Well, I made a nice effort the final few weeks of the fantasy basketball season. I got within a point of first place in my league before a few injuries kept me in second place. It always seemed like when I had a player get injured, it happened on Monday or Tuesday night instead of Sunday. And then I had to take a zero for the rest of the week until I could get them out of my lineup. But hey, that’s how it works.
For me, the real NBA regular season ended better than my fantasy one as my Bulls finished in first place in the East. And with the best record in the NBA, even ahead of the Miami Heat superteam. The playoffs start this weekend and I’m hoping the Bulls can bring home the title this year. There were many close games and highlight plays this year. Blake Griffin provided monster dunk after ridiculous monster dunk, J.R. Smith flew over Gary Neal for a dunk and Derrick Rose drove to the basket and hit one amazing, twisting layup after another.
With all that said, let’s get to the awards for the fantasy season. I’ll list the winners in each category and also say who I think should win the actual award, once those are handed out in the NBA.
In fantasy, this was close between LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Both players contribute in every stat category. Durant scored more points but not by much. LeBron shot for a better percentage and had more assists and steals. But Durant carried a better free throw percentage, blocked more shots and hit more threes.
So really, it may just depend on which stats were harder to come by in your league. I owned Dwight Howard so the boost in free throw percentage definitely helped me out (I also owned Durant, by the way). I was able to find assists and steals easier than threes and blocks so I was going to go with Durant as the Fantasy MVP. But since you really can’t go wrong with either of these guys, I’ll name them both as Co-MVPs.
If you’ve been reading any of my Waiver Wire Pickup posts this season, you already know that I’d give the real MVP award to Derrick Rose. When you consider that Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah missed a combined 50 games and the Bulls still ended up with the best record in the NBA, I don’t know how Rose doesn’t get it. He simply did whatever was needed to get the Bulls a win.
Rookie Of The Year
No contest here, Blake Griffin runs away with this one in fantasy and reality. John Wall had a nice season but struggled at times and missed some games. Meanwhile, Griffin scored points and grabbed rebounds like a beast. He also provided enough highlight dunks to warrant his own top 10 dunks of the year list. Griffin showed no rust after missing all of last season and was definitely one of the most fun players to watch all year.
Best Fantasy Pickup
This was one easy as well. Once Dorell Wright started this season on fire, I picked him up and he never left my starting lineup. He had big games and had nights where he didn’t shoot so well but he contributed in all areas. So even when he didn’t score a lot of points, he grabbed rebounds, got some steals and blocked a shot or two. For the year, he averaged 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.5 steals, just under a block and 2.4 threes a night.
I know that he was drafted at the end of some leagues but I think he was available on the wire for the most part. He didn’t stay there for long after his hot start though, and he kept it up. In fact, he played so well that I may just have to make him one of my keepers for next season.
Biggest Fantasy Bust
There always seems to be a long list of possible winners for this one. Based on where they were drafted, I was choosing between Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Brandon Roy. Even though Johnson didn’t have the season he was capable of, his stats weren’t that terrible and Brook Lopez started off the season awful but ended up getting about 20 points a night. Sure, his rebounding stats suck for a starting center. I mean, 6 rebounds a night?? You’re seven feet tall!
So I’m giving this award to Brandon Roy. I stayed away from him at draft time because I just had no confidence that he’d make it through the season healthy. But it doesn’t look like many others held that same opinion as he was still drafted pretty high. And sure enough, he was hurt all year and never really looked like he should be out on the court. He only played in 47 games and got about 12 points a game and just didn’t contribute enough in any other category to matter. I feel bad for the guy, he just can’t seem to stay healthy. Maybe he’ll be healthier next year and I’m sure people will still reach for him early, but I’ll be staying away again.
On the bright side, Roy’s injury gave Wesley Matthews more playing time. I picked him up early in the season and like Dorell Wright, he stayed in my starting lineup until the last couple of weeks. His points, steals and threes helped me make that run to almost take over first place.
So those are my awards for the year. I hope your teams did well and that some of you brought home a trophy. I’m pumped for the playoffs and I’ll be rooting for my Bulls. And I’m already excited for the fantasy draft next season. I’ll leave you with some top plays from this year.