NBA fantasy year-end awards
The season is not quite over, but when it comes to fantasy basketball awards, giving an NBA player recognition for something they did during the last week would be kind of like congratulating a sprinter for closing in on Usain Bolt a bit in the last 10 meters. Even if we were to throw in the last few games for Oklahoma City and Miami, there would still be room for debate for the league's fantasy NBA MVP.
The first name that springs to mind is Dwight Howard, but perhaps my thoughts are overshadowed by his lengthy trade/extension controversy and his season-ending back surgery. Howard still played 54 games and ended up at No. 20 on the GMTR Player Rater on a per-game basis. After dismissing that initial hypothesis, I moved on to Stephen Curry and forced myself to ask whether I should have known better than to draft Curry despite his first two seasons of 80 and 74 games; numbers which clearly contradicted the fragility of his ankle. Well, somebody had to draft him, but it didn't have to be me, and to answer the question, yes, I should have known better. And anyone who drafted Curry should not be disappointed with the 26 games he played.
So if we move on to guys who just didn't perform and start from the top: Russell Westbrook dropped almost a full round from the 12th to 23rd selection, but Monta Ellis dropped even further, going from 16 to 43. Westbrook underperformed, but still ended up as a second-round player, while Ellis just couldn't find his groove after the fairly shocking trade that sent him to Milwaukee. Maybe it was the weather, or trying to co-exist on the court with Brandon Jennings was just too much to stomach. Either way, he still ended up 27 spots below his average draft position, and even though he played well alongside Curry in Golden State, I don't think it's right to fault him for something that he had no control over.
Strange how two of my top candidates are from the Warriors, because my selection for the actual Most Disappointing Fantasy Player is also from Golden State. Dorell Wright was drafted at 30, the middle of the third round, and ended up at 81, mid-seventh round. I was forced to tell people to keep hanging on to him week after week but things never got better. Wright managed a respectable 1.7 threes per game, but the rest of his game fell so far off the map that the Warriors were forced to cut his minutes from 38 to 27, and even that was overly generous.
Congrats to the winners and better luck next time to all the losers. That applies to the players and the owners. Perhaps more so to the owners since the players at least have a real playoff after the regular season.