With the preseason underway and the NBA about to kickoff the regular season on October 27th, let’s review the top 10 fantasy basketball players for the upcoming season.
1) Lebron James, CLE, SF/PF
2009 AVG Stats: 28.4 PTS, 1.6 3PM, 7.6 REB, 7.2 AST, 1.7 STL, 1.1 BLK, 3.0 TO, .489 FG%, .780 FT%, 37.7 MIN
In fantasy basketball, the most valuable players are the ones that can fill up the stat sheet in every category. Earlier in his career, Lebron was a weakness from the free throw line and was not spectacular from behind the arc or with blocks. Last year, King James stepped up his free throw shooting to average 78%. The past two years, he has averaged more than a block per game. His only weakness now is his tendency for turnovers. Personally, I don’t like the turnover category because the players with the most turnovers are the players with the ball in their hands the most. You’ll always want players with the most minutes and touches per game, so generally, the best fantasy players also have the most turnovers.
2) Chris Paul, NOR, PG
2009 AVG Stats: 22.8 PTS, 0.8 3PM, 5.5 REB, 11.0 AST, 2.8 STL, 0.1 BLK, 3.0 TO, .503 FG%, .868 FT%, 38.5 MIN
Many people will consider CP3 as the best player in fantasy basketball. He has led the league in steals the past two years. Chris Paul’s advantages over Lebron in free throw percentage, assists, and steals may make him the #1 fantasy player, but overall, Paul is not as well rounded as Lebron who is better at 3’s, rebounds, blocks, and points.
3) Dwyane Wade, MIA, PG/SG
2009 AVG Stats: 30.2 PTS, 1.1 3PM, 5.0 REB, 7.5 AST, 2.2 STL, 1.3 BLK, 3.4 TO, .492 FG%, .765 FT%, 38.6 MIN
Wade put up the best statistical year of his career in 2008-2009. He posted career numbers in points, 3’s, assists, steals, and blocks. It will be tough to reach those numbers again with Beasley and Chalmers demanding more touches this year in their sophomore seasons. Wade has the talent and skill to be the best overall player in fantasy but he does have a tendency to get injured and his free throw shooting needs to improve for a guy that gets to the line 9.8 times per game.
4) Kobe Bryant, LAL, SG
2009 AVG Stats: 26.8 PTS, 1.4 3PM, 5.2 REB, 4.9 AST, 1.5 STL, 0.5 BLK, 2.6 TO, .467 FG%, .856 FT%, 36.1 MIN
When it comes to talent and determination, Kobe is still one of the best in the league. When it comes to fantasy, he is still elite because he is one of the most consistent players in the game. Kobe played in all 82 games last year. Some might be worried that there will not be enough basketballs to go around with the addition of Ron Artest, but Kobe should be fine. The addition of Artest might mean a small dip in Kobe’s scoring, but his assist numbers should go up and with Artest getting the assignment of guarding the opposing team’s best offensive player, Kobe will now have more energy to use on the offensive end and will be able to help out more on defense possibly leading to higher numbers in steals and blocks.
5) Danny Granger, IND, SF/PF
2009 AVG Stats: 25.8 PTS, 2.7 3PM, 5.1 REB, 2.7 AST, 1.0 STL, 1.4 BLK, 2.5 TO, .447 FG%, .878 FT%, 36.2 MIN
The least known player in the top 5, Granger is quickly becoming one of the best players in the NBA. Granger puts up elite numbers in every category except rebounds, assists, steals, and field goal percentage where he is just average. He is not below average in any category. Granger will give you close to 90% free throw shooting on nearly 7 free throws per game. He will also score 25+ points, make nearly 3 3’s and give his team 1.5 blocks per game.
6) Kevin Durant, OKC, SG/SF
2009 AVG Stats: 25.3 PTS, 1.3 3PM, 6.5 REB, 2.8 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 3.0 TO, .476 FG%, .863 FT%, 39.0 MIN
Kevin Durant is ready to join the top fantasy players. If he can improve his rebounding, assist, and block totals, he can be a top 5 player. He was so dominant in college, after two years in the NBA, and getting a feel for the league, his time has come to dominate the NBA.
7) Dwight Howard, ORL, C
2009 AVG Stats: 20.6 PTS, 0.0 3PM, 13.8 REB, 1.4 AST, 1.0 STL, 2.9 BLK, 3.0 TO, .572 FG%, .594 FT%, 35.7 MIN
Howard has added value because he plays center and there just aren’t many centers that put up descent numbers. If Howard’s improvement in his free throw shooting during last year’s playoffs can carry over to this season, Howard will be a fantasy monster that does not have any apparent weaknesses. He has overwhelmingly positive numbers in field goal percentage, rebounding, and blocks.
8) Chris Bosh, TOR, PF/C
2009 AVG Stats: 22.7 PTS, 0.2 3PM, 10.0 REB, 2.5 AST, 0.9 STL, 1.0 BLK, 2.3 TO, .487 FG%, .817 FT%, 38.0 MIN
Not many people see Bosh play because he plays in Canada, but he is one of the best young players in the league and made a hilarious video in a bid for an all-star spot last season. Part of the amazing 2003-2004 draft that produced, Lebron and Wade, Bosh gets a boost because he has center eligibility. Bosh will give you 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, and shoot very well from the field and the line. A very solid first round fantasy pick in any draft format.
9) Deron Williams, UTA, PG
2009 AVG Stats: 19.4 PTS, 1.0 3PM, 2.9 REB, 10.7 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.3 BLK, 3.4 TO, .471 FG%, .849 FT%, 36.8 MIN
NBA fans love to argue whether Deron Williams or Chris Paul is better. In fantasy, Chris Paul is better, but it is closer than you think. Deron was not 100% healthy at the beginning of last year, leading to a down year for the Jazz and a down year for Deron’s stats. He is still in the top 3 when top pure point guards are mentioned (Steve Nash is the other, but he might be a bit over the hill to make our top 10 conversation). Other than Chris Paul, Deron is the only player that will give you 20+ points and 10+ assists.
10) Pau Gasol, LAL, PF/C
2009 AVG Stats: 18.9 PTS, 0.0 3PM, 9.6 REB, 3.5 AST, 0.6 STL, 1.0 BLK, 1.9 TO, .567 FG%, .781 FT%, 37.0 MIN
Pau finished last season as a top 10 player. Having the ability to play center and solid percentages for a big man, Pau will still be a top 10 player this year because of his passing ability. Pau has some of the best vision and passing for a seven footer and benefits from his role in the Lakers’ triangle offense.
KEY: PTS – Points, 3PM – 3 Pointers Made, REB – Rebounds, AST – Assists, STL – Steals, BLK – Blocks, TO – Turnovers, FG% – Field Goal Percentage, FT% – Free Throw Percentage, MIN – Minutes, AVG – Per Game Averages, PG – Point Guard Eligibility, SG – Shooting Guard Eligibility, SF – Small Forward Eligibility, PF – Power Forward Eligibility, C – Center Eligibility
All statistics courtesy of ESPN.com via http://games.espn.go.com/fba/tools/projections?display=alt