2013-14 NBA regular season is now in the rear-view mirror. And that means that fantasy leagues, with the exception of daily leagues and NBA.com’s Drive to the Finals, are done and dusted.
Now’s the time to look back on what transpired over the last five and a half months and reminisce on all the great performances from a fantasy basketball perspective.
Without further ado, I present to you, the Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Awards Spectacular.
2013-14 Defensive Player Of The Year
And the nominees are:
- Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
- Andre Drummond, PF/C, Detroit Pistons
- Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder
- DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers
- Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
So, what constitutes the Defensive Player Of The Year for fantasy basketball? There’s no point using point differentials, real plus/minus, ‘the eye test’, defensive rating. They are all great tools for judging real NBA defensive talent, but we are talking about fantasy. Numbers. statistics.
So, my Defensive Player Of The Year is determined by which player had the biggest impact in the blocks and Steals categories over the course of the season. It’s not just a simple addition sum, I’m taking into account what sort of impact their accumulation of stats had relative the scarcity of the category. As usual, I’m basing on total production, not on a per game basis.
Fifth place — Andre Drummond, PF/C, Detroit Pistons
13.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.6 blocks, 62.3 FG%, 41.8 FT%, 1.3 turnovers in 81 games.
I was super high on Drummond coming into the season, and it’ fair to say my faith paid off. Drummond was being drafted in the sixth or seventh round and wound up as the number 19 player in fantasy. I hope you drafted him.
While I didn’t include rebounds in my defensive player of the year considerations, Drummond excelled there as well. He finished 43 total rebounds behind DeAndre Jordan, but on the offensive end he shone. Drummond had a whopping 109 more rebounds than his closest competitor, Jordan as well. That’s a full 25 percent more. Domination.
But what about his steal and block contributions? Well they were great as well. As you can see, Drummond averaged over a steal and a block a game, finishing seventh in blocks and thirtieth in steals. Only DeMarcus Cousins had more steals for a centre during the season.
Drummond was good at these things last season as well, but not many people took notice. In only 20 minutes a game in 2012-13, he averaged 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals and that set the foundation for his monster season. You may have heard bandied about that Drummond’s rookie season compared favourably to Dwight Howard‘s rookie season and with the way he playing now, you can see why.
He finished second in the league behind Kevin Love for double double with 57 and was eighth in field goal percentage. And he’s only gong to get better. Make sure you target Drummond in drafts next season, he’s going to be a monster.
Fourth place — Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
9.5 points, 0.5 three-pointers, 4.2 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.1 blocks, 38.1 FG%, 80.2 FT%, 2.7 turnovers in 82 games.
In contrast to Drummond, Rubio was a bit of a disappointment for fantasy owners. He ended the season ranked 36th, whereas he was being drafted usually in the 20’s. But it’s not like his season was a total write-off. You didn’t draft Rubio for his scoring or field goal percentage. You drafted him because of his assists and steals and he delivered.
Rubio led the league in total steals and was second in total assists. Sure, if Chris Paul had remained healthy, he would’ve led both categories by a wide margin, but health and susceptibility to injury is something you must take into account in fantasy and Rubio was robust all season.
The thing about Rubio is that he did improve over last season. On a per game basis, his rank jumped from 89th all the way to 58th, getting more steals and actually shooting a better percentage from the field. If he could just get his shooting it the low 40’s, Rubio could be a legitimate top 20 player.
Third place — Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder
15.1 points, 0.3 three-pointers, 8.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.7 blocks, 53.6 FG%, 78.4 FT%, 1.5 turnovers in 81 games.
Was this the season that Serge Ibaka cemented himself as a genuine star in the league. He seems unheralded in OKC, mainly because he is playing with two genuinely elite players, in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. But the production doesn’t lie. Ibaka is just that good.
He led the league in total blocks this season, just trailing Anthony Davis on a per-game basis and was actually fantasy basketball’s number eight overall player.
It’s true that the steals aren’t anything to write home about, but when you’re blocking almost three shots a game, your contribution to the defensive stats of your fantasy team can’t go unnoticed. There’s no way Ibaka makes it out of the top 15 next season.
And now, with only two player remaining — can I get a drum roll please?
Second-place — Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.8 blocks, 51.9 FG%, 79.1 FT%, 1.6 turnovers in 67 games.
Winner — DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers
10.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.5 blocks, 67.6 FG%, 42.8 FT%, 1.5 turnovers in 82 games.
If only Davis could’ve stayed healthy. He would’ve won this award in a canter. If I was solely looking at averages, Davis was by far the best defensive contributor in fantasy basketball. But he missed 15 games and those 15 games mean a lot of stats, and accumulation matters.
Nevertheless, what a season it was for the second-year big man out of Kentucky. Not only would he have won the defensive player of the year based on per game numbers, he was the second ranked player in all of fantasy on a per-game basis. As it stands, Davis ends the season at the fifth overall player and is a lock to go top five next season — well a lock if I’m picking in the top five anyway.
There were only 20 points, 10 rebounds guys in the NBA this season — Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Jefferson and Davis. Throw in the fact he led the league in blocks per game and also shot above average from the field and the line and averaged over a steal a game and you have an elite player on your hands.
If only we could get the Suns training staff to consult on Davis’ conditioning.
But as good as Davis was, DeAndre Jordan takes out the hardware this season.
Jordan put together his best season by a long, long way. Not only did he finish second in the league in total blocks (third in blocks per game), but he averaged a steal a game as well, and led he NBA in rebounding.He also increased his scoring by almost two points per game and improved his stellar 64.3 field goal percentage up to an incredible 67.6 percent. Heck, even his free throw percentage improved.
After being drafted on average 111th on ESPN, Jordan finished the season as the 19th best player. That’s an incredible bargain if you happened to draft him, as I did in a lot of my leagues.
Playing for Doc Rivers obviously agreed with Jordan and he looks like he will be a rebounding and shot-blocking machine for a few years to come.
Keep an eye out for the rest of the awards over the coming days and weeks and enjoy the playoffs!