Whenever you’ve just started playing fantasy NBA or consider some offseason alternatives like fantasy all-time draft one of the first questions you need to ponder is: “how are we going to redistribute players between teams”? And one of the most common answers to this question is “Snake Draft”.
It’s a draft where the positions flip flop every round. For example, if someone drafts first during the very first round, they’ll draft last the following round, then they’ll draft first again in the next round, and so on. This type of draft is the most fair.
This concept is easy to grasp, it was always easy to organize and it just sounds so fair. Well, there’s only one problem with it: in fantasy NBA snake draft is unfair! And it’s not even close to being fair!
How do I know this? Not only it’s essentially the same problem as with competitive balance in the NBA but more importantly we can easily calculate why and how is it unfair.
I’ll use Yahoo’s Default Points Scoring [FGA (-0.45), FGM (1.0), FTA (-0.75), FTM (1.0), 3-pt Made (3.0), Point Scored (0.5), Rebound (1.5), Assist (2.0), Steal (3.0), Turnover (-2.0), Blocked Shot (3.0)] as an example but it really doesn’t matter, you can repeat this exercise for every possible settings with the same results.