NBA All-Star weekend went down in the City of Angels and was probably an enormous network-fest as all of the NBA players that want to get into entertainment endeavors mixed with all of the acting stars that want to be hoop stars. Get over it, everyone, just stick with what you do best.
Speaking of best, below are the top fantasy basketball players in a special All-Star edition of The Fantasy Jump Off. Two teams, ten players, and no Justin Bieber. Perfect.
Fantasy NBA All-Star First Team
Point Guard – Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets (100% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
58 G; 16.2 PPG; 3.9 RPG; 9.6 APG; 1.0 3PTM; 47.6 FG%; 89.6 FT%; 2.5 SPG; 0.1 BPG; 2.4 TO
Coming into the season, Paul was considered a strong contender for the first overall pick in fantasy basketball drafts with the promise of a 20/10 season. The assists numbers are basically there, but CP3’s scoring is the lowest it’s been since his rookie season when he averaged 16.1 points. Promise broken and a collection of men quietly sob. The reason for the lower point production is because Paul is averaging the lowest shot attempts per game (11.2) in his career. Regardless, his ability to steal the ball is still one of the best and puts him ahead of Deron Williams, plus he turns the ball over 1.1 times less per contest. Who needs a tissue?
Shooting Guard – Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors (100% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
55 G; 25.3 PPG; 3.4 RPG; 5.5 APG; 1.6 3PTM; 46.0 FG%; 76.6 FT%; 2.2 SPG; 0.3 BPG; 3.3 TO
It was a close call between Ellis and Manu Ginobili, but we have to go with Ellis here because of his superior numbers in points, field-goal percentage, assists and steals. Ellis has to be the best kept secret in the NBA, never getting any love because of where he plays, even though Warriors die-hards are amongst the best fans in the league. He reminds me of Latrell Sprewell back when he played with the team, so maybe Ellis just needs to choke Keith Smart to get noticed. Kidding! Although I think Ellis would look pretty badass with cornrows and can probably feed his family.
Small Forward – LeBron James, SF/PF, Miami Heat (100% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
26.1 PPG; 7.4 RPG; 7.3 APG; 1.3 3PTM; 48.5 FG%; 76.1 FT%; 1.6 SPG; 0.6 BPG; 3.7 TO
Kevin Durant is actually ranked higher than LeBron in Yahoo! rankings, but I have to go with the most polarizing player this season, Carmelo Anthony excepted . A dip in overall numbers (particularly points) was expected from James since he’d be playing with the Sonny Crockett of the NBA, Dwyane Wade. However, LBJ’s talents continue to thrive in a big way in South Beach, which I credit to his new surroundings (read: hot women). That thirteen-year-old boy mentality to always impress women sticks with dudes until the day they die.
Power Forward – Kevin Love, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves (99% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
56 G; 21.1 PPG; 15.5 RPG; 2.4 APG; 1.3 3PTM; 47.0 FG%; 87.6 FT%; 0.6 SPG; 0.3 BPG; 2.2 TO
Most people knew that Love had the ability to succeed in the NBA and that it was just a matter of when. Well, the time is now, mofos! Love has excellent numbers across the board and if it wasn’t for his deficiencies in the defensive categories, he’d easily be the top ranked player in fantasy basketball. Still, Love’s ability to box and board, hit the triple and shoot very good percentages has many fantasy basketball owners smiling right now. Don’t worry, I’ll end it here before making some dumb “love’ reference.
Center – Pau Gasol, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers (100% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
57 G; 18.8 PPG; 10.4 RPG; 3.6 APG; 0.0 3PTM; 52.8 FG%; 82.2 FT%; 0.6 SPG; 1.8 BPG; 1.8 TO
Gasol has always been one of the more efficient basketball players in the game and has achieved Tim Duncan status in fantasy basketball circles. He’s so good that he’s boring and it’s easy to skip him if you have a top eight pick and go for the “sexier” name. Sure, Gasol will never be Justin Timberlake, but there’s nothing wrong with being a Ralph Tresvant. Yes, there’s a better player around him in Kobe Bryant (Bobby Brown in this comparison), but Gasol is just as important to his team, both on the Lakers and fantasy hoops. Man, I can’t believe I brought it back with a New Edition reference.
Fantasy NBA All-Star Second Team
Point Guard – Deron Williams, PG, Utah Jazz (100% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
53 G; 21.3 PPG; 3.9 RPG; 9.7 APG; 1.7 3PTM; 45.8 FG%; 85.3 FT%; 1.2 SPG; 0.2 BPG; 3.5 TO
Williams is right up there in the “best point guard” argument and some might even choose D-Will as the winner considering that CP3 still has durability questions to some degree and Rose is only now evolving into a monster. In fantasy basketball, Williams has always been known as nice compensation at his position if one couldn’t draft Paul, sort of like Lacey Chabert versus Lindsay Lohan in a “Mean Girls” argument. This season, Williams is scoring more and just barely drops more dimes than Paul and an argument can be made here that he’s better if you put more weight in offensive numbers. However, when coming up with a list like this, you have to look at every statistical category like every frame of said “Mean Girls” movie.
Shooting Guard – Manu Ginobili, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs (99% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
56 G; 17.9 PPG; 3.8 RPG; 4.9 APG; 2.1 3PTM; 42.7 FG%; 86.9 FT%; 1.6 SPG; 0.4 BPG; 2.3 TO
Ginobili puts up great overall numbers except in the field-goal percentage category, but his stats cannot be ignored in the same way his bald spot on top of his dome can’t. He plays the least minutes per game (31.0) than anyone else on this list and it’s amazing what he gets done in that time. Manu was a third-round pick in most leagues, possibly even dropping down to the fourth, so his production thus far this season has been as welcome to his owners as finding an extra burger in your drive-thru order. FTW!
Small Forward – Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder (100% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
50 G; 28.9 PPG; 7.0 RPG; 2.8 APG; 1.8 3PTM; 47.0 FG%; 88.0 FT%; 1.1 SPG; 1.0 BPG; 3.1 TO
Durant leads the league in scoring and is ranked first overall this season according to Yahoo! Nothing against KD, but LeBron’s overall numbers just look better. Yahoo!’s algorithm to create the rankings put too much credence in hitting from the charity stripe, as well as in the defensive numbers, and that’s cool, but I prefer to be more balanced like a ninja in my judgment. Durant is so good that he’ll be a top three pick in fantasy basketball for years to come. Plus he’s just so damn likable!
Power Forward – Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks (100% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
47 G; 22.7 PPG; 6.6 RPG; 2.6 APG; 1.0 3PTM; 52.6 FG%; 88.3 FT%; 0.6 SPG; 0.8 BPG; 1.9 TO
Nowitzki missed some games for the Mavericks and probably made life miserable for his owners during his absence. Nowitzki’s scoring and rebounding numbers have noticeably regressed this season and this just might be the beginning of the decline for him. It’s amazing to think that he’s been doing his thing and dominating for over a decade now. Way back in the beginning of his career, I actually had abs. I miss those abs. In any case, we need to cherish Nowitzki while we can because before you know it, your six pack turns into a keg. Yes, I thought a beer reference was appropriate here.
Center – Amar’e Stoudemire, PF/C, New York Knicks (100% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
53 G; 26.1 PPG; 8.6 RPG; 2.7 APG; 0.2 3PTM; 50.7 FG%; 78.9 FT%; 1.0 SPG; 2.2 BPG; 3.5 TO
Stoudemire has been successful in his first season with the Knicks and is generally looked at as a demi-god in the NYC metro area and to a smaller degree in fantasy basketball circles. The funniest part of his numbers are the career-high 2.2 rejections per game he’s averaging for a team that doesn’t play defense. It’s kind of like plastering your walls with pictures from Maxim … it’s nice, but it just doesn’t matter.
Number of Team Games in Week 18
Four Games: ATL, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIN, OKC, SAC, TOR, WAS
Three Games: BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, GSW, MIL, NOR, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAS, UTA
Two Games: NJN
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