While the whole country is gearing up for fantasy football, we here at Dime feel it’s never too early for fantasy basketball draft preparation. We’re in the process of breaking down each position into tiers, continuing in this post with the top spot belonging to the most sought-after free agent in the summer of 2013.
Most big men in fantasy share PF and F eligibility, except for dinosaurs like Dwight Howard, Brook Lopez, Tyson Chandler and Marcin Gortat, who actually play with their backs to the basket every once in a while. Obviously if LeBron James has PF eligibility he’s number one, but given how scarce a good small forward is, you’re probably going to want to start him there. Of course, if all else fails for your squad on draft day, ESPN leagues still allow you to draft both Shaq and Yao Ming.
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DWIGHT HOWARD, Houston Rockets
KEVIN LOVE, Minnesota Timberwolves
Their 2012-13 season was sub-par based on the standard these guys have set for themselves, but both Howard and Love still represent the class of their position. Choosing between them is as easy as this. They’re both going to dominate the glass, but if you want to build around field goal percentage and blocks, go with Dwight. If you want free throw percentage and treys, then Love is your guy.
AL JEFFERSON, Charlotte Bobcats
At the age of 28, Jefferson still has a few prime years left in him, and with a team of his own in Charlotte, he should be able to get back to the big time production we saw out of him before the K-Love years in Minnesota. I’m expecting anywhere from 17-20 points per game with double-digit rebounds and almost two blocks.
CARMELO ANTHONY, New York Knicks
SERGE IBAKA, Oklahoma City Thunder
These guys have a ton of value in all formats, but even more so in head-to-head leagues. Even if Melo’s stats lack the defensive credibility that most of the guys getting drafted around him have, his offensive numbers are as close to a sure thing as you can get. The same goes for Ibaka with blocks, although his ceiling is way higher in the categories he doesn’t already dominate.
MARC GASOL, Memphis Grizzlies
PAU GASOL, Los Angeles Lakers
AL HORFORD, Atlanta Hawks
JOSH SMITH, Detroit Pistons
All four of these players are as well-rounded as they come, and carry greater value than in rotisserie formats than the guys in Tier 3. Whether you need points, rebounds, assists, steals, or blocks, these player’s have it covered, but in head-to-head formats, the guys who dominates a specific category should be more cherished than someone who does a little of each.
DEMARCUS COUSINS, Sacramento Kings
BLAKE GRIFFIN, Los Angeles Clippers
LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE, Portland Trail Blazers
Cousins, Griffin, and Aldridge all posted similar numbers last season, so it’s wise to draft them in terms of upside. Aldridge is probably the safest, but once Blake and D-Boogie clean up a couple of categories that have been plaguing them to start their careers, they’ll be fantasy studs. Any season can be their best statistically, which is why I’d go with those two over Aldridge.
TIM DUNCAN, San Antonio Spurs
DIRK NOWITZKI, Dallas Mavericks
They aren’t dead yet! Duncan had one of his best statistical season of recent years despite falling just shy of a championship and Dirk came on strong at the end of last year after overcoming some prior injuries. Nowitzki now has a better team around him, meaning he should be just as efficient as ever.