Pure Fantasy: NBA Review/Preview

The NBA season is in the books, and next season’s rookie class has been determined. Of course, when next season actually begins is still unclear. For now, though, Express-News writer David Kendrick looks at the top fantasy players for 2010-11 and takes a quick peek at the notable players just drafted:

MVP: Derrick Rose, Bulls

It was all about the 3-pointers for fantasy owners. After making 16 3-pointers in each of his first two NBA seasons, Rose hit 128 last season — a 700 percent increase. That his field-goal shooting was a career-low 44.5 percent mattered little, especially when you consider he improved in the following categories: points, blocked shots, steals, assists, rebounds, free-throw percentage and 3-point shooting. Where Rose really won this award for fantasy owners was when you consider that he was selected in the fifth round of many leagues and performed like a top-five player.

Rookie: Blake Griffin, Clippers

The average fan will remember Griffin’s rookie season for the outrageous dunks, including his memorable rise over a car during All-Star weekend. The fantasy fan will remember the 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game to go along with 50.6 percent shooting from the field. After he missed his first season with a knee injury, Griffin put Greg Oden concerns to rest by playing the full 82 games in 2010-11.

Defensive player: Dwight Howard, Magic

Orlando’s All-Star center has become an annual shoo-in for this fantasy award. Howard averaged 2.4 blocks, second only to Andrew Bogut’s 2.6, and 1.4 steals per game while pulling down 14.1 rebounds. Howard was the only player to average more than two blocks and one steal per game last season.

Breakout player: Dorell Wright, Warriors

All that needs to be said about Wright is that he wasn’t drafted in many leagues and ended the season in the discussion for fantasy MVP honors. He finished the season as the league’s leader in 3-pointers made with 194. He started in all 82 games for the Warriors, averaging 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Prior to joining the Warriors, he had averaged no more than 7.9 points per game in any of his first six seasons with the Heat.

Bust: Tyreke Evans, Kings

Drafted in the first round of many leagues after shining as a rookie, injuries and ineffectiveness doomed him last season. Plantar fasciitis and ankle problems limited him to 57 games, and he struggled when he did play. Evans shot only 40.9 percent from the field, and his scoring average dropped from 20.1 points per game to 17.8.

Rookie report

Here’s a look at the players selected last week who could make an impact for fantasy owners:

Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers: Neither Baron Davis nor Ramon Sessions will stand in the way of the top pick receiving plenty of playing time at point guard. Irving should help with assists while shooting a decent percentage.

Derrick Williams, Timberwolves: An explosive athlete, the forward can also shoot the ball. He’s worth considering ahead of Irving in fantasy drafts this season.

Brandon Knight, Pistons: Should bump Rodney Stuckey from point to shooting guard if he returns. Like Irving, Knight will have his struggles as a rookie, but both should see plenty of playing time.

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