Just a few days left in the fantasy basketball season. That means it’s just a few days until the season of anticipating the next fantasy basketball season. I love the fantasy offseason almost as much as the actual season. The NBA playoffs, the draft lottery, the draft and draft night trades, free agency, summer league, training camp, and then we’ve made it back to fantasy draft season. And all the while, our hope is renewed. Until next season starts, we haven’t lost half our team to injuries!
Anyway, to round out the season next week, I plan on reviewing this season’s surprises. Who greatly exceeded expectations? Who didn’t come close to meeting them? These are the difference-makers that greatly determined the outcome of leagues this year. But first, this week, we’re gonna have some fun with an expanded version of my weekly classic fantasy line feature (which comes at the bottom of my weekly posts, in case you haven’t made it that far). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed looking back at old and not-so-old stats, whether I’d been familiar with them or not. Seeing the old stats through the lens of a fantasy bball player in 2018 fascinates me. If that sounds like something up your alley, feel free to go back and check them out to find some commentary on stats from great game, season, and career lines for legends like Wilt, MJ, and Steph. Today, I’m going with some championship teams whose seasons I just wanted to check out. And I thought I’d see who the key players could compare to these days, at least stat-wise. Thanks to basketballreference.com, of course.
We begin with the two most recent NBA champions that get the least respect.
The 2011 Dallas Mavericks
The 2004 Detroit Pistons
So, those were the main cogs. Looking at those lines, off the top of my head, here are some players with similar current season lines.
Lonzo Ball has gotten that Jason Kidd comp for as long as any of us can probably remember. And 37 year-old Kidd does have a lot in common with 20 year-old Lonzo. Hopefully their peaks end up looking similar, too.
Dirk Nowitzki had begun descending from his peak by that time, but I thought his numbers might serve us well by illustrating just how great Kevin Durant’s season has been. Wow. Look at how close those percentages are. Minutes and rebounds, too. Gotta say, I’m pretty impressed with myself for pairing these guys even though I knew KD’s threes and blocks just put his value on another planet than champion Dirk.
That Chauncey Billups line reminds me of Dennis Smith Jr. this season. That would be a nice floor to have for DSJ.
Alright, now let’s go back farther and see what sorts of players were integral on some other championship teams from yesteryear. I picked another few that weren’t the most dominant.
The 1995 Houston Rockets
Next, two guys I wouldn’t consider too similar in Clyde Drexler and Victor Oladipo. At least, not until I thought about their numbers. That’s some good company for Dipo.
The 1969 Boston Celtics
Okay, we’re back in a much different era here. No steals or blocks recorded. No 3-point line. Check out those rebounds by 34 year-old Bill Russell. If you’d been punting FG%, FT%, and points in your 5-category league in 1969, you were thrilled with Bill. Andre Drummond is the best I could think of with such high rebounds and respectable assists while being bad, though much improved, from the line.
Lastly, I know Donovan Mitchell needs another year or two of molting into a pseudo Russell Westbrook to get the boards and assists to where John Havlicek was that season, but it’s pretty crazy to see that Dono is not that far off from Hondo already.
That’s all for this week. I might have to play this game more in the future. Is there a lesson here? Oh, probably not. Sometimes numbers are just fun. Good luck to my fellow roto players. Finish strong.