2019-20 fantasy basketball awards: Is Harden the unanimous MVP?

As usual, James Harden had a monster fantasy basketball campaign, but was he the unanimous MVP? Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Talk about getting the proverbial rug pulled out from under you -- just as we were about to hit the championship stretch run in fantasy basketball, forces well beyond our control put an end to the season.

Still, champions have been dubbed on this shortened campaign and we still have season-ending awards to dole out.

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 roster, the player they'll never draft again and their top breakout baller for next season.

Fantasy MVP

John Cregan: James Harden
Joe Kaiser: James Harden
Eric Karabell: James Harden
Jim McCormick: James Harden
André Snellings: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Biggest bust

John Cregan: Julius Randle
Joe Kaiser: Kyrie Irving
Eric Karabell: Stephen Curry (injuries count!)
Jim McCormick: Thomas Bryant
André Snellings: Stephen Curry

Biggest surprise

John Cregan: Chris Paul
Joe Kaiser: Hassan Whiteside
Eric Karabell: Brandon Ingram
Jim McCormick: Norman Powell
André Snellings: Hassan Whiteside

Waiver-wire pickup of the season

John Cregan: Norman Powell
Joe Kaiser: Spencer Dinwiddie
Eric Karabell: Devonte' Graham
Jim McCormick: Devonte' Graham
André Snellings: Devonte' Graham

Rookie of the year

John Cregan: Ja Morant
Joe Kaiser: Ja Morant
Eric Karabell: Ja Morant
Jim McCormick: Ja Morant
André Snellings: Ja Morant

Most improved player

John Cregan: Richaun Holmes
Joe Kaiser: Bam Adebayo
Eric Karabell: Devonte' Graham
Jim McCormick: Bam Adebayo
André Snellings: Hassan Whiteside

Most fun player to roster

Cregan: As a Wizards supporter, I treasured Davis Bertans' high-efficiency presence within my imaginary locker room. Bertrans was the embodiment of this season's fantasy-friendly Wizards: a squad that abandoned all pretenses of defense, turned up the pace, and flattened positional roles in the name of almighty volume. While his early-season momentum was blunted by injury, Bertans' monster 3-point average (3.7 3PG) and true shooting percentage (62.8 TS%) made him one of the season's more enjoyable fantasy stories.

Kaiser: It's a pleasure to watch Antetokounmpo play basketball. The high basketball IQ. The incredible length. The smooth athleticism. Giannis checks all the boxes for fantasy purposes too, even setting new career highs this season in scoring (29.6 PPG), rebounding (13.7 RPG) and 3-pointers made per game (1.5). Add in his defensive prowess and the way he shares the basketball (5.8 APG), he can truly do it all. Even though Giannis is only 25, he now has seven seasons in the league and continues to improve all facets of his game. With at least five more seasons in his prime, Giannis is sure to be the centerpiece to many fantasy championship teams over the next half-decade.

Karabell: Adebayo figured to break out in scoring and rebounding with Whiteside out of the way to Portland, and he sure did, but the 5.1 assists per game were an unexpected surprise that really aided in roto roster construction. Only four players averaged 10 rebounds and five assists per game! Adebayo and Domantas Sabonis were the surprises there, and neither went in the first five rounds of most drafts. What bargains!

McCormick: Adebayo was simply a statistical marvel with Miami this season; he became just the ninth NBA player to deliver at least 10.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.2 steals and 5.0 dimes per game, joining the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, and Antetokounmpo in this unique statistical tier. Fully empowered to flash his deft passing prowess from the high post, a la prime Al Horford, and comparably enabled to patrol the defensive lanes, Adebayo delivered an elite season and made for a riveting investment this season in fantasy hoops, thanks to his regular flirtation with triple-doubles and rare defensive box scores.

Snellings: Luka Doncic was the most fun to roster, because he came in with high expectations and still way outperformed. He has a fun, fan-friendly game that made tuning in to check on your franchise player fun. And because he is one of the faces of the next generation, he was a regular on SportsCenter and The Jump highlights, so you could always see him, even if you didn't have time to watch full games.

I'll never draft _____ again

Cregan: Tobias Harris. Looking at the arc of his career, I'm starting to think his bellwether 2018-19 campaign will prove the exception rather than the rule. Harris brings value to the table as a scorer ... but the secondary stats haven't really arrived to flesh out his statistical portfolio. Since his defensive stats are nonexistent, Harris' value lives and dies with his shooting efficiency and rebounding. This season's 30-point dive in TS%, coupled with mediocre rebounding (6.8 RPG), made his 2019-20 a fantasy disappointment. Harris' still-high scoring output is going to lead to being perennially overdrafted in seasons to come.

Kaiser: For me that player is undoubtedly Kyrie Irving. His lack of durability is just way too risky, especially when you consider that it requires a second-round pick to draft him in most every league. Even if he falls to the third round, a spot where it would be extremely tempting to take the Nets' star point guard, it's an enormous gamble when you consider that Irving has reached 70 games played in only three of his nine NBA seasons. We can't forget that he managed just 20 games in his first season in Brooklyn due to the nagging shoulder injury. Though Irving is still just 28 years old and doesn't turn 29 until March 2021, it's difficult to imagine him becoming more durable entering his 10th NBA season.

Karabell: Detroit forward Blake Griffin has been on my avoid list for years, mainly due to durability issues costing him so many games, but his skills are also in decline. Yes, perhaps Griffin deserves a pass for an injury-consumed 2019-20 season, and he averaged monster numbers during the 2018-19 season, but it is hard to trust that any team will allow him the same usage again, and the more 3-pointers he attempts, the lower the field goal percentage will go.

McCormick: Even as his free throw production has risen to respectable levels, the days of DeAndre Jordan being able to outweigh his modest offensive production seem in the past; he averaged only 1.2 combined blocks and steals this season and served mostly as rotation traffic for the more gifted Jarrett Allen in Brooklyn. As part of the package that brought Kyrie and Kevin Durant to town, it makes sense that Brooklyn made room for Jordan, but that doesn't mean you need to make room for him on your fantasy rosters going forward.

Snellings: I'll never draft Kyrie again. His injury history is so pronounced at this point that I had him as a huge sell-high candidate early in the season and it would still have been difficult to trade him before his injury struck. He is an electric, talented player, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he'll look like next to KD, but his potential will get him drafted before I would even consider him due to those injury concerns.

Top breakout player for 2020-21

Cregan: It's going to depend on what happens with his free agency ... but Christian Wood could catch on complete fire, depending on his eventual destination. I've read the "OK player/bad team" criticism. My reply? Who cares! Stats are stats. Wood backs up his volume with amazing efficiency (65.9 TS%). And Wood only got more efficient as his role grew. If Wood lands in a situation that prioritizes developing young talent and sticks above 30 MPG, he could be a top-30 player for the duration.

Kaiser: Jayson Tatum broke out this season as a third-year pro, establishing new career highs nearly across the board, as he became the Celtics' centerpiece. The No. 3 overall pick in 2017 averaged 23.6 PPG on 44.8% shooting while connecting on 2.8 3PG and adding 7.1 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.4 SPG and 0.9 BPG. At 22, he is blossoming into one of the game's best young forwards, and after taking his game to a new level in 2019-20, he has even more to offer heading into next season. Consider him a late second-rounder in 2020-21 fantasy drafts.

Karabell: Detroit's Wood ended up with rather ordinary numbers, but context is key. When the Pistons let him start, he averaged 21.9 PPG, 9.4 RPG and he made 56% of his field goal attempts. Wood was really enjoying March until the games stopped, as he averaged 26.6 PPG that month and continued to contribute in 3-pointers, steals and blocks. It hardly means Wood warrants a top-50 overall draft spot, but if promised playing time, we know he can produce, so keep him in mind.

McCormick: Jonathan Isaac was well on his way to a breakout effort with Orlando this season before an injury cut his campaign short. Consider that in addition to Isaac this past season, only Anthony Davis, Josh Smith and Andrei Kirilenko have ever averaged at least 2.4 blocks and 1.6 steals while also sustaining at least 12 PPG and 6.9 RPG during the past 20 NBA campaigns. You have to go back to the days of Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson to find consistent occurrence of such defensive dynamism. It seems the Orlando frontcourt could use a reshuffle -- maybe with Aaron Gordon in mind -- but it's quite clear Isaac is on the verge of another leap as both a defensive force and as a versatile offensive weapon.

Snellings: There's this guy named Zion Williamson who managed only 418 fantasy points for the entire season -- and I have a feeling he will be really good next year. No? OK, how about Isaac? He was a high lottery draft pick in 2017 and looked to be making strong strides this season before injury shut him down. Next season, at age 23, he should be poised to come into his own.