The NBA regular season is over, and with it, the fantasy basketball season. For those that did well, congratulations! For those that didn’t, you were probably hit with the injury bug to a significant player on your roster, saying nothing about your true skill in playing pretend NBA. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Sigh.
That said, let’s take a look at those players that exceeded expectations, as well as those that fell flat on their faces.
NOTE: All players needed to have appeared in 50 games in order to qualify below (so, no Jeremy Lin) and Yahoo! O-Rank represents the ranking of past and projected performance while Yahoo! Rank represents the ranking for this season.
Ryan Anderson, PF/C, Orlando Magic
Yahoo! O-Rank: 103; Yahoo! Rank: 8
61 G; 16.1 PPG; 43.9 FG%; 87.7 FT%; 2.7 3PTM; 7.7 RPG; 0.9 APG; 0.8 SPG; 0.4 BPG
Anderson didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, as he averaged double-digits in points (10.6) the previous season, as well as 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 three-pointers, all in about 10 less minutes per compared to this season. It seems all that he needed was some significant burn to produce, but who knew that he would beat out Glen Davis for the starting four spot from the get-go? Anderson is an excellent shooter but many say that his stats are only the result of playing with Dwight Howard. Well, in 10 April games without D12, Anderson averaged 16.3 points, 43.2 FG%, 96.0 FT%, 1.9 3PTM and 9.0 rebounds in 37.2 minutes. Not bad for someone who probably went undrafted in most leagues.
Brandon Jennings, PG, Milwaukee Bucks
Yahoo! O-Rank: 98; Yahoo! Rank: 19
66 G; 19.1 PPG; 41.8 FG%; 80.8 FT%; 2.0 3PTM; 3.4 RPG; 5.5 APG; 1.6 SPG; 0.3 SPG
Jennings achieved career highs in points, FG%, treys per game and steals. Coming into the season, fantasy-wise, Jennings wasn’t even considered a top-20 player at his position because of his low shooting percentage, modest dimes, and perception of being a volume scorer. Despite a very solid season, the Bucks are wondering if Jennings will be the point guard of their future. However, in fantasy ball, he’s a keeper in spite of the presence of another chucker in the backcourt, Monta Ellis. But in the last two months, Jennings averaged over 20 points per (20.5 and 20.4, respectively) and shot 43.4 percent and 44.6 percent from the field. In his three seasons, Jennings has improved from year-to-year and outperformed a lot of lead guards selected before him in fantasy drafts this season.
Paul George, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers
Yahoo! O-Rank: 107; Yahoo! Rank: 40
66 G; 12.1 PPG; 44.0 FG%; 80.2 FT%; 1.4 3PTM; 5.6 RPG; 2.4 APG; 1.6 SPG; 0.6 BPG
In his second season in the L, George made a nice jump and statistically improved across the board. His improvement was one reason that the Indiana Pacers played well this past season and his future is bright. Two things stand out about him — 1) he’s an excellent overall contributor to every fantasy hoops category and 2) he’s very consistent with little deviation in production. Before the All-Star break (33 games), George averaged 12.1 points, 43.6 FG%, 78.8 FT%, 1.7 3PTM, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals. Afterward, he averaged 12.1 points, 44.3 FG%, 81.4 FT%, 1.1 3PTM, 5.7 boards, 2.6 dimes and 1.9 steals. For the most part, that’s very similar. George should command at least an early mid-round selection next season, which decreases his value a little bit. But for this season, he was cake.
Ersan Ilyasova, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks
Yahoo! O-Rank: 186; Yahoo! Rank: 50
60 G; 13.0 PPG; 49.2 FG%; 78.1 FT%; 0.9 3PTM; 8.8 RPG; 1.2 APG; 0.7 SPG; 0.7 BPG
Before the season, Ilyasova didn’t even deserve to be drafted onto fantasy teams. In the end, he showed all of us. Ilyasova had potential last season in 34 games as a starter — 10.5 points, 45.2 FG%, 92.7 FT%, 0.7 3PTM, 6.9 boards, 1.0 assist, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks. However, those numbers weren’t good enough for him to be considered in most drafts because of the presence of Drew Gooden, Carlos Delfino and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who would’ve likely made a dent in Ilyasova’s PT. Never happened and Ilyasova’s production this season happened at a great time, as he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Some NBA team is going to have to pay up, but this past season, lucky fantasy hoops managers didn’t have to.
Lamar Odom, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks
Yahoo! O-Rank: 64; Yahoo! Rank: 345
50 G; 6.6 PPG; 35.2 FG%; 59.2 FT%; 0.6 3PTM; 4.2 RPG; 1.7 APG; 0.4 SPG; 0.4 BPG
To say Odom had a bad season would be an understatement, sort of like saying the Kardashians are kind of annoying. Odom’s main cumulative stats were basically halved from last season to this lost one — points (14.4 versus 6.6), rebounds (8.7 versus 4.2), assists (3.0 versus 1.7) — and his shooting percentages were atrocious. Luckily, Odom wore out his welcome with the Mavs, who will certainly refuse their $8.2 million team option for next season to Odom. Catching feelings in a money-driven industry just doesn’t help. You would think Odom would have learned to be numb to emotion like his in-laws.
Jason Richardson, SG/SF, Orlando Magic
Yahoo! O-Rank: 59; Yahoo! Rank:116
54 G; 11.6 PPG; 40.8 FG%; 59.4 FT%; 1.9 3PTM; 3.6 RPG; 2.0 APG; 1.0 SPG; 0.4 BPG
Did the Magic give Richardson a multi-year contract at the wrong time? Yes. The most value would have likely been had in the front-end of his four-year contract that he signed before the season, but J-Rich started it off with his career-worst field goal percentage (40.8), free throw percentage (59.4) and points per game average (11.7). Richardson controls his contract situation through the 2014-15 season with a player option and is one reason the Magic are burdened with bad contracts. Luckily in fantasy, you only invest draft rounds (likely somewhere in the middle rounds for J-Rich’s ability to hit the three ball), but as it turns out, this is still a bad investment.
Raymond Felton, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers
Yahoo! O-Rank: 42; Yahoo! Rank: 134
60 G; 11.4 PPG; 40.7 FG%; 80.6 FT%; 1.0 3PTM; 2.5 RPG; 6.5 APG; 1.3 SPG; 0.2 BPG
Felton has never recovered from being traded from the Knicks last season when, through 54 games, he was averaging career-highs in points (17.1), assists (9.0), triples (1.6) and steals (1.8). His numbers dipped hard with the Denver Nuggets, but there was some optimism that Felton would improve on the Blazers with a collection of talented wings to kick to — Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, and pre-retirement Brandon Roy or Jamal Crawford — to go along with the inside presence of LaMarcus Aldridge. However, it never worked out, even in a contract year for Felton. Not a huge disappointment here, but he certainly didn’t meet early middle round expectations.
Various Players That Missed Significant Time
Derrick Rose (Missed 27 games), Amar’e Stoudemire (19 games), Nene Hilario (29; 27 games), Kevin Martin (31; 26 games), Stephen Curry (34; 40 games), Eric Gordon (38; 57 games), Ray Allen (50; 20 games), Danilo Galinari (51; 23 games), Andrew Bogut (54; 54 games), Andrea Bargnani (71; 35 games), Manu Ginobili (96; 32 games), Ricky Rubio (115; 25 games), Brook Lopez (119; 61 games) and Zach Randolph (148; 38 games)
What other players deserve to be put into either of the above categories? Leave comments. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter as well — @dv140. Breathe easy as the season is over and it’s time to TRULY enjoy NBA hoops without any worry or how a player on your fantasy does.