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Fantasy Basketball Rankings 2011-12: Most Versatile Players to Help You Win

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2011

Fantasy Basketball Rankings 2011-12: Most Versatile Players to Help You Win

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    In fantasy rotisserie leagues, the most important thing is the versatile player. A guy who can stuff the stat sheet across the board is the one who usually ends up having a lot of fantasy value. 

    One thing that can be damaging is a player who has a high total in certain areas, but who also is a high volume shooter or gets a lot of free-throw attempts but has a low percentage. 

    These are the players who are going to give you across the board lines without destroying you in the percentages. 

Blake Griffin

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    I hesitated putting Griffin on here because he's a pretty lousy free-throw shooter and they can really drag you down. 

    However I think that Griffin will actually pull up his average from the stripe, so I'm giving him a spot here. Don't let me down, Blake!

    Griffin had the third most rebounds last year and the 10th most total points. He was the only player to score 1,500 points, get 700 rebounds and over 300 assists. His ability as a passer is a good reason to pick him up. Getting stats from a position you don't normally get them from can always be a big positive. 

Paul Pierce

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    Paul Pierce is one of the more versatile players in the league, though he doesn't get quite enough credit for his all-around play. Last year, he averaged 18.9 points, 1.3 threes, 3.3 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 1.0 steal and .6 blocks all while maintaining a .497 field-goal percentage and an .850 free-throw percentage.

    Pierce is an all-around player, and while he's not worth a first-round pick, he is worth picking up if he hangs around. He'll help you everywhere and hurt you nowhere. 

Kevin Durant

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    Kevin Durant is the two-time scoring champ, but the reality is that the scoring sometimes detracts from the fact that he does a lot of things well. 

    He averaged 6.8 boards per game last year, and he also had better than both one steal and one block per game as well. The only other player to average at least 25 points, six boards and a steal and block each per game is Dwyane Wade. 

Deron Williams

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    Only two players in the NBA have averaged 18 points and eight assists over the last three seasons, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Williams also gives you outstanding free throw shooting. 

    Last year, in large part due to a wrist injury, he struggled with his shooting, but typically, he's been a fairly respectable shooter from the field, too, knocking down his shots at a rate of .473 over the last three seasons. 

    Look for Williams to continue to get a assists at an incredible rate while scoring 18-20 points per night. 

Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant has been unfairly painted as a bit of a "true scorer" over the course of his career. By this, I mean he's been accused of being a great scorer but not contributing very much elsewhere. 

    That's not entirely true. While he's not quite LeBron James when it comes to filling out the whole stat sheet, he's gotten the job done across the board more than he gets credit for doing. 

    He is only the seventh player in NBA history to log 25,000 points, 5,000 assists and 5,000 boards in his career. He is the only player to do all that and have more than 1,000 threes to his credit as well. 

    Kobe's field goal percentage is a tad low, but he more than makes up for it with a high free-throw percentage. 

    It's worth noting here that a player with a below average field-goal percentage isn't going to damage you nearly as much as a below average free throw percentage. Only 34 players in the NBA attempted more than than the 370 free-throw attempts that Dwight Howard took last year. 

    Even if you have Kevin Martin and Kevin Durant on your team, the two players who tied for the most made field goals and who both shot over .880 fro the stripe, the average from the three would be just .767 or just barely above the league-wide average of .763.

    The reason is that Howard took such a huge volume of shots that the percentages are hard to offset. He took 37.0 percent more shots, and the difference in average was 28.4 percent. 

    In short, if your league keeps track of field goal percentage, you will be guaranteed to lose that category. 

    Comparably the difference between Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant in terms of field goal attempts is that Durant took 1,538 shots to get his 711 makes to Rose's 1,597, or about 3.6 percent fewer. Their difference in percentages was just 1.7 percent.  

    Because the disparity in both numbers and rates is so minimal, it's harder for one player to have such a strong down-pull.

Chris Paul

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    Chris Paul is joining a new team, and "Lob City" is about to be born. Having DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin to alley-oop to is going to mean a lot of assists for a player who already has a lot of assists.

    Also, Paul is going to give you a lot of steals per game with 2.4. 

    It's funny here because usually discussions will come down to "this isn't fantasy!", but in this case, it is fantasy. Paul's lack of scoring is the reason he's not higher on the list. It's not that 15 points is bad; it's that the players ahead of him have about 10 points per game more, and that does factor into fantasy basketball. 

Derrick Rose

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    Rose finished first among all NBA point-guards in total stats last year (points+rebounds+assists). Among all NBA guards, only Dwyane Wade had more than Rose. 

    Aside from the fact that he was the only player in the NBA to be in the top 10 in both assists and scoring, there is the fact that he also took the fifth most free-throw shots among guards and sank them at a rate of .828.

    Add to that he was fourth among point guards in rebounding and set the NBA record for blocks by a point guard, and you have a player that is going to help you in every category but field goal percentage. Even that is likely to go up, as last year was a 44-point drop from the year before as his role increased and more was put on him. 

    With the addition of Richard Hamilton, he'll force less shots, but maintain the same scoring average. Plus, there's a good chance you'll see his assists go up to. Rose has a chance to be the second-best fantasy player in the NBA this year. 

Dwyane Wade

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    Dwyane Wade is the master of all trades. The only reason his numbers aren't higher is that he's sharing the court with his bigger twin, LeBron James. 

    I think the thing that might have caught a lot of people off guard last year was his huge bump in rebounding. He best his previous best of 5.7 boards per game with an eye-popping 6.4. His 485 boards were the most of any guard. 

    Coupled with that is his .500 field goal percentage and the fact that he had the most blocks of any NBA guard as well. 

Kevin Love

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    Kevin Love is extraordinary in that he gives you what you want form a power forward, but he also gives you something you don't normally get, which is threes. Love had 1,112 rebounds last year, most of anyone in the NBA. He also had 88 three-point makes. 

    The next most for any player who had more than 700 rebounds is Zach Randolph, who had eight. 

    That's a lot of extra threes from a spot you don't normally get them from, and that can be a huge commodity in roto leagues. Sometimes, it's not just a matter of how many you get, but where you are getting them from. 

    Dorrell Wright led all NBA players with 194 threes last year, but 88 fewer than that was Eric Gordon. He was 46th in the NBA. Getting Love means you have the flexibility of not having to worry about threes from your two-guard. 

LeBron James

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    OK. We're talking about LeBron James here. Rings don't matter, and neither does the postseason when you're talking about fantasy basketball. 

    The complete and total list of players in the history of the NBA who have career averages of 27 points, seven boards and seven assists begins and ends with LeBron James. 

    In short, if you have the first-overall pick and you don't pick James, you should have your right to play fantasy basketball revoked. 

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