These rankings are based on a 12-team, head-to-head league with nine categories (FG%, FT%, 3PTM, points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers).
- Troy Murphy: Murphy was a surprising stud last season and was relatively healthy, too. His stats were helped by Mike Dunleavy’s absence for most of the season, and with Dunleavy’s return date still up in the air, Murphy could be a real steal here. If news on Dunleavy is bleak by the start of the season, feel free to knock Murphy up into the top 25 in your draft.
- Gilbert Arenas: Agent Zero will be one of the most hyped up players in your drafts, and for good reason. With good news about his health making waves, Arenas could end up being a top 10 player this year when all is said and done. However, three knee surgeries are nothing to scoff at. Like Murphy, Arenas could be an absolute steal here.
Rajon Rondo: Rondo put up some incredible numbers in this past season’s playoffs, averaging close to a triple-double against the Chicago Bulls in the first round. There were some murmurs of some friction with coach Doc Rivers recently, but Rondo appears ready to carry a big chunk of the load for this aging Boston Celtics team. He would be much higher if he made more threes and shot a higher percentage from the free throw line.
- Monta Ellis: His bum ankle has had plenty of time to heal and rest by now, which means Ellis should be ready to tear it up this season. Barring any setbacks or coach Don Nelson’s mad scheming, Ellis should be a serious contributor to any fantasy squad this year.
- Vince Carter: Carter had a very solid year for the New Jersey Nets in 2008-09. He’ll probably encounter some inconsistency in Orlando as he adjusts to playing with his new teammates, but his all-around game will still be there, albeit in slightly smaller doses.
- Jason Richardson: The Phoenix Suns will play faster with Shaquille O’Neal gone. A faster pace means good things for Richardson and his three-point prowess. Expect him to get his scoring average back into 20+ territory, with 2+ threes per night.
- Stephen Jackson: Jackson will see his production decline a bit with the pending return of Monta Ellis and the emergence of some of the young Warriors this season. Still, there’s little doubt that he’s the steady floor leader for this team. His low field goal percentage and high turnovers hurt, but his overall game is solid.
- Derrick Rose: Rose had a great rookie campaign and will undoubtedly build on that foundation. Still, it’s hard to put him much higher because he rarely hits any three-pointers. Rose should be good for around 19 points and 7.5 assists per game, though his turnovers will likely increase as well.
- Baron Davis: Davis had a pretty dismal season last year, by his standards: 37.0 percent from the field, 3.0 turnovers and just 14.9 points per game, along with 17 missed games. His health is always a major concern, but with a new-look roster that looks good on paper, Davis should be able to turn it around to some degree this season.
- Mehmet Okur: Okur could benefit big time if Carlos Boozer is traded before the trade deadline this season. Even if Boozer remains, Okur is a valuable big man who can hit a three-pointer or two per game while shooting high percentages from the field and the free throw line. He’s not the most exciting player, but his fantasy value shouldn’t be overlooked.
- Ray Allen: He’s a ripe 34 years old entering this season, but Allen is still deadly from three-point territory. Tack on efficient shooting percentages and low turnovers and it’s easy to see why Allen is such a valuable fantasy asset.
- O.J. Mayo: Mayo had a very solid rookie campaign and should easily build on those numbers on the lowly (but improved) Memphis Grizzlies this season. If the Grizzlies somehow land Allen Iverson, Mayo’s value will take a hit, but that seems like a very unlikely possibility.