Well, if you’re not already checking out fantasy stats and putting together your 2010-2011 NBA Draft list, chances are you’re going to lose out to someone like me. Yes, the obsessive b-ball nerd has been formulating thoughts all summer. Planning. Scheming. Devising new ways to torture your banal squad. Now’s your chance to get inside the mind of a loser, and be a real winner this fantasy season.
For about five years running, LeBron James has been the fantasy champ. However, his role has changed over the summer, and he is no longer your number one pick (repeat that after me, over and over if you need to). Kevin Durant will be the top fantasy scorer this season, and should be the number one on any draft list. His high shooting percentages, and improving rebounding and passing, as well as still clearly being the number one, and two options on his team make him a no-brainer.
Dwight Howard also climbs up on the draft list by a spot or two. Keep in mind, Bosh, Wade, and James will all be giving up a little of their stats to make it work in Miami. That leaves Howard as pretty much your sole option for a top tier center. He easily surpasses Pau Gasol because of usage and Amare Stoudemire because of the major bonuses from block shots and offensive rebounds.
Kevin Love is next on my list of climbers. He’s been playing the most efficient and effective basketball per minute of anyone on Team USA this summer. He was a great pick up last year, and will be even better this year. Injuries are a concern, but if you can snag this guy in a later round, you’re going to get away with a steal. He seems to do everything right out there. He’s smart and hard working. He’s the well trained basketball rottweiler.
Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, and Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili all move up a notch or two on the list. Deron Williams lost a major scoring option in Carlos Boozer, and added a super-massive, galaxy spinning black hole in Al Jefferson. Jefferson is a good finisher though, and Deron Will have to make up for the loss of Boozer’s jump shooting on his own. Assists down, points up. There’s a talent gap there too, so he will have to provide more to make up for the downgrade to Jefferson. Derrick Rose is going the opposite way. He’s finally got a skilled player who can finish around and outside of the paint. Look for assists and shooting percentages to go up as Boozer splashes down plenty of soft short jumpers and creates lanes for Rose. Chris Paul is friggin Chris Paul, so he’s pissed off that he didn’t get to play much last year. More importantly, he’s trying to make himself look like an unstoppable black Stockton so that teams will bend over backwards to get him out of NOLA. Plus, he’s FRIGGIN CHRIS PAUL. Parker and Ginobili, meanwhile, will have to pick up the slack for Tim Duncan, who is playing fewer and fewer (though more and more efficient) minutes for the Spurs. They are a potent one-two combo, and should see more usage this year.
Yao Ming is on the list of improved players, because he didn’t play at all last year. If only you could divide by zero, you’d get some fantastical number for his percentage of improvement for this year. Try to steal him around the fifth round. Houston’s not so hot, and he’s a proven scorer. The foot is a big concern though, isn’t it?
Amare Stoudemire is no longer playing with Steve Nash, which means his efficiency could go down. On the bright side, he’s playing with Mike D’Antoni and nobody else. I mean NO ONE. Not only do his touches go up significantly, but the total number of possessions do as well. Amare’s fantasy value goes up by the sheer increase in scoring and (maybe) rebounding.
LeBron James and Dwayne Wade are two guys you cannot think about picking first anymore. Chris Bosh drops down a notch or two from his draft position last year as well. Sharing is caring, folks. And these guys care. Otherwise, why put themselves through the whole rigmarole? Scoring goes down for all three players. Rebounding and Assists go down slightly for each player, as they spread the wealth. Don’t get crazy though. James and Wade are still in your top five. Not so sure Bosh is in your top 10 anymore.
David Lee is our precipitous drop of the year. Sure, the guy wins the Don Bosco HS award for Guy Who Looks Like He’s Still in Prep School but Is Really A Full Grown Man. Sure, he was a stat monster last year. Sure, he channeled the ghost of All Star Tom Chambers. But that was then. He’s gone to the Warriors where he gets to “share” shots with Monte Ellis and Stephen Curry. It’s not just where he went though, it’s how he went. Lee was picked up as a free agent on a brand new six year, $80 million contract. That means last year was a contract year (+5 draft ranking for any player not already making max). Are you adding this up? Brand new contract, $15 million per year, on a terrible squad, contending with jackers, and living in Berkley? If you don’t smell disaster here, I don’t know what to tell you.
Speaking of unnecessary max contracts, Rudy Gay signed one. Not that you were keen on drafting his one-dimensional ass anyway, but just remember an undeserved max contract is good for -5 draft ranking.
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen weren’t extraordinarily valuable last year. Now that they’ve all simultaneously caught cancer, you can expect things to go wrong. Very wrong. I almost put Rondo on here, but then realized that he is a remorseless stealing machine, can get to the rim on anyone, and maybe improved his jumper a little. Maybe. He’s a push.
Brandon Roy and Gilbert Arenas have knee problems. They’re getting worse every year. Don’t even bother until the 8th round.
Carmello Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash all stay put. These guys do their thing, do it at a high level, and don’t particularly care about what else might be going on. They are all in your top 10. Carmello is in your top five. Dirk and Pau are on the cusp at 6 and 7. You can set your watch to these guys.
That’s our movers and shakers on the fantasy draft list you are surely now frantically working on. But that won’t be all for fantasy news. With preseason just around the corner, we’ll have plenty of updates. And remember “not max” + “contract year” = +5! Keep looking for those diamonds in the rough!