2009-10 Fantasy Basketball Honors

Kevin Durant (photo. Jared McMillen)

Kevin Durant takes this honor, by a hair, over LeBron James. Yes, this seems rather absurd since King James dominated the “Beast of the Night” and “Weekend Wonder” honors throughout the season, but when it comes down to Durant and LBJ, it’s pretty much a coin flip. They’re pretty even in points, threes, rebounds, steals, blocks, turnovers and field-goal percentage, but James had the edge in assists and Durant handily won the free-throw shooting category. So what gives the edge to KD?

Let’s put it this way: When you go to war and you’ve got two of your finest soldiers leading your battalion to victory, and one ends up oversleeping on the day of your final push to victory, which of your two leaders do you value more? Though it wasn’t James’ decision to sit out the final four games of the season (so far as we know), those DNPs came at the worst possible time and probably cost many teams dearly in their final-week matchups.

Biggest Letdown:
Chris Paul is a no-brainer here, though it wasn’t his fault. While he finished as a top-three fantasy player based on averages, his 37 missed games completely sunk his value. Before this season, many deemed him just as worthy of a No. 1 pick as King James, but after a forgettable 2009-10, it’ll take a Herculean 2010-11 to earn back the trust of fantasy owners.

Waiver Wire Gem of the Year:
Andray Blatche edges out Darren Collison for this award, partly because he finished with better season averages and didn’t have a lull like Collison did during fantasy playoffs. They both got hot in February and were invaluable to their fantasy owners’ late-season and playoff runs. You can easily argue for Collison, since he had a hot streak in November, but this is essentially a tossup.

Fantasy Rookie of the Year:
Stephen Curry. The only guy who comes close is Tyreke Evans, but Curry’s three-point prowess and superior thieving puts him over the top. Enough said.

Biggest ROI of the Year:
David Lee was drafted in the fourth or fifth rounds of most drafts but ended the season with top-five value. Though he still doesn’t block as many shots as you’d like from a fantasy center, Lee helps you in every single category except for threes. Marc Gasol also deserves to be mentioned here.

Most Unrecognized Stud:
Dirk Nowitzki was steady and studly all season, and finished with top-four value. He didn’t hurt his owners in any category and helped in all of them. Diggler’s also one of the most efficient fantasy players in the league and doesn’t usually get the props he deserves.

Biggest Surprise of the Year:
Manu Ginobili silenced all concerns about his health by playing 75 games and finishing the season with top-20 value. Though he had trouble with consistency until 2010 arrived, Ginobili was ferocious from March on, thanks partly to Tony Parker‘s absence. This was a prime example of a player teetering on mediocrity who took full advantage of a golden opportunity. That said, he’ll probably be drafted too early next season.

Biggest Tease of the Year:
Brandon Jennings peaked early when he notched 55 points on Nov. 14 and shot into premature fantasy stardom. While many call him “Young Money,” fantasy owners probably know him better as Demi Moore because all he did this season was tease us. His season was a cautionary tale of ups and downs, though he was owned in most leagues for the entire season.

Most Ado About Nothing:
Anthony Randolph was the bust of the season. While this isn’t all that surprising, given how high his stock rose during the preseason and Nellie‘s mad distribution of minutes early in the season, Randolph’s season was still a miscarriage of expectations. He was the girl in the room who looks promising until she turns around.

“I Told You So” Award:
Vince Carter was a predictable downer this season. While his solid years in New Jersey and the promise of seamlessly fitting in with Orlando’s offensive schemes caused many to draft him in the third round, the setup for a disappointing season was too perfect: a new team that didn’t need his contributions as much as the Nets did and served as an ideal environment for Carter to fully embrace his passive, jump-shooting self. He took steps back in his field goal percentage, threes, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Ben Gordon is a dishonorable mention here.

2009-10 All-Fantasy Team:
PG – Dwyane Wade
SG – Kevin Durant
SF – LeBron James
PF – Dirk Nowitzki
C – David Lee
Bench: Pau Gasol, Jason Kidd, Gerald Wallace, Stephen Curry, Chris Bosh, Chauncey Billups

2009-10 All-Overachieving Team:
PG – Steve Nash
SG – Manu Ginobili
SF – Carmelo Anthony
PF – Carlos Boozer
C – Andrew Bogut

2009-10 Rising Stars:
PG – Aaron Brooks
SG – Marcus Thornton
SF – Danilo Gallinari
PF – Jeff Green
C – Marc Gasol

2009-10 All-Quicksand Team:
PG – Jose Calderon
SG – Kobe Bryant
SF – Hedo Turkoglu
PF – Elton Brand
C – Rasheed Wallace

2009-10 All-Ceiling Team:
PG – Devin Harris
SG – J.R. Smith
SF – Tyrus Thomas
PF – Michael Beasley
C – Al Jefferson

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