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Thursday, June 12, 2008
Updated: June 23, 11:30 AM ET
Rules - Orientation


ESPN's Fantasy Basketball (FBA) orientation was created to provide first-time users a means of familiarizing themselves with the game and its features. If you have not yet created a FREE ESPN account, click here.

To purchase a team, please see the Tour, or click on the link off the FBA frontpage. To learn more about fantasy games in general, read our introduction page.

For first time participants, playing ESPN's FBA can seem a little daunting. If you've never played a fantasy game before -- or are new to the internet -- trying to figure out what to do with your new team can be a bit confusing. But playing the game seems like running a three-on-one break once you know how it all works. Follow this step-by-step guide to getting your team primed for the start of the NBA season, and that FBA championship could be yours!

Step 1 - Familiarize yourself with the FBA layout.
Take another look at the FBA frontpage. From here, you can log in to your account, access your team, check resource links, peruse injury updates and get tips from ESPN's fantasy analysts. You can also access the complete rules. This orientation provides links to the rules, where you can read full explanations of some of the game's trickier parts. While it's possible to muddle your way through without reading the rules pages, you're bound to miss something. Before firing off an e-mail to the Commish's office, be sure to give the rules and FAQ a close look. Remember, if you need your account information updated or you simply forgot your password, you can access Member Services for immediate assistance. Now that you have an idea where some of the resources can be found should you run into any trouble, you are ready to begin preparing your team for the season.

Step 2 - Setting up your team
Click on your default team name (i.e. Smith 99875843) from the left-hand column of the FBA frontpage. From your preseason team-setup page, you will find links to several vital FBA start-up procedures:

Step 3 - Joining/Creating a League
Now that your team is named, it is time to join up with the FBA owners against whom you'll compete. You have the option of either joining an existing league or creating your own league with your own specifications. You must be in a league in order to compete in FBA. If you do not join or create a league by the start of the season, you will be automatically entered in one. There are many things to consider when joining a league. Each league has its own set of parameters, allowing fantasy team owners to compete in the FBA game type of his or her choice. Below is a list of the available options.

For more information on leagues and league parameters, click here. To join an existing league, click on the league name to view the league settings, and then click the "Join This League" button to place yourself in the league. You will need the league password if it's a private league. Remember, some leagues only allow access to particular teams (i.e. keeper leagues and winners leagues).

To create a league, click on the 'Create a League' link accessible from the league directory page or the 'Create New League' link from your team page. You will need to select the league name, league motto and parameters for your league. You will not be able to change these parameters after creating the league, you would instead need to create a new preseason league with the desired settings.

Once you have set up your team and joined or created a league, you are ready to begin preparing your team for the draft. Remember, if you haven't joined a league and are in the independent team pool, you must mark your team as "Ready" for the draft after editing your draft lists. Teams can always mark themselves as "Unready" if they want to alter their draft lists.

Step 4 - The Draft
There are three types of drafts in FBA: single-list drafts, multi-list drafts and live drafts. Participants have the option of enabling Insta-Draft, which automatically places you in a league at the next available draft date.

DRAFT TIP: Regardless of what type of draft your team participates in, you will benefit from ranking your players before the draft. You can rank all of the players to match your own preferences by clicking on the links for either the HTML or Java ranking tools. Do your homework, as this is the single-most important part of building a successful team. Only the listed players are available for ranking. If you do not rank your players, your team will use the default rankings. These are based on a combination of a player's statistics and their projected performance.

Review of draft types:

Drafts for the regular-season game begin in late Sep./early Oct. and run through the first two weeks of the NBA regular season. Team owners have until midnight Pacific Time on the day before their draft to alter their player rankings. Automated drafts are run throughout the listed day, and team owners will be notified via e-mail when the draft is complete. Live drafts take place at pre-selected time on the day in question. The league creator chooses the day and time from the available slots. The specific time and day are listed on the league page.

Once your draft has been run, things start getting exciting. Now you've got a team of your own. It has your name, and is populated by the players you ranked and/or picked in the draft. It is time to take the court in FBA!

Step 5 -The Regular Season
Each team drafts 12 players: 10 active and two bench players. On any given day of NBA play, you earn points only for players on your active roster. Players must be inserted into a team's active roster by 11:59 p.m. PT the previous night in order to count for the following day.

Shifting players
In addition to your original 12 players, you also have the opportunity to add players through the use of waivers, free agency and trades:

FBA head-to-head play begins with the first games of the NBA's regular season. Your team's schedule is linked off your clubhouse page.

Good luck and we'll see you on the court!