Throughout the season, hopefully once a week, I will be updating the LairdNYC Fantasy NBA Power Rankings, which will be a top 20 list of how a fantasy draft should have gone, based on how the stats turned out. So, here we go:
1. Shawn Marion, F, Phoenix Suns
Marion has been a top fantasy player for the past five seasons and this year should be no different, despite his apparent frustration with being a third wheel to Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. But you know what? This is fantasy, so who cares how he feels? Marion puts up solid numbers across all stat categories, which is why he is here at #1.
2. Kobe Bryant, G, Los Angeles Lakers
Though his scoring is his best attribute, Bryant contributes consistently over more categories than pretty much everyone except Marion.
3. Kevin Garnett, F, Boston Celtics
His scoring may go down because he actually has legitimate teammates now, but rebounds and assists should only improve. With more long range shooters, Garnett should get some easier looks inside too, which will increase his field goal percentage.
4. Dirk Nowitzki, F, Dallas Mavericks
He may be higher on the list if he was eligible at the center position, but Dirk is still a statistical beast. He didn’t shoot quite as many threes last year as previous years, but he is rebounding and playing defense better than he ever has.
5. Gilbert Arenas, G, Washington Wizards
Arenas was having a monster fantasy year until he got hurt last year. If he and Caron Butler can recover from late-season injuries, Arenas should have another big season. His ability to get to the hoop or shoot from 30-feet makes him a big-time scorer in the league and he is also an excellent defender, finishing fifth in the league in steals despite only playing 74 games. Hibachi!
6. Steve Nash, G, Phoenix Suns
Notice how many highlights there are of Amare Stoudmire and Shawn Marion throwing down alley-oops? Ever notice who throws them all? Probably, which is why you know Steve Nash deserves to be this high.
7. Amare Stoudemire, F/C, Phoenix Suns
Though off-season knee surgery may slow him a bit at the beginning, Stoudemire had a breakout season last year following micro-fracture surgery and will only look to gain more attention if Shawn Marion is sent packing.
8. Vince Carter, G/F, New Jersey Nets
Not many people realized how big of a season VC had last year, possibly because he plays for one of the most boring teams in the league. I can’t wait until they move to Brooklyn.
9. LeBron James, G/F, Cleveland LeBrons
Surprised to see LeBron this far down this list? Maybe it’s because he shot under 70% from the line and was near the top of the league in turnovers. After carrying his team to the NBA Finals last season, and then helping Team USA win the FIBA Tournament of the Americas, he has to be a little tired.
10. Tim Duncan, F/C, San Antonio Spurs
He doesn’t shoot much, but when he does, it usually goes in. Not to mention his impressive rebounding numbers and excellent shot blocking figures.
11. Chris Paul, G, New Orleans Hornets
He was hurt for some of last season, but you have to remember how great he was before it happened. Expect an above-solid year for Paul.
12. Chris Bosh, F/C, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are looking to take a leap into the Eastern Conference elite this season and it will be squarely on the shoulders of Chris Bosh to get them there. Don’t expect him to disappoint. And also don’t forget he is only 23.
13. Carlos Boozer, F/C, Utah Jazz
He’s been a huge surprise ever since he joined the league, look for Boozer to increase his impressive scoring and rebounding figures this season.
14. Luol Deng, F, Chicago Bulls
Deng had a near breakout season last year and this time around I think he takes the next step. He is slowly becoming the go-to guy for this team and the scoring tandem of Deng and Ben Gordon should be a fierce one to contend with for the other Eastern Conference teams.
15. Andre Iguodala, F, Philadelphia 76ers
Iguodala took over this team after they traded Allen Iverson and he will still be the focal point this year. He is an extremely athletic wing who could be a top 5 or 10 player if he developed a legitimate three-point shot.
16. Paul Pierce, F, Boston Celtics
Pierce was already a legitimate fantasy player, but his scoring will most certainly suffer thanks to the incoming Garnett and Ray Allen…not that he’s complaining, he should get more assist opportunities and will stay active on the defensive end.
17. Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic
Howard already had the rebounding numbers and the blocks were coming along nicely. Look for his scoring to increase this year thanks to more open looks created by Rashard Lewis and a newly developed touch from the free throw line.
18. Deron Williams, G, Utah Jazz
Williams is set to take the leap this season, write it down.
19. Jason Kidd, G, New Jersey Nets
Similar to Steve Nash, you will pretty much always see Kidd on the passing end of an alley-oop. He looked amazing during the FIBA Tournament and there is no reason to expect his distribution numbers to go down.
20. Baron Davis, G, Golden State Warriors
With Jason Richardson gone, Davis will have to do more of the scoring, which I bet is perfectly fine with him. If the playoffs are any indication how good he can be, he may crack the rankings top-10 by mid-season.
Also receiving votes:
Out with injuries: