Cold Sweat: Regular-Season Awards, Part One
Fantasy basketball. What is the point, exactly? Is it to make the NBA regular season more interesting? Hopefully not. Let’s put it this way: if you need fantasy to make the NBA more interesting, you probably shouldn’t be following the NBA in the first place. Is it to have fun? Don’t be absurd. Nothing is fun about fantasy basketball. You live in constant fear of injuries, many of your decisions turn out to be idiotic, you frequently feel compelled to root against your favorite real-life team, and at the end, when the championship is on the line, the most important players are the ones who were, just days ago, completely irrelevant. It’s torture.
The point is that there is no point. We are all nothing else than strange masochistic ambulatory bits of flesh and bone, intent on frittering away the great unfathomable gift of life with the most piddling of games and contrivances—diversions so toweringly inconsequential as to make the merciful extinction of our species worth praying for, daily and devoutly.
I just went 0-2 in the championships, and have been drinking constantly for a day and a half.
Enough of all that. Let’s have a look at the newly completed season through the lens of our magical fantasy-value algorithm, USE(LESS), and bestow some awards, each named after a James Brown song. Then let’s stagger outside and vomit on a policeman.
Funky President (Fantasy MVP): It’s a tie! USE(LESS) designates Chris Paul as the per-game USE(LESS) champion, with a value of 146.62 (narrowly beating LeBron James’s 144.38); however, LeBron created more value over the season by playing two more games, beating CP3 11694-11436. Chris Paul, then, is the roto MVP; LeBron is the H2H MVP. They’re like the Chacarero and Upper Crust of affordable downtown-Boston lunch options; while it’s incredibly difficult to choose between them, you’re never going to go wrong with either one. And nothing else really compares, except occasionally New Saigon Sandwich, a.k.a. Dwyane Wade.
Super Bad (Fantasy LVP): Sonny Weems runs away with this one, averaging a -9.73 over 12 games. Did Sonny Weems erase any of your team’s fantasy value this season? I want to hear about your experience. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bewildered (Most Catastrophic Injury): I wanted to give this to Jameer Nelson, who finished 13th in the per-game USE(LESS) standings—largely due to the irreproducible combination of two threes per game, plus a FG% of 50.3—but he came out of nowhere. He was a late-round pick who temporarily put a team over the top, and his injury, sad as it was for basketball, restored things to some degree of normalcy. Al Jefferson created far more havoc. He was a late-second-round pick averaging a 23/11 and 1.7 blocks, and when your second-round pick goes down for the season, that’s when The Drinking begins.
I Got You (I Feel Good) (Best-Value Draft Picks): Round 1: Dwyane Wade (average Yahoo! draft spot 8.1; USE(LESS) rating #3). The consensus #3 fantasy player on the season, in most leagues Wade was picked after Amare, KG, and (gulp) Elton Brand. He was frankly awesome to own, even if he was benched in the final two games of the [expletive] season with [expletive] everything on the line. Round 2: Danny Granger (13.8; #4). Yes, his team didn’t make the playoffs, and he’s in that borderland alpha-dog-who’s-probably-not-
Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto (Worst-Value Draft Picks): In some leagues, this was a possible draft. Round 1: Elton Brand (7.5, #150). Round 2: Allen Iverson (14.8, #166). Round 3: Carlos Boozer (21.4, #139). Round 4: Mike Dunleavy (52.4, #136). Round 5: a swift and painless death (66.8, #97).
Get Up I Feel Like A Sex Machine (Sneakiest Waiver-Wire Pickup): If you’ve read this column with any regularity, you will not be surprised that the pick here is Brook Lopez. A big part of the reason is his durability, at a position where injuries are rife. Just five centers in the league played 82 games this year: Emeka Okafor, Joel Przybilla, Marc Gasol, Samuel Dalembert, and Lopez. Over the season, Lopez created more USE(LESS) value than any pure center who wasn’t Dwight Howard or Yao Ming. Also, he looks like a Matt Groening character, and he has a zany hapless twin brother.
The Payback (Sneakiest Sleeper-Cell Draft Pick Who Blew Up During The Playoffs): Anyone patient enough to hold on to Kevin Martin deserves kudos. Specifically, eight kudos. In another universe, Monta Ellis earned this stupid award, and in that very same universe I am not using a broken vodka bottle to jab myself in the legs repeatedly.
Papa Don’t Take No Mess (Most Fantasy Value Generated By One Team): The Lakers, with a score of 47137. Coming in last: The Kings, at 33388. Also, I know that the names of these awards have little or nothing to do with the awards themselves. Suck it. It’s my column. Suck it in a bucket.
More to come next week. Meanwhile, here’s the per-game USE(LESS) Top 25 for the season:
And, for the hell of it, my first-round picks:
Lakers over Jazz in 4
Hornets over Nuggets in 6
Mavs over Spurs in 6
Trail Blazers over Rockets in 5
Cavs over Pistons in 4
Magic over 76ers in 5
Celtics over Bulls in 7
Heat over Hawks in 6
That’s right. I went there, Denver. Comment below.