We now move our midseason reports into the Western Conference, specifically the Northwest Division, home to some of the top fantasy talent in the game. Durant. Love. Carmelo. Williams. Aldridge. Milicic. These names ring out on every corner of the fantasy world, and while this strangely-named division may be a bit geographically “all over the map” as they say, it will be fun to grade.
It’s the Northwest Division Midseason Report. Pencils down!
Average Draft Position and Rankings are based on Yahoo! standard leagues (the ranking is for season total).
Carmelo Anthony (ADP: 15; Rank: 71)
You might have heard that Carmelo wants to play elsewhere. He’s done with Denver but still going through the motions on the court. You know how they say someone could do something “in his sleep”? Well, we now know what’s that like, as Anthony is rolling out of bed and putting up 23 points, eight boards and three assists without breaking a sweat. The problem is, after his monster 2009-10 season we drafted him for a lot more.
Chauncey Billups (ADP: 24; Rank: 42)
After a sluggish start, Billups is back to putting up great fantasy numbers like we know he can. I would have bought low in November and would probably sell high now, as he could get traded when the Nuggets realize they have no leverage at all with Anthony. The best situation for Billups is for Anthony to get dealt for youth and for Billups to stay here and flirt with 20 points a game.
Nene Hilario (ADP: 37; Rank: 39)
Here’s one player who simultaneously feels like a bust and a stud. He’s probably more of the latter, especially with that 64.6 field goal percentage, but his blocks (0.8) are a bit disappointing and he is averaging less rebounds than Anthony. With Denver’s frontcourt decimated by injury, I expected a little more from Nene peripherally, but it is hard to complain too much about his production.
Arron Afflalo (ADP: N/A; Rank: 36)
Afflalo has a terrific ranking because his percentages are so nice and he does just enough of everything to help fantasy teams. He also only turns it over 1.1 times a game. Since he was drafted very late if at all, everything he’s done is tasty gravy.
Al Harrington (ADP: 96; Rank: 117)
An atrocious player in real life but merely horrible in fantasy, Harrington has, per usual, hurt his owners more than helped them. It’s hard to drop him knowing that if/when Anthony gets dealt he could be hoisted into the turret. And fire away he will.
Ty Lawson (ADP: 136; Rank: 134)
He does his job, this kid. Efficient in 24 minutes a game off the bench and close to great when Billups doesn’t play. Please, Nuggets, trade Chauncey. Give Lawson the reins.
J.R. Smith (ADP: 106; Rank: 112)
Nobody who drafted or picked up Smith can look me in the eye and say they didn’t know he’d be a major headache. I can’t kill Smith for being predictably erratic. He’s fooled us before. Shame on you.
Kenyon Martin (ADP: N/A; Rank: 298); Chris Andersen (ADP: N/A; Rank: 292)
Grades: Incomplete; Tattoos: A
Kevin Love (ADP: 42; Rank: 2)
Not too many players come along who can average a 21.6-15.7-2.6 with 1.4 threes. Sweet fancy Moses. But, alas, Love doesn’t block shots. What a letdown.
Michael Beasley (ADP: 105; Rank: 81)
He’s only 81st, eh? His only outstanding category is points (20.8 PPG), but he’s averaging just under one three, block and steal and shooting a respectable 47.3 percent from the field. That Love even lets him grab 5.7 boards a game is a minor miracle. In my book, Beasley has had a terrific fantasy season for whoever invested in him in the middle rounds.
Darko Milicic (ADP: N/A; Rank: 125)
Darko’s been frustrating. At times he looks like he’s ready to make the leap consistently. But his numbers aren’t much better than last year at the end of the day. His 2.3 blocks are huge, however, and not to be underestimated.
Luke Ridnour (ADP: 138; Rank: 62)
Wasn’t Ridnour just supposed to be keeping the position warm for Jonny Flynn? There’s no way Ridnour is only averaging 11.8 points and 5.8 assists, but apparently that’s true. Still, he’s lapped expectations many times over.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Kevin Durant (ADP: 1; Rank: 4)
Durant probably went up a half grade or more based on his 47-point, 18-rebound, 13-14 FT, 4-three, 2-steal, 2-block masterpiece on Wednesday vs. Minnesota. It nearly single-handedly saved what was sort of a step back of a season. He should be ridiculous in the second half.
Russell Westbrook (ADP: 36; Rank: 12)
We all knew Westbrook would take off this year. But he has arrived on the scene so forcefully that I’m pretty sure he’s been better than Durant on a majority of nights. His 22.4-5.0-8.4 with 2.0 steals and 85.8 percent free throws equals a damn good grade.
Jeff Green (ADP: 66; Rank: 104)
Green has regressed in nearly every category and missed six games due to injury. With the two guys above him playing so dominantly, it looks like the numbers he’s putting up right now are about the norm for him.
Serge Ibaka (ADP: N/A; Rank: 40)
It’s easy to forget just how good Ibaka has been for fantasy owners this season since he is a little too streaky to rely on every night. He still comes off the bench and his minutes remain in the 20s. None of this changes the fact that he’s a double-double threat who averages two blocks a game who was probably a waiver wire pickup in most leagues.
James Harden (ADP: N/A; Rank: 80)
Harden still only plays 25 minutes a night, and with the teammates he has the opportunities are capped. That said he’s taken a clear step forward this year, and an injury to Green or Thabo Sefolosha makes him a must-add.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
LaMarcus Aldridge (ADP: 53; Rank: 23)
Aldridge is doing yeoman’s work this year, and I say that confidently despite never having met a yeoman. Even with the top players on his team crumbling around him, and despite having to go up against a slew of terrific big men in the Western Conference every night, he is having a career year and somehow has the Blazers in the playoffs right now and four games over .500. If he isn’t an All-Star, it’s a minor crime. From a fantasy standpoint, he’s improved everywhere we’ve asked him to and then some.
Brandon Roy (ADP: 25; Rank: 182)
Roy’s knees are a sad reminder that these guys are more than just circus freaks who perform for our amusement. It’s almost too depressing to write about.
Andre Miller (ADP: 96; Rank: 53)
Miller has rebounded from a rather tepid ’09-10 season to increase his assists from 5.4 to 7.1 and his steals from 1.1 to 1.7. Those are two huge categories that he needed to improve on since he doesn’t hit threes. Considering where he was drafted, Miller has been a great value.
Wesley Matthews (ADP: 132; Rank: 48)
What a find. Matthews has averaged 18.4 points, 2.2 threes and 1.5 steals as a starter, obviously benefiting from Roy’s misery but taking advantage of it.
Nicolas Batum (ADP: 109; Rank: 61)
Batum has been a little disappointing in the steals and blocks category because he’s under 1.0 a game in both and for some reason we love the threshold of 1.0. It just looks better on paper. The real problem with Batum is he has been wildly inconsistent and was even benched for a large part of December. He’s out-performed his draft slot overall but on a week-to-week basis he has yet to prove he is someone to be trusted.
Marcus Camby (ADP: 49; Rank: 67)
Camby’s been Camby, but with especially gross percentages and now a new injury that will keep him out a few more weeks. You drafted him for boards and blocks and not much else, and he’s delivered.
Deron Williams (ADP: 10; Rank: 6)
He’s having the monster season statistically that is almost matching how good he is in reality. More points, threes, steals and about an assist less per game. This is what we’ve been waiting for.
Paul Millsap (ADP: 67; Rank: 26)
The Mehmet Okur injury helped him but the truth is he didn’t really need it. He was ready to break out and has in a big way. Millsap has tailed off slightly in recent weeks and is nursing a thumb injury that might limit him in the short term. None of this detracts from his outstanding fantasy first half.
Al Jefferson (ADP: 27; Rank: 22)
It took Jefferson a little while to get acclimated, but lately he’s been very good. We love his 1.9 blocks per game and much-improved 77.0 free throw percentage. He’s giving you everything you’d want in a No. 1 center even if his scoring and rebounding is understandably down from years past.
Andrei Kirilenko (ADP: 81; Rank: 52)
An ugly 43.9 field goal percentage is a blemish on an otherwise fine season in which he is relatively healthy, averaging over a steal and a block and contributing in most other categories as well. Solid.
Enjoying the Damn Lies Midseason Reports? Purchase the entire set in a classy gift box for your loved one on Valentine’s Day! You’ll surely get a striking grade!