The folks from Li Ning took care of me over the All-Star weekend, inviting me to their midnight-to-sunrise party (I was too old and too jet-lagged to attend) and their annual media basketball game, where I avoided a trillion in the box score by grabbing two rebounds and shooting 0-for-1 in limited minutes.
Li Ning is now moving into the U.S. retail market by selling their shoes online rather than in sporting goods stores, and they have offered up a pair of free kicks — The Villians, pictured here, to the winner of tonight’s DraftStreet freeroll.
Trust me, the shoes are comfortable and you’ll be too cool for school if you are the first guy on your block to wear a pair.
Onto the freeroll.
For those of you who have never played before, here are the rules: You register for the contest, then are given a $100,000 salary cap with which you build a team of eight players — two centers, two guards, two forwards and two utility players.
You get 2 points for every steal and every blocked shot your players produce, 1.5 points for every assist, 1.25 points for every rebound and 1 point for every point your 8 players put on the scoreboard. You lose 1 point for every turnover, and you lose 0.5 points for every missed shot from the field and the free throw line.
I played in a $5 cash game last night and did not have the foresight to choose LeBron James, who put up an astounding DraftStreet point total of 67.5 with his 38 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, five steals and one block. The winner of last night’s $5 tournament had James, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard on his team, all of whom produced monster lines. His other five players were Randy Foye, Jamal Crawford, Martell Webster, Caron Butler and Joel Anthony. (The Foye pick was the clincher for him as Randy went for 16 points, five assists and four rebounds.)
The prize pool for tonight’s freeroll is $350, and the top 20 finishers get paid.
On Saturday, most freeroll players will get a follow-up e-mail from DraftStreet offering a bonus if you make a deposit. (They have lowered their minimum deposit to $10). They offer cash games every night, with entry fees ranking from $2 to $110, and our fantasy hoops writer, Kent Williams, is going to be playing in them every night and offering his advice each morning as he gets accustomed to it. (You can read Kent’s items every morning by 8 a.m. EST by clicking on our fantasy page. If you play fantasy hoops, he is a must-read every morning).
I play in a 17-team fantasy league in which players are auctioned at the beginning of the season, and you can only change your roster through a trade or through the once-a-week waiver process. Back when people used their phones as phones, it was easier to play in those types of leagues because you could talk about trades on the phone, offering a little give-and-take to tweak your deals and get them done. But these days most trade talk is conducted via e-mail, and trades are sadly few and far between.
That’s why I like DraftStreet.
You get a new team every night. Hello instant gratification.
You want to do an office pool? Why wait until March Madness? Get a bunch of the fellows from the workplace to enter the same $2 contest or $5 contest, and wham-o — instant office pool and water cooler fodder for the next day.
Click here to sign up for tonight’s freeroll, and consider yourself forewarned: LeBron is fetching a pretty penny today with a salary of $22,266 — more than $4000 higher than the second-most expensive player, Josh Smith at $18,100. There are some bargain buys in the $8,000-$10,000 range, but that is all the advice I am going to give you. I am in it to win it tonight, too.
My freeroll team tonight is LeBron James, Josh Smith, Kobe Bryant, Mickael Pietrus, Joel Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Ramon Sessions and DeMar DeRozan. (Made some late changes with Ray Allen and Kyrie Irving scratched).
I’m also in a cash league with a team of James, Blake Griffin, Monta Ellis, Pietrus, Sessions, Anthony, DeJuan Blair and Andre Iguodala.
This is a game of skill, not a game of chance, and it is open to residents of Canada and the United States with the exception of folks in Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Vermont and Puerto Rico.