All-Star Break Fantasy Awards
Kevin Durant – It’s not even close, as he’s left LeBron James and every other high draft pick in his wake this season. And the scary thing is that he could be even better the rest of the way.
Victor Oladipo - Michael Carter-Williams came storming out of the gate this season, but my Fantasy Rookie of the Year award (so far) goes to Oladipo. While MCW has been given the starting job and known his role all season long, Oladipo bounces in and out of the starting lineup, splitting his time between both guard spots. He hasn’t missed a game this season and is averaging 14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.4 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers on 44 percent field goal shooting and 78 percent free throw shooting. MCW has missed 12 games with various injuries, including a nasty knee infection. When he’s on the floor he’s been money, averaging 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.1 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers on 40 percent shooting. He’s also hitting 70 percent of his free throws and in fantasy, where you need your guys healthy and in the lineup, I’m giving Oladipo the nod. But if MCW stays healthy and finishes out the season on a high note, I would expect him to take home the ROY award in real life.
Goran Dragic – If you add in where he was drafted and the numbers he’s put up all season, Dragic looks like the best fantasy point guard to come out of your draft thus far. If Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook were all healthy all season, maybe things would be different. And if Kyle Lowry would have come out of the gates as strong as he has been playing recently, he might get the nod. Stephen Curry and John Wall have been great, but were taken at least a few rounds earlier than Dragic. Therefore, I’ll take his 20.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.5 3-pointers on 51 percent shooting. He was helped by Eric Bledsoe’s knee injury, but was poised for a big season even if he had stayed healthy. Dragic did miss three games early in the season, but has been a rock ever since.
DeMar DeRozan – I’m going with DD here, as James Harden has been banged up and hasn’t lived up to the hype, while Kobe Bryant’s season has been derailed by some serious injuries. DeRozan was taken in the 7th or 8th round in most of my leagues, but his averages of 22.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 3-pointers per game, along with the 43 percent shooting and 80 percent free throws are worth a whole lot more. He’s also scored 30 or more points nine times and has a 40-point game to his credit this year.
Kevin Durant – Again, it’s not close and he’s scored more than 30 points 32 times, 40 points eight times, and 50 points one time this season. He is averaging a nutso 31.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers, shooting 51 percent from the floor, 41 percent from downtown and 88 percent from the line. It was a tough call between KD and LeBron James for the top overall pick, but in hindsight, Durant was clearly the pick.
Kevin Love – I wanted to give this one to Blake Griffin due to his improved free throw shooting and stellar season, while LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan are also having big years. But Love’s triumphant return from his hand problems of a year ago has made it impossible to overlook him. He’s averaging 25.8 points, 13.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.3 3-pointers on the season. His lack of blocks (0.4) is a buzzkill for a big man, but we all knew he wasn’t going to excel in that area from the get go. Here’s to hoping he actually plays through the end of the season, ending an unnerving trend of folding up shop during the fantasy playoffs.
DeAndre Jordan – Anthony Davis is probably putting up better overall numbers, but Jordan has played in 11 more games than Davis and is leading the league in field goal percentage and rebounds, and is 4th in blocks. And while he’s shooting just 45 percent from the line, he doesn’t shoot enough of them to completely ruin your team’s percentage. And when you add in the fact he was drafted in rounds 7 or 8 in most leagues, he gets my vote as the best fantasy center thus far. Joakim Noah, Al Jefferson and DeMarcus Cousins should also be in the discussion.
Top Value Pick
Isaiah Thomas – Thomas was taken in Rounds 9 and 10 in two of my primary leagues this season, and got off to a slow start when he was inexplicably coming off the bench behind Greivis Vasquez. That didn’t last for long and Vasquez is now the guy riding the bench behind Kyle Lowry in Toronto. As a starter this season, Pizza Guy is averaging 21.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.1 3-pointers on 44 percent shooting and 86 percent free throw shooting. In short, he was a big-time steal in fantasy drafts this year.
Kyle Lowry, Andre Drummond, Brandon Knight, Trevor Ariza, Chris Bosh, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes all deserve consideration here.
Top Waiver-Wire Pickup
Gerald Green – Green started to make noise when Eric Bledsoe’s injury woes started early in the season and he hasn’t stopped making noise since. As a starter for the Suns, Green is averaging 15.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.4 3-pointers, shooting 44 percent from the floor and 86 percent from the line. If you grabbed him off the waiver wire early, and kept him, Green has paid big dividends. Lance Stephenson could have easily gotten my vote and with his league-leading four triple-doubles, and maybe he should have.
Lance Stephenson, Terrence Jones, Randy Foye, Taj Gibson, Robin Lopez, Marcin Gortat, Anderson Varejao, DeMarre Carroll, Jodie Meeks, D.J. Augustin and Marco Belinelli.
Dwyane Wade – Wade has now missed 15 games this season and they’ve been spread out enough that he has hurt owners in both weekly and daily leagues far more than he’s helped. Even though he fell to the fourth round in most leagues, his inability to stay on the court has made him almost impossible to put into starting lineups. His misses come randomly and without much warning, and I don’t see things changing as the Heat hope to get him healthy enough to play at a high level during the playoffs. Maybe there’s a bigger bust out there based on injuries or straight numbers, but Wade has been the most disappointing player to own this season, in my opinion. And while he’s not startable in many instances, his trade value is also ridiculously low, but of course, he was able to give it a go in the All-Star Game, much to his owners’ chagrin.
O.J. Mayo, Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Danny Green, Andre Iguodala, Tobias Harris, Marcus Thornton, Raymond Felton, Greivis Vasquez, Lou Williams, Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol, Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, Patrick Beverley, Jonas Valanciunas, Enes Kanter and Jeff Teague.
Biggest Injury Busts
Brook Lopez – Not much to say here. Lopez was playing well and broke his foot yet again. Now we’re all just hoping he’s going to be able to come back and finish his career. It’s hard to be mad at guys for getting hurt, but Larry Sanders and his barroom brawl that resulted in thumb surgery might be an exception.
Derrick Rose, Brook Lopez, Al Horford, Jrue Holiday, Larry Sanders, Russell Westbrook, Ryan Anderson, Andrea Bargnani, Eric Bledsoe, Kawhi Leonard, JaVale McGee, J.J. Redick, Steve Nash and Danilo Gallinari.
I’m sure I missed some guys in most of these categories, but just like the “Mt. Rushmore of Hoops,” some guys are going to be left off all lists like these.
Good luck in Week 17!