I bet you’re like, “Yo, Redacted… why 5-24? Why not 1-20 like a normal person?” Well I’m not going to sit here and type to you why LBJ/KD/Paul/Love should go 1-4 because everyone should know that they go 1-4. If not, please invite me to your money league. I call these my bold 5-24 because they ignore safety/consistency and positional scarcity. I’m saying at the end of the year I wouldn’t blink if this is how they ended up in the rankings. In your draft, I’d reach a little higher for these guys and not necessarily where I’ve placed them on this list (i.e. I LOVE Gordon but I wouldn’t draft him top 20). No doubt someone will not have read this paragraph and slaughter me in the comments for ranking Eric Gordon top 20.
5. Andrew Bynum – He’s over in Germany getting the same shit done to his knee that Kobe did. We all know how that worked out. Oh yea, he’ll be the focal point of the entire team. Nom nom nom.
6. Russell Westbrook – Not bold. Sometimes you just have to be boring.
7. Dirk Nowitzki – Got a championship, showed up out of shape for the season, and then was back to his old self by the end of the year. He’s going to have to shoulder the load for this team because Mark Cuban failed him in the off season. Just got a feeling he’s going to have a chip on his shoulder.
8. Al Horford – He’s healthy and proved it in the 3 post-season games he played. Turned 26 this year and now that Joe Johnson isn’t there I expect him to increase his role in the offense.
9. Paul Millsap – 53% FG 3 out of last 4 years and shot less than 50% last year. Just an extra boost for someone already going pretty high.
11. Ty Lawson – Sexy pick alert! Sexy pick alert! Lawson is going to go high in fantasy drafts and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him top 15 or even top 10 at the end of the season. Not exactly a proven player but damn, he’s sexy.
12. Josh Smith – See #6.
13. Carmelo Anthony – The coach is his bitch and he will be running the show.
14. Greg Monroe – Last year I was riding shotgun in the Monroe bandwagon and this year I want to be the driver. 15.4/9.6/2.3/1.3/0.7 slash line in only his second season with a solid 52% FG. Yeah, he only blocked 0.7 shots per game but he’s 6’ 11” so I’m expecting improvement.
15. Stephen Curry – A consensus early 2nd round fantasy pick last year, he will probably go anywhere in the 4th – 6th rounds this year. I LOVE the upside here and in round 4 I think this is a steal. He never let that ankle heal last year so with him fully healthy I expect him to return to form.
16. Paul George – I’m so far out on this limb it’s about to break. This guy is Danny Granger back when Danny Granger didn’t destroy your FG%. Third year in the league and I’m more all-in than a redskin fan is with RG3. Hype hype hype (make sure you watch the second dunk).
17. Al Jefferson – Admittedly, I’m probably a little low on Jefferson. It’s probably because I’m annoyed with Centers that can’t make 50% of their shots.
18. Eric Gordon – Yep, I drafted him last year and was SO excited when he lit up the two teams he played in the first two weeks of the season. The kid is a star, just needs the health. Snag him in the middle rounds to mitigate the risk.
19. Deron Williams – I’d take him higher in the draft due to the lack of elite fantasy pg’s (Paul, Westbrook, Williams… Rondo doesn’t count as an elite fantasy pg for me) but he’ll probably finish around 20 or so overall.
20. Kyrie Irving – F*ck Duke. Now that I have that outta the way… some people won’t think this bold, some will. He’s going to be a top 10 pick at some point but I do have some worries about a sophomore slump this year. Is he going to shoot 47% again this year or will teams clamp down on him? Might be helpful if the rest of the roster wasn’t vomit inducing. That being said, I think the talent wins out.
21. Goran Dragic – Sexy pick part deux. Less sexy than Ty, but once he took over the starting role in Houston? Wow. Now he’s over in Phoenix as the starter since Steve Nash sold his soul to the devil.
22. Pau Gasol – Man he’s soft. Just kidding Lakers fans. Another guy I’d draft higher because I think he’s pretty safe but with Dwight Howard there I do expect some reduction in his numbers. If Dwight’s back is hampering him, then I’d move him higher.
23. Marc Gasol – Another pretty safe guy.
24. John Wall – Did not make the expected leap last year. Also, I really like getting 3’s outta my pg’s but somehow he doesn’t shoot them and still has a terrible FG% (42%). Let’s just say I’m counting on a post-hype leap.
BONUS: 25. Kobe Bryant – Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace. OK, so the last one doesn’t really factor but with the new pieces in Laker land I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kobe have less counting stats (points, boards, assists). He’s competitive as hell but also pretty damn smart so I think he’ll put less a toll on his body during the regular season and save up for the playoffs. He can’t go 38 minutes a game again right?!
Notable Omissions: Dwight Howard (Kinda scared of that back surgery), Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis (played well together last year but 2 volume shooters on the same team?), Dwyane Wade (Man he’s scary to own because 1. He’s getting older and so is that knee, and 2. They have LeBron James so he can sit more often to rest up.), DeMarcus Cousins (What a headcase. No way I’m buying him in the first 2 rounds. Could he be top 10? Could he punch a teammate/coach? The answer to both is yes.), LaMarcus Aldridge (very very safe), Blake Griffin (3 category stud (FG, pts, rbs), 1 category killer (FT), and disappointing defensive stats).