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 Most Valuable Player
And the nominees are:
- Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors
- Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
- Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
- LeBron James, SF/PF, Miami Heat
- Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
I know, I know, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion who is going to win this award, but there are couple of ways to approach an award labelled ‘Most Valuable’. Is it the best player? Is it the player giving you the most value — bang for your buck so to speak?
I approached it as just going with the best player in fantasy terms and as with the other awards, this award is based on total stats rather than per game numbers.
Fifth 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.
If only Davis could’ve stayed healthy. The fact that he missed 15 games and still finished in the top five speaks volumes for his fantasy performances. On a per game basis, Davis was the second best player in the league.
Nevertheless, what a season it was for the second-year big man out of Kentucky. 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.
Fourth place — Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
26.1 points, 2.5 three-pointers, 12.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 45.7 FG%, 82.1 FT% in 77 games.
A great comeback season from Kevin Love, having already taken out the prestigious Red Rock Most Improved Player Award. He set a career high in point per game and bested his assists per game number by a whopping 1.9 per game, up from 2.5 to 4.4. He also hit more threes per game than he had in his career and cut his fouls down to a career best level.
All in all, a monster year for Love and if you managed to draft Love at the end of the first round, there’s a fair chance you were in the mix for the championship this season.
Third place — Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors
24.0 points, 3.3 three-pointers, 4.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.2 blocks, 47.1 FG%, 88.5 FT%, 3.8 turnovers in 78 games.
Although he couldn’t top his three-point record from last season, Curry’s season was superior in every other way compared with his breakout 2012-13 campaign. He scored more, he dished more assists, he grabbed more rebounds, he shot 2.0 percent better from the field. The only issue you could have was that the turnovers were very high — league-leadingly high in fact.
BUt when you have such a high volume point guard, you have to expect turnovers and it’s not something you should take into account when making your first round selection. Curry was incredibly consistent and no matter where you picked him in the top five, you would’ve been happy with the return you got.
Curry seems like he will be a lock for a top five fantasy player for years to come.
And now, with only two player remaining — can I get a drum roll please?
Second-place — LeBron James, SF/PF, Miami Heat
27.1 points, 1.5 three-pointers, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.3 blocks, 56.7 FG%, 75.0 FT%, 3.5 turnovers in 77 games.
Winner — Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
32.0 points, 2.4 three-pointers, 7.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, 50.3 FG%, 87.3 FT%, 3.5 turnovers in 81 games.
For all the talk about LeBron coasting and him having a down year, he was still a superb basketball player and put up monster numbers, as you can see above. It’s true that it wasn’t his best season, and even though his scoring increased from last season, he suffered a dip in rebounds, steals, assists and blocks. And for all the talk preseason about LeBron’s focus on improving his free throw shooting, he actually regressed there as well.
But enough of the negatives. LeBron was fantastic and if you lucked into he second pick of your draft, you would be super happy with what he gave you. He only sat for the Heat’s final two games, so that fear of him sitting the last four or five was unfounded.
One thing that did happen this season was that LeBron now is in the group of picks two through to seven, rather than in the discussion for the first pick. That domain belongs exclusively to Kevin Durant.
What can we say about Durant?
The gap between Durant and LeBron, between number one and number two, is the same as the gap between number two and number 18, Damian Lillard. Just let that sink in. If you had Lillard and James, they would’ve given you the same value as Durant and the average fantasy basketball player, who this season would’ve been someone like Corey Brewer or Channing Frye.
That’s just crazy. Brewer was, even at the end of the season, owned in less than 40 percent of leagues and if you added him to Durant, you got the same as drafting LeBron and Lillard with your first two picks. This kind of disparity really furthers the case for auction drafts to become the norm, where Durant will then be forced to go for his market value. The way things are looking now, everyone is going to want pick one — as there is a big blanket over the next six to 10 guys.
And that wraps up the Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Awards Spectacular. I hope you enjoyed reading them. Over the next few weeks months, I’ll be doing team specific reviews and some preview type stuff as we head toward the NBA Draft.