You didn’t think we’d let the season end without wrapping it up with everyone’s favorite award show, did you? That’s right: The Damnies are back. Damn Lies & Statistics had its best season ever, and we thank all of you for checking us out. What the future holds no one knows, but what we do know is that we can’t quite afford to rent out a theater, hire hundreds of seat fillers, and hold an actual awards show just yet. Dare to dream, and dream we do here at Damn Lies & Statistics. We dream of a world where fantasy basketball takes on the import of a major Hollywood production featuring ornate dance numbers and Tom Lorenzo being lowered from the rafters in a giant egg.
We’re working on it, friend. Until then, enjoy our version of the 2010-11 fantasy basketball awards, The Damnies.
Tom Lorenzo: I wanted to give Kevin Love my vote, based on the fact that he was drafted in 5th round in most leagues and finished the season in the Top 5. I really did. But, my fingers started to burn as I was typing Love’s name. Refreshingly, they started to cool down once I typed the words “Kevin” and “Durant.” The league’s top-overall player lived up to his top billing. He was, and will continue to be the top player in fantasy basketball for many years to come. Sorry LBJ! (Note: Lyndon B. Johnson was a notorious hater of Kevin Durant.)
Greg Fox: With all due respect to the Love Machine, I think there was a groundswell for the country bumpkin being drafted in the late 2nd/early 3rd round. Even with that being the case, he deserves strong consideration. But for my buck fifty, LaMarcus Aldridge is the man. Taken anywhere from No. 60-80 in most leagues, Aldridge got himself in tremendous physical shape and refined his game to become one of the best power forwards in the league. Oh, and Brandon Roy going down didn’t hurt. As Aldridge’s 21.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals attest, i think this is a pretty solid choice.
Jeff Andriesse: In early March Love was a lock for this award, but I’m also pulling the rug out from under him due to his injury during a crucial time of the year. Demerits for that. Had to be done. So who should win it? To me, the fantasy MVP is also the likely real MVP, Derrick Rose. Love just went out and did what we all knew he would do if Kurt Rambis just gave him the minutes. Rose went out and did what we weren’t sure he could do, and surpassed our wildest expectations. We asked him to hit threes, and he averaged 1.6 a game. He upped his steals to 1.1. He shot 85.8 percent from the line on an average of 6.9 attempts. He improved his assists from 6.0 to 7.7. Derrick, you earned this Damny (or is it one third of a Damny? I have no idea).
LEAST VALUABLE FANTASY PLAYER
Tom: I’m going to take injuries out of the equation here. With that, I’m giving the award to Gilbert Arenas. I wasn’t so sold on Arenas heading into this season, but if you had told me that he would play 70 games this year and check in at No. 208 overall (per Yahoo!) I would have pulled a gun on you. Arenas just barely cracked 10 points per game, which was his money category. It’s a shame, but a healthy Arenas was terrible this season.
Greg: In a point/counterpoint with Bubbly a few months back, I made my argument for Aaron Brooks taking home the prize, and he does so in Pacino-like fashion, circa the 1970s. Here was a guy who averaged 19.6 points and 2.5 threes per game in 2009-10 and was drafted among the top lead guards this season. Not only didn’t he score and not only didn’t he hand out any assists, and not only did he shoot a dreadful percentage (.346 in 34 games with Houston), but his owners had no choice but to stick with him through at least the first half of the season. I guarantee there is not a single Brooks owner out there who finished in the money and certainly not one who disagrees with me.
Jeff: There are several good candidates for this award, and Tom and Greg touch on two good ones. I’d give you 5,000 words on what the words “Least Valuable Player” really mean in 47 different contexts, but it’s all bunk. A matter of taste. For me the equation becomes something akin to Hype vs. Results, and the failure of the former to come anywhere close to the latter. With that said, my LVP is Anthony Randolph. Apologies to Troy Murphy, John Salmons and O.J. Mayo, who sucked in completely different, but nearly as valid, ways. Get ’em next time, boys.
BEST LATE-SEASON SAVIOR
Tom: Let’s talk Kyle Lowry! Over the final 30 days of the season he was the 5th-most-valuable player. Averaging 19.8 points, 8.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 2.9 threes and 1.3 steals in March, Lowry became an instant fantasy stud. This from a guy who for the first few months of the season was sitting on the waiver wires in many leagues simply because Aaron Brooks was “readying to steal his job.” Of course that never happened. Lowry was a flat-out stud in the final month of the season. Brooks, well, he was an absolute dud.
Greg: I’m with Tom on this one. Without Lowry, my season would have simply been brutal instead of merely putrid. I’ve always been a big Lowry fan, and he thanked me for my patience by staking claim to the starting point guard job over the horrific Aaron Brooks in Houston. I’ll trust Tom’s numbers in that he averaged 19.8 points, 8.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 2.9 threes and 1.3 steals in his scintillating month of March.
Jeff: It’s Lowry. Nothing more needs to be said. So Kyle, take a bow! You win the first Full Damny, an award I just made up on the fly to signify that all three of us thought you were worthy. On behalf of all your owners, thank you.
BEST 2011-12 BREAKOUT CANDIDATE
Tom: Greg Monroe is going to be a beast next season. The Pistons are ready to embrace the youth movement, and after the way the rook finished the 2010-11 season (12.5 points, 57.1 FG%, 9.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks in April) I’m going to look to lock up Monroe in as many leagues as I can next year.
Greg: I’m going with my heart a bit on this one, but I expect Toney Douglas to take things to the next level in ’11-12. Chauncey Billups will be 35 years old, Landry Fields isn’t the great fit he was prior to the Melo trade, and Douglas can play both the point and shooting guard positions effectively. He can knock down the three, pile up assists and be a hound defensively. If Billups were to go down for an extended period, something which is kind of likely, Douglas’ numbers could go through the roof.
Jeff: You could argue he broke out this past year, but JaVale McGee still has a long ways to go in the statistical department. By the end of the year he was averaging around 14 points, nine boards and two and a half blocks a game, numbers that he could stretch out to a full season for sure. McGee is starting to gain that elusive confidence that is so important for an NBA player, and he’s marrying it to his freakish body. He could lead the NBA is blocks next year and flirt with a nightly double-double.
THE DAMN LIES STAFF’S WORST DRAFT PICK
Tom: This one was easy for me. In one of my H2H leagues I backed up my Danny Granger pick with a Brandon Roy second round pick. Roy killed me in that league. For some reason I thought it would be in my best interest to pick two highly fragile players. Not smart at all.
Greg: In the Damn Lies roto league, I corralled Tyreke Evans in the third round and he beat me to a fruit juicy pulp. His field goal percentage was such an atrocity that there were times I was hoping he’d get injured so that his stats wouldn’t kill me. If he’s available in the 400th round next year I may consider him.
Jeff: Silly me took Darren Collison in the fourth round of the Damn Lies draft. I wasn’t the only one who thought Collison joining the Pacers would be a perfect fit, and boy were we all wrong. With Jim O’Brien running the show Collison was pitiful, splitting time with T.J. Ford and not contributing in any category. Luckily I was able to move Collison in a deal that landed me Dorell Wright. You get a special Damny for that one, Lorenzo.
THE DAMN LIES STAFF’S BEST DRAFT PICK
Tom: I guess it would have to be Kevin Love at the end of the 4th round in our RotoExperts league. Like I said, when you can get a Top 5 player at the end of the 4th round, that’s gold Jerry!
Greg: I snared Kevin Martin in the 8th round and he more or less carried me to the middle of the pack. I never realized what a terrific scorer he is. Martin’s got a lot of Reggie Miller in him, just a more brittle version. Though slight of build, he gets to the line like it’s his job and knocks down in the vicinity of 90 percent. Best of all, he appeared in 80 games. Nice.
Jeff: In the Yahoo! Friends and Family head-to-head league, Tom farmed out drafting duties to me at the last second, and I ended up building the foundation of a team that finished a respectable fifth despite numerous injuries. One of the reasons for this was my taking Serge Ibaka in the 11th round, a coup in this league of sharks. Ibaka averaged 2.4 blocks, 9.9 points and 7.6 boards in 27 minutes a game, giving us the late-round big man we desperately needed. Next year, Tom, I’m charging a couple of grand for my services.
MOST ANNOYING PLAYER TO OWN
Tom: Jeff and I owned Boris Diaw in the Yahoo! Friends and Family league. I hate owning Diaw. He’s the kind of fantasy player who does just enough to make him rosterable. He’s too damn lazy. My hatred for him runs almost as deep as my friend Tamer Chamma’s hatred for Derek Fisher.
Greg: I agree with Tom that Boris Diaw is a nuisance, but what about teammate Tyrus Thomas? Is there going to be a year when he averages 15.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 6.0 blocks and 5.0 steals? Sure seems that way at times. Other times, it’s as if he couldn’t get off the bench if Henry Finkel was his competition for minutes.
Jeff: While following Diaw was about as fun as having my crotch waxed every night, my vote is going to old standby John Salmons. Usually Salmons merely gets off to a horrible start and rights the ship by the All-Star Break or after a trade to a new team. Not this year. I waited and waited, giving him chance after chance in my lineup if there was an inkling he could get hot. Never happened.
MOST BRITTLE PLAYER
Tom: Ow! Ming certainly takes the cake. I guess you can add Brandon Roy and Greg Oden to the mix, but Ming is the winner because he has the highest ceiling of the three and may never step foot on the basketball court again. It’s a damn shame.
Greg: With Martin and Danny Granger staying healthy throughout, and with Greg Oden secretly working in Gettysburg, PA, performing Civil War re-enactments (a war in which Oden fought), I’d have to give this honor to Andrew Bynum. This water buffalo masquerading as a man just can’t keep his knees healthy. This is obviously a chronic condition, which is a shame since Bynum is a stud talent.
Jeff: Brandon Roy gets my Damny, damn it. It only took a few weeks into the season before Roy’s first injury struck, and when word leaked that his knee problems were chronic and nearly incurable, a collective sigh was heard throughout the NBA community. Roy should be in the prime of his career right now. Instead, he’s going to be a limited bench player at best.
THE SEASON’S MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE
Tom: Well, I’ll be damned! I avoided LaMarcus Aldridge in each of my leagues because I had him pegged as being the softest 18 and 8 in the league. Of course, he goes and puts up a top-10 season showing great improvement in scoring, rebounding, defense and efficiency. I’ll admit, he caught me off guard.
Greg: For me, the rebirth of Kevin Garnett caught me a little off guard. I still felt he was the heart and soul of the Celtics, but the last few years it looked at times as if he was headed to the glue factory. We’ll soon see if there’s enough left in the tank to get past Miami and Chicago on the road, but I would never bet against the prideful and hostile KG.
Jeff: You know how sometimes, at an awards show, a deserving recipient who has lost out on the big awards gets some tape-delayed minor honor like Best Sound Editing or Top Adult Contemporary Rap Folk Single? I feel we’ve gone too far without acknowledging the 2010-11 Wonder of it All, Dorell Wright. He finished as the No. 14 player in Yahoo! for the season. If that’s not a pleasant surprise, I don’t know what is.
BEST COACH FOR FANTASY HOOPS
Tom: This was tough one, since you really want to give it to a coach who proved to have the most consistent rotation. But for me, I have to give it to a coach who managed to give us the most number of valuable fantasy players. That coach happens to be Nate McMillan. Even once Brandon Roy returned from injury and the team added Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline, McMillan still found a way to keep anywhere from 7-8 players on his team relevant for fantasy purposes. That’s a pretty rare feat. Only Aldridge and Wallace were high-end values, but you could still count on Wes Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Andre Miller, Marcus Camby, and even Rudy Fernandez in certain formats.
Greg: I’d have to say that Mike D’Antoni is the Megan Fox of fantasy hoops. If he ends up marrying David freaking Silver I’ll quit him so fast his head will spin. But just look at what Amare Stoudemire, Ray Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Shawne Williams and Toney Douglas were doing with him at the helm. Melo can kill the Knicks all he wants and still average 30.
Jeff: I must agree with Greg on this one, if only for the eye-popping numbers Felton was putting up for D’Antoni before he was traded. Chandler was also a beast, and you best believe Melo’s going to have a fantasy year for the ages in ’11-12.
WORST COACH FOR FANTASY HOOPS
Tom: John mutha f’n Kuester! You had no idea from one game to the next who was going to play. This one was easy for me.
Greg: I agree with Tom that John Kuester is right up there as are Scott Skiles and Paul “12 rotations” Westphal. At least Skiles has a clue.
Jeff: Is Jim O’Brien eligible for this award? I have no idea. All I know is that he destroyed Roy Hibbert and Darren Collison, rolled out a 27-man rotation that changed game to game, and finally got fired. Can we get a ruling please? I don’t mean to respect the Q-ster like this, but if he is indeed Damny-eligible, make it Jim O’Brien with a bullet.
BEST WAIVER WIRE PICKUP
Tom: While I managed to actually draft him in many of my leagues, a lot of fantasy owners out there failed to buy into Serge Ibaka in the offseason. It only took a few games for them to warm up to him, but Ibaka went from going undrafted in many cases to being the 28th most valuable fantasy performer in 9-category leagues. Boom shakalaka, here comes Serge Ibaka!
Greg: I picked up Lowry on the wire, but for the sake of not being repetitive, check out the year Dorell Wright had. Better yet, I’ll show you – 16.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.4 3-pt fg, 1.5 spg, 0.8 bpg. He went undrafted in several leagues and a case could be made for him as Fantasy MVP.
Jeff: I could give out the waiver wire award to any of the great players I dropped throughout the year that other lucky bastards in my leagues were able to grab. The list goes on and on: DeMarcus Cousins, Tony Allen, DeAndre Jordan, James Harden and the killer, Marcus Thornton in the Damn Lies league just before he went bananas for Sacramento. But the award should go to someone who was generally undrafted and ended up coming out of nowhere to win many owners a championship. Dorell Wright’s the pick.
DAMN LIES COMMENTER OF THE YEAR
Tom: Is there any commenter other than the great Bubbly worth receiving this award? Not only was he a great fan of the site, but he also sent us rants to post on the site from his phone. Yes, he pulled a Stephen A. Smith on us! Hats off to the one and only Bubbly. I believe he’s working on the DL&S theme song as we speak, so there’s always that to look forward to.
Greg: There is no doubt in my mind that Bubbly edged out my mom as our biggest fan and as our funniest, wittiest and most knowledgeable commenter. I’m sure I can speak for Tom and Jeff in saying we were a little disappointed that Bubbs didn’t turn out to be golden-throated homeless man Ted Williams, but it is an honor to know him nonetheless.
Jeff: I had to do a ton of research to make sure I got this award right, because… aww who the hell am I kidding? Bubbly joins Kyle Lowry as the only other Full Damny recipient this year. Bubbs went undrafted in nearly all leagues, but no one represented the homeless fantasy perspective with more aplomb. He averaged a sparkling 2.3 complete sentences per comment and even wrote a few posts himself for the site. While we welcome all voices and opinions from our readers, we’re pretty sure nobody will be coming close to making the kind of impact Bubbly has made here at Damn Lies. It’s yours next year again, Bubbs, if you want it. I want to offer my sincere [SWEEPING CHAMBER MUSIC DROWNS OUT THE REST OF THIS SENTENCE; ROLL CREDITS]