Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New! Updated! Top 20!

I’m in a last-minute pinch-hitting role today, but it’s always fun to talk about the best players in the game. Keep in mind, this is my idea of a players value over the rest of the season. So, guys who might be better when they’re healthy – say, Yao Ming or Amare Stoudamire – aren’t going to be on the list. Last month’s rankings are in parentheses. Moving ahead:

1. Kevin Garnett, F (1) – He’s shooting 54.7% from the field, and until someone is indisputably better than him, he’ll stay in first place.

2. LeBron James, SF (2) – So he won’t be Oscar Robertson, but that’s okay. The next step for LeBron will be improving his FT%.

3. Shawn Marion, F (4) – Beats out Dirk because of the blocks, but it’s really neck and neck. His FT% has fallen but you’ve gotta think he’ll pick it up eventually.

4. Dirk Nowitzki, PF (3) – A slight drop from last year in boards and steals. I’d still like to see him pick up his assists numbers, as well. He handles the ball so much around the perimeter, you’d figure he’d average more than 2.7 per game.

These first four guys are the unquestioned four best fantasy players in the game right now. The drop is pretty severe after this, and while these next guys are all great fantasy players, they are not members of the elite.

5. Elton Brand, PF (5) – His points, boards, blocks, and FG% are all up – and the Clippers are 20-14. If they end the season over .500, he’ll be a serious MVP candidate.

6. Andrei Kirilenko, F (NR) – Look at his FG%: 36% in November, 40% in December, and now 53% in January. He’s seen a similar ascent in FT%. AK is longtime FBB favorite and I’m hoping he can stay healthy, even though he’s not on my team. And we talked about double-dipping defense how about 2.8 steals and 3.3 block in January? Incredible.

7. Kobe Bryant, SG (9) – After 6 forwards, Kobe will take the highest spot from a G or C because, well, points are points. And he is a man on a mission this year. He will be huge down the stretch for the Lakers if they’re still in it.

8. Ray Allen, SG (16) – 3.2 triples per game? 90% from the stripe? Awesome. He’s about 1 board and 1 block per game from being #5 on this list.

9. Gilbert Arenas, PG (12) – FBB’s hometown hero belongs in the All-Star game. From a fantasy perspective, his uptick in assists has been a nice surprise.

10. Allen Iverson, PG (8) – He’s putting up his highest FG% since his 2nd year in the league, and he’s committing less turnovers as a PG than he did as a SG. He’s really matured on the court over the past couple of years, but how can his team be so mundane?

11. Dwyane Wade, G (6) – His three-point shooting (or lack thereof) is the only thing keeping him from being much higher on this list.

12. Tim Duncan, F/C – Yep, it took us 12 spots until I could put a center here. I’m a Duncan owner and man, I’m just terrified he’s going to sit for a few weeks due to his foot problems. So because of my paranoia, he’s this low – but really, he’s more like 8th or so.

13. Rasheed Wallace, F/C (17) – How long can he keep this up? 2 threes, 1.3 steals, 1.5 blocks, that right there is enough to get you in the Top 20. Being C-eligible with those numbers puts you in the Top 15.

14. Chauncey Billups, PG (13) – He’s putting up 19 and 9 in January, and he’s everything you want in a PG (except for the steals, which is surprising).

15. Paul Pierce, G/F (10) – As predicted in this spot last month, Pierce’s rebounding is down in January, but his assists are up and his FG% is still astounding for a volume shooter like he is.

16. Tracy McGrady, G/F (11) – Oh man, this doesn’t look good at all. He’s talking about being back later this week but who knows when the back will flare up again. The Rockets are so far out of it right now, that if his back doesn’t improve he might shut it down later in the year.

17. Jason Kidd, PG (14) – Very quietly, he’s still very good. He’s posting his best FG% in years, which used to be a big sore point for Kidd.

18. Steve Nash, PG (18) – Keeps going, and going, and going … nothing new here.

19. Rashard Lewis, F (19) – He hasn’t done anything to lose his spot in the Top 20, so I’ll let him stay, but really there are a couple of other people knocking on the door here.

20. Samuel Dalembert, C (NR) – If I didn’t own him, I wouldn’t put him here, but man oh man have I been happy with this guy. His January numbers (13.3/11.3, 3.9 blocks, 66.7% from the field) have been unbelievable.


Blogger JM said...

Nice list. I noticed that you dropped Pierce 5 spots to #15. While his overall numbers dropped a little bit in the past month (mainly Rbs,TO), He's still ranked #8 for the season at

Are you anticipating that his numbers will decline futher, either due to him getting traded or his team totally melting?

If you owned him would you try to trade him for Kobe, Wade, or Ray Allen?

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Charlie said...

Chris Paul...

1:47 PM  
Blogger JM said...

i would probably put Chris Bosh and Vince Carter on the list instead of Dalembert and Mcgrady.

Though as a Dalembert owner, I'm not rooting for that. And have been thrilled by his recent play.

Mcgrady is just too much of an injury question mark for the rest of the season.

2:17 PM  
Blogger T-Plan said...

Nice list but you're missing some guys who are playing well. I know you're factoring in risk, but the following guys are ranked higher on a per-game average (assuming 8 category scoring) than guys like Billups, McGrady, Nash, and Pierce. Assuming they all stay healthy, they will be worth more based on what they do each time they play.

Gerald Wallace (yeah, check the stats)
Ben Wallace
Baron Davis
Jason Richardson (unless they trade for Artest, who is also mising)

Oh yeah, and these 2 guys are equal to those 4 guys in per-game value:
Vince Carter
Chris Paul (I know, rookie wall risk)

These guys are just below:
Eddie Jones
Michael Redd
M. Okur

Chris Bosh isn't even close (#38 on average). Odom and Gasol are better than him on average.

3:12 PM  
Blogger JM said...

I think a lot of the problem in making a top 20-list, is that different leagues count different categories. As far as I know, 9 categories is a "standard" league. By not counting Turnovers you get many of the discrepancies that you've described.
If you count 9 categories (Pts,Rebs,Asts,Stls,Blks,3's,FG%,FT%,TO) than the top 20 (for the full season for per game averages) is (from #1-20): Marion, Garnett, Lebron, Brand, Nowitzki, Camby, R.Allen, Pierce, G.Wallace, Kobe, Wade, Iverson, R.Lewis, Arenas, Kidd, Billups, R.Wallace, Nash, Carter. (Bosh is #21).

If you look at just the past month it's:
Marion, Garnett, Kirilenko, Kobe, G.Wallace, Nowitzki, Lebron, Brand, Arenas, R.Allen, Kidd, Delonte West, Nash,Carter, Wade, Iverson, Dalembert, Bosh, Okur, Richardson. (Pierce is #21)

For a 9 category league, full-season averages:
B. Davis is #66 (no joke), #51 over past month
P. Gasol is #58, #33 over past month
L. Odom is #44, #63 over past month
B. Wallace is #37, #31 over past month
(All rankings from

Thus, I think BV's original list is pretty similar to the names on's 9 category top-20 list from the past month. Only differences: He didn't include G.Wallace,Delonte West, Carter, Bosh, Okur, Richardson. Instead, he included Duncan, Mcgrady, Pierce, R. Lewis, Rasheed & Billups
(Note: Lewis,Pierce, Rasheed,Billups are all on basketballmonster's full-season top 20)

So...I think it's a pretty decent list overall...

3:55 PM  
Blogger PR said...

Pierce is having a great fantasy season in Boston right now, but if he got traded (which is not unlikely) to a contender his value would take a hit. So if you could get a Kobe or Ray Allen for him I'd definitely pull the trigger.

I agree and think T-Mac is a major risk now. He might miss half of the remaining games this season. He's a headache I would not want to deal with.

T-Plan, I don't know what rankings you're looking at, but Chris Bosh should definitely NOT be #38. I think he's a top 20 player (ESPN Rater has him at #16 and Fantasy Analyzer at #20). He has great percentages for a big man; he's young, Center-eligible, and only getting better. What more could you ask for? He'll be worthy of a late first round pick next year.

3:56 PM  
Blogger bv said...

as PR said, Pierce's drop comes more from potential risk than any actual performance drops.even if he doesn't get traded, boston needs to find someone to take the load off of pierce and ricky davis.

As for Bosh, well, he could easily be on this list next month. There are so many guys in the 15-25 range that all deserve to be on there, but i gotta cut it somewhere.

Gerald Wallace was the guy i had the toughest time leaving off this list, but he's so inconsistent that I wouldn't want to bank my fantasy team's hopes on him just yet.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

I traded Pierce and Boris Diaw for Bosh and Cuttino Mobley a few weeks ago. Statistically, the deal looked awful at the time but I thought it was a classic "sell high" situation and Bosh's C-eligibility was a huge plus for me. Mobley has heated up, and I'm happy with the trade so far.

4:23 PM  
Blogger T-Plan said...

Comments well taken to all who replied to my post.

I looked at that b-ball monster site and the rankings are not impressive. All they did was take stats to date and assume they will continue (e.g. Yao Ming shows 19-9, his exact stats before the injury). Take Kenyon Martin for example. If his knee heals up and he can get healthy, he should do 16/7.4/2.3/1/1.2 with good FG% and bad FT% down the stretch. Go look at what they are estimating for him. I don't buy it and just picked up K-Mart when someone dumped him in my league. (Dropped Donyell Marshall who has been destroying FG% for me, so it was worth the risk)

One of you nailed the difference in rankings to date: Turnovers. That's why there is such a discrepancy. In an 8-category Yahoo league without TOs included, Chris Bosh is #38 on a per-game average based on their season-to-date rankings. In that same league Baron Davis is #17 on the season, even with the sketchy %%%s.

Turnovers is a terrible category so we removed it from my league. As a long time player of several fantasy sports, I am pretty dogmatic about omitting negative categories. After all, some really good players, gamebreakers even, get crushed when you throw in TOs. And there's no fair way to count them.

For instance, Kirilenko has the unfortunate circumstance of playing with a revolving door of PGs. If they start making erratic passes to him and he can't handle the ball, he gets the blame for the TO or out-of-bounds play (assuming he actually touches it). If someone who is falling out of bounds decides to throw the ball off a player's leg, he gets the TO. I could go on and on with examples, but you can clearly see that TOs is a stupid category and we should all boycott it.

5:08 PM  
Blogger JM said...

I also dislike Turnovers as a category. But since my league uses it (as do many other leagues), I need to factor it in. Maybe next year I can get the commissioner to get rid of it.

I'm thinking of offering up Pierce and Ridnour to get Wade and Caron Butler.
What do you think? It's a pretty even deal (based on their season averages). Basically, I'd gain some points, but lose some 3's. The main reason to do it would be to sell-high on Pierce before a potential trade that could reduce his overall numbers.

5:20 PM  
Blogger T-Plan said...

jm - maybe I'll have an open slot next year if you want to make a jump (I commish my own league). So long as you don't mind using Yahoo.

On your trade comments, I'd make that trade if I were you. But caution that you are not only giving up 3s, but assists as well. On the other hand, Wade and Butler will likely outperform Pierce and Ridnour down the stretch, especially in FG% where Luke has not been doing well and Pierce will come back down to earth. Look at Paul's career stats - he has never finished a season above 46% so I think he'll have a major slump before April. It happens every year.

5:28 PM  
Blogger JM said...

One more I thing. I just checked and Baron Davis would still only be ranked #40 if you don't count turnovers.

The #17 ranking you had for him must be from Yahoo, which has VERY screwy rankings. Specifically, it does not assess value to the %'s correctly, and it way over values 3 pointers. See previous discussion of PlayerRaters within the "Playing the percentages" topic.

5:29 PM  
Blogger T-Plan said...

That is true. I did read the post (actually, I've been a fan of this blog for several months now - keep up the great work) about how percentages are the hardest to gauge because of disconnects in attempts/game.

Great tips in your additional comments comparing ESPN and other player raters to Yahoo. I agree that Yahoo is not always a measure of true value. It overvalues 3 pointers by a lot, and blocks by a little. It undervalues steals and both percentage cats.

Regardless, the rankings are really most useful for the top players. Once you get to the fringe/bench guys, find someone who is a difference maker in a key category, but who also does respectably in a few others. Just be sure you don't end up with a bunch of brick-layers unless you're ditching a category entirely (which I consciously chose to do with FT%, hence changing player value TO MY TEAM completely). Last year I decided to ignore FG% and won the league with great balance across the rest of the categories.

I've been managing to that strategy and have been on a tear for the past month. Went 6-2 and 7-1 the past couple of weeks in Head-to-Head, and I'm dominating this week too, so far.

5:39 PM  

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