Tag Archives: Kevin Durant

RotoExperts Draft Kit: Top 25 Small Forwards

Durant edges LeBron as the NBA's top flag football player

From the RotoExperts 2011-12 NBA Draft Kit

These rankings were written on Dec. 16 and published a day later. Derrick Williams is flying up draft boards, while Corey Maggette has been available late. Andrei Kirilenko’s future remains cloudy; rumors persist that he will sign with New Jersey but nothing is official yet. Austin Daye looked strong in the Pistons’ first exhibition game and has more upside than Tayshaun Prince. Watch that situation closely. 

Positional eligibility is important to consider when building your Fantasy basketball team. The top sites usually vary in terms of positional leniency, and the games played at a position is much foggier than in, say, Fantasy Baseball. For the purposes of the RotoExperts Top 25 positional rankings, we limited players to one list only; namely, the position they play most of the time. Under these circumstances, the small forward position is very top-heavy, with stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant heading the list. The talent drops off significantly, so it is crucial that, depending on your league’s positional rules, you check to see what shooting guards and power forwards could also slot into your SF spot.

In general, drafting based on positional depth is a solid strategy, and true small forwards and true centers are in shorter supply this season than the three other positions. It’s just something to keep in mind while you are drafting; it might be a good idea to get one of the top SFs on this list before it’s too late.

The following rankings are based on a nine-category, head-to-head league format (PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, FG%, FT%, TO), using Yahoo!’s positional eligibility. We break down players into tiers as well to help you organize them within your overall cheat sheets. These rankings take into account not just stat projections, but injury risk, competition for minutes and other intangibles.



1. Kevin Durant, OKC

Projected Stats: 28.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.0 3FG, 1.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 2.9 TO, 46.5 FG%, 89.6 FT%

He’s Fantasy Basketball’s 1A to LeBron’s 1B. Who you choose comes down to, perhaps, personal preference (do you dislike rooting for LeBron because of “The Decision”?) or, if you are a cold and calculating Fantasy player, or league format. In rotisserie scoring, Durant is the clear No. 1 overall pick because of his incredible free throw percentage at such a high volume. In H2H formats, it is more of a toss-up. Durant turns it over less than LeBron, has that better free throw percentage, and even bests him in blocks. He’s also easier to root for. There’s your tiebreaker! Continue reading

Damn Lies Fantasy Hoops Show: Preseasonish Rankings

Are you ready for some… basketball? Yeah, I said it. Basketball. On the opening night of the NFL season, Jeff and Tom hopped on the airwaves for a good ol’ fashioned fantasy basketball convo. Will there be a season? At this point, we here at Damn Lies & Statistics are ready for anything, and that means starting to formulate our player rankings. Jeff and Tom discuss things like LeBron vs. Durant, Rudy Gay’s return, Mark Jackson’s possible coaching philosophy, some sleepers with upside, and much more. Thanks for listening! Continue reading

An Exceedingly Optimistic 2011-12 Fantasy Basketball Top 100

I finally made it to the fifth stage. First, there was denial, which naturally turned to anger. Bargaining was next. Then I got a sandwich. It was tasty. From there, I hit depression. They skimped on the pickles. Finally – and here it is September by gosh – I’m all about acceptance. Acceptance that The Game, on which this web site is predicated, could conceivably shutter for a long time. I have to realize there might not be a season, which means no fantasy season, which means… I don’t want to think about it. Yep, I’m already over acceptance. I’m coming full circle. Back to denial! It’s time for my Exceedingly Optimistic 2011-12 Fantasy Basketball Top 100. It cannot be denied.

Let’s set the scene: Rankings are based on a standard 9-category rotisserie league; Special attention paid to the Top 15 (the first tier); 82-game regular season beginning on Nov. 1, 2011; David Stern and Billy Hunter spooning. Good enough? Let’s begin.

1. LeBron James, MIA – Ignore his odd performance in the Finals and expect an 82-game season for the ages.
2. Kevin Durant, OKC – If he’s to go No. 1 in any format, it is this one (to repeat, a 9-cat roto league that begins on Nov. 1, 2011, natch), thanks to his amazing free throw shooting and sub-3.0 turnovers. Continue reading

2011-12 Damn Mock I: First Round

You’re damn right Damn Lies is mocking.

We know it’s the middle of the Finals. We know both the draft and free agency are still to come. We know there may be a lockout. Yet nothing can stop our collective yen to mock draft. We want to mock the first, mock the most, and mock the people responsible for the Miller Lite “man up” commercials.

So with that, we present Round 1 of the earliest 2011-12 fantasy mock draft on the web. Jeff, Tom and Greg are taking four teams each in this 12-team league, which is a nine-category rotisserie league (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, TO) that will draft the following: 1 PG, 1 SG, 1 SF, 1 PF, 2 C, 1 F, 1 G, 2 U. We’ll be building each team ourselves based on this format. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to mock us in the Comments.


Team 1 (Greg) – Kevin Durant – It would be unfair if Durant actually reached his potential. I felt he was a little disappointing in 2010-11 and still put up sick totals (27.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 1.1 spg, 1.9 3-pt, 88% FT). A case can be made For LeBron, Rose, Paul and even Wade, but the safe money has KD in the top spot. Continue reading

Grizzlies’ elimination provides excuse for gloating

Zach Randolph has long stared off into the distance dreaming of winning Jeff a fantasy championship.

Memphis falling to Oklahoma City in Game 7 of the Western semis seems like a perfect time to give y’all an update on the experts playoffs league the three of us slackers are in. Let’s put it this way: we’re naming this sucker after me next year. I am dominating my supposed peers once again, to the tune of a near-2,000-point lead heading into the conference finals. Last year I took the crown riding Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo through the Finals. This year, I won this bad boy in the first two rounds, thanks to a wonderful run by the 8th-seeded Grizzlies, and I won’t be looking back other than to gloat. Which brings us to the only reason for this post.

You can see how the draft went here, where you can see that our esteemed commenter Bubbly can even figure out how asskickulous my team has been.

Let’s take a look at the masterfully-constructed squad:

First round (6th pick): Kevin Durant
A no-brainer selection and one I was particularly happy to make as I sensed a Spurs exit at the hands of the Thunder in the second round and then a conference finals where anything was possible. That’s essentially what we got, and Durant has been a stud nearly every night.

Second round (15th pick): Joakim Noah
I wanted a Bull or Laker here as that was my initial Finals scenario. Noah is great in this league because he blocks shots (worth six apiece). So far this pick is looking great. No complaints.

Third round (26th pick): Josh Smith
This was probably a mistake at the time but it has turned out okay. James Harden was on the board and probably should have been mine here so I could lean on the Thunder. Instead I went with another shot blocker, drooling at those six-point blocks. Turns out Smith turned in some huge games and his team took Chicago to six games in the second round. Hard to ask for more than that. Continue reading

Fox Unbalanced: Wake Me Up for the Playoffs

"At least this isn't Libya" is a phrase Knick fans can use for at least a few more weeks.

It’s good to be back on the beat. I’d like to thank my good friend and colleague Mr. Andriesse for exposing us as frauds the other day. Yes, our NCAA Tournament brackets were an absolute embarrassment, yes we had Temple, UCLA, Washington, Utah St. and Pitt going way further than they did, and yes we didn’t write last week because we were rendered in the fetal position while watching our teams lose in the most disgusting fashion, but it was still a better showing than my 2010-11 fantasy basketball team. Funny thing is, we predicted the Big East would stink and that Jimmer Fredette would go on a Birdesque run through the tourney, yet i don’t think we have a team still alive.

On to more pressing matters, it looks as if the, uh, “Two Superstar” theory for the Knicks isn’t exactly going as planned. The New Yawkahs fell to 7-10 since Little Anthony the Imperialist joined the fray, including back-to-back home meltdowns against Boston and Orlando. From a fantasy perspective, Melo recorded probably his finest game as a Knick last night, totaling 24 points, five rebounds, nine assists and two steals, and sent legions of Knicks supporters into cardiac arrest by shooting 50 percent (6-12) from the field. From a fan’s perspective I think Melo jerseys are dangerously close to being burned in effigy at a more prolific rate than Muammar Gaddafi posters in Libya. This is not going to end well. They went from a team in salary cap Siberia, to miraculously one with a nice little future ahead of them in which to build, finally to one in which most of that cap is being spent on three guys who fit poorly together. Just wait until Amar’e Stoudemire disappears next season. But fear not Melo fans, Mike D’Antoni will be the fall guy next year if this isn’t turned around.

There are a little more than three weeks left in the regular season and I’ve got to say that when one has no shot at a fantasy championship, there is just an empty feeling when opening a box score. I do hope that Jeff, Tom and I can put together the same playoffs league we got going last April. That was a good time and that includes the draft in which I called my picks in to Jeff while driving in a monsoon on the New Jersey Turnpike. So, for all of you like me, who are completely out of your races, let’s take a sneak peek at a potential first-round of a 10-team, eight-category, non-percentage roto playoff draft in which the categories are as follows: Points (1 pt); FT Made (1 pt); Rebounds (2 pts); Assists (2 pts); 3-Pointer Made (3 pts); Steals (5 pts); Blocks (6 pts); Turnovers (-3 pts). Continue reading

Damn Lies Midseason Report: Northwest Division

Just change the name of this division already, Stern, you cruel bastard. There aren't too many states Oklahoma is northwest of.

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! Continue reading

Small Forward Rankings: Jeff’s Top 30

My colleague Eric McClung over at RotoExperts.com has his Small Forward rankings up and running. McClung takes the controversial stance that LeBron James is the top SF, ahead of Kevin Durant. I disagree, respectfully. LeBron is going to go nuts this year, but the hit to his scoring average will be enough to move him below Durant and even Chris Paul overall. Durant, on the other hand, hasn’t even hit his peak yet, and he averaged 30 points per game last year. What will he do this year? 31? 32? I shudder to think. He’s my No. 1 SF and No. 1 overall player. My Top 30 (remember, this is in an 8-cat, no-turnover, H2H league, based on Yahoo!’s positions):

  1. Kevin Durant
  2. LeBron James
  3. Danny Granger
  4. Gerald Wallace
  5. Andre Iguodala
  6. Carmelo Anthony
  7. Brandon Roy
  8. Joe Johnson
  9. Stephen Jackson
  10. Rudy Gay
  11. Paul Pierce
  12. Jason Richardson
  13. Danilo Gallinari
  14. Antawn Jamison
  15. Trevor Ariza
  16. Jeff Green
  17. Lamar Odom
  18. Hedo Turkoglu
  19. Rashard Lewis
  20. Caron Butler
  21. John Salmons
  22. Michael Beasley
  23. Andrei Kirilenko
  24. Luol Deng
  25. Nicolas Batum
  26. Carl Landry
  27. J.R. Smith
  28. Vince Carter
  29. Linas Kleiza
  30. Mike Dunleavy

I’ve bumped Odom up in recent days as I think he could really shine with Andrew Bynum on a minutes limit. Landry is looking great the first month at least with Sam Dalembert out (and don’t forget about Jason Thompson either; DeMarcus Cousins is a must-own). By this time next week I might be ready to move Gallinari ahead of Pierce and Richardson. I’m going to target Dunleavy and Kleiza at the end of drafts. They are probably going to start and provide sneaky value early. I see Mike Miller pretty high on everyone’s cheat sheets. If we are all going to bump LeBron, Wade and Bosh’s scoring numbers down, how on Earth is Miller going to get his? I see 11 points a game at a maximum. He’s not on my Top 30 list at SG or SF.

What do you guys think? I’ll have my Top 30 Shooting Guard list soon.

Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder


No wonder it always rains in the Northwest.

Just this past season the Oklahoma City Thunder have turned into the darlings of the NBA. The reason, of course, is because of gold medal winner Kevin Durant and his ability to be better than every other player in the game right now. Durant, thanks in some part to the “Decision,” is easily the top fantasy basketballer this season and will likely carry the torch for many years to come. Last season his numbers were just unreal: 30.2 points, 47.6 FG%, 90.0 FT% on 10.2 attempts, 1.6 threes, 7.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.0 blocks. Meh.


Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that he turned 22 years old just two weeks ago. What’s not to love about KD? Nothing. Look it up.

Russell Westbrook has moved into the conversation among the top point guards in the game. His 16.1 points, 8.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game are the stuff that franchise fantasy point guards are made. However, he does have a little Jekyll in him. He’s a career 40.8-percent shooter from the field, made just 0.3 threes per game last season, shot under 80 percent from the line, and turned the ball over 3.3 times per game in his first two seasons in the league. Westbrook can, and should, continue to improve. But before we end the discussion and move him into the same tier as the elite point guards in the game, he has to improve on his shooting.

Jeff Green is among the quiet contributors in the league. He’s not going to blow you away with his numbers, but he’s also going to contribute across the board in one way or another — save for assists. He can score about 15 points, pull in six rebounds, hit 1.5 threes, steal 1.3 balls, and block nearly a shot per game. Again, we’re not talking about Durant or even Westbrook level here, but we are talking about numbers. And you do know what numbers are, right Bubs? Green is a nice mid-round draft pick. Not sexy enough to nod your head once you pull him off the draft board, but pretty enough to introduce to your mother.

One of my favorite sleepers this season has to be Serge Ibaka. He was impressive down the stretch last season and even held his own in the first-round playoff series against the Lakers. In just 18 minutes per game last season Ibaka blocked 1.3 shots and pulled down 5.4 boards. He’s going to have to battle for playing time with Nenad Krstic, but I imagine that they’ll find a way to get him 20-plus minutes. A nice late-round pick. Krstic, on the other hand, has some scoring, rebounding and FG% value, but he might see limited minutes this season. Another late option, at best. Tahbo Sefolosha and James Harden are going to battle it out at the two-guard position. Sefolosha is good for adding steals, but not much else. Harden is an interesting add. I can see him breaking out a little this season. He could play a bit of that Ben Gordon role in OKC. Productive, even off the bench. Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich will likely have their moments, but neither adds more than hustle stats at this point. Not with the logjam that they have at the power forward and center positions.

PG: Russell Westbrook, Eric Maynor
SG: Thabo Sefolosha, James Harden
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Jeff Green, Nick Collison
C: Nenad Krstic, Serge Ibaka, Cole Aldrich

Up Next: Miami Heat

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Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: Orlando Magic


Anyone who refuses to draft Dwight Howard needs to have their head checked!


Every player in every fantasy league has their Dwight Howard “theory.” Most in H2H leagues will draft Howard in the top 4 or 5 picks and simply punt the FT% and turnover categories. Some, however, are anti-punt and refuse to touch Howard regardless. In Roto leagues there are those who will drop Howard completely off their list of targeted players, those who will drop him down to the later rounds, and those who are bold enough to take the FT% hit and take him early in the 2nd round. Ideally, if you’re in a Roto league and you can combine Howard with top pick Kevin Durant you’re probably a lock to finish in the top 3 in your league. Howard made just 59.2% of his free throws on 10 attempts per game, while Durant made 90.0% of his free throws on 10.2 attempts. Together they combined to make 74.7% of their free throws. Not only is that manageable, but that would put you in the top 3 or 4 in your league in FT%. My point is, you should never outright banish a player from your draft board. It’s not a likely scenario that you can couple Howard and Durant, but if at all possible you can do so in complete dominance. With that being said, you also might want to draft defensively and make sure that the Durant owner in your league doesn’t get Howard. That would be a tough team to challenge.

Rashard Lewis had just an awful season last year. His 3-point shooting is the only category which he was able to give you plus-value. In each of his first three seasons with the Magic, Lewis has seen his minutes, field goal attempts, points, rebounds, assists, threes, free-throw percentage, and blocks decline. Once a top 20 fantasy player, Lewis is now among the Ray Allens of the league who are good for help in a few areas, but not reliable in most others. They should have called him Bust-ard Lewis. That is, if he wasn’t teammates with…

Vince Carter. VC wasn’t a complete and total bust, well, unless you want to talk about the first half of the 2009-10 season. If that’s the case, you can call VC a VC-cup (whatever that means). Prior to the All-Star break, Carter averaged just 16.5 points on 39.7% shooting from the floor. There was a period of time, let’s call it “January,” where Carter averaged 8.7 points on 27.4% shooting in 10 games. Yuck! Carter’s minutes too have been in a sharp decline, going from 38 to 36 minutes two years ago, only to have him average just over 30 minutes last season. He wasn’t even able to average one steal or four rebounds per game last year with the Magic. It wouldn’t even be fair to say he’s among the aging veterans like Paul Pierce and Tim Duncan who are seeing their role decrease, because both of those players are still effective. I would put Carter in the 8th or 9th round of most fantasy drafts, though that doesn’t mean I’m taking him.

Carter might have a little competition at shooting guard this year as the Magic re-upped J.J. Redick‘s contract over the summer. I look at Redick as a category filler only, though. He can give you about 10-12 points, 1.5-2 threes, and shoot 85+% from the free-throw line. Other than that, he doesn’t play any defense, rebound, or dish the ball well enough. Jameer Nelson is an interesting selection. He is a year removed from a major injury and a season in which he averaged 16.7 points, 2.0 threes, 1.2 steals, 5.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 88.7% shooting from the line and 50.4% from the field. I would take those numbers in the 6th round if I knew I was getting them. Problem is, Nelson hasn’t played in 70 games since the 2006-07 season. He’s definitely an injury concern. His back-up Chris Duhon is good for some assists, if he plays, but he’s a terrible shooter and he can really hurt you in the FG% category. Brandon Bass is an efficient big, but we’ve yet to see him get significant minutes. Ryan Anderson is a big man with a nice 3-point stroke, but he too not been able to get on the court long enough to make an impact. Mickael Pietrus doesn’t do enough besides hit 3-pointers and steal a ball or two to make enough of an impact. Besides, his shooting percentages can really hurt you. Quentin Richardson was brought in during the offseason to add another deep threat. He can hit close to two 3-pointers per game, steal a ball, and he rebounds well for his size, but he too has some holes in his game. I would look at Q-Rich as waiver add when you’re chasing specific stats.

PG: Jameer Nelson, Chris Duhon
SG: Vince Carter, J.J. Redick
SF: Quentin Richardson, Mickael Pietrus
PF: Rashard Lewis, Brandon Bass
C: Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat

Up Next: Los Angeles Clippers

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