Here are a couple things to consider heading into next season:
1. Point guard is the most valuable position
2. Finding cheap rebounds and blocks is easy
3. Don’t be afraid to draft rookies
1. Chris Paul (Hornets)- During the regular season CP3 led the NBA in steals and assists. He also averaged a career-high 22.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. He shot 50 percent from the field and 87 percent from the foul line. Paul can carry your team in assists and steals which are very important fantasy categories.
2. Lebron James (Cavs)- Entering his sixth season, LBJ had a typical year averaging 28.4 points (second in the NBA), while pulling down 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game. His field goal percentage(49), free throw percentage(78) and three-pointers made (132) were career-highs.
3. Dwayne Wade (Heat)- Wade posted a league-high 30.2 points last season. After missing 60 games the past two seasons he missed just three last season. He posted career-highs in steals (2.2) and blocks (1.3) per game. D-Wade became the first player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 points, 500 assists, 100 steals, and 100 blocks.
4. Kobe Bryant( Lakers)- The NBA Finals MVP had another solid season averaging 26.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. His 210 turnovers were his lowest since the '03-04 season. Bryant has not missed a regular season game the past two seasons. While his minutes and shots were down this season he showed in the Finals he has a lot left.
5. Kevin Durant (Thunder)- Durant broke out in his second NBA season averaging 25.3 points (6th in the NBA), 6.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. He also shot 48 percent from the field, 86 percent from the stripe, and made 97 three pointers (42 percent).
6. Danny Granger (Pacers)- Granger stepped up his game with F Mike Dunleavy missing 64 games due to a knee injury. He finished fifth in the league in scoring at 25.8 points and fourth with 182 three-pointers made. He also blocked 1.5 shots and recored a steal per game. Granger missed 15 games due to an injury but finished April strong averaging 31.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks in seven games. The 2008-2009 Most Improved Player was also named to his first All-Star team last year.
7. Dirk Nowitzki (Mavs)- Nowitzki is always a safe pick because he can score, rebound, and posts solid percentages. His 25.9 points per game was fourth in the NBA. The seven-footer averaged 8.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. To elevate his fantasy stock he needs to knock down more threes and block more shots like he has done in the past.
NOTE: Picks 8-12 are contingent on offseason moves.
8. Yao Ming (Rockets)- Yao is the top roto fantasy center. Ming played in 77 games which was the most he has played since the 2004-05 season. He averaged 19.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and two blocked shots per game. He shot 55 percent from field and 87 percent from the free throw line. He has a large advantage in the free throw percentage over Dwight Howard and will contribute more assists . While Howard can make a case to be the top H2H center, he needs to improve his free throw shooting and make less turnovers to be first-round worthy.
9. Deron Williams (Jazz)- Williams finished second in the league with 10.7 assists per game. He averaged a career best 19.4 points per game and shot 85 percent from the foul line. Entering his fifth season he should average over 20 points and finish second in the league in assists again. He needs to get more steals and boards if he wants to reach CP3 territory.
10. Amare Stoudemire (Suns)- Amare missed 29 games las season due to an eye injury. He averaged 21.4 points , 8.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. If Shaquille O’Neil gets traded to the Cavs it would mean an increased role for Stoudemire. Amare saw a dip in shots and free throws attempted per game with Shaq’s emergence last season.
11. Chris Bosh (Raptors)- Bosh is a borderline first-round pick but he is a safe selection and contributes in all areas except for threes. In his sixth season he averaged a career high 22.7 points (ninth in the NBA) and 10 rebounds (sixth in the NBA). He shot 48 percent from the field and and 82 percent from the foul line. He also blocked one shot per game and averaged over a steal per game the last three months of the season.
12. Caron Butler (Wizards)- Like Yao, Butler is a high risk-high reward player because of injury concerns. Butler is an all-around fantasy machine as he averaged 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.6 steals. He missed 15 games due to a knee injury but when he’s healthy he is a roto stud. In seven games in April he averaged 25.9 points and a healthy Gilbert Arenas next year could elevate his game.
Honorable mention: Chauncey Billups (Nuggets)- Billups is a guy every fantasy team should have because he is one of the top fantasy point guards. He averaged 17.9 points, 6.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and made over two three-pointers per game. He needs to improve his field goal percentage and average more assists and steals if he wants to crack the first round.
Possible second round picks: Pau Gasol (Lakers), Al Jefferson (Timberwolves), Gerald Wallace (Bobcats), Jason Kidd (Mavs), Brandon Roy (Trailblazers), Steve Nash (Suns).