By Justin Lyons
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April 2, 2007: Welcome back, my friends. We've been tracking the top fantasy performers all season long to see who will make up the first ever All-NBA First Fantasy Team. Well, here we are in early April - a few weeks away from this party coming to a close. Let's take a deeper look at how the rankings shaped up through March.
Most Valuable Player
Let's welcome back Gilbert Arenas to the Big Show. Sure, Agent Zero was in the mix last month, but it was Shawn Marion who took the top spot in the MVP race through February. Marion, of course, didn't have a bad month; he just didn't have the month we have come to expect. His points, assists, boards and three-point percentage were all down from his February numbers. Meanwhile, Arenas improved his numbers almost across the board. With only a 0.09 point differential at the time of last month's briefing, there was not much room for Marion to budge. Kobe Bryant made his way to second in this here MVP race. I think he knows what he's doing with the basketball, as evident of his March averages of 40.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists on 45.9 percent shooting from the field. Yup, that will help in this contest. KB24's March performance pushed Marion to third place. D-Wade's shoulder injury likely contributed to his removal out of the top five here, which allowed two-time MVP Steve Nash to round out the top five.
Top Point Guard
This one should be a wrap. It's been Gilbert Arenas all season long. Now, he's built a 0.56 lead on Steve Nash in this point guard race. If nothing else, perhaps this evaluation will show you the type of season Gilbert is having. He's led point guards all season long, out-performing a few of the top guards to ever play the game (Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash). Go ahead and etch Gilbert's name on this trophy.
Top Shooting Guard
Dwyane Wade led by a few points last month. Even if he was playing during the month of March, I don't think he would have been able to sustain his reign here. D-Wade's FSPI number dropped nearly 0.40 points because of his injury, opening the door for Kobe to take charge. Kobe now has a 0.54 point lead on the second place contender, D-Wade. Ray Allen comes in at third once again, but one has to wonder how long that will last with Mr. Shuttlesworth done for the season. Meanwhile, Mike Miller fell to fifth place in the rankings, while Kevin Martin learned how tough it was to compete with all of the talented shooting guards in the league, as he fell out of the top five.
Top Small Forward
Check this. Most people - I'd gander a 97 percentile - drafted LeBron James with the first pick this year. In most leagues, Shawn Marion fell in the two through five slots. Take a look at these FSPI numbers though for this year. Marion's been there all season long and now comes in with a 5.98. LeBron...? A cool 5.68. You can't hate on LeBron for that type of performance, but it does strike the average fantasy freak to wonder how most drafts will go next year. It's going to be difficult to not be at fault. (I mean who is going to be like, "Dang, I only got Kevin Garnett." ???) LeBron had a solid month of March, which propelled him within 0.33 points of catching Marion. Could LeBron catch Marion in the final weeks? We shall see. Rashard Lewis and Ron Artest claimed the four and five spot here.
Top Power Forward
When it comes to the top three, all you can think of is consistency. Kevin Garnett. Dirk Nowitzki. Elton Brand. Solid as a diamond. Can't crack it, son. KG and Dirk have been there all season. Big ups to Elton Brand for battling a slow start - and brash heckling from fantasy owners - to recover strong. After returning to action on Feb. 23, Carlos Boozer averaged 20 and 12 in March. As mentioned last month, Josh Smith's position eligibility allowed him to stay in the mix here. This month? Yeah, it was that... and the March averages of 20.3 points, 9.5 boards, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 3.5 blocks probably helped.
Timmmmmmay! I know the line gets used often in reference to Tim Duncan, but it just doesn't get old to me. Duncan continues to hover above the rest of the centers. Last month, he built a 0.10 point lead. He's extended it to 0.17 through March. Marcus Camby jumped up to the second spot here, bumping Amare Stoudemire to the third spot. Inconsistent play due to lingering injuries led Jermaine O'Neal to see his third place ranking dissipate to a fifth place one.
Everyone has had more than their fair share of fun with this "Roy for ROY" saying. Brandon Roy will likely hold on to win this award, although Rudy Gay is making a push following a solid month. With Andrea Bargnani and Jorge Garbajosa out for some time due to injury, they'll be hard-pressed to stay competitive in this race. I doubt Paul Millsap will gain any momentum with Carlos Boozer back.
Folks, we have a Nene sighting. Too bad Amare Stoudemire will take this one to the bank. It's somewhat unfair because Amare simply bounced back from an injury. Most of these other players have come out of nowhere to have a solid season (see Udoka, Ime; Biedrins, Andris; Ellis, Monta; Jefferson, Al.). However, the FSPI is based on numbers, and it is the numbers that we will respect. In any case, you also have to respect how Amare came back from a complicated and delicate knee surgery to put up this kind of performance.
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Kobe Bryant has been virtually unstoppable since taking home the All-Star MVP award.
(Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images)
Award Determination: All awards are based on player fantasy performance in NBA.com's FSPI. FSPI determines the best all-around fantasy players in standard eight category leagues, weighing averages and totals equally. Players are compared to the league average and league maximum to determine dominance in each category.
Position Eligibility: Position eligibility is based off of NBA.com Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner eligibility. Within that game, a player is eligible at a particular position if he started 10 games there last year or this year. Since many players qualify at multiple positions, players are shifted around to make the best possible All-NBA Fantasy Team.