We’re here! We’ve got ranks! With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the top 10. 2014-15 is quickly approaching, and we’re jumping the gun on ranks, projections, anticipating trades… Seriously, one of the biggest trades of the decade is all predicated on a handshake agreement. “My fingers were crossed Saunders, hah!” It’s the proverbial dogs playing poker, except the game is the fantasy basketball landscape and the GMs look even uglier than the deformed pug. “Heel David Griffin, heel!” Then to top off that soap opera, we have a first rounder from last year (but not in my ranks!) out for the year with a horrific injury in Team USA play. For all the Paul George banter we had last year, Razzball Nation wishes him a speedy recovery. Back to happy thoughts! Anyone see that one of my boyfriends last year, Archie Goodwin, was drunk and resisting arrest at a skating rink?! He was gonna make my top 10 too! What a comical situation… He should have his own Archie Comics! Oh wait… Well despite the innumerable implications of Tony Hawk’s arrest, let’s start ranking! And as we go through the top 200 in long form, we’ll be updating our master ranks/easy-to-use post linked up there in the rankings menu. Razzball is so easy! One crown & coke and I’m out of my Knickerbockers faster than John Starks at a flat top convention! Here’s my top 10 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):
1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder – It just feels weird typing out the full team name and not just OKC… But we’re getting serious here! And what’s more serious than this really bold #1 overall ranking…. Yawn… It’s like ranking the hottest chicks in Game of Thrones, it’s obviously the redhead chick in the snow mountains place! I have a thing for redheads… But wait, the dragon one is hot too! This was a horrific example… KD obliterated the field yet again in 13-14, and will have no problem doing it again. If you have the number one pick, KD is staring at you yelling “Jon Sneeeuuuhhhhhhhh!”
2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans – Even in only 67 games, the Brow came to play! Finishing fifth in overall value according to Basketball monster (seventh on ESPN’s player rater), in per-game Mr. Brow was Robert Wagner. “Wtf kind of reference is that?!” i.e. Brow was Number Two… Although I could’ve said Rob Lowe as well, but he’s too busy doing Shark Week commercials that are trying to be Old Spice commercials. Sad thing is, to actually watch the commercial there’s a pre-roll commercial! Ahhhhhhh! Preposterous consumerism commentary aside (people are forced to eat up ads like sharks eating chum! Ok… now I’m done), Davis’ slash of 20.8/10/1.6/1.3/2.8 was straight silly and he could have a legit chance to average 20/10 with a rainbow line. Step back Oscar Robinson! The Brow’s been adding weight and getting rave reviews from the Team USA brethren, so it’s gonna be hard seeing him going anywhere other than two. Plus his mid-range jumper looked smoother than eyebrow wax (hint) last year, and there’s been some rumors he’s developing a perimeter game. Even at, say, 0.3 treys a game, oh man… He’d really push KD for fantasy’s best asset.
3. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors – I’m off the rails! Only three deep, and I’m already straying from my Way too Early Rankings all over the place… Why they’re way too early! Curry gets the vault due to the “Love Factor”. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve had vaulted due to love factors, but it’s not my fault she asked for cash or credit! In overall value, Curry was numero dos behind KDios, with his impeccable mix of dimes and threes – mainly a huge vault (buzzword!) in the former up to 8.5. There is a change of regime, but anytime you add a ThrAGNOF coach in Steve Kerr, you know the threes will still be flying! Cleanup on aisle three! Klay Thompson is still in the backcourt to just camp behind the arc like all he’s good for, so Curry should have no problem duplicating 13-14. And his balky ankle issues seem to be overblown (at least, the perception hits me that way), as Curry’s games played are 80, 74, 26, 78, 78 in his career.
4. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers – How the mighty have fallen! In my May ranks I had The King two, but a move back home and the “Love Factor” inevitably hurt Mr. Ohio, then Mr. Most Hated Man in the World, to back to Mr. Ohio. Even in per-game, BronBron was cuddlecuddle with Curry tied at 4th overall. Boards fell to under 7 for the first time since 06-07, assists dropped, TOs went up, but the biggie was he decided blocking shots wasn’t important anymore. An anemic (for the former multi-cat fantasy god) 0.3 blocks per, after never being under 0.6. May not seem like much, and you’re not drafting LeBron for blocks, but it all adds up to an outside top-3 rank. He’s shedding weight through flatulence, I mean a no carb diet, and likely playing the 3 when Love comes and plays the 4 with Anderson Varejao at the 5, with some shuffling here-and-there and Varejao surely not playing huge minutes and inevitably getting hurt. I could see the boards going down further, the blocks about the same, and with the best PG he’s been paired with, a career-low assists output at under 5.9. What you do get is consistency, health, and a fantastic high-output FG%.
5. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers – I remember early last season, I said only mostly-kidding that I thought Paul could get over 10 dimes every single game. Dimebag fairy! Well, while that didn’t quite happen, he was pretty friggin’ close! Paul’s 10.7 dimes per game crushed the field by nearly two a game, and might’ve been a bigger category killer than Arrested Development in TV Show revivals. I’m still depressed (no pun intended) trying to plod through it, it keeps going back to the horrific Fantastic Four bit! Sheesh. Anyway, there’s really nothing to question with Paul’s game and no doubt he tops the assists leaders again in 14-15; about all you can worry about is this Donald Sterling thing and Paul being disgruntled. Which should translate into something less substantial than Ray Rice’s suspension. Sports politics are such a joke! “Aren’t the Brewers your favorite team and you still love Ryan Braun?” Shut it!
6. James Harden, Houston Rockets – Man, after those top 5, things start getting fishy. More entangled than Harden’s beard hair! As I mentioned in my early wanks (haha, too fun a typo to fix), I predicted a bigger season from Harden and he was virtually the same player. Pseudo-disappointment. It was actually remarkably the same season from 12-13 to 13-14. So remarkable in fact, that I think Harden is one of the safest – well I should be bolder – the safest pick out of the top 5. So I ranked him that way! While there were some miniscule regressions, the biggest difference was a nearly 2% improvement in FG% while taking a baby step forward in AST:TO ratio from 5.8:3.8 to 6.1:3.6. I love me some AST:TO ratio! Both in per-game and total value Harden finished 8th last year, and even though he looks like a 50-year-old hobo, he’s still only 24. Plus he finished uber-strong last year (I’m sure Harden owners remember a fairly frustrating start), with a post-ASB line of 27.7/4.7/7.4/1.9/0.3 shooting 47% from the field with three treys a game. And I’ve got one more! No Jeremy Lin means Patrick Beverley is going to sit down at the half court line on offense with everything running through Harden (we’re gonna use that joke all year!). I really don’t see any way he doesn’t get a career-high in assists. Wow, I’m starting to think 6 is low… Mid-rank crisis! It’s like a mid-life crisis, except I still have all my hair. Thankfully, it’s growing back
7. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder – “You’re my brokeback! Why can’t I quit you?!” Probably my best call from 13-14, I’ve still got Ibaka as a mid-to-late first rounder at 7. Last year was an awesome season, sure he didn’t quite make it to 6, but he finished 10 and 9 in per-game and total value, respectively. I don’t have playoff-tinted glasses, OK!? Although, that was pretty awesome playing through that calf injury… It’s a little scary that he’s said he’s still not 100% a week ago, but almost all that scariness goes away with him playing for Spain in the World Cup thingy. Which will soon go the way of the dodo if there’s another big injury like George’s… Ibaka scored more, boarded better, FT% improved… it was an all-around awesome 13-14. It was a little sad to see the blocks go under 3, but 2.7 per isn’t bad! He’s not LeBron out there! Burn! I still think the treys will take another marginal step forward to maybe 0.5 per, and a full (hopefully) season of Russell Westbrook will help his offensive output.
8. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers (we think…) – Ya know, I came into this top-10 thinking I was going to have Love out. And that might’ve been the boldest part of the ranks. But I couldn’t do it! I was more scared than when I watched the movie Antichrist with my girlfriend (not true, but I have heard some people did that accidentally! Why you Wiki date movies first!). While the move to Cleveland certainly Von Trier-ed Love’s fantasy value playing next to BronBron, there’s just no way I could have him lower. Obviously an elite player with a fantastic 13-14 campaign, it’s going to be very interesting seeing him play alongside a superstar. I mean, when your PG is as offensively inept as Ricky Rubio, it’s easy to take a lot of shots, amiright!? If Varejao plays the 5 at… 28-29 MPG, that’s really going to eat into Love’s boards, plus BronBron is a boarder himself. Under 10 rebounds a game for Love who hasn’t been under 12.5 since 09-10? I actually think he indeed will be under. Plus there’s no question he’ll be under 6.6 three point attempts a game, and 4.4 dimes seems high. There’s a lot to nit-pick and surely regression is hitting hard, but we could easily see a career-high FG%, his FT shooting is sometimes overlooked, while still chipping in nearly a steal and half a block a game which will carry over. I have a feeling his ADP will be closer to 5, but it will be interesting to see where all that ends up after the trade is official and leagues open up.
9. John Wall, Washington Wizards – Fun fact! Who led the NBA in dimes last year? If you said Chris Paul, you’re wrong! Oh, I didn’t say total dimes, but whatever! Playing 82 games will do that for ya! The PG breakout to my C Ibaka breakout, Wall had a strong season but had some regression down the stretch – mainly the steals went down and pre-ASB 4.5-5.4 FT shooting to post-ASB 2.7-3.8. That’s a pretty big falloff for a guy I thought would be slashing more often than Chucky. That said, the huge improvement from the perimeter and another season melding with Bradley Beal can only help Wall step it up. The elite assists plus Slim’s infinite wisdom and persuasion had me put Wall this one infant step ahead of Mr. RW.
10. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder – Last year was a mess. Knee injuries and minutes limits and tigers, oh my! Career-low in minutes and a career-low in games played (he had played in every game for five seasons until last year!) yielded a disappointment. That said, he actually rewarded fantasy owners who took him at the round 3 or 4 ADP after the knee injury news broke and still had a 21.8/5.7/6.9/1.9/0.2 slash. The turnovers at 3.8, paired with the lower minutes, gave him by far his worst per/36 TO rate, but I think a healthy off-season will right the ship. I love the developing perimeter game (has consistently gone up his whole career to 1.5 treys a game last year), giving him a really good 6-cat output sans FG%, Blk, & TO. I won’t hesitate to reach a smidge for Westbrook at the end of the first.
Well, here we are! As with any season, things could be shaken up, maybe even stirred, if anything big goes down. There’s still the World Cup in September plus pre-season, but we’ll have our ranks coming out in the next two weeks through the top 200! Shoot your thoughts below and welcome to 2014-2015!