LeBron James highlights the fantasy basketball All-Star team too.
NBA All-Star rosters tend to consist of star players who elevate the play of winning teams on a regular basis. An All-Star fantasy basketball roster, while including many of the same names, has nothing to do with the record of a guy’s NBA squad.
It’s all about the stats.
The following fantasy All-Star team, like the NBA All-Star rosters, consists of five “starters”—two backcourt players and three frontcourt guys—and two backcourt, three frontcourt and two players regardless of position as “reserves”. Each of them is healthy enough to play now; there will be no Rajon Rondo or Anderson Varejao here, despite their statistical dominance in select categories.
This collection of players may or may not be the 12 best fantasy assets in a vacuum, but things are rarely absolute in fantasy, anyway. They’re meant to assemble an eight-category wrecking ball as a unit, because—let’s face it—guys with such high usage wouldn’t stand a chance to win the turnovers category against normal fantasy squads. Shooting efficiency, however, is another story.
Only two players on this list are shooting less than 44 percent from the field this season, but each of them makes up for it by converting well over 2.0 three-pointers per game. Two guys are converting less than 77 percent of their free-throw attempts; one leads the fantasy team in rebounding and the other is LeBron James.
You knew he’d be here.
Collectively, the following gaggle of stats effectively results in a roster full of position-less players with the following averages: 48.7% FG, 84.4% FT, 1.4 3PM, 20.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.1 BPG and 2.8 TOPG.
In other words, this is basically cloning Michael Jordan with a bit more in the threes and blocks categories—minus about nine points and a steal per game—but with a 12-deep roster of dudes dropping 20 (again, on average), you won’t be left wanting for buckets.
The Pick: Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
Stats: 48.0% FG, 88.1% FT, 1.2 3PM, 16.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 2.6 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 2.1 TOPG
Most guard-eligible fantasy players are a burden to the field-goal percentage category. Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers is not only shooting 48.0 percent from the floor, but he’s converting 88.1 percent of his free-throw attempts.
In addition to his contribution of 1.2 threes per game, CP3 trails only Rajon Rondo in dimes (9.5 APG) and leads the NBA in steals with 2.6 nightly swipes. He gives fantasy owners all of the prototypical PG stats without being a pain elsewhere—aside from his modest total of two blocked shots this season.
Somebody else will handle that.
The Pick: James Harden, SG, Houston Rockets
Stats: 44.8% FG, 85.5% FT, 2.0 3PM, 26.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 3.8 TOPG
James Harden’s field-goal percentage isn’t anything to write home about, but short of the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, it’s not exactly a strength of the 2-guard position as a whole. Fortunately, Harden gets to the free-throw line a ridiculous 10.0 times per game and converts a high percentage of them. That kind of volume and efficiency is underrated in fantasy hoops.
Harden’s 26.1 points per game certainly is an attention-grabber, supplemented nicely by about five boards, five dimes and two steals a game. On average, he’s not going to destroy your chances to win a particular category—expect turnovers.
We’re punting those, anyway.
The Pick: LeBron James, SF/PF, Miami Heat
Stats: 56.5% FG, 74.4% FT, 1.4 3PM, 27.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 6.9 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 2.9 TOPG
It’s amazing that a guy who knocks down 1.4 threes per game is also the NBA’s most positive influence on a fantasy team’s field-goal percentage, but that’s exactly what LeBron James does. The Miami Heat superstar is converting 56.5 percent of his shots from the floor.
His raw percentage doesn’t lead the Association, but because he’s shooting 18.3 times per game, that number carries a lot of weight. If he were making his free-throws with the same elite level of competency, he would be fantasy basketball’s most valuable asset, hands down.
LeBron doesn’t connect on 90-plus percent of his foul shots, but he does average 27, eight and seven with legitimate defensive stats.
The Pick: Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 51.9% FG, 90.4% FT, 2.0 3PM, 29.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 3.2 TOPG
Kevin Durant was the first player off of most fantasy basketball draft boards. From an efficiency perspective, his owners still got a bargain. The Oklahoma City Thunder resident superstar is averaging career-bests from the field (51.9 percent; 47.4 career), the arc (43.2 percent; 37.3 career) and the free-throw line (90.4 percent; 88.2 career).
Kevin Durant attempts 9.2 free throws per game (2nd in NBA) and makes 90.4% of his free throws (2nd in NBA, min. 100 FTA).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2013
Those efficiency marks don’t come at the expense of his scoring prowess; KD leads the NBA in points per game. With career-highs in assists, blocks and steals, Durant is a no-brainer selection for the fantasy All-Star team.
The Pick: Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 55.3% FG, 77.2% FT, 0.2 3PM, 13.6 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.3 SPG, 3.0 BPG, 1.6 TOPG
Serge Ibaka is going to swat some shots. He’s just going to. The blocks specialist has become less of a specialist and more of a well-rounded fantasy star now that he’s scoring in the midrange of double-figures and developing as a free-throw shooter.
Ibaka is capable of putting together impressive streaks of proficiency from the line; he shot 88.1 percent from the stripe in November (17 games) and 91.7 percent in February (six games).
The Pick: Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors
Stats: 43.4% FG, 90.5% FT, 3.1 3PM, 21.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 2.8 TOPG
Stephen Curry is shooting better from beyond the arc (44.7 percent) than he is overall (43.4). That’s not particularly good, but his three triples per game will make you forgive the subpar field-goal percentage by the standards of this All-Star team.
Curry is an elite free-throw shooter as well, converting over 90 percent of his foul shots just one year after shooting a surprisingly low 80.9 percent from the line in 26 games. He gives the typical PG numbers of assists (6.6 APG) and steals (1.6 SPG) in noticeable quantities, along with a 2-guard’s scoring (21.0 PPG).
Steph’s numbers this season are the realization of the potential that fantasy hoops aficionados hoped to see from a healthy Golden State Warriors rising star.
The Pick: Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats: 46.6% FG, 84.8% FT, 2.0 3PM, 23.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 3.3 TOPG
The only sophomore slump that Kyrie Irving can be said to be working through is his free-throw shooting. His field-goal percentage has negligibly dipped since he was a rookie, but that’s a result to added long-range attempts (from 3.6 to 4.6 per game)—an area of his game which he has improved.
The Cleveland Cavaliers point guard has increased his scoring average by 5.0 points per game in just 4.8 more minutes per game. He’s been very efficient from the floor (46.6 percent) and the line (84.8 percent) as a young player, with plenty of contributions elsewhere that are expected from an elite fantasy guard.
The Pick: Nicolas Batum, SG/SF, Portland Trail Blazers
Stats: 42.4% FG, 85.9% FT, 2.3 3PM, 15.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 2.9 TOPG
Nicolas Batum’s 42.4 percent field-goal shooting is the lowest mark on the fantasy basketball All-Star squad because more than half of his shots come from the great beyond; 6.3 of his 12.0 (52.5 percent) field-goal attempts per game are threes.
He still makes the team because of his contributions across the board; Batum hits 2.3 threes per game—as he should—in addition to 5.9 boards, 4.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks. Very few players eclipse just 1.0 blocks, steals and long-range buckets per game; Kevin Durant is one of the others to exhibit such statistical diversity.
The Pick: Tim Duncan, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs
Stats: 50.2% FG, 82.4% FT, 0.0 3PM, 17.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.8 SPG, 2.8 BPG, 1.9 TOPG
Tim Duncan has missed 10 games this season, which is a strike against the big man. Still, his efficiency can’t be refuted; he’s topped 50 percent field-goal shooting and 80 percent free-throw shooting. That’s uncommon with a guy who blocks 2.8 shot attempts nightly.
Timmy is still a double-double threat at 36 years old. This is not a lifetime achievement award like guys get in the NBA All-Star selection process; he’s earned his spot.
The Pick: Joakim Noah, PF/C, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 45.6% FG, 75.7% FT, 0.0 3PM, 11.8 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.0 BPG, 2.8 TOPG
There have been enough high-volume scorers on this list to stuff a stat sheet in the points category. Joakim Noah shows up for the guys who don’t drop 20 nightly; he’s scored 20 or more points five times in 48 games this season.
He’s this All-Star team’s only double-digit rebounder (11.4 RPG) and offers an interesting combination of assists (4.1) and blocks (2.0) as a big man. Noah’s percentages (45.6% FG, 75.7% FT) can be forgiven because he doesn’t shoot too often. He puts up 9.8 shots from the field per game, and 75.7 percent free-throw shooting is not bad for a center-eligible player.
The Pick: Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs
Stats: 53.6% FG, 83.0% FT, 0.4 3PM, 20.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 7.6 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 2.5 TOPG
Tony Parker is making a case for himself as an NBA MVP candidate. He’s not the favorite for the award—it’s LeBron James’ to lose—but a side effect of his sensational on-court play is sensational fantasy statistics.
The reason Parker makes this team as a utility player, rather than a backcourt guy, is his unwillingness to shoot threes. He’s making 39.3 percent of his 1.1 attempts nightly, which is legitimate production. However, his preference to attack the basket and get two-point buckets instead has resulted in a soaring field-goal percentage (53.6) and 20.8 points per game.
Parker’s adding 7.6 dimes and 83.0 percent free-throw shooting on 4.7 attempts per game; he’s the perfect counter for guys like Nicolas Batum and Stephen Curry, who take and make plenty of threes at the expense of a lower overall field-goal percentage.
The Pick: Kobe Bryant, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers
Stats: 46.3% FG, 84.4% FT, 1.7 3PM, 27.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 3.5 TOPG
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant edged New York Knicks scoring machine Carmelo Anthony as the final fantasy All-Star because of his efficiency and versatility. Melo (28.6 PPG, 2.7 3PM) outscores and out-shoots Kobe (27.0 PPG, 1.7 3PM), but Kobe’s field-goal and free-throw shooting (46.3% FG, 84.4% FT) outshines that of Carmelo (44.7% FG, 82.5% FT).
Anthony’s peripheral stats include 6.5 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game, 0.8 steals per game and 0.5 blocks per game while Bryant accumulates 5.3 rebounds per game, 5.5 assists per game, 1.4 steals per game and 0.3 blocks per game. With 11 fantasy studs already in tow, either of these scorers would make a phenomenal last pick for an All-Star fantasy roster.
The 17-year vet gets the edge because he offers help in more categories.
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