RotoRob 2008 Basketball Awards
Kevin Garnett wasn’t exactly the top fantasy asset in 2008, but in leading the Celtics to a title, he deserves the top spot in our awards.
BY DANIEL OLSON, HERIJA GREEN AND ROTOROB
Fantasy Stud of the Year
Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics: Ask and ye shall receive. Kevin Garnett just wanted to win, and the former Kid, getting up there in age, was no longer one. The 2007 offseason saw him traded to a Boston team who had sent a massive package to Minny that was built around young stud Al Jefferson. The Celtics then continued to trade, adding TAFKA Supersonic Ray Allen (that’s The Artist Formerly Known As by the way), giving Beantown a “Big Three” in Allen, Garnett, and incumbent Paul Pierce. Garnett didn’t disappoint, leading the Celtics to an outstanding 66-16 record which is even more amazing considering their head coach is Doc “Sleepy” Rivers, who just the previous season guided them to a 24-58 record and a last place finish in the Atlantic Division. Now granted, Garnett had help with Allen and Pierce in Boston, but he was the real deal and the main reason in this writer’s humble opinion the championship was won. While from a purely fantasy perspective, there were much better performances (how about LeBron James’s season? Or the total dominance of Chris Paul? Or the amazing comeback that Dwyane Wade has made this season? Or the continued escalation into elite status of Danny Granger? Or the beast that is Dwight Howard?), KG did average 18.8 points and 9.2 rebounds last season, while doing the little things to help lead his Celtics to the 2007-08 championship. Even when the C’s made a late season pick up of E.T. (aka, Sam Cassell), Garnett wasn’t rattled and continued his stellar season. A complete player his whole career, Garnett continued his dishing out assists like candy to a trick-or-treater and denying shots like the Soup Nazi denies his beloved broth. A first championship for Garnett and the other two-thirds of the Three Amigos earns The Big Ticket the 2008 Stud of the Year Award.
Daps also must be given to King James, who had another outstanding season, as well as Kobe Bryant who helped lead the surprising Lakers to the Western Conference Title before they bowed out to the Celtics.
Fantasy Dud of the Year
Bling, including a shiny new RotoRob Golden Athletic Supporter, is something Starbury has plenty of. It is fantasy value where he is lacking.
Stephon Marbury, New York Knicks: What’s better, the Starbury $10 dollar sneaker line or Starbury’s game on the court? I’m going with the sneaker. The 2007-2008 season saw Marbury throw up stinkers every game, averaging a career low 13.9 pointes per game while only dishing out just over four assists per game. He also shot a miniscule 41.9 per cent from the field, which was actually an improvement over the season before, but will hardly help you bag a FG win in your fantasy league. Marbury helped lead to the exit of former coach Isiah Thomas (although Thomas was a turd even without Starbury), and another terrible record for the New York Knickerbockers. Fast forward to the current 2008-2009 season with new coach Mike D’antoni and his run and gun offense. D’antoni didn’t see Starbury fit in his offense (but really, what offense does he fit in? Don’t do it, Boston) and benched him for the start of the season. Because of injuries and inactive players, the Knicks only had seven players available in a November contest, but Starbury refused to suit up and play. How the hell do you have to pay a guy who makes over $20 million dollars and refuses to suit up and play for the legendary Knicks? Not only is Starbury a dud over the course of two seasons, his clothing looks ridiculous.
Okay, I’m done with you, Starbury. Apologies go to the cheeseburger eating Sean May of the Bobcats who has eaten his way out of the lineup; Ben Wallace, who somehow bagged himself a ludicrous contract and wound up on a team in which he shows how terrible he really is; and Smush Parker for continually sucking as well as having the name “Smush.”
Fantasy Rookie of the Year
As much as I’d like to give this award to Al Horford, the development of Kevin Durant this season pushes him over the top. The 6-foot-9 forward has dramatically improved his shot from beyond the arc – 28.8 per cent as a rookie, 44.8 per cent this year – which has helped to push his scoring average to 23.7 points per game. His rebounding is up, too, though his turnover numbers are still too high. It’s hard to nitpick about the 20-year-old’s game too much, and he is certainly deserving of top rookie honours in fantasy hoops.
Honourable Mention: I love Horford’s all-around game, and he has quietly almost doubled his assist and block totals from his rookie year while now shooting better than 51 per cent. His rebounding and scoring numbers have stagnated or even fallen, however, which helped make Durant the choice.
Others of Note: Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo have both made major impacts, but I just couldn’t see picking either of them over Durant (or Horford for that matter) with such a small sample size. Both have exceeded my expectations, particularly Mayo, who is averaging better than 20 points per game and still shooting a respectable 46 per cent from the field.
Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year
While RJ addressed the whole coming out of the closet rumours by posing with hotties, he was earning Comeback Player of the Year honours.
Following an injury plagued 2006-07 season, Richard Jefferson bounced back in 2007-08 to re-establish himself among the league’s better small forwards. After averaging just 16.3 points per game in ‘06-07, Jefferson tallied a career-high 22.7 PPG last season and is totaling 17.7 per contest this year. His rebounding has never returned to his pre-2006 form, but he’s hovering right around five boards per night since joining the Bucks. RJ’s overall shooting is down (42.7 per cent), though he is enjoying his best year from beyond the arc (39.8 per cent). It was a close call, but Jefferson gets the nod in a tight race over Baron Davis.
Honourable Mention: Last season, Davis stayed healthy for the first time since 2001-02 and filled up box scores to the tune of 21.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game. His numbers, particularly his shooting, have taken a dip since relocating to Hollywood, but B-Diddy is still returning good value (when healthy, which he currently isn’t).
Others of Note: Brad Miller averaged 13.4 points and 9.5 boards in ‘07-08 after managing just 9.0 and 6.4 the previous season…After playing just 13 games in 2006-07, Peja Stojakovic played in 77 games last season, tying for the NBA lead in three-pointers made per game and averaging 16.4 points.
Don’t Try This in Bed Award
Bulls rookie Derrick Rose missed out on our Fantasy Rookie of the Year honours, but he gets a Golden Athletic Supporter for opening a gash on his own arm by rolling onto a knife while in bed. Uh, yeah…what you do in your spare time is your business, Derrick. He said he was carving an apple in bed, and supposedly he simply left the knife in bed with him, rolling onto it and slashing himself to the tune of a 10-stitch cut. Here’s a tip, Mr. Rose: if you ever father a baby, don’t bring the tot to bed with you. I would also advise against bringing your pet jellyfish into your bed. For that matter, a land mine would be a poor choice for a bed companion too. And whatever you do, do not share your bed with a Brazilian Wandering Spider.
Lame-Ass Timing Award
When Carlos Boozer opens his gargantuan mouth, stupid things come out.
While we’re dispensing advice, here’s a juicy piece of it for Carlos Boozer: timing is everything, man. Boozer, sidelined for weeks with a knee injury with no clear return date in sight, proclaimed that he was going to opt out of his contract after this season and seek the best possible deal. Um, dude…everyone is already frustrated with you because you can’t stay healthy (some have suggested he’s not exactly motivated to return), and now you’re talking about heading for greener pastures and more money? Jazz owner Larry Miller took particular exception and didn’t hide his disgust, saying “It’s one of the top 10 stupidest things I’ve heard an NBA player do in 20 years.” Unfortunately, we don’t know what else made Miller’s top 10 list (perhaps we’ll do some research on that one), but we do know that Boozer isn’t exactly the Polygamist State’s favourite son these days.
Quote of the Year
When Jarvis Hayes (22) isn’t teaming up with Brook Lopez to gang rape Vince Carter, he can be found dragging midgets around. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New Jersey Nets forward Jarvis Hayes suffered a hamstring injury which knocked him out of action for a few games earlier this season. This is how he tried to explain the pain: “Sometimes you get out and try to run and it feels like a midget pulling on your coattails.” Um…okay. Now, how exactly do you know how that feels, Jarvis? Anything you want to tell us? Regardless of his sexual (or other) exploits with extremely short people, kudos to Hayes for straying from the typical bland media-speak quotes.
Stalkee of the Year
Apparently, Luke Walton’s wife beater sends the ladies into a tizzy. And by tizzy I mean murderous rampage.
Los Angeles Laker forward Luke Walton has never really managed to put much of a dent in the NBA star machine, especially considering his famous sire. Just try telling that to Stacy Elizabeth Beshear, who apparently doesn’t realize that Walton is a middling NBAer, as he is her main man, so much so that she was arrested for stalking him. In mid-September, when Beshear pulled up near Walton’s car and pretended to fire a gun at him with her hand, he had decided he had seen enough. Apparently, for about a year, Beshear had been following Walton and parking outside his house for hours. He claims she also vandalized his car with a marker after he refused to give her an autograph. The fake gun thing was the clincher for Walton, who came to the realization that Beshear was potentially dangerous. I’m not exactly sure what Walton’s problem was – don’t most athletes want to have fans? And this dude goes and get his only fan busted.
Pillsbury Doughboy Award
Fiery, irascible and unpredictable Don Nelson finally admitted that life as an NBA coach is getting to him. After witnessing his Warriors get bitch-slapped time and time again thanks to the NBA’s most porous defense (a defense that had held its opponents to under 100 points just four times in 27 tries), Nellie decided he had seen enough and handed the defensive responsibilities of the team over to two of his assistant coaches. “I’m not tough enough anymore,” said the 68-year-old. “I’m getting soft as I get older and I feel like I haven’t done a very good job defensively this year.” To anyone who has (a) take a recent gander at Nelson’s protruding waistline; or (b) watched even two minutes of Golden State basketball this season, these two statements are rather self-evident. But thanks for clarifying things for us, coach!
The Inspiring Confidence Award
The Sacramento Kings, once one of the most consistent winners in the NBA, have obviously fallen on hard times in recent years. While they showed some improvement last season thanks to a better offense, everything has fallen apart this year as the team stands on the verge of a major overhaul. The King offense sucks; the King defense sucks. In fact, veteran centre Brad Miller summed up the entire situation quite nicely with this gem: “A lot of times we really don’t even know what we are doing,” he said. Now, that’s a good way to inspire confidence in your team. When in doubt, admit complete futility.