The All-Parallel-Universe Team
When the fantasy basketball world and the real basketball world converge, it's not interesting. No one cares. Your fantasy team has LeBron James, and he is good? Yawn. Your fantasy team has Nenad Kristic, and he is contributing little, other than the right to call your team The Nads? Snore. I am yawning and snoring at you right now. And not only are those convergences deeply boring, they're also not what normal humans find appalling and distasteful about fantasy basketball. No, instead it's statements like: "You know, I wouldn't be on top of my league right now if it weren't for Troy Murphy." That is when normal human fans of the NBA start jabbing you in the eyeball.
In both the dating and fantasy worlds, Troy Murphy is a catch. His rebounding is perennially among the league's best, his three-point shooting is a bonus at his position, and he's a sharp dresser with a terrific smile. Meanwhile, in the real basketball world, it is possible to go for years at a time without remembering that he exists, kind of like the band Cameo, or the island nation of Kiribati. Then you see a Pacers-Cavs game or something, and you're like, "Oh yeah! That guy. Notre Dame. Bit of a schnozz. He did that song 'Shake Your Pants.'" No, that was Cameo. "The capital of Troy Murphy is Tarawa." I think you may have a problem.
On that note, I present to you the All-Parallel-Universe Team: guys who are more valuable in fantasy than in real life. Comically more valuable. Fills-non-fantasy-players-with-rage more valuable. For this one, I'm dusting off my very own patented USE(LESS) fantasy rating system, and we'll be looking exclusively at guys who scored in the top 30. In other words, the following gentlemen are among the best 30 fantasy players right now.
PG: Baron Davis (rank: 28). It was tempting to go with Jason Kidd (#3), who according to my numbers has created the second-most fantasy value in the entire league (because Chris Paul has missed way more games), but Jason Kidd is also an integral part of a very good team. Whereas, Baron Davis? #28? That's incredible, and that's not even including his four producer credits according to IMDb. Speaking of which, everyone visit Baron Davis's IMD page right now.
SG: Andre Iguodala (rank: 14). I like Andre Iguodala, but he's the top dog on a team that depresses the living hell out of everyone. So the less said about this, the better. Let's just move on. Can we move on from this? My vision is blurry. I'm starting to forget what happiness feels like. My stomach hurts. Why can't I stop writing this paragraph? What is even the point of anything?
SF: Danny Granger (rank: 4). Danny Granger is dominant in fantasy. There's no getting around it. He stuffs the stat sheet like a Piedmontese grandmother stuffs most food items: with ricotta, or in Danny Granger's case, numbers. Meanwhile, his team hasn't been to the playoffs since his rookie season, even though he gets to play with another beast of the box score:
PF: Troy Murphy (rank: 29). The Nose knows.
C: Brook Lopez (rank: 23). It's tempting to put Marcus Camby (#11) on this list, but I feel too strongly that Brook Lopez is overrated because of his fantasy value. On the one hand, he's a seven-footer with good touch around the basket and great percentages. On the other hand, he's also the anchor of a team that loses 89% of its games. At some point that has to count for something. Plus his teammates really aren't as bad as you think. His point guard is an All-Star! His partner in the frontcourt is the pride of Guangdong province! Plus Jarvis Hayes at the three! This argument is falling apart.
Actual C: Marcus Camby (rank: 11). Look: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Brook.
So there you have it: an utterly dominant fantasy lineup that is much, much less than the sum of its parts. Just for fun, let's put together the opposite: a team that is woeful in fantasy and surprisingly effective in real life. For obvious reasons, I am calling them the Psychological Realism All-Stars.
G: Andre Miller (rank: 157).
G: Jameer Nelson (rank: 124).
F: Matt Barnes (rank: 167).
F: Ron Artest (rank: 97).
C: Anderson Varejao (rank: 113).
Another C because I feel like it: Kendrick Perkins (rank: 92).
Do the Psychological Realism All-Stars beat the All-Parallel-Universe Team? I say yes. Because for some reason there are six of them.
In conclusion, fantasy is deeply ridiculous.
image credit: robzerilli