2016-17 fantasy basketball awards

Russell Westbrook messed around and averaged a triple-double this season, but is he fantasy's MVP? AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

The 2016-17 fantasy basketball campaign was one for the ages. Russell Westbrook did the unthinkable by joining Oscar Robertson in the two-man triple-double club, James Harden went berserk in coach Mike D'Antoni's fantasy-friendly system and Giannis Antetokounmpo lived up to his Greek Freak nickname.

But who reigns supreme as the fantasy MVP? How about this season's biggest bust, biggest surprise and top rookie?

Our experts cast their votes and break down the most fun fantasy player to own, plus the player they'll never draft again and their worst draft pick.

Fantasy MVP

Joe Kaiser: Russell Westbrook
Jim McCormick: Russell Westbrook
John Cregan: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Kyle Soppe: James Harden

Biggest bust

Joe Kaiser: Andre Drummond
Jim McCormick: Derrick Favors or Pau Gasol
John Cregan: Andre Drummond
Kyle Soppe: Andre Drummond

Biggest surprise

Joe Kaiser: Joel Embiid
Jim McCormick: Otto Porter Jr.
John Cregan: Otto Porter Jr.
Kyle Soppe: Nikola Jokic

Waiver-wire pickup of the season

Joe Kaiser: James Johnson
Jim McCormick: Robert Covington
John Cregan: James Johnson
Kyle Soppe: Seth Curry

Rookie of the Year

Joe Kaiser: Dario Saric
Jim McCormick: Joel Embiid
John Cregan: Dario Saric
Kyle Soppe: Joel Embiid

Most Improved Player

Joe Kaiser: Isaiah Thomas
Jim McCormick: Rudy Gobert
John Cregan: Elfrid Payton
Kyle Soppe: Jusuf Nurkic

Most fun player to own

Joe Kaiser: Russell Westbrook. The NBA's fiercest competitor also happens to be one of its toughest, most durable and athletic players. Having Westbrook this season meant knowing you had better than a 50 percent chance he'd come through with a triple-double, and you never had to worry about him breaking down or missing time because of an injury. Add in Westbrook's newfound 3-point stroke, and we're talking about one of the most fun fantasy players of all time.

Jim McCormick: Giannis Antetokounmpo was simply riveting this season; he became the 15th player to average at least 1.6 steals and 1.9 blocks for the season. Add in his 5.4 assists, and no other player on record has averaged such rich defensive numbers while sustaining as many dimes per game. It was a fun season with The Greek Freak, like prime Shawn Marion plus assists.

John Cregan: In any normal season? Antetokounmpo. But this wasn't a normal season. So it has to be Joel Embiid. Embiid was nothing less than a fantasy supernova. Statistically, The Process packed in several seasons' worth of advanced analytical thrills (24.11 PER, 33.6 USG) in just 31 games. In between the enforced DNPs and dinged meniscus, when Embiid was on the court, he was a top-20 player. His Player Rater average ranking: 19. And in terms of sheer, unadulterated fun factor -- Twitter, Cyberstalking Rihanna, the "Trust the Process" in-game chants -- who was more enjoyable to have on the roster?

Kyle Soppe: Kyrie Irving. He's more consistent than people want to admit, averaging 29 to 33 points-plus-assists in every single month this season, and talent just oozes off him when you watch him perform. And yes, I said "perform." This man is so silky smooth and so creative that he stands out, even in this golden age of point guards. Part of the pleasure in watching this 25-year-old dance -- we get to see it for another decade!

I'll never draft ___ again

Joe Kaiser: Kent Bazemore. I expected Bazemore to build upon his breakout 2015-16 season, and boy, was that a big mistake. He spent the entire season trying to find his jump shot, and never did enough of anything else to make up for it. I was hoping for a Trevor Ariza and got the guy who waved a towel at the end of the Warriors' bench for two seasons.

Jim McCormick: I doubt I'll land Andre Drummond again. I had him in a points league this season, and he was effective, but I'll probably never invest in him in any form of categories format going forward. With just one block per game and such horrid free throw efficiency, the elite rebounding doesn't cover these negatives. He's ranked 101st by averages on the Player Rater.

John Cregan: It pains me to type this, but it's time to say goodbye to Paul Millsap. After several seasons of being one of fantasy's most underrated players, Millsap finally logged a down campaign, despite averaging a career-high 18.1 points per game. (Yes, there's a lesson in that). The quality that made Millsap so underrated, his ruthless efficiency, finally failed him.

The Hawks have been one of the NBA's more fantasy-friendly teams of recent memory, but swapping out Al Horford for Dwight Howard kneecapped Millsap's offensive space. Millsap also got bitten hard by the injury bug in his age-32 season, playing in only 69 games. The result: a 48th ranking on the Player Rater versus a 21.2 ADP. And this was in a contract year. Combine the downward trend, his age (32), and his possible opting out, and you're looking at a solid fifth-rounder in 2017-18.

Kyle Soppe: Carmelo Anthony has been my pick for this question for a handful of years, so I'll pivot and go with Brook Lopez. You're 7-friggen feet tall and have never had exceptional range, yet your 3-point attempts total flirted with your rebound total this season. What?! In the past, I could talk myself into the seven-ish rebounds to go along with the 20 points, but the farther he gets from the basket, the more I despise his game, in both reality and fantasy.

My worst draft pick

Joe Kaiser: Ben Simmons. Simmons was originally expected to miss around three months while recovering from a fractured foot, but I should have known the team would probably shut him down because it wouldn't be able to stay in the playoff picture with Simmons out. Even if Simmons had played, I was probably too invested in him from the start, and my team suffered because of it.

Jim McCormick: Evan Fournier is a good candidate for this distinction. It comes down to me overvaluing his statistical upside. Fournier essentially replicated his solid 2015-16 numbers this season with a few more points on weaker shooting percentages. I think the lesson here is to be wary of paying for player improvements based on supposed shifts in usage and roles versus, say, actual skill improvements. I priced in a role-driven breakout for Fournier that had essentially already occurred last season.

John Cregan: He has finished strongly, but I reached for Hassan Whiteside in several drafts. I thought Whiteside's post-max, No. 1-offensive-option status, combined with an ungodly blocks rate and plus-60 percent field goal percentage was going to push Whiteside into the top 10. He did log career highs in points (16.9) and rebounds (14.1). But the increased usage didn't cancel out a shocking drop in efficiency.

The increase in Whiteside's touches led to a regression in PER, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. But the most damaging development was Whiteside's regression in blocks. Players tend to block fewer shots as they age. But in a season when Whiteside played almost 33 minutes a night, almost four MPG more than last season, his blocks dropped by nearly 50 percent, from 3.7 to 2.1 per game. I really wonder if Whiteside could be more effective playing less.

Strong finish. Still a No. 1 center. But I reached here.

Kyle Soppe: Pau Gasol. He didn't have a bad year, but given my expectations, I could have done much better. I was hopeful that his versatile skill set would thrive in San Antonio, but that didn't exactly happen. This was Gasol's worst season in the past decade in points, assists and rebounds, but that's not what hurt the most. The worst part of the Gasol experience was knowing after two games that my 70 percent exposure to the veteran was a bad, bad choice.