With the 2013-14 regular season in the books, Basketball Insiders breaks down the numbers and hands out hardware to the cream of the fantasy crop.
Fantasy MVP: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
While an argument could be made for LeBron James as the winner of the actual NBA MVP award this season, Durant blew him out of the water in the fantasy hoops universe. It is not a stretch to say Durant put together one of the finest all-around statistical seasons in NBA history in 2013-14.
We know Durant is the greatest scorer on the planet, and he once again led the NBA in scoring average, pouring in 32 points per night. That’s the highest points per game average registered over the course of a full NBA season since Kobe Bryant averaged 35.4 ppg during the 2005-06 season. From January 5-April 6, Durant went on a historical scoring binge. He surpassed Michael Jordan’s modern day record by scoring 25 or more points in 41 consecutive games. It was the third longest single-season streak in NBA history, behind only Oscar Robertson and the immortal Wilt Chamberlain.
However, Durant was anything but one-dimensional this season. He set a career high in assists (5.5 apg) while also grabbing 7.4 rebounds a night. In fact, Durant became just the 4th player in NBA history to average at least 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. The other three are Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlin and Elgin Baylor. Durant also remained incredibly efficient. He joined Jordan as the only player since 1985 to average 32 points per game while also shooting above 50% from the floor.
Lastly, he was remarkably durable, playing in a total of 81 of 82 regular season games. All things considered, Durant was a beast in nearly every category all season long, and by far and away the best all-around fantasy performer in the game.
Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
Just as Durant is the runaway winner of the MVP, Carter-Williams is also a clear-cut winner of the ROY award.
Amazingly, he led all rookies in scoring (16.7 ppg), rebounds (6.2 ppg), assists (6.3 apg), and steals (1.9 spg). To put that in perspective, Carter-Williams is just the third player since 1950 to lead all rookies in scoring, rebounding and assist average. He also joined Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only rookies to average at least 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
All-Fantasy First Team:
Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors:
Curry gets the slight nod over Chris Paul because even though Paul put up his customary incredible numbers (averaging 19.1 points, 10.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds) he missed a chunk of the season due to a shoulder injury. Curry rewarded those fantasy GM’s that called his name on draft day by staying healthy and missing only four games the entire season. And Curry also rewarded owners with a phenomenal statistical season.
With Curry, we have to start with the three-pointers. Curry is arguably the greatest three-point shooter the league has ever seen. In fact, he’s knocked down 533 three’s since the start of the 2012-13 season, that’s the most three-point makes over two consecutive seasons in NBA history.
Curry finished the year averaging 24 points and 8.5 assists, becoming the first Warrior in franchise history to accomplish that feat. He’s just the second NBA player to average 24 ppg and 8.5 apg in the same season over the last 15 years. Curry also became the only player ever in NBA history to average over eight assists and three three-pointers per game.
Kevin Durant, OKC Thunder:
As detailed above, The Slim Reaper put together a season for the ages.
LeBron James, Miami HEAT:
While he didn’t quite match Durant’s all-around production this season, James had another incredible season. He’s been so good for so long that we take his greatness for granted; but make no mistake, James is as dominant as ever.
James shot a career high 56.7% from the floor this season, marking the seventh consecutive season that he has improved his field goal percentage. This is truly staggering when you consider he attempted four three-pointers per night this season. To keep that in context, no player attempting more than two three’s per game has ever shot above 56% from the floor. James launched FOUR three-balls a night.
And, of course, James continued to stuff the stat sheet on a regular basis, averaging 27.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 6.4 apg. He is the only player to average at least 26/6/6 since Michael Jordan in 1991-92; and, amazingly, James has averaged at least 26 ppg, 6 rpg and 6 apg in 10 straight seasons.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves:
After an injury plagued 2012-13, Love bounced back in a big way, averaging 26.1 points, 12.5 boards, and a career-high 4.4 assists (nearly doubling his previous career-high of 2.5 apg). Love also knocked down 190 three’s. In doing so, he became the first played in league history to averaged 26/12/4 as well as at least two three-pointers per game.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans:
Many of us had very high expectations for Davis coming into the season, but there is no way anybody could have predicted he would be as prolific as he was. He finished the season ranked behind only Kevin Durant as the second best fantasy player in nine-category leagues this season.
He averaged a double-double (20.8 ppg and 10 rebounds) while also leading the NBA in blocked shots (2.8 rejections a night). Still, it was the incredibly unique combination of all-around stats and remarkable offensive efficiency that really allowed Davis to separate himself from the pack.
For instance, Davis is the only player in the last two decades to block at least 2.8 shots per game while also shooting above 79% from free-throw stripe. Davis is also the first played since Josh Smith in 2007 to average better than 2.5 blocks and 1 steal per game.
Durability concerns will be an issue going forward, but there is simply no way he lasts past the 3rd overall pick in drafts next October.
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