Wednesday, January 12, 2005

New! Updated! Top 20!

In the few weeks since our last Top 20, we’ve seen one elite player return from injury, (Baron Davis) and one looks like he’s about ready to lace ‘em up again (Andrei Kirilenko). So let’s see where they fall into the mix. Plus, this time we’ve added tiers.

Tier One:

1. Kevin Garnett, F (MIN) – His hold on the top spot may be slipping, but through no fault of his own. The Big Ticket is still the undisputed fantasy champion. He’s posting career-high numbers in boards and assists this year.

2. LeBron James, G/F (CLE) – He just turned 20, and he could very well average 25/7/7 this year. The biggest surprise so far is his .493 FG%, and he helps in every single category.

3. Shawn Marion, F (PHO) – Garnett is the only other player in the league averaging over 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks. Marion is a 20/10 threat every night, and does everything but get assists.

4. Dirk Nowitzki, F/C (DAL) – He’s slowing a bit from his torrid November pace (2.1 fewer rebounds), but Dirk is still a top-5 talent.

5. Tracy McGrady, SG (HOU) – He’s on fire so far this month, averaging 30 points, 3.3 3’s, 7.5 boards and 6 assists. After a slow start, Tracy is starting to return to form in Houston, and should be fine from here on out.

6. Kobe Bryant, SG (LAL) – He’s shooting 40.7% from the field, but his 44% shooting over the last 5 games (in which the Lakers went 3-2 against some great teams) is encouraging. Other than that, Kobe is a stud, plus your fantasy team isn’t affected by off-the-court drama. Yet.

7. Tim Duncan, F/C (SAS) – If he goes top 5 in your draft next year, it’ll be on hype alone. He’s no longer dominant in points (21.9 this year, 15th in the league, decreasing for the 4th year in a row), and while he’s a huge plus in boards and blocks, he’s a huge minus in FT%, and doesn’t help at all in assists or 3’s. Dirk is unquestionably the better fantasy center.

Tier Two:

8. Jermaine O’Neal, FC (IND) – Really, there’s not much difference between Jermaine and Duncan, but the lack of blocks lately (1.6 per game since his return) pushes him into the second tier.

9. Andrei Kirilenko, F (UTH) – He’s almost back. Have patience. The best defensive player in the league, he’s like Ben Wallace but with scoring ability and range on his jumper.

10. Allen Iverson, G (PHI) – Over the last month, he’s averaging 33.3 points, 6.9 assists and 5.3 boards with 2.4 steals and 1.7 3’s. The only reason he slips is because those injuries have gotta catch up with him sooner or later. If Philly falls out of the playoff hunt, he may sit out more often.

11. Ray Allen, SG (SEA) – He’s consistent, he helps you almost everywhere, but he just doesn’t have what it takes to move into the top 10. Better rebounds and assists (about 4 of each) would help that.

12. Baron Davis, PG (NO) – The best and worst fantasy player on the planet. His percentages will murder you. Everything else is spectacular. He is the ultimate roller coaster ride, and he could very easily be #7, or #17.

Tier Three:

13. Amare Stoudamire, F/C, (PHO) – His 26 points, 8.6 boards and 1.7 blocks are all well and good, but it’s the 58% shooting from the field that gets him into the top 15.

14. Shaquille O’Neal, C (MIA) – Don’t look now, but Shaq is getting pumped for the second half of the year. In January he’s averaging 27.3 points, 11.2 boards, 3.5 blocks, and hitting 2/3 of his shots from the field. Oh, and under half his shots from the stripe. Injuries are still a concern, though.

15. Paul Pierce, G/F (BOS) – His numbers are down across the board this year, though not much. He’s a fine second round pick but not someone you can build your team around.

16. Rashard Lewis, SF (SEA) – Quietly playing nearly as well as teammate Ray Allen, if he managed better than his pitiful 1 assist per game, he may be in the top 15.

17. Peja Stojakovic, SF (SAC) – His points, boards, steals, 3’s, assists, and FG% are down from last year. As long as Chris Webber is healthy, Peja just isn’t the same. He flirted with being a first-rounder in this year’s draft, but not anymore.

18. Larry Hughes, SG (WAS) – If there weren’t about 50 other shooting guards just a tad under Larry’s ability, he’d be higher up. But he leads the league in steals, and has terrific all around numbers. It is a contract year, though, so who knows what he’ll be like next year.

19. Stephon Marbury, PG (NYK) – 20 points, 8.8 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.5 3’s … ho-hum. He’s just a solid point guard. Every year, you know what to expect.

20. Dwyane Wade, G (MIA) – His game has really turned on with the arrival of Shaq, but the lack of 3’s from the PG position pushes him down a bit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious, why isn't Elton Brand on this list? I don't have much fantasy experience, but 20/10, decent %'s and extra blocks seem pretty useful... Someone picked him in the first round in my league, and not really following him much, it seems that he should come in around 17-20....what is his major downside?

1:30 AM  
Blogger bv said...

Brand is a quality player to be sure, but his numbers are decreasing for the 2nd year in a row. compared to 2002, he's getting .5 fewer blocks and 2.3 fewer rebounds. Plus, he hasn't played 70 games since 2001.
In order to be a top-20 player, you've either gotta be very strong in 5 or 6 categories (like Pierce or Hughes), or absolutely dominant in 2 or 3 (like Duncan or Stoudamire). Because Brand is no longer "dominant" in blocks or boards, he falls out of the top 20, but not by far.

10:56 AM  

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