All-NBA First Fantasy Team presented by Sirius
By Jon Loomer
View the Current Leaders and Stats
December 7, 2006: Thank you for stopping by the first ever NBA.com All-NBA First Fantasy Team article. So fresh, so clean, we have that new car smell. At the end of this season, we will dish out some hardware for the best fantasy players in several categories: Most Valuable Player, Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward, Center, Rookie of the Year, and Bounce-Back Player. Each month, we'll provide you with an update on who is leading the way for each award.
The Rating System
How are the awards determined? Simple, we apply NBA.com's very own Fantasy Sports Performance Index, which finds the best fantasy players at each position in rotisserie leagues. The FSPI considers several factors:
Balance: Your goal is to own well-rounded players. These players should not only be strong in as many categories as possible, but you do not want players with glaring weaknesses who are tough to counterbalance. It's ok if your point guard makes the league average in three pointers. You can fill that in with a three-point specialist. What is hard to correct, however, is a situation in which your point guard doesn't make any three-pointers. You have an uphill battle.
Comparison Points: The true value of your player has to be determined by comparing him to the rest of the league. To be considered "good" you need to be above the league average in a particular category. To be considered "great" you need to be far and above the best in a particular category. So all players are compared to the league average and league maximum in each category to determine their FSPI.
Totals: Once every regular season game has been played, all that will matter is a player's totals. Whether or not Baron Davis has the potential to be a top-three point guard won't matter to you at that point if he spent half of the season on the bench nursing an injury. Totals are the most accurate reflection of a player's value today. It doesn't tell you what he will do tomorrow, but this is what he has done up until this point.
Averages: You can't, however, ignore averages. Baron Davis may be an injury risk, but chances are that you would value an injured Davis over a healthy point guard who gets 20 minutes per game. If you look at only totals, the backup could be more valuable. If you only look at averages, Davis is clearly more valuable. By using averages you are taking into account potential. This player may be hurt, but when he returns to the court we expect a certain level of performance.
FSPI uses all of these considerations to give you an accurate assessment of player value. Each player is given an FSPI value for each standard rotisserie category (FG%, FT%, 3-pointers, Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, and Blocks) for both totals and per game averages. They are then given a total score for each of those stat collections that averages out all of their per-game and totals FSPI. We then give you a "Combined FSPI" that averages the scores for both totals and averages. This is the score that will determine these awards.
View the full FSPI here.
To determine our positional awards, we must have a universal agreement on what position each player is eligible. Since this is a fantasy award, it makes sense to use NBA.com's Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner's eligibility rules. As you'll see, many players are eligible at multiple positions. To gain eligibility, a player must have started at least 10 games either last year or this year at that position. For true bench players, an initial position is determined by observation, and these players will not gain new eligibility without starting 10 games at a position. These players generally don't apply to the awards at hand.
Since many players are eligible at multiple positions, this gives us some flexibility when handing out awards. Michael Redd is eligible at both SG and SF. At which position will he be eligible for an award? Given the flexibility, we move players around consistent with their eligibility to create the best possible All-NBA First Fantasy Team.
Most Valuable Player: Everyone expects LeBron James to win this award, but currently he is second in line. Instead, Rashard Lewis is the man of the hour. Typically a third or fourth round pick in fantasy leagues, Lewis has made his owners very happy thus far, putting up career highs across the board.
Top Point Guard: Gilbert Arenas picked up where he left off a year ago, and is again one of the top fantasy players in the NBA. Often overlooked, Joe Johnson has PG eligibility and is not far behind. In all likelihood, however, Arenas will take this award.
Top Shooting Guard: Ray Allen leads the way, but it will be difficult for him to lead a crowded group that includes Joe Johnson and Dwyane Wade, especially while Allen sits with an injury. Wade is the favorite to take this award.
Top Small Forward: Quite the early season battle for this award, currently led by the top fantasy player overall in Rashard Lewis. A lack of flexibility hurts LeBron James since he is the second best fantasy player in the game, but can't take home any hardware since he is also second at the only position he qualifies. Don't expect this to last.
Top Power Forward: This is currently a battle between Kevin Garnett and Shawn Marion, and will likely stay that way unless Dirk Nowitzki gives them a run. Both Marion and Garnett also qualify at Small Forward, but they will have a hard time taking that position from LeBron James.
Top Center: As great as Yao Ming is playing right now, Jermaine O'Neal is quietly on his heels as the top fantasy center. This is a tight field that also includes Carlos Boozer, Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard. Injuries will likely be a factor in determining the league's top fantasy center.
Rookie of the Year: Thanks in part to the injury to Brandon Roy, there isn't much to get excited about here in the early going. Jorge Garbajosa is currently the top rookie, but that could easily change as all first year players earn more time and learn the ropes. Rookies don't typically hit their stride until midseason, so expect this top five to change often.
Bounce-Back Player: This award is determined by comparing players' FSPI last season to their FSPI this season. Therefore, the winner won't necessarily be the player with the highest FSPI, but the player with the highest year-to-year difference. Currently, that player is Andris Biedrins, but this will be a tight battle between a deep list of candidates. As good as Zach Randolph has been in an emergence this season, he isn't currently close to the top. He was simply too good last year.
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