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The top 10 for 2010 fantasy basketball is in the books and for the most astute among you, you were probably anticipating our top 20 follow-up. We here at Razzball reward astuteness. You get another ranking list! And you get another ranking list! And you … well, you weren’t as astute as the other two, but what the heck. I had ranking lists left over and I don’t have space in my closet, so … you also get a ranking list!

Next up will be the top 20 at each position shortly thereafter. Then the top 100. Then the top 150.

All rankings are for 9-category roto leagues. An H2H Top 150 will follow shortly. Be patient. Do it!

Here ’tis, the top 20 for 2010 fantasy basketball:

11. Josh Smith – This is a continuation of the last Top 10 tier. The further Joe Johnson’s game gets covered in dispersant and hidden in the Gulf floor, the more offense the Hawks are going to need from J-Smoove. If those points come, they’ll likely come from the free throw line, a place owners need Josh Smith like they need grapes for nipples. Then again, Smith is a career .668 charity tosser, yet he hasn’t exceeded .618 since 2007. He’s due or his new nickname isn’t Grape Nipples.
Season Projections: .515/.640/0 3ptm/17 pts/9 rbd/5 ast/1.5 stl/2 blk/2.5 tov

12. Stephen Curry – This is the start of a new tier and goes until Lee. I call it the, “Golden State Is Fantasy Gold(en State).” No one would call me bananas for labeling both Stephen Curry and David Lee top 5 players at their individual positions. Yet, the Warriors are widely considered a joke in the West and aren’t considered possibilities for the playoffs. When you add Monta Ellis to this mix, doesn’t this disconnect between starting talent and probability of a playoff berth seem fishy? That’s the Frisco Bay, dude. No, it’s the wackadoodle status of the Warriors and it’s making me wary of owning anyone on that team for their going prices. Curry’s performance shot him into the top 10 for a lot of people this season. I am not one of them … I mean, I AM a person (put your torches and pitchforks away, mob!) I’m just not one of the people prepared to burn my first draft pick on a guy who averaged nearly 40 minutes a game after January of last season for a team coached by three full laundry bags stacked on top of one another and propped up against the scorer’s table. Curry could very well improve on his 18/5/6 line from last year, but the shakiness of Golden State’s coaching, personnel and how David Lee will fit into this mess doesn’t convince me that Curry’s inflated stats from last year will remain as bloated as Nellie’s belly this year. It wouldn’t shock me if they did. I just prefer a sure-er thing with my very first pick.
Season Projections: .450/.880/2.5 3ptm/22 pts/4 rbd/4 ast/2 stl/0 blk/2.5 tov

13. David Lee – Lee’s per36 averages have improved parallel to the amount of actual minutes per game he averages. He’s like the “War Games” computer – he’s learning. Generally, General Lee’s (stutterer!) counting stat efficiency actually increases with minutes. And since each Warriors starter signs a mandatory agreement to play no fewer than 46.5 minutes a game and to fetch Nellie his mead whenever he desires it, you can look forward to two things happening with Lee in 2010: a) he’s going to see an increase in across-the board stats (except for maybe his rebounding stats, ironically), b) he’s going to have to Google whatever the hell “mead” is and c) I said there were only two things, not three. You have no business looking at c.
Season Projections: .540/.795/0 3ptm/22 pts/12 rbd/4 ast/1 stl/0.5 blk/2.5 tov

14. Carmelo Anthony – This next tier is called “Slightly Overrated And Adjusting” and ends at Nash. I can never decide if it’s more surprising that Carmelo averages fewer than one 3-pointer a game or Dwyane Wade. I’m going with Wade, if for no other reason than I think ‘Melo is in for a huge season. Texas belt buckle huge. Dustin Hoffman’s fitted cap huge. Joan huge. It’s a contract year and Anthony doesn’t seem keen to take what the Nuggets are offering, so it’s time to sing for that supper. Dude’s hitting nothing but high notes.
Season Projections: .460/.825/1 3ptm/29 pts/6 rbd/3.5 ast/1 stl/0.5 blk/3 tov

15. Amar’e Stoudemire – I haven’t been impressed with Stoudemire’s game since 2007, not because his game isn’t impressive mind you, just that it could have been more impressive. Should have been. He should be a season average double-double guy. Never has been. He should average more than 1.1 blocks per game. He’s only done that in three of his eight seasons. He should have cut down on his fouling. He hasn’t really (3.8 fouls per game as a rookie, 3.6 last season). Forget his injured seasons, Amar’e has always been considered a top 20 player with top 5 talent. I haven’t seen him ranked anywhere higher than 10th this season. Really, I think we won’t see much of a difference from STAT in a Knicks uniform. Yeah, he’s reunited with fun ‘n’ gun Mike D’Antoni. But Ray Felton will be handing him the ball instead of Steve Nash. Yeah, Stoudemire gets to be the man in a big city, but he could have been the man in Phoenix and the Arizona press is much easier on a player’s foibles than New York’s press (unless your foibles are that you’re Hispanic). Meh. Stoudemire is Artis Gilmore good, not Wilt Chamberlain good.
Season Projections: .530/.780/0 3pt/24 pts/9 rbd/2.5 ast/0.5 stl/1 blk/3 tov

16. Steve Nash – Nashty will likely score more with Amar’e gone (yay!), but assist less (boo!) and become less efficient from the floor (boo2). This is what happens when two people break up, each are only a portion of their former selves. It’s really quite tragic. Did someone say Dragic? Just you. Just now.  Oh. Well, tell ‘em about Dragic. Nash’s back is forever wonky (not to be confused with Forever Wonky, the clothing store in the mall for adolescent nerds who wear clothes that don’t fit them), he’s about to turn 36 and word is spreading about what a solid PG backup Goran Dragic is developing into and it might not be as difficult to give Nash extended breathers as it used to be.
Season Projections: .490/.915/2 3pt/19.5 pts/3 rbd/8.5 ast/o.5 stl/0 blk/4 tov

17. Gerald Wallace – This next tier lasts until Horford and is called “Not Sexy Is The New Sexy.” Wallace grabbed 2.2 more rebounds per game last season than the year before. And that year he grabbed 1.8 more rebounds than the year before that. Some might conclude that the 6’7″ Wallace is going to end this season averaging a dozen boards a game, but some people don’t understand that this is what Gerald does. He freak leaks. He picks one stat per season and absolutely crushes it. Then the next season, that stat comes back to earth with a sock full of moon dust. Remember in ’05 when he led the league with 2.5 steals per game? He averaged 1.5 last season. Or what about that same year when he blocked 2.1 shots per game? He hasn’t done better than 1.1 bpg since. What bout ’08 when he shot .804 from the line? That happened after six consecutive seasons without hitting .700.  His per36 averages from last year show growth, but not the extreme growth his per game averages show. Bee-tee-dub, if your per-game averages reveal an extreme growth, get to the doctor immediately. That is not something you want just hanging there. Anyway, Wallace derived his increase in scoring and rebounds from crashing the glass and catching a foul (a career 4.8 FTA a game, attempted a career-high 7.2 frees last season). With the frontcourt filled with the energetic Tyrus Thomas on board (and on the boards) for an entire season along with someone other than Boris Diaw, Crash won’t be as necessary around the rim as he was in ’09.
Season Projections:
.480/.740/0.5 3ptm/17 pts/8.5 rbd/2.5 ast/1.5 stl/1 blk/2 tov

18. Al Horford - The fourth year should bring big things to Horford, unless you don’t consider Zaza Pachulia to be a big thing, which rumor has it, Mrs. Pachulia does not. Zaza zing! Anywoot … Horford will move from center to power forward this season, a comfy fit for the Horford Whaler to be sure. On top of that, his dip in rebounds in ’09 was likely caused by Josh Smith’s huge rise in rebounds. As I said back in May, “… if anything, another year of Horford and Smith doing what they do should result in better numbers for the both of them.” I’m so excited, I’m gonna go pop some corn!
Season Projections: .540/.777/0 3pt/17 pts/11 rbd/3 ast/0.5 stl/1.5 blk/2.5 tov

19. Rajon Rondo – This last tier extends to the end and is called “Pay No Attention To The Downside Behind The Curtain.” Mark Price had a career .904 FT%. He also spent his salad days scrounging his way into the playoffs only to get booted by a pair of size 13 Air Jordans. Those two things aren’t connected, but I like a little salty with my sweet. Zoom ahead 20 years and Price is schooling the career .630 free throw shooting Rondo on how to make at least 7 out of every 10. Will it work? Would it really change much if it did? Can we officially consider Rondo “the man” in Boston? How ’bout some threes, Rondo? How does Rondo feel about rhetorical questions? Would he answer that question if I asked it to him in person?
Season Projections: .495/.669/0 3pt/15 pts/5 rbd/9.5 ast/2 stl/0 blk/2.5 tov

20. Dwight Howard – Dwight makes fantasy basketball fun, folks. He leads the league in three of the eight positive fantasy stats, one of the one negative counting stats and absolutely crushes your chances at being your roto league’s best free throw-shooting team. In other words, he is where your fantasy strategy starts and ends. If you’re punting free throw percentage, Dwight – as is the case in H2H leagues – is an easy top 10 target. If you’re not punting FT%, then your entire season boils down to how many .900 percent free throw shooters you can amass around Dwight. Forget all that. Look at his blocks! Yes, but his fouls per game is trending upward, while his minutes per game is going the other way. But his rebounds! Why are you shouting? And why are you ignoring his sliding ppg totals? Don’t act like you don’t love it. You love making hard-boiled choices, that’s why you work in an egg factory.
Season Projections: .600/.594/0 3pt/18.5 pts/13.5 rbd/2.5 ast/1 stl/3 blk/3 tov

  1. A couple of questions.

    1. How do you think Josh Smith will do at SF? Will he be able to guard the opposing 3? Where will he get his offense? Is he going to go back to shooting 3’s (I hope not)?

    2. You mentioned per36. Is that a standard metric? I imagine it means per 36 minutes. Is that because the average starter plays 36 minutes?

  2. Nathan says:
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    Am I right in thinking that fantasy basketball strategy, moreso than in any other fantasy sport, changes VERY drastically depending on whether you’re playing roto or H2H.

    A top three of (just for instance) Josh Smith, Rondo, and Dwight would be awesome in a H2H league, but absolutely and completely awful in roto. Can’t say that sort of thing about fantasy baseball or football picks.

  3. I agree. Just getting Dwight and Rondo in the first two rounds would make me giddy in H2H.

  4. Redhopeful says:
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    Nash ahead of Kidd/Billups? Nah.

  5. brad says:
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    @Redhopeful: Nash is definitely ahead of Kidd/Billups on my board.

    @anybody: is Jrue Holiday the obvious keeper choice with T-Mac, Beasley, and Javale McGee as my other options?

  6. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Frank Kim: I think Smith will be very effective at the three. He’s so athletic and his defense (101 DRtg last season, 107 was league average) is so solid, putting him up with guys his weight class should be good news for him, bad news for them.

    Per36 is as standard as per48. I prefer Per36 because it neutralizes the player’s time on the floor, but in a more realistic fashion. Many players will play 36 minutes a game. None of ‘em will play 48. Not even Monta Ellis.

    @Nathan: Yeah Nathan, you’re right. H2H is a whole different set of rules. You can completely punt a stat or two and still roll over your head-to-head match-up that week. That’s why Dwight’s FT% or Durant’s TOVs don’t hold much if any weight.

    @brad: Holiday, McGee, Beasley, T-Mac in that order.

  7. brad says:
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    @Adam: word. gracias.

  8. Henry says:
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    I’d go personally with McGee, Beasley, Holiday, T-Mac. As you said, The Sixers are going to work with Brand, plus you have Iggy and Turner. Holiday is going to be a very standard PG, he could be the next Mike Conley (eeek). McGee is starting to really develop and Team USA experience will do him a world of good. I must admit, Beasley is a guess, but I would punt on him rather than the ultra bland Holiday. That said, for this season, Holiday might be the option just not as a keeper long term.

    Nash >>>>>> anyone except CP/D-Will/Curry (but you do have his number a tad high I think… but who knows)

  9. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Henry: Eeek is right. I dunno. I mean, compare their per36 stats from last season:

    Conley: 13/3/6
    Holiday: 12/4/6

    …their percentages were fairly even too and I have a feeling Holiday is going to see almost all of those 36 mpgs this season.

    I also don’t think the Grizz are playing with much upside. We’ve seen what that team can do, right? Is Z-Bo gonna have a better year than last year? Gasol? Gay even? Barring a big change, 2009-10 was about as good as it’s gonna get for them. The Sixers on the other hand are full of guys who underperformed last season or are underdeveloped. Holiday was averaging over seven assists in 30 mpg to close out the season and nothing I’ve seen or read since then leads me to believe he’s going to remain as inert as Conley has.

    I’m not saying Holiday is or ever will be an elite PG, but somebody’s gotta come to his aid after he gets called “the next Conley.”

    That’s just cold, Henry.

  10. Henry says:
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    Your points are valid. My dislike for him is purely emotional haha. Hopefully Iggy doesn’t steal all his thunder.

  11. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Henry: Emotional, huh? Did Jrue give you a Wet Willy too?

    Man, I hate when professional athletes do that. They’re never gentle about it.

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