Honorable Mentions: Jason Kidd may be getting old, but he still plays young (and hot); Nels’ first-hand fantasy advice – draft Eric Gordon before Al Horford at your own risk; I heart Corey Maggette; Carlos Boozer has not only consistently great this season, but he also played in 78 games; and although he has disappointed on many occasions since he coming into the league, Luol Deng was a quietly a top 60 fantasy player this season before he got injured.
The Top 5:
5. Beno Udrih – The Kings drafting of Tyreke Evans meant Udrih was left for dead in fantasy drafts this season (as evidenced by the fact that he isn’t even on the list of top 50 PGs drafted in the average Yahoo fantasy league this season). But thanks to Kevin Martin’s injury and eventual trade, Udrih got plenty of opportunity to run alongside Evans, starting in 41 games and averaging 14.8 points, 6 assists and 0.9 threes per game in those starts.
4. Manu Ginobili – Maybe you don’t feel that Manu is that underrated, but he finished the season ranked #24 on the GMTR player rater and I don’t think anyone considers him a second round player. Well, except for this guy. Ginobili is one of those guys that contributes a little bit in every area – a 16.5/4/5 with 1.8 threes a game – and for that reason it can be a little tough to accurate account for his full value to a fantasy team. Tim Duncan might be the engine that makes the Spurs run, but Manu is the force that allows them to control people’s minds… or something.
3. Jeff Green – It’s not surprising that Kevin Durant gets all the attention, but Green took an interesting step forward in his development this year. His scoring, rebounding and assists all decreased by about 10% from his sophomore season. However, Green’s fantasy value actually went up because of the subtle ways he improved in other areas. He increased his field goal percentage and threes made slightly, reduced his turnovers, and significantly increased his steals and blocks. Maybe Green is a disappointment to anyone who was expecting him to morph into the second coming of Scottie Pippen this year, but it’s the little improvements he made to his game that had him ranked #54 by GMTR to end the season.
2. Troy Murphy – Thanks to the Pacers being the ultimate in mediocrity, we didn’t hear too much about Murphy this season. Yes, he missed 10 games in yet another season, but his stats to end the year were almost as good as his (probable) career year in 2008-09. Close to 15 points, 10 boards and 2 threes a game makes him one of the most unique players in the league. Don’t believe me? No other player in the league even averaged 8 boards and a three a game. Murphy had 10.2 and 1.8.
1. Nene Hilario – The big worry I had about Nene going into the season was his ability to stay healthy. Well, not only did he stay healthy, he played in all 82 games for Denver, averaging close to 14 points and 8 rebounds a game on 58% shooting from the field. Adjusting for games played, Nene came out as our 29th ranked fantasy player on the season. While did eventually injury his left knee in the playoffs and missed Denver’s elimination game against the Jazz, it seems to be minor injury that won’t affect him next season.
Agree or disagree with my top 5? Would you go gay for Manu Ginobili too? Let us know your top 5 most underrated players for the season in the comments.
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