1. Kobe Bryant - LA Lakers
2007-2008 Stats: 28.3 ppg, 5.4 apg, 6.3 rpg, 1.8 spg
Kobe is the man in real life and in fantasy. He is the ultimate category filler as he puts up great numbers in almost every fantasy category. He should definitely be a Top 3 pick again this year and the NBA MVP should contend for that title again this year. If Bynum comes back healthy and Pau and Odom stay healthy, his scoring load may decrease a little bit but not much. Kobe will be Kobe and he will get his.
2. Allen Iverson - Denver
2007-2008 Stats: 26.4 ppg, 7.1 apg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 spg
Alan Iverson is still flat out awesome. He can score anytime, anywhere and on anyone despite his diminutive frame and aging body. He is a candidate to be traded at the deadline as he has a huge expiring contract that could make him very attractive to a contender. His 26.4 ppg last season was his lowest since 03-04 in Philly and I expect him to put up a little bit better numbers this year. Even if he doesn't though, 26.4 is pretty darn solid.
3. Dwayne Wade - Miami
2007-2008 Stats: 24.6 ppg, 6.9 apg, 4.2 rpg, 1.7 spg
Wade is an enigma. He plays harder than anyone in recent memory and plays with absolute disregard for his body. While that is an endearing quality, it also puts him on the injury list too often. When healthy, he is the 2nd best SG in the league and with the nice surrounding cast there in Miami now, he should do well in all categories. I like him alot this year.
If you watched the Olympics this year, you saw what he is capable of. He outshined everyone on the team at times, including Kobe.
4. Andre Iguodala - Philadelphia
2007-2008 Stats: 19.9 ppg, 4.8 apg, 5.4 rpg, 2.0 spg
AI2 is an all-around fantasy beast who gives you production in all areas. Regardless of the format, you would be smart to add this guy to your roster. He is just now getting his due, though, as some fantasy owners continue to overlook him in favor of more well known veterans. That means you might even be able to get him in the 2nd or 3rd round which is tremendous value. I believe he will surpass the 20 ppg plateau this season with Elton Brand taking away some of the defense from AI2.
5. Joe Johnson - Atlanta
2007-2008 Stats: 21.7 ppg, 5.8 apg, 4.5 rpg, 1.0 spg
Joe Johnson is a very skilled player who is the premier player on a very talented, young team in Atlanta. He does it all from a fantasy perspective and I expect his numbers to continue to improve as the Hawks improve as well. The better Horford, Smith, et al become, the better JJ's numbers will be. He is a pretty good FT shooter too and can pass the rock very well as his high assist numbers illustrate.
6. Kevin Martin - Sacramento
2007-2008 Stats: 23.7 ppg, 2.1 apg, 4.5 rpg, 1.0 spg
Kevin Martin shoots over 40% from 3 and almost 46% from the floor. In the games Ron Artest missed, he really lit it up. Now that Ron is in Houston, he should light it up every night. I expect this guy to really blow up scoring wise and his % categories are really good too (including FT%), but you only get average numbers elsewhere.
7. Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers
2007-2008 Stats: 19.1 ppg, 5.8 apg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 spg
Roy is a developing player with huge upside. He improved all of his numbers last year, building on an impressive rookie campaign. With Oden coming into the fold, he should be able to capitalize on more open looks, but injuries are becoming a major concern with him. He is a risk/reward pick so have a plan B if you go with him.
8. Jason Richardson, Charlotte Bobcats
2007-2008 Stats: 21.8 ppg, 3.1 apg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 spg
Richardson led the league in 3's last year and shot over 40% in doing so. He is skilled in all areas and is the focal point of the Charlotte offense. Expect more of the same from JR.
9. Vince Carter, New Jersey Nets
2007-2008 Stats: 21.3 ppg, 5.1 apg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 spg
Vince actually turned in a really solid season, even though his scoring average dropped by about 2 ppg. With Jefferson gone, he'll team with Harris as the teams main scoring threat which should put Vince back to his normal 23-25 ppg. His other numbers are solid and should remain that way. He's a safe pick as long as he doesn't get hurt.
10. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
2007-2008 Stats: 20.3 ppg, 2.4 apg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 spg
He hurt owners last year that drafted him too high due to his rough start shooting the ball. He got better throughout the year though and really came into his own after the break. I expect to see him put up great all around numbers this season and elevate himself into the fantasy elite. He has all the potential in the world, it's only a matter of time before he puts some polish on it.
Others to Watch
Tracy McGrady, Houston - He's 29 and has had serious injury problems over hsi career, including missing significant time in 3 of the past 4 years. Despite those concerns and the fact that he played badly last season when on the court, he is a Top 5 SG when healthy. The additions to the Houston team should take some pressure off of him and allow him to take it easy a bit, I expect a potential Comeback Player of the Year type season.
Ben Gordon, Chicago - Gifted scorer that has been the odd man out in the past in Chicago and I expect that to continue this season. His problem is that he isn't much more than a scorer and hasn't developed the other areas of his game enough at this point. He will likely be traded at some point since he's playing on a one year tender.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee - Prolific shooter and score but a liability on the defensive end. Scott Skiles will demand a better effort from him though so his steals, rebounds and blocks should improve. Having Jefferson around should give him open looks too. He's a solid pick and a value pick since he's coming off a down year.
J.R. Smith, Denver -Showed marked improvement last season, and is a huge scoring threat. The problem with him is inconsistency and immaturity. He seemed to put it together late last year and could build on that to post respectable numbers. If AI gets dealt, his numbers should skyrocket.
Josh Howard, Dallas - If he can keep his nose clean, he will continue to be a force. Can rebound and score with the best of them.
Stephen Jackson, Golden State -Tough player that literally jacks the ball up at every opportunity. He is a good stat filler but you'll take a hit at the %'s. He also could feel some heat from Maggette and Azubuike.
Rashad McCants, Minnesota - Talented offensive player in a contract year, meaning he should be lights out all year. He's in a battle for the starting job but will see extended minutes either way.
Ray Allen, Boston - Still a offensive threat and will give you some 3's, but he is on the downside of his illustrious career and may see a dip across the board.
Mike Dunleavy, Indiana - Coming off a career year. Don't overvalue him, but he is a solid pick in the mid rounds. He should benefit from TJ Ford coming to town.
Ronnie Brewer, Utah - Good young guard that can do most everything on the floor but needs to improve across the board as well. In any case, his role is likely to increase and therefore, so to will his fantasy numbers.
Richard Hamilton, Detroit - Solid, but no longer of elite level. Pressure from the young guys will eat at his numbers this year.
Mike Miller, Minnesota- A beast of a rebounder at SG and will always deliver good scoring and 3PT %. We know the stigma of semi-quick white boys that can shoot, but Miller is a gifted athlete at 6-8 and can score on anyone as well as hit the boards.
Gerald Green, Dallas - Highly touted out of high school and is back home in Texas. Has been impressive in the preseason and has enormous upside. He may not start for Dallas but is making a bid for some time. I think he has more talent than Antoine Wright so monitor this situation. Green just might push him for the job.
J.J Redick, Orlando- It appears that J.J. will finally get his chance. Orlando has a little bit less crowded backcourt compared to last year's team and Redick is the best shooter on the team. Surprised? I would be too at first glance because the Magic where the best 3pt shooting team last year, but Redick is prolific from downtown. He figures to improve and post decent numbers as his minutes increase. He has looked tremendous and drawn praise from Coach Van Gundy who has lamented JJ's game in the past.
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