Less then 3 weeks until the season starts, and fantasy basketball is now in full swing. People are gearing up for their drafts as the preseason is going on and then say to themselves “Wow, that Quincy Douby looks good, maybe he’s worth a late pick” or “What team does Quentin Richardson play for again?” Well that’s why I’m here, to set you straight on whom you should pick. Without further ado my top 10.
1. LeBron James: Big surprise. The man is a freak of nature, just an indestructible fantasy force. The guy is a triple double waiting to happen on any given night. However the arrival of the Diesel can steal some of Bron’s points and rebounds, if Shaq can still jump he should be on the receiving end of a lot of alley-oops from 23, which will help his assists. Another big plus is that LeBron has very minimal injury history, he’s the most durable player in the league.
Projection: 29 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 8 apg, with percentages similar to last year.
2. Dwyane Wade: Basically Lebron minus a few boards, on a worse team, with worse injury history. Miami got D-Wade absolutely no help in the offseason and the teams second best player just got out of rehab. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Wade is going to have to shoulder the load again this season. Played in 79 games last season which is high for him, if he can do it again then he really validates this position. It wouldn’t hurt for him to start hitting threes better though (31%).
Projection: 31 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 7.5 apg, 48 FG%, 33 3P%, 77% FT.
3. Chris Paul: An absolute beast. Led the league in assists and steals the past two seasons and is primed to do so again. It helps that the Hornets have absolutely no one good to back him up which means he plays heavy minutes once again. Owners just have to hope that he doesn’t wear down in the last month or so for the fantasy playoffs. He remains a very safe pick, and might even challenge Wade for the spot behind LeBron.
Projection: 23 ppg, 5 rpg, 12 apg, 2.7 spg, 51 FG%, 38 3P%, 86% FT.
4. Kevin Durant: Your damn right he’s number 4. The league’s best under 22 player really came on last January (29 and 7) and ended up averaging 25 ppg. Then he spent the offseason tearing it up in the Team USA camp and adding some much needed muscle. Yeah OKC has some firepower but KD is the engine that makes them go and is legitimately a scoring threat on every possession. I expect him to seriously contend for the scoring title this season.
Projection: 29 ppg, 6 rpg, 4 apg, 49 FG%, 41 3P%, 86% FT.
5. Dwight Howard: Let’s get the negative out of the way; he murders you in free throw percentage and turnovers. If you take him you have to take good free throw shooters to balance it out because he gets to the line a lot and misses a lot. As for the positives he basically wins you REBS and BLKS and if what he says is true, that he added some post moves over the summer, should provide you nice scoring numbers and FG % also. A near certitude to lead the league in boards and blocks and have a nice amount of 20-20’s.
Projection: 22 ppg, 15 rpg, 2 apg, 60 FG%, 62% FT, 3 bpg.
6. Kobe Bryant: I covered this in my Kobe article a few weeks ago. Kobe’s main motivation at this point is not to put up stats, it’s to add to that ring collection. The Lakers are also loaded beyond belief that Kobe doesn’t have to put up 30 a game anymore. However he can still get 25-5-5 in his sleep and looks like he’ll do it again.
Projection: 25 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 6.5 apg, 47 FG%, 36 3P%, 85% FT.
7. Danny Granger: Showed ridiculous improvement last season as he displayed a serious offensive repertoire every night. Even with Mike Dunleavy coming back, Granger IS the Indiana offense, so look for him to post similar, if not better stats then last season. Owners do hope that he can grab more than 5 a game which he should be able to. He’s a bit of an injury concern but hopefully can play a full season this year.
Projection: 26 ppg, 6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 45 FG%, 41 3P%, 88% FT.
8. Dirk Nowitzki: The Big German is a model of consistency, able to slap up 25 and 9 almost any given night. One thing though is that Dirk should really be averaging more than 2.4 apg, now that Dallas has a lot of talent hopefully he will. Also don’t take Dirk hoping you’ll get a barrage of 3s. He has averaged only 71 per season since 2007. Not to be nitpicky but his rpg have declined for four seasons.
Projection: 25 ppg, 8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 48 FG%, 35 3P%, 90% FT.
9. Carmelo Anthony: Last year showed us that he can play team ball which was good for the Nuggets but not the greatest for fantasy owners. He probably will not put up the 28.9 ppg he averaged a few years ago but Melo has become a much more well rounded player who can help you in more then just scoring categories.
Projection: 24 ppg, 7 rpg, 3.5 apg, 45 FG%, 36 3P%, 80% FT.
10. Deron Williams: Once he settled into a zone last season after missing some games with an ankle injury he truly was a terror. It’s pretty obvious that he is the second best PG in the league behind CP3, even though he averages half the amount of boards that Paul does. The Jazz are going to need big nights from him this season to stay competitive in the West and he will deliver. This is the year he goes 20 and 11.
Projection: 20.5 ppg, 11 apg, 3 rpg, 47 %FG, 32 3P%, 86% FT.
So there you have it, one man’s look at the top 10. Stay tuned for 11-20 coming soon