very strong, and points are above average. FG% is exceptional, and despite your first three picks, you will be above average in turnovers. Rebounds and blocks are low, but in punt threes, it should be easy to come back later. Assists and steals are a little weak, so make sure you get a point guard in one of the next two rounds.
Leonard/Ayton/DeRozan/Hayward/Bryant – If you are like me and you like to dominate the percentages categories, this start is for you. You will likely go into the sixth in first in both categories if this is your start. Turnovers will also be top-notch, and rebounds are above average. The percentages dominance comes at the expense of assists and steals. However, points and blocks are still about average.
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