Durant was fantasy's best in '09-10

April, 15, 2010

The 2009-10 NBA regular season came to an end on Wednesday night with a slate of games full of meaningful fantasy players receiving DNP-CDs. At this point, we should be used to this sort of thing, as many teams have little to play for on the final night of the season and many others are doing their best to artfully lose for better playoff positioning.

For those of us who are happily obsessed with the numbers game within the game, it's a disappointing way to end things. Sure, it's nice to see Kevin Durant put up 31 points in 38 minutes in a game that did nothing more than get his Thunder to the 50-win threshold and guarantee him of a 30-point-per-game average on the season. On the other hand, it's a real bummer to watch LeBron James languish on the bench while his Cleveland Cavaliers get blown out by the Atlanta Hawks.

This, more than anything, is why Durant was the best fantasy player in the NBA this season; he played in 82 games and scored in double figures in all of them, while LeBron missed six games and played slightly fewer minutes on average than Durant did as well. It's an important reminder that fantasy basketball is not real basketball. Clearly, no player helps a real team win more than LeBron, but this season, no player helped your fantasy team more than Durant.

Looking Back

DeJuan Blair, Spurs: 27 points (12-21 FG), 23 rebounds, 3 steals against the Mavericks.
Kevin Durant, Thunder: 31 points (12-18 FG), 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks versus the Grizzlies.
David West, Hornets: 35 points (16-20 FG), 10 rebounds, 6 assists against the Rockets.
Ryan Gomes, Timberwolves: 2 points, 4 rebounds in 32 minutes versus the Pistons.
Antawn Jamison, Cavaliers: 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist against the Hawks.
Terrence Williams, Nets: 2 points (0-4 FG), 4 rebounds versus the Heat.
Hawks rookie point guard Jeff Teague finished the season nicely, filling in for Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby and putting up 24 points and 15 assists while playing all 48 minutes. Considering Johnson may wind up elsewhere next season, Teague could be a sneaky sleeper in next season's draft. … Luke Ridnour had 17 points and eight assists in just 26 minutes for the Milwaukee Bucks in their second straight win over the Boston Celtics, wrapping up what has to be seen as a shockingly effective regular season. His numbers on the season don't look that impressive until you realize that he posted an extremely strong PER of 17.51 and is a free agent this offseason. Keep an eye on where he ends up; if he's a starter, he might be an excellent fantasy option. … Trevor Ariza put up a triple-double for the Houston Rockets, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. I'm most impressed by the fact that he seems to have figured out where his shots need to come in the offense since the trading deadline and shot better than 46 percent in April. I think he'll be a better fantasy player next season than he was this one, even if his scoring average suffers. … I'd like to see him rebound a little bit more, but you can't deny Roy Hibbert's success the past few weeks, considering he averaged around 17 points in 26 minutes in his final five games. He's a good shot-blocker, and has solidified himself as a good fantasy center for next season at this point. … Bill Walker had another great game for the New York Knicks, finishing with 28 points (including six 3-pointers) and seven rebounds in 35 minutes against the Toronto Raptors. It will be interesting to see if the Knicks can keep him next season given their cap situation. … Derrick Rose continued his stellar end of the season by putting up 27 points and five assists to help the Chicago Bulls clinch the final playoff spot in the East. That's all well and good, but I still see him as overrated as far as fantasy goes. He needs to start making 3s or getting steals or he'll remain a middling fantasy player who always gets drafted way too early. … Stephen Curry, of course, finished out the season in particularly strong fashion, going for 42 points, nine rebounds and eight assists (with great percentages) in a win against the Portland Trail Blazers. All things considered, it's getting hard to see him as anything but a first-round pick in all fantasy leagues next season.

Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.



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