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NBA Fantasy Basketball 2011-12: Top 50 Pre-Draft Big Board

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2011

NBA Fantasy Basketball 2011-12: Top 50 Pre-Draft Big Board

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    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.

     

    Andy Bailey is on Twitter. 

50. Joakim Noah

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    2010-11 Stats: 25.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game

    If the Lakers end up trading Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol for Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant will have to take on a more significant role on the offensive end (if that's possible).

    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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).

    Andy Bailey is on Twitter. 

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