NBA Fantasy Basketball 2011-12: Top 50 Pre-Draft Big Board
Finally, the NBA is back! And with it, fantasy basketball. Many of you have fantasy drafts coming up between now and Christmas Day.
This is my top 50 players for this fantasy season. Considering the (scientifically proven) fact that I'm the greatest fantasy basketball owner in human history, you would be wise to take my rankings into consideration.
50. Joakim Noah
2010-11 Stats: 11.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game
If he can stay healthy, Noah could be a double-double machine next season for the Chicago Bulls.
49. Marc Gasol
2010-11 Stats: 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game
Gasol saw his production dip a bit last year as Zach Randolph got the majority of the touches inside. Depending on which team picks him up in free agency, he could bounce back this year.
48. Danilo Gallinari
2010-11 Stats: 15.6 points and 4.9 rebounds a game
Two of the Nuggets; top scoring wings from last season are in a very interesting predicament. During the lockout, Wilson Chandler and J.R. Smith signed with Chinese professional teams without securing any kind of an opt-out clause.
With those two stuck in China, Gallinari will get a lot more shots and a lot more points. Even if Denver brings in a free-agent shooting guard, you can expect Gallo to lead the team in scoring.
47. Brook Lopez
2010-11 Stats: 20.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game
Brook Lopez took a lot of heat for his ineffective rebounding last year, but the Nets center is still just 23 years old and he averaged nearly nine rebounds a game during the 2009-10 season.
I expect Lopez to bounce back in terms of rebounding and to continue to improve in scoring.
46. Luis Scola
2010-11 Stats: 18.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game
Scola is now 31, so you'd think his production may start to slow down over the next few years. Because of the way he plays (grounded and fundamental), I still expect him to be effective for quite a while.
45. David Lee
2010-11 Stats: 16.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game
David Lee saw his production dip a bit in his first season with Golden State, as he played with two volume-shooting combo guards in Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.
I expect his points and rebounds to increase a bit this year.
44. Nene Hilario
2010-11 Stats: 14.5 points and 7.6 rebounds a game
There will be a lot of overrated free agents getting overpaid this summer. Nene is one of them. However, wherever he ends up, he'll put up decent numbers for a modern center.
43. Chauncey Billups
2010-11 Stats: 16.8 points and 5.4 assists a game
If the Knicks are unable to acquire Chris Paul or Deron Williams in a trade (and let's face it, they really don't have the assets), Billups will have to be D'Antoni's point guard.
He's never been much of a distributor, but the fast pace could boost his assist average.
42. Joe Johnson
2010-11 Stats: 18.2 points, 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game
The Hawks had to have some buyer's remorse shortly after signing Joe Johnson to his astronomical contract last year. He's still a solid all-around wing, though.
And if Josh Smith is traded, Johnson's numbers could go up, as he'd be more of the clear alpha dog (unless Smith lands them another star).
41. Jrue Holiday
2010-11 Stats: 14 points, 6.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game
There are a lot of really good, young point guards rising in the league right now. Holiday isn't in the top tier, but he certainly has a bright future. He should have plenty of double-doubles this year.
40. DeMarcus Cousins
2010-11 Stats: 14.1 points and 8.6 rebounds a game
Because of all the press Blake Griffin and John Wall got, Cousins quietly had a very good rookie season.
No one would be surprised to see his numbers increase this year, but with ball-dominating guards like Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette and Marcus Thornton (if he re-signs), another year at 14 and nine wouldn't surprise me.
39. Serge Ibaka
2010-11 Stats: 9.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game
Ibaka has shown a lot of improvement over the course of his young NBA career and should rack up plenty of double-doubles this year.
38. Dorell Wright
2010-11 Stats: 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game
Dorell Wright was one of the biggest individual beneficiaries of Miami's coup last summer. The formation of the big three led to Wright's exodus to the Bay Area, where he shined and led the NBA in threes made.
37. Andrew Bogut
2010-11 Stats: 12.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game
Bogut is one of the most tragically underused players in the NBA. Even still, he comfortably averaged a double-double and led the league in blocks per game.
36. Manu Ginobili
2010-11 Stats: 17.4 points, 4.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game
As Tim Duncan continues to decline with age, look for Manu Ginobili to shine for a couple more years (until his own decline kicks in).
35. Tyreke Evans
2010-11 Stats: 17.8 points, 5.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds a game
Evans had a little sophomore slump last year, but he should be able to bounce back this season. All-around players are always good fantasy pickups.
34. Chris Bosh
2010-11 Stats: 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game
There are rumblings about Bosh moving to center for Miami if they can't land a starting-quality big in free agency. In a frontcourt of Bosh and Haslem, Bosh should get a few more rebounds.
33. Gerald Wallace
2010-11 Stats: 15.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game
Early indications have Gerald Wallace starting over Nicolas Batum in Portland (absolute no-brainer in my opinion). He's a very versatile player and can put up a lot of fantasy points when he gets the minutes.
32. Kyle Lowry
2010-11 Stats: 13.5 points, 6.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game
Lowry had a breakout year in 2010-11 and progressed over the course of the season as he developed into his role as Houston's starting point guard. In March, he averaged 20 and eight.
31. Danny Granger
2010-11 Stats: 20.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game
Danny Granger has been the clear top dog for the Pacers for a few years now, and that won't be any different this season. He'll have plenty of opportunities to score all year long.
30. Paul Pierce
2010-11 Stats: 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists
All three members of Boston's Big Three are now well beyond their primes, but Paul Pierce's game (slow and methodical) will allow him to be effective for a few more years.
29. Steve Nash
2010-11 Stats: 14.7 points and 11.4 assists per game
The talent around Steve Nash just keeps getting worse and worse each year. I'd like to see him traded at some point this year.
Either way, he'll find a way to get the most out of his teammates and will almost certainly average a double-double.
28. Andre Iguodala
2010-11 Stats: 14.1 points, 6.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game
Andre Iguodala is one of the most underrated players in the league. He puts up stellar all-around numbers on offense, and the only point forward who averages more assists per game is LeBron James.
27. Al Jefferson
2010-11 Stats: 18.6 points and 9.7 rebounds a game
Despite a serious log jam at power forward, Al Jefferson still managed to put up very good numbers last season (especially after the Deron Williams trade).
26. Kevin Martin
2010-11 Stats: 23.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game
Kevin Martin is one of the best pure scorers in the league and will pile up points for you in fantasy ball. He's efficient too, which is important in most leagues.
25. Rajon Rondo
2010-11 Stats: 11.2 assists, 10.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game
The older the big three get, the bigger Rajon Rondo's role will become. Next year, the Celtics will go as Rondo goes. Look for him to take on a big load and collect plenty of points, rebounds and especially assists.
24. Josh Smith
2010-11 Stats: 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game
Josh Smith is another guy who does a lot of things well, and that pays off in fantasy land. In addition to the stats listed, he'll have plenty of steals and blocks.
23. Zach Randolph
2010-11 Stats: 20.1 points and 12.2 rebounds per game
Randolph has emerged from the Jail Blazers days better than anyone else on that team. He's actually become a respected veteran and is still putting up huge numbers.
22. Eric Gordon
2010-11 Stats: 22.3 points and 4.4 assists a game
Eric Gordon didn't get the credit he probably deserved last year. He may be the best up-and-coming shooting guard in the league.
There's a reason the Clippers are hesitant to include him in a trade for Chris Paul.
21. Rudy Gay
2010-11 Stats: 19.8 points and 6.2 rebounds a game
With Zach Randolph getting older and O.J. Mayo looking like he's headed out of Memphis, I expect Rudy Gay's production to see a little boost this year.
20. LaMarcus Aldridge
2010-11 Stats: 21.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game
LaMarcus Aldridge seems to get better every year, and the retirement of Brandon Roy means he'll be the man once again this season for Portland.
19. Al Horford
2010-11 Stats: 15.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game
Al Horford is one of the most efficient big men in the NBA and if the Hawks trade Josh Smith, his offensive responsibility may increase.
18. John Wall
2010-11 Stats: 16.4 points, 8.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game
He was overshadowed by Blake Griffin, but John Wall had an extremely good rookie season. Averaging 20 and 10 doesn't seem out of reach in his second year.
17. Blake Griffin
2010-11 Stats: 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game
I expect Blake Griffin to have another monster year. And if the Clippers acquire Chris Paul from the Hornets, I would bump Griffin at least five or six spots up in this list.
16. Stephen Curry
2010-11 Stats: 18.6 points, 5.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game
Stephen Curry might be my favorite young player in the league. In his first two years as an NBA point guard, he's averaged nearly 20 and six and last year, he led the league in free throw percentage.
Now that he's learned the position, expect a boost in production.
15. Amare Stoudemire
2010-11 Stats: 25.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game
As one half of arguably the best offensive forward duo in the NBA, expect Amar'e Stoudemire to continue to score at a great rate.
14. Carmelo Anthony
2010-11 Stats: 25.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game
The Knicks have talked about running the offense through Carmelo Anthony, and the release of Chauncey Billups makes it look like that's the direction they're going. Expect him to average nearly 30 points a game.
13. Monta Ellis
2010-11 Stats: 24.1 points, 5.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game
He may not be the most efficient scorer in the league, but Monta Ellis doesn't deserve quite the ball-hog rep that he has. He actually puts up good assist numbers for a shooting guard.
12. Kobe Bryant
2010-11 Stats: 25.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game
A duo of Bryant and Howard would be fun to watch and amazing for the league, but they'd be the only two scorers left on LA's roster.
11. Dirk Nowitzki
2010-11 Stats: 23 points and seven rebounds per game
The reigning Finals MVP will once again be one of the most effective scorers in the NBA this season. Expect his rebounding numbers dip a bit, though (as they have over the last few years).
10. Pau Gasol
2010-11 Stats: 18.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game
Like all the other guys on this list who are currently chilling in the rumor mill, Gasol's production will depend on where he's playing.
9. Kevin Love
2010-11 Stats: 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds per game
Love's scoring, rebounding and three-point shooting make him a great, versatile addition to any fantasy squad.
8. Deron Williams
2010-11 Stats: 20.1 points, 10.3 assists and four rebounds per game
If the Nets land Dwight Howard, Deron Williams could lead the league in assists this year.
7. Dwyane Wade
2010-11 Stats: 25.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game
Dwyane Wade will turn 30 soon and he's suffered through his fair share of injuries. However, he's still one of the best all-around players in the league and probably the best shooting guard.
6. Dwight Howard
2010-11 Stats: 22.9 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game
Like I said in the Kobe Bryant slide, if Dwight Howard ends up in LA, he'll be one of two scoring options. He could put up monster numbers there.
No matter where he goes, he'll be among the league leaders in double-doubles.
5. Russell Westbrook
2010-11 Stats: 21.9 points, 8.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game
Rift or no rift, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are two of the most productive players in the NBA. Expect a few more triple-doubles from the young point guard this year.
4. Chris Paul
2010-11 Stats: 15.9 points, 9.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game
No matter where Chris Paul ends up, you can expect his numbers to look more like the ones he put up a few years ago.
3. Derrick Rose
2010-11 Stats: 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds a game
Rose has gotten better every year he's been in the league, and I think he's still on the rise. I'd love to see Dwight Howard end up in Chicago.
He and Rose would be one of the most exciting duos of all time and Rose would likely boost his assist number.
2. Kevin Durant
2010-11 Stats: 27.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game
Kevin Durant has led the league in scoring in each of the last two seasons and I wouldn't be surprised to see him do it again.
However, his average may come down just a bit as Russell Westbrook and James Harden assert themselves more offensively.
1. LeBron James
2010-11 Stats: 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and seven assists a game
Ask just about anyone who knows me and they'll tell you I'm probably the biggest LeBron hater on the planet. Even I have to admit, he's the most individually talented player in the world (at least in the regular season).