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Fantasy Basketball: (Way Too Early) Top 15 Players For 2013-14
My fantasy basketball playoffs ended literally just yesterday, and already I've got the itch for the 2013-14 season. Here are my WAY too early top 15 for next season.
FYI, I won my league this year, so I'm obviously an expert.
EDIT: Kobe Bryant, who was previously #7, has been removed due to his torn Achilles tendon.
1. Kevin Durant
The man has no weaknesses. He's always among the league leaders in scoring while shooting 50% from the field and 90% from the line. He gives you boards, assists, steals, blocks; if he could cut his turnovers a bit he'd be the perfect player. But I'll gladly take him as he is.
2. LeBron James
In real life, I'd take him over anyone. In fantasy, he's #2. He'll give you a higher FG% and more assists than Durant, but KD has him beat in FT% and blocks. It's a close call, and honestly you can't go wrong either way.
3. Chris Paul
His efficiency with the ball is second to none. There isn't another guard in the league who will give you the wealth of stats CP3 will give you while only turning the ball over 2 times per game. He's always among the league leaders in assists and steals. The downside is he's missed 10-20 games each of the past 2 years, but as long as he's healthy for your playoffs you'll be alright.
4. James Harden
The Beard blossomed into a legitimate superstar in his first year in Houston. Breaking out of KD's shadow, he was given the keys to the Rockets franchise and responded with a stat line of 26 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB. Not too shabby for a first year starter. His efficiency (44% FG, 3.6 TO) keeps him out of the elite tier.
5. Stephen Curry
Often receives the "injury prone" tag, but he's played 74+ games in 2 of his last 3 years. Steph played through some ankle pain this year, but managed to keep his game at a high level. He's elite in several categories. His 3.4 3PTM led the league by a wide margin, his FT% was second only to Durant, and he's a top 10 points and assists guy.
6. Kevin Love
Now here's a guy who's injury prone. After missing 27 games in 2011-12, he missed almost the whole season this year with a fractured hand. When he plays, he's among the best. He'll lead the league in rebounds and come close in scoring. He also gives you 3PT numbers and FT% efficiency that is rare among big men. He needs to stay healthy and improve his defensive numbers to be elite
7. Russell Westbrook
Top 7 in points and assists, and the best rebounding PG in the league. Stupid shots (44% FG) and careless turnovers (3.4 TO) are all that's holding Westbrook back.
8. Carmelo Anthony
You already know what you're getting with Carmelo. He'll contend for the scoring title, he's an elite 3PT shooter, and he'll give you a solid helping of rebounds. He won't be passing or playing defense, so if you spend your top pick on him make sure to get your AST, STL, and BLK somewhere else.
9. Serge Ibaka
Ibaka seems to take his game to a new level every year. He became a legitimate lockdown defender last season, and this season he became a legitimate 3rd scoring option on offense. The sky is the limit; he's begun to add the 3PT shot to his arsenal so he could really take off as a scorer this season. Official prediction: 59% FG, 15 PTS, 8 REB, 3.3 BLK, 0.5 3PT.
10. Kyrie Irving
I took him 6th in my league this year, and was rewarded by not having my 1st round pick for the fantasy playoffs. Dude just can't stay healthy, dating back to his college days. He'll have to play a 60+ game season before I'll ever consider drafting him again. He had elite numbers as a 20 year old this season; if he can stay healthy he might give you top-5 value. I just don't have faith that he can.
11. LaMarcus Aldridge
Just about as steady as they come. Take LA and you're getting 21-22 PTS, 8-9 REB, around 1 BLK/1 STL, and around 50% FG/80% FT. He's put up those numbers exactly for 3 years running and I don't see that changing. One of the safest picks you can make.
12. Dwyane Wade
Age, health, and mileage are all concerns for LeBron's 31-year-old sidekick. When healthy he gives you elite numbers in PTS, FG%, and STL while contributing in AST, BLK, and REB.
13. Paul George
Broke out in a big way with Danny Granger sidelined; he finished the year as the 10th best player overall. He's only 23 and will only get better. Danny Granger's return could hamper George's scoring, but there should be enough shots available for the both of them.
14. Tim Duncan
I'm almost afraid to rank him this low, considering he was the 8th best player overall this year. Then again, 15 is high for a guy who could possibly retire this offseason. The 37-year-old saw his numbers jump across the board, nearly doubling his BLK from last year and shooting a career high 81% from the line. If he comes close to this year's production he's a top 10 value. If he doesn't, he's still Tim Duncan and I doubt you'll regret picking him.
15. John Wall
Since the calendar turned March he's averaging about 24 PTS, 7.5 AST, 5 REB, 1.5 STL, 1 BLK while shooting 48% from the field and 80% from the line. The former #1 pick appears to be turning into the monster we all expected him to be.
LOOK OUT FOR: Derrick Rose
It's hard to know where to rank the former MVP after he missed all of 2012-13, and much of 2011-12. Will he ever be the same, physically? More importantly, will he ever have the confidence to make the explosive moves to the basket that once made him one of the NBA's premier players? I know I won't be taking him top 15 in next year's draft, but there's a good chance that someone in your league will.