The 2012-13 fantasy basketball season is just around the corner and it’s time to start planning for draft day. Let’s take an early look at who we like as the top ten overall picks in your 2012-13 fantasy basketball draft.
1. LeBron James
James continues to be one of the most consistent players in the NBA, and there is no other player in the league that can fill up the stat sheet quite like Lebron. For that reason Lebron is who we think has to be the first guy taken in fantasy drafts. He might not win the scoring title, but his 2 steals, 8 boards and over 6 assists are too hard to pass up on.
2. Kevin Durant
While I think James should be the first pick, you can certainly make a case for why Durant should be the first guy taken. There is a good chance he wins another scoring title, and other than assists he is right there will Lebron when it comes to the rest of the relevant fantasy stats. Having one of the first two picks in fantasy basketball is certainly a big advantage, because Durant and James are in a league of their own. Ever since coming into the league we all knew that Durant was going to be special, and I am sure the Trail Blazers are still kicking themselves for drafting Oden over Durant in the ’07 draft.
3. Kevin Love
Even though Love’s rebounds were down by 2 per game last year, he was still a top 3 fantasy player. He may have been down with his boards, but he scored 6 more points, almost another 3 per game, and his blocks and steals were up as well. While I don’t quite have Love in the same category as James and Durant, if you end up with the third pick you aren’t going to be upset with what Love has to offer. Injury update – Kevin Love is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a broken hand. Adjust your rankings accordingly.
4. Russell Westbrook
Even though Westbrook doesn’t get as many assists as you would typically want from a first round PG, he can still help your fantasy team in a number of ways. He has gotten better every year sine he came into the league, and I think he will continue to improve. He and Durant have proven that they can coexist and both offer amazing fantasy value, and I expect more of the same out of both of them this year.
5. Andrew Bynum
Bynum is with a new home in Philly, and while there is still some talent around him there isn’t nearly as much than when he was in LA. Bynum is going to be asked to do a lot on his new team, and if he stays healthy we don’t think any other center in the league has a bigger upside. He put up amazing numbers last year averaging almost 19 points, 12 boards, and 2 blocks per game, and I think those numbers can even go up this year. He played 35 minutes per game last year which is a little scary when it comes to him staying healthy, but he is only 25 years old so I am optimistic that his 7 foot frame can handle that much time out on the court.
6. Kobe Bryant
Kobe saw a dip in his scoring during the 2010-2011 season which led to a lot of people thinking he might be slowing down. However, Kobe proved all of his doubters wrong, averaging just under 28 points per game and like always he filled up the stat sheet. It will be interesting to see how he and Dwight Howard play together, but it’s still Kobe’s team. I expect more of the same from Kobe this year, so don’t even think twice about drafting him in the middle of the first round.
7. Dwyane Wade
Even though Wade’s minutes and numbers were down last year, we still have a hard time taking him out of our top ten. It’s not every day that you get over a block per game out of your shooting guard, and like always he fills up the rest of the stat sheet as well. Wade is getting up there in age, but there are no signs of him slowing down and he should have another big year.
8. Josh Smith
The thing I have always loved about Smith is his ability to give you almost 2 blocks and well over a steal a game. Obvisouly you are going to get the points and rebounds as well, but it’s rare to find a small forward that get as many blocks as he can. His points and rebounds are probably going to go down slightly with the arrival of Bynum to Atlanta, but he should still be able to put up good enough stats to make him worthy of a first round pick.
9. Chris Paul
I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t really that high on Paul coming into last year, but he proved that he is still a top ten fantasy player. He was asked to score a lot more in LA than when he was in New Orleans, and his assists were still over 9 per game. The Clippers added a couple more big name players with Jamal Crawford and Lamar Odom, so now Paul has even more weapons to dish the ball to. I am not expecting Paul to average 20 points per game this year, but I expect his assist totals to get back into double digits for the 2012-2013 season.
10. LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge has had two straight seasons of over 21 points and 8 rebounds per game, and at this point in his career I would consider him a top ten fantasy player. For a big man he isn’t going to help a ton with blocks, but he has great percentages across the board, and he averages a steal a game as well. When you look at the Portland lineup there is a ton of young talent, but Aldridge is going to be looked at as the focal point of that offense.