Games Played Week 25
2 Games: ATL, BOS, BRK, CHA, CHI, DEN, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHX, SAN, TOR, UTA, WAS
1 Game: CLE, DAL, DET, IND, POR, SAC
Teams either play one or two games next week, with plenty of silliness and DNPs sure to happen. Instead of doing a traditional Waiver Wired column, I’m going to list a player or two per team that should see some decent minutes and production this week. But now that the playoffs are essentially set, guys could be getting plenty of rest next week. The Heat and LeBron James are in an interesting situation. The Pacers won on Sunday and their magic number is now at 1. If the Pacers win their finale at Orlando on Wednesday, or if the Heat lose to either the Wizards in Washington, or the Sixers in Miami, the Pacers have the No. 1 seed. But, if the Pacers lose on Wednesday and the Heat win both of their games, they would take the No. 1 seed. LeBron and the Heat seem to acknowledge that he needs a break, but having home court throughout the East might be worth running him down. Maybe.
And stay tuned after the list, as I’ve got my year-end Fantasy Awards included as well.
ATL – Lou Williams – He’s hot, rested and should play down the stretch since he’s missed so many games this season.
BRK – Marcus Thornton – Could be bombs away for the last two games.
CHA – Al Jefferson – Doesn’t look like a guy who wants a day off right now.
CLE – Jarrett Jack - Just one game, but Jack could have a good one.
LAC – DeAndre Jordan – Super durable and doesn’t look like he needs a break.
NOP – Anthony Morrow & Austin Rivers – Brian Roberts is hurt and Rivers had 20 on Saturday, while Morrow has been playing well for some time. Luke Babbitt had 24 in that one, but you have to be a gambler to go there again.
SAN – Patty Mills – He’s the obvious answer to a very hard question.
UTA – Enes Kanter – All day long.
WAS – Bradley Beal – Looks like he wants to finish on a high note.
Keep reading for the Awards
MVP – Kevin Durant
There’s not much to say here. He’s played in 78 games (so far) and is clearly the best fantasy baller on the planet right now.
Waiver Wire Pickup of the Year – Gerald Green
Yes, Lance Stephenson was a good one and his five triple-doubles were great. But he disappeared (along with the Pacers) over the final month of the season before finally going off again on Sunday. Despite Green supposedly not being able to hang when both Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic were healthy, he did it. He helped owners down the stretch and earned himself some serious money this season. And according to Basketballmonster, he was worthy of a fourth-round pick this season. Stephenson, who has played in 77 games, checks in with eighth-round value.
All Fantasy 5
PG Stephen Curry – 76 games played so far, and monster numbers.
SG James Harden – Injuries and quiet start were overcome for late spurt.
SF Kevin Durant - MVP
PF Kevin Love – 74 games played, fell down stretch, as usual, but big year.
C Joakim Noah – Very pleasant surprise, assist master.
PG John Wall – Took that next step, could play in all 82.
SG DeMar DeRozan – Will finish with high fourth-round value, drafted late.
SF LeBron James – Great year, didn’t take many games off.
PF Dirk Nowitzki – Say hello to the No. 7 overall fantasy player.
C Al Jefferson – Slow start and injury, but easily finishes as Top 20 player.
I will catch heat for not having Anthony Davis on either list, but he was a first-round pick, played in just 67 games and let his owners (me included) down when things mattered most near the end of the season. I love Davis, love his game and when he’s on and playing well, there’s no one better. But until he proves to me that he can play in 75 games a year, it’s going to be tough to spend a first-round pick on him in anything but Roto leagues.
Fantasy Rookie of the Year – Michael Carter-Williams
It was a rough ride at times and he had some injuries, but he was the rookie to own.
Fantasy Coach of the Year – Terry Stotts
In fantasy, there’s nothing better than a coach who plays the same five guys monster minutes every single night. Stotts probably can’t even tell you who is on his bench.
NBA Coach of the Year – Gregg Popovich
Yes, Jeff Hornacek and Tom Thibodeau had great years and exceeded expectations by a mile, but Pop used shifty lineups while resting his guys all the way and still easily put up the best record in the league.
Fantasy Injury of the Year – Larry Sanders
A bar fight, a champagne bottle, some weed and an early shutdown, all after getting paid big bucks. What a disaster.
Most Annoying Healthy Player to Own – Jeff Green
If he was in your lineup, he went belly up and couldn’t throw it in the ocean. If he was on your bench, he likely had a 40-point explosion or two. He was very inconsistent and could never really get on a roll, despite the great potential.
Most Annoying Injured Player to Own – Dwyane Wade
Wade didn’t play much, couldn’t be traded for a six-pack of Natty Light, and was generally useless in most formats this season. Russell Westbrook was right there, as he was nearly unplayable and only healthy for weeks when the Thunder didn’t play many games.
Most Annoying Superstar to Own – Ricky Rubio
A guy who generally scores four points a night is just tough to own. I don’t care what else he’s doing. He averaged 9.5 ppg and was healthy, but those low scoring nights took a toll on his owners.
No. 1 On Never Draft Again List – Dwyane Wade
Yeah, I kind of went out of my way to put Wade on this list twice, because he’s so deserving. If you can find me a Wade owner who has no issues with drafting him next year, I’ll show you his mother.
Biggest Nice Surprise – Blake Griffin’s free throw shooting, DeMarcus Cousins’ development. Griffin flirted with being worth a first-round pick this season and his 71 percent free throw shooting was a big reason. He’s shooting 82 percent from the line in his five April games. Cousins has been one technical foul away from a suspension for a long time and has been able to hold it together. He’s also played in 70 games and put up monster numbers all season long.
Biggest Disappointing Surprise – Derrick Rose’s surgery
So much for the return and you have to wonder if he’s ever going to be the same player we were watching two years ago.
It was a blast bringing you hoops coverage 24/7 this year and we’ll be ready to go again, starting the day the regular season ends. See you around!