At the very, very top of draft orders, fantasy basketball owners got it right: Kevin Durant was—and should have been—the first player off the board, followed immediately by LeBron James and Chris Paul. Those three players have been the three most productive fantasy basketball stars thus far in leagues that count turnovers, but the correlation gets much cloudier after the hyper-elite.
Kobe Bryant (7.7 average draft position) and Russell Westbrook (5.9) are two more guys who were drafted in the first round of ESPN.com fantasy leagues (on average) and played like they should have been picked there. Deron Williams (5.3) and Dwyane Wade (5.5) have been on the fringe of being top-30 players this season, but have the pedigree to be selected within the first three rounds of 10-team leagues.
Andrew Bynum (11.1), however, hasn’t played a single minute in 2012-13. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all for him to be left off of draft boards entirely if fantasy hoops owners got a do-over.
Players selected in the first three rounds of a fantasy draft tend to be those of the superstar variety—guys who either excel at some skills like few others while having limited weaknesses, or guys who are a positive influence on all eight non-turnover categories.
All stats accurate prior to games played on Jan. 15, 2013.