We’ve got a bit of a Good News / Bad News situation. The Bad News is that the NBA regular season is finished, and with it, your fantasy team – leaving all your sweat and strategery as useless as a neck full of Mardi Gras beads in March. The Good News is that it’s never too early to plan for next season. So we’ll be here all summer scrapin’ and scrappin’ and eatin’ scrapple in order to bring you the best fantasy basketball advice this side of the Mason/Dixon Line. But Adam, I don’t know which side of the Mason/Dixon Line you’re on. Doesn’t matter. I’m everywhere. So for the next week or so, we’ll be looking back at the year that was.
Today, we start with the 20 best point guards of the regular season. Sadly, Tip-In Points was a mere glimmer in my drunken glazed eye at the start of the season and so I never made formal pre-season projections to which we can compare, but we’ll have them this time next season. So if you’re not excited about the start of next season, pretend you’re the 2008-09 Knicks and get giddy about the end of it.
Note: Each player’s season averages use the following pattern:
FG% / FT% / 3PTM / PTM / RBD / AST / STL / BLK / TOV
Live it. Love it (she’s just a woman).
1. Steve Nash, PHO Led the league in AST and FT%, (also a career-high). No one expected Nash to perform like that this season. … Oh you did? Well, I suppose you know what happens in 2012 too don’t you. … John Cusack dodges crumbling buildings and epic tidal waves, eh? Oh, you are good.
Preseason Rank: #7
Final Numbers: 81 games, .507 / .938 / 1.5 / 16.5 / 3.3 / 11.0 / 0.5 / 0.1 / 3.6
2. Deron Williams, UTA Injuries put the kibosh on a few guys that were supposed to be up here, and freak resurgences lifted a few who won’t be back next year. Williams will be back here. Or should I say D-Will be back. I can see him repeating this season line for the next five years.
Preseason Rank: #2,
Final Numbers: 76 games, .469 / .801 / 1.3 / 18.7 / 4.0 / 10.5 / 1.3 / 0.2 / 3.3
3. Jason Kidd, DAL All season I remained unimpressed with Kidd because all season I assumed someone in his house would update the clock on his home computer from ’99 to ’09. Turns out, Kidd stocked up on the canned peaches and duct tape and left the clocks how they were.
Preseason Rank: #11,
Final Numbers: 80 games, .423 / .808 / 2.2 / 10.3 / 5.6 / 9.1 / 1.8 / 0.4 / 2.4
4. Baron Davis, LAC A lot of teams fortunate enough to have taken Boom-Dizzle sometime after the fourth round won their leagues. Swish it around; savor it for now. ‘Cause a) he’ll be overvalued next season despite b) being a year older and c) having played the second-most games in the last eight seasons.
Preseason Rank: #10,
Final Numbers: 75 games, .406 / .821 / 1.1 / 15.3 / 3.5 / 8.0 / 1.7 / 0.6 / 2.8
5. Rajon Rondo, BOS If your team weathered the storm his sickly free throw percentage wrought (Wrought? Eh. Let’s go with it) then Rondo probably ranked a little higher for you. Then again, if your team was able to weather your point guard missing 38 percent of his freebees, then you clearly don’t need my help. I’m not mad about it. I just ask that you not ruin it for everyone else here. Feel free to help yourself to as many finger sandwiches as you’d like before exiting quietly.
Preseason Rank: #4,
Final Numbers: 81 games, .508 / .621 / 0.2 / 13.7 / 4.4 / 9.8 / 2.3 / 0.1 / 3.0
6. Tyreke Evans, SAC He was good. Real good. One of the best rookies in the last 50 years good. In the name of a well-rounded critique, I’d like to see more steals and more threes from him. I’d also like to know what Christina Hendricks sees in this guy. I expect results from at least two of these by year’s end.
Preseason Rank: #20,
Final Numbers: 72 games, .458 / .748 / 0.5 / 20.1 / 5.3 / 5.8 / 1.5 / 0.4 / 3.0
7. Chauncey Billups, DEN Old Man River jes’ keeps a-rollin’ along. He got pinched by injuries but still managed to average a career-high in points. Still, B-B-B-Billups also tied his career-high in turnovers, accumulated the lowest assist average in the last five years and I just can’t shake the feeling this is the first year of a steep decline.
Preseason Rank: #6,
Final Numbers: 73 games, .418 / .910 / 2.2 / 19.5 / 3.1 / 5.6 / 1.1 / 0.1 / 2.4
8. Derrick Rose, CHI Rose declined (oh, the irony) in every important stat except for points and field-goal percentage. Yes, he started the season slightly injured. Yes that led to a poor November. Yes, his stats generally increased over the remainder of the season. Yes, his team is poorly coached. And yes, he just doesn’t have a reliable big man to dump it to for an easy two or three extra assists per game. Hey look, man! I’m not on trial here! A slight decline from a player’s first to second year is as disappointing as a medium decline from someone else. And if you made sense of that without having to reread the sentence, you’ve demonstrated a higher capacity for abstract thought than Vinny Del Negro.
Preseason Rank: #5,
Final Numbers: 78 games, .489 / .766 / 0.2 / 20.8 / 3.8 / 6.0 / 0.7 / 0.3 / 2.8
9. Aaron Brooks, HOU I missed the boat on Brooks early in the season. Maybe I imagined Yao limping onto the court like Willis Reed in December to take all the offense away from Brooks. Or Tracy McGrady limping onto the court like Yao in January. Or I clairvoyantly imagined Kevin Martin limping onto the court from Sacramento in February. I dunno. Expect me to give this guy his due next season.
Preseason Rank: #15,
Final Numbers: 82 games, .432 / .822 / 2.5 / 19.6 / 2.6 / 5.3 / 0.8 / 0.2 / 2.8
10. Brandon Jennings, MIL Jennings could learn and develop over the summer and become a full-time version of the Jennings we saw in November or this Buck will forever be frozen in the headlights of NBA stardom. It’s hard to tell. At any rate, Jennings’ .371 FG% was one of the five most damaging stats among players widely rostered on fantasy teams last year.
Preseason Rank: NR,
Final Numbers: 82 games, .371 / .817 / 1.8 / 15.5 / 3.4 / 5.7 / 1.3 / 0.2 / 2.4
11. Russell Westbrook, OKC I have a feeling Westbrook and Rose are going to have similar careers. I’ll go ahead and assume Rose will have a slightly more successful career, but honestly, it could flip-flop. And if it flip-flops, I’ll be right there to flip-flop my analysis right along with it. Unlike Rose, Westbrook improved or maintained every part of his game except free throw-percentage during his sophomore year. Heck, maybe Westbrook will have the better career. See? I’m already flip-flopping.
Preseason Rank: #8,
Final Numbers: 82 games, .418 / .780 / 0.3 / 16.1 / 4.9 / 8.0 / 1.3 / 0.4 / 3.4
12. Monta Ellis, GS He wasn’t this good all season, he was just this utilized all season. You say potato, I say … fatigue cost Ellis 18 games. Points aside, I’m just not impressed with his averaging almost 42 minutes a game and doling out only 5.3 assists during that time. His line is plump in all the wrong places, like a Victorian woman without her corset.
Preseason Rank: #9,
Final Numbers: 64 games, .449 / .753 / 1.2 / 25.5 / 4.0 / 5.3 / 2.2 / 0.4 / 3.8
13. Raymond Felton, CHA If you drafted Westbrook sometime between Rounds 7 through 10, you were probably jazzed. Yet, if you drafted Westbrook Light (Felton) sometime between Rounds 10-13, you were nonplussed. Stop being nonplussed – it makes your face look fat.
Preseason Rank: #18,
Final Numbers: 80 games, .459 / .763 / 0.8 / 12.1 / 3.6 / 5.6 / 1.5 / 0.3 / 2.1
14. Mo Williams, CLE The only thing more baffling than Quicken Loan Arena’s penchant for playing the theme from “The Godfather” every time Mo dropped a trey is that anyone picked this guy before the fifth round.
Preseason Rank: #12,
Final Numbers: 69 games, .442 / .894 / 2.3 / 15.8 / 3.0 / 5.3 / 1.0 / 0.3 / 2.5
15. Jason Terry, DAL Jason cannot be killed. But, as the addition of Caron Butler and the last two months of the regular season illustrated, he can be slowed. It should be noted that he averaged the lowest field-goal percentage, three-point percentage, and rebounds since he joined the Mavericks.
Preseason Rank: #14,
Final Numbers: 77 games, .438 / .866 / 1.8 / 16.6 / 1.8 / 3.8 / 1.2 / 0.2 / 1.4
16. Brandon Roy, POR This was the year Brandon Roy was supposed to bust on the scene like Mariah Carey in 1990. But just like Mimi, meniscus issues stopped Roy from hitting all the high notes. Consider this season Roy’s Emotions and look forward to his Music Box bounce back in 2011.
Preseason Rank: #3,
Final Numbers: 65 games, .473 / .780 / 1.1 / 21.5 / 4.4 / 4.7 / 0.9 / 0.2 / 2.0
17. Jamal Crawford, ATL Presumably you want assists out of your point guard. Presumably you went elsewhere for assists if you drafted Crawford. Presumably you were happy to draft him sometime past the 10th round. Presumably you stopped reading this as soon as you saw Chris Paul’s name in the No. 18 slot. So … presumably I’m now just talking to myself.
Preseason Rank: #19,
Final Numbers: 79 games, .449 / .857 / 2.1 / 18.0 / 2.5 / 3.0 / 0.8 / 0.2 / 1.7
18. Chris Paul, NO Yeah, Paul barely played half a season. That won’t likely repeat itself next season. When he was on the court, he was the same old CP3. In 45 games, he still managed to divvy out the 10th most assists this year. The problem for fantasy owners was that his impact over the course of an 82-game season was closer to Raymond Felton than, say, Deron Williams.
Preseason Rank: #1,
Final Numbers: 45 games, .493 / .847 / 1.2 / 18.7 / 4.2 / 10.7 / 2.1 / 0.2 / 2.5
19. Beno Udrih, SAC I gave my dog Beano to cure his bad gasses. The Kings gave the team Beno to cure its bad passes.
Preseason Rank: NR,
Final Numbers: 79 games, .493 / .837 / 0.9 / 12.9 / 2.8 / 4.7 / 1.1 / 0.1 / 1.7
20. Jarrett Jack, TOR I’m as shocked as you are. But not quite as shocked as Jose Calderon.
Preseason Rank: NR,
Final Numbers: 82 games, .481 / .842 / 1.0 / 11.4 / 2.7 / 5.0 / 0.7 / 0.1 / 2.0
Close But No Cigar: Darren Collison, NO (not enough starter’s minutes, 4.1 tov as a starter); Andre Miller, POR (slow first three months); Rodney Stuckey, DET (injuries, played for Detroit)
Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports via Getty Images