Fantasy Basketball Stock Report: All-Star Edition
It’s the most wonderful, and definitely least controversial time of the NBA season: All-Star weekend! Though the game itself is a week away, the lineups for the festivity have been announced. Headlining the event are Western Conference captain LeBron James (17th appearance) and Eastern Conference captain Kevin Durant (11th appearance). In accordance with the holiday spirit, splicing up the NBA into Fantasy All-Star teams seemed only right.
For the sake of transparency, starting spots were awarded based on a combination of Fantasy ranking (Fantrax standard scoring) and Fantasy Points per game. This encapsulates the player’s worth in both league-wide and individual team settings. So without further ado, let’s meet the starting five for each conference.
Fantasy Basketball Stock Report
Western Conference Frontcourt
C- Nikola Jokic, DEN
When you’re the number one player in all of Fantasy Basketball, you’re going to make the All-Star Team. In fact, by those standards, Jokic would usurp LeBron as team captain. The Joker is putting up laughably crazy stats in 2020-21: 27 points, 10.9 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.6 blocks, including four 40-point performances. He makes more than 50% of his shots from the floor and shoots the 3-ball at a 40.8% clip. Plus, he hasn’t missed a game this season and leads the league in PER (31.1). All of that translates to 56.33 Fantasy Points per Game in standard-scoring formats. The definition of a fantasy stud.
F – LeBron James, LAL
Of course, The King is not too far behind. Even in Year 18 James is in the hunt for league MVP as he sits fourth in fantasy rankings: 25/8/8 a night will do that. While the Lakers are riding a 3-game losing skid at the moment, that has zero impact on the 48.44 FPG James provides fantasy lineups. Though his assist numbers are down a tick from last season, his rebounding and shooting percentages took a slight step up, solidifying his 17th-consecutive All-Star appearance.
C – Rudy Gobert, UTA
Gobert may be one of the most underrated players in the entire Association. He’s the first, and only, player on this list to rank outside the top-15, but is no less deserving of this spot. He’s not the definition of the “modern big man” in that he never shoots from beyond the arc and his numbers aren’t gaudy like Jokic’s. But man is he consistent. He averages nearly 14 points and 14 rebounds a game, has posted 22 (!!!) double-doubles — including eight in his last 10 games — and averages almost three blocks a game. He’s such a force on defense, he’s blocked five or more shots three times this year. The now two-time All-Star, averaging 39.77 FPG may very well end the season with his third Defensive Player of the Year award.
Western Conference Backcourt
G – Luka Doncic, DAL
In real life, there’s a legitimate case that this spot should go to Damian Lillard (winning games matters), but for fantasy, it belongs to Luka. Dončić, at 21-years-old, is posting career highs in points (28.9) and assists (9.2) which rank fifth and third, respectively, amongst league leaders. He has seven triple-doubles so far, posting five over an eight-game stretch back in January, and has remained much more healthy than at this point last season. After some early-season questions regarding his physique/stamina, Dončić and his 53.91 FPG (3rd best) have silenced the critics.
G – Stephen Curry, GS
If it weren’t for the triumphant return of Kevin Durant (who, spoiler alert, did not make this list), Curry would be the front runner for the Comeback Player of the Year Award… if it still existed. After playing in just five games last year, Curry is averaging 30.2/5.4/6.2 on 42.6% shooting from deep in the 2020-21 campaign. His 62-point performance is the most points scored by a single player this year, while his 57-point night ranks third. The latter performance came amidst five 30-plus-point games over a six-game stretch. He’s often had to put the Warriors on his back, while his 6th-ranked 46.23 FPG have saved more than one fantasy team this season. Welcome back to the festivities, Chef Curry.
Eastern Conference Frontcourt
F – Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL
It would’ve been a shame if the reigning two-time league MVP missed the cut, but he didn’t. The Greek Freak sits just behind The Joker in fantasy rankings as he captains the Eastern Conference (sorry KD). He’s providing Fantasy Teams with 55.82 FPG on a 28.6/11.8/6.0 stat line. While all those are better than his career numbers, they are just a tick below his MVP stats from a season ago. His three-point shooting could be better (28.1%), but has also been worse. That’s not why he’s here anyway (he leads the league in made 2-pointers). Antetokounmpo and his 22 double-doubles in 31 games are heading to their fifth-straight All-Star game.
C – Nikola Vucevic, ORL
The fifth-ranked fantasy player doesn’t need to be an All-Star sub, he starts. Vučević, now a two-time All-Star, is scoring the ball the best of his career in Year 10, averaging 23.9 points per contest. His other major stats — 11.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists — are just a tick or two away from career highs in their own regard. He’s eclipsed the 40-point threshold twice among his 22 double-doubles. Hard to complain about 46.97 FPG for a player with an ADP of 25.
F – Julius Randle, NYK
Knicks fans rejoice! Randle and his 44.11 FPG sit two-spots ahead of MVP-candidate Joel Embiid, landing him in my starting five for the East. In short, Randle is having a career year. His 23.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists are all the best marks since his rookie year back in 2014-15. This is the first time he’s made more than 75% of his free throws (81.1%) and more than 35% of his 3-point attempts (41.4%) in a season. While his 20 double-doubles haven’t necessarily translated to wins for the Knicks (15-17), they’ve done more than enough to win their fair share of Fantasy matchups and may earn him this year’s Most Improved Award.
Eastern Conference Backcourt
G – James Harden, BKN
Even after the debacle in Houston to start the season, The Beard has managed his way into the All-Star starters. Many didn’t think the league’s leading scorer for the last three years would naturally fit into his role in Brooklyn. Instead, he flipped a switch and decided to lead the NBA in assists, averaging 11.2 a game. He’s still getting his fair share of shots, however, with 25 points a night, and his 7.5 rebounds is his highest mark since the 2016-17 season. Fresh off his sixth triple-double of the season, Harden is shooting 48% from the floor and nearly 40% from downtown, landing him just inside the top-10 among Fantasy Players with a 52.18 FPG average.
G – Zach LaVine, CHI
Cue the cries for Bradley Beal. This is a tough spot, as both guards have done enough to earn it, but I give the nod to the higher-ranked LaVine. It’s kind of crazy to think the 25-year-old is in his seventh year in the league, but he seems to have hit his stride. Scoring 28.1 points with 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists are all, as you may have guessed, the best marks of his career. That’s before you look at his insane 51.8% shooting percentage, and his 43.4% mark from 3-point range, rounding out to a 60.7% eFG. He’s scored 40 or more points twice this season and, before his outing against Houston, scored 30+ in seven of his previous eight games. His 43.19 FPG isn’t quite Beal’s 48.51, but he’s done enough for his first ASG appearance.
For more help managing your roster, check out the latest Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire.
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