Fantasy Hoops 2009-10 Season Awards
Welcome to the first annual FanHouse Fantasy Hoops Awards show. I am your host, Tom Lorenzo. We have a wonderful program tonight. Gilbert Arenas is here (applause). That's right, he's here as part of his community service. By him being here, he is doing the community a service. Zing! I'm kidding of course. Good to see Don Nelson here (applause). He was in charge of setting up the musical acts for this evening's program. Yeah, good luck trying to figure out who's going to play and who isn't (applause; cut to: Corey Maggette leaning into his wife's ear and mouthing the words "that's so true.")
The New Jersey Nets are in the house. OK, that one usually gets some sort of reaction. Does Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov know what he's getting himself into? Buying the Nets is like buying the rights to a hovercraft, only they haven't invented them yet. If they can get the right pieces in place you no longer have to worry about traffic. But, if they can't get the right pieces in place you just paid $700 million for a Huffy bike with pegs on it -- it's got some nice features! (pause for laughter)
All right, I've had my fun. Now, without further ado, I give you my 2009-10 fantasy hoops season awards.
Fantasy MVP -- LeBron James
It's a two-man race. On one hand you have the King himself, LeBron James, whose numbers are staggering -- 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.7 threes made, 1.6 steals, 1.0 blocks, and a career-best 50.3 percent shooting from the floor. The two knocks on LBJ, of course, are his free-throw shooting (76.7%) and the fact that he tops out at 76 games played. The case for Kevin Durant can be made just as easily. The only category he trails James in is his assist totals -- 2.8 per game. Aside from that, their numbers are essentially a mirror image of each other. Except, of course, for the fact that Durant shot 90 percent from the line on 10.2 attempts per game. He also played all 82 regular-season games. There is something to be said there, especially since many LeBron James owners may have lost their head-to-head title due to the fact that he decided to sit out the last four games. Still, it's hard not to give the nod to LeBron. I guess you can look at it this way -- what do you value more, assists or free-throw shooting percentage? In a coin toss I'll take the assists. But you could probably convince me to lean toward Durant if you tried hard enough.
Fantasy LVP -- Jose Calderon
I'm going to start off by putting one simple criteria to this award -- the player has to have played a minimum of 65 games this season, in order to take out the injury/suspension factor. This award has to go to someone who was drafted late in the second round, early in the third. Someone who probably could have been dropped at any point this season. Yes, Calderon, I'm talking to you. Remember last season? Calderon posted 12.8 points, 8.9 assists, 1.2 three-pointers, 1.1 steals, a 49.7 FG%, and 98.1-percent shooting from the line. He was nearly perfect from the line! This season Calderon was supposed to be a 15 and 10 guy with high percentages, plus steals, and close to 1.5 threes per game. No dice. You can put the blame on two things -- his own struggles in a system that added a point-forward in Hedo Turkoglu and the addition of Jarrett Jack, who was arguably the best backup point guard in the league. At any rate, Calderon provided no value at all this season and is actually just inside the Top 150 in standard eight-category leagues.
Fantasy Rookie -- Tyreke Evans
This was another tough decision, much like the MVP vote. Again, in fantasy all that matters are the numbers that a player puts up. So, we have to take out of the equation wins and losses -- team impact. That being said, I'm leaning slightly toward Evans. I know that Stephen Curry has made his case by posting 22.1 points, 2.7 three-pointers, 7.7 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals, a 46.8 FG%, and a 90.6 FT% after the All-Star break. In fact, Curry has moved into the Top 10 on the season in standard eight-category leagues. Evans, in case you're wondering, is ranked 73rd overall. So why Evans? Well, we can start off with the obvious -- 20-5-5. Then, of course, there is the consistency argument. Evans' monthly low for points per game was 19.4 (counting full months only). He never dished fewer than 5.1 assists in any month and only once did he pull down fewer than 5.3 rebounds in a month. Curry really didn't start putting together a complete game until January. Based on the fact that you could slot in Evans from opening tip gives him the slightest of edges.
Comeback Player of the Year -- Andrew Bogut
This one was easy for me. Bogut was coming off a season in which he played just 36 games and his preseason value had him slotted into the ninth or tenth round in most fantasy drafts -- even later, in some cases. Until his most recent injury occurred, Bogut was on pace to finish in the Top 35, with his free-throw shooting being the only real negative on his resume -- actually, he had tied a career-best 62.9 percent from the line this season. The Big Aussie put up 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds, with his scoring reaching a career best. He also went from blocking one shot per game last season to swatting 2.5 per game this season. Let's put it this way: last year Bogut blocked 37 shots in 36 games, while this season he blocked 175 shots in 69 games. In fact, in the two seasons prior to this one, Bogut played a total of 114 games and only amassed 175 blocks. Again, this one was easy as far as I'm concerned.
Fantasy Coach -- Lionel Hollins
There are quite a few deserving coaches, but for me if you're able to take on Allen Iverson and Zach Randolph, add them to a young team and not have the whole thing blow up in your face, you deserve the Fantasy Coach of the Year award. Hollins did a fantastic job putting Iverson in his place, and seemed to have reached Randolph -- somehow -- getting his big man to post a career year. He also got Marc Gasol involved in an offense that seemed like it was bound to swallow him whole once the offseason acquisitions were announced. What fantasy owners might have loved most about Hollins was -- according to 82games.com -- the fact that no Memphis starter played in fewer than 63 percent of the team's possible minutes, and they had three players -- Randolph, Mayo and Gay -- finish in the Top 7 in the league in minutes played. Wow, a coach who plays his starters and sticks with a rotation. Who doesn't love that?
Top Waiver Add -- Andray Blatche
I was trying to make the case for Darren Collison, and I probably could, simply for the fact that he kept Chris Paul owners afloat once he went down. But jut look at Blatche's post All-Star break numbers -- 22 points, 48.5 FG%, 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks. This for a guy who went undrafted in all leagues.
Best Late-Round Value Pick -- Danilo Gallinari
Were you expecting someone else? While he likely went undrafted in most leagues, I took him in each and every draft I was in. He trails just Aaron Brooks in 3-pointers made, but where he gets Brooks is in the turnover category. Brooks has nearly 130 more turnovers than Gallo. On the season, he's ranked 31st overall, which obviously makes him a great value pick. In fact, it makes him the best value pick!
Defensive Player of the Year -- Dwight Howard
Another close contest here between Howard and Josh Smith. Howard finished dead even with Smith in steals plus blocks combined. Howard had 228 blocks and 75 steals. Smith racked up 173 blocks and 130 steals. If it were all about total defensive numbers you would have to give Smith the slight lead. The problem is, Howard has 53 more blocks than his next closest competitor, while Smith is over 50 steals behind Rajon Rondo and just eighth in the league in steals. Meaning, there is more of a premium put on blocks. That's why I have to give Howard the award. He was clearly the most dominant force in the paint.
The iPod Awards
For the remainder of the program, I am going to do something a little different. Instead of listing my first-team all-fantasy and adding in a few other basic awards, I'm going to flip through my iPod and come up with my first-annual iPod awards -- based on songs that appear when put it on shuffle. Wish me luck!
Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) -- Kevin Garnett
I don't see myself owning Garnett ever again. That's a bold statement, but I made that mistake this season. His name is more valuable than his game. That's the problem. If you want KG on your team you have to use a third- or second-round draft pick. He's not worth it. Not anymore. I took him late in the second this season and got burned. He really is on the downside of his career. If I could get him in the sixth or seventh round, then maybe I would consider it. Don't make the same mistake you did with Elton Brand. He was on my "no longer shall I own him" list last October. He'll have some great company next season as he's joined by Garnett.
The Taker -- Corey Brewer
This award goes to a one-cat performer, with that category, obviously, being steals. Brewer fits perfectly here, since he was 14th in the league in steals with 117, and yet provided little value elsewhere -- unless you consider 13.0 points and 1.0 threes per game value added. Not at the expense of having to carry a 43-percent shooter and a 64-percent free-throw shooter.
Man of Constant Sorrow -- Greg Oden
He's played in 82 games in "three" seasons -- if you're counting the missed rookie season. It's bad enough that this season Oden was starting to look like he could become a dominant big in the middle -- 11.1 points on 60.5-percent shooting, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 23 minutes. For those of you who value per-36 stats, Oden was at 16.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks. I can't wait trying to tackle his draft value this summer.
I'll Never Grow Old -- Jason Kidd vs. Steve Nash
Steve Nash had another historical season, posting his fourth straight 50-40-90 season (50% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc and 90% from the free-throw line), dishing 11 assists per game, and leading his team to 50-plus wins. While on the other hand, you have Jason Kidd who was fifth in the league in assists at 9.1 per game, and while Nash's shooting percentages were far superior to Kidd's, the 37-year-old Kidd finished the season in the Top 5 in standard 8-category leagues with Nash at 14th overall. Where does Kidd trump Nash? Well, he has 103 more steals than Nash on the season, 52 more 3-pointers, 177 more rebounds and 23 more blocks. Nash is a year younger, at 36 years old, but this season the elder point guard proved to be the more valuable fantasy baller.
Backwards Voyager -- Hedo Turkoglu
Coming off two straight plus-value seasons, Turkoglu really dropped the bomb this season. He was declaring well after the All-Star break that he was "lost" in the Raptors offense. Hey, how about bringing that up a few months earlier. Turk was awful from the floor, shooting a career-low 41.0 percent and scoring just 11.3 points per game. He should have been dropped months ago -- more specifically once he said he was "lost" in the offense.
Harnessed in the Slums -- Brook Lopez
If one good thing came from the Nets' dismal season it had to be the development of Lopez. He was a late-second-round pick this season, but now we'll be talking about him as a first-rounder next October. While the Nets struggled, Lopez remained more composed than I honestly would have and posted 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. He spent most of the season hovering at 20-10-2, but can you really blame the guy for losing motivation down the stretch?
You've Got My Mind Messed Up -- Tyrus Thomas
I think I've drafted Thomas in at least 75 percent of my leagues over the last four seasons. My thinking was that If anyone was capable of putting up Josh Smith-like numbers in the late rounds it was Thomas. In fairness, he did block 151 shots and pick 91 steals in the 2008-09 season, and his per-36 numbers that year were at 2.5 blocks and 1.5 steals. Gold! Still, he's done nothing but underperformed all while remaining on my roster. I can't seem to drop him. And, to be honest with you, I'll probably end up drafting him again next season.
Last Year's Man -- Stephen Jackson
Sometimes you get exactly what you bargained for. This is the case with Jackson. Entering the season he was ranked 50th overall on Yahoo!'s preseason rankings, and heading into Wednesday night he currently sat as the 50th-ranked fantasy baller. If you look at the back of his trading card you'll see that his numbers this season were almost identical to his numbers from last season with the Warriors. You drafted the 50th-best player and that's exactly what you got.
I Hate I Walked Away -- Zach Randolph
I'm sorry, Mr. Randolph. Heading into this season Randolph was on the top of my list of players I was not touching, no matter what. Boy did I mess up on that one. Back in October, nothing about his situation in Memphis seemed ideal. Of course, we all know that Randolph finished second in the league in double-doubles and, to make matters worse, he shot 48.8 percent from the floor -- the second-best percentage of his career.
A Marriage Made in Heaven -- Anthony Tolliver and Reggie Williams
Who knew! Both Tolliver and Williams were developing their game in the ... Developmental League when they got the call from the Warriors. Heaven must be missing one, no, two angels. Just ask Dr. A, who was taken out of his head-to-head league thanks to the heroics of Williams and Tolliver. Who knew!?
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