Each week, we'll gather the RotoExperts team of fantasy basketball analysts together to ask them a relevant fantasy basketball question. On to this week ...
Question: Which perimeter player will be the best from here on out: Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, LeBron James, or Dwyane Wade?
Last week, I gave our experts the difficult task of picking who they thought the best big man would be for the rest of the season. This week, things got even tougher.
The crème de la crème of the fantasy world consists of perimeter players who are able to do a little bit of everything. CP3, Kobe, LeBron, and D-Wade are arguably the four most popular players in the league, and it's very likely that one of them will stand on top of the fantasy mountain at the end of the season. But which one? Here's what the experts had to say:
Wow, what a tough question. I still think Paul is the best bet to dominate from here forward, and I'd want to own him without question. I do have a slight concern based on the time he missed injured last year, and LeBron is somehow taking his game to a higher level, which would also make me take pause. However, I see Cleveland as a much better bet to run away with the division and blow out some teams in the process. Translation: lots of time on the pine in the fourth quarter for King James. For my team, I'd rather take the chance that Paul will stay healthy, but I sure don't feel bad having a consolation prize of LBJ on my team in a couple of leagues, even if I didn't manage to snag Paul in any of them.-- Tommy Landry
Among those elite choices, one rises to the top: LeBron. While his all-around numbers are slightly below career averages, James is improving in the one aspect of the game that he could use some work on: shooting. LeBron, a career 46.8 percent field-goal shooter, has upped that to 48.6 percent and his free-throw shooting has gone from 73.3 percent to 80.1 percent. The rest of his numbers (with the exception of blocks) are below expectations, so those should rise in the next few months. He's the No. 1 player who has yet to reach his pinnacle. Gotta respect that.-- Brad Rysz
My vote is for New Orleans' young superstar, Paul. Last year Paul was very close to the league MVP, and this year he is going to be in that conversation again while posting incredible numbers for a point guard. Paul is averaging 19 points (on 51.7 percent shooting), 5.5 rebounds and a John Stockton-like 12.1 assists per game (without a Karl Malone finisher to pass the rock). Wade was a close second (28 points on 48 percent shooting, 5 rebounds, 7.2 assists), but Wade's previously fragile condition would break the tie.-- Greg Kinzer
A brutal question this week, but this seems like quite a problem to have. I get one of these four players, huh? I'll take Paul. For one, the Hornets have played only 20 games, three fewer than Miami and Los Angeles and four fewer than Cleveland. Paul is going to have to carry the Hornets as well if they want to get a top-four seed this year, and he'll be at the top of his game. Wade is going to be putting up mind-numbing numbers regularly, but he's more of a risk to break down at some point. James is potentially the best fantasy player on the planet, but I do think the Cavaliers' newfound propensity for blowing teams out this year will keep him in check slightly. Kobe is inferior to the preceding three guys in that he sacrifices his numbers on such a deep Laker team. Give me 62 games of Paul, and I'm a happy camper.-- Jeff Andriesse
For the record, I'm a Kobe guy. Always have been, always will be. I have his blue MPLS No. 8 jersey, an alternate white No. 24 jersey with navy and old gold colors (instead of purple and gold) and I even have some "throwback" Champion purple and gold jerseys. Not that anyone is actually interested in my wardrobe. But I explained this to relate that as much as I love Kobe, Bron Bron is the man to go forward with in the long term. To paraphrase The Shaqinator, how does 27.4/6.8/6.4/2.0/1.2 taste? That's LeBron's points/rebounds/assists/steals/blocks line, which is backed by 48.8 and 80.1 field-goal and free-throw percentages, respectively. He's a triple-double threat every game, and he is probably the best player in the Association. I take LeBron from those four.-- Kyle Stack
Of those four players, our experts quickly narrowed it down to two, with Wade (injury concerns) and Kobe (playing the team game) being eliminated. I can't argue with that logic, which leaves us with Paul and LeBron.
After the dust settled Paul was left standing, beating out LeBron by a narrow vote of 3-2. I thought that Jeff made a particularly interesting argument about the number of games CP3 has played in comparison to the other guys. He's right, of course; four extra games of Paul makes a big difference in a close race.
Personally though, I think I would have to go with LeBron. As Kyle said, the guy is a triple-double threat every night, and that's the kind of production I would love to have on my team.