FanEx Sports: First Half of the NBA Season Recap
The first half of the NBA season is officially in the books with the All-Star Break finishing on Sunday in New Orleans, and we wanted to reflect back on some great story lines that will unfold coming out of the All-Star break and what NBA players have been fantasy studs thus far.
Second Half Story lines to follow:
- Houston is entering the second half of the season on a 7 game win streak, but have one of the thinnest benches in the NBA. Omer Asik wants to leave and the Rockets could use another solid bench scorer, and if they can't move Asik they may fall short of their goal of winning a title this year.
- The Warriors had a big off season with Iguadala coming over and deciding to keep Andrew Bogut, but currently they sit 8th in the Western Conference which is not where they probably imagined they would be at this point. Therefore, it may be time to deal Barnes or Thompson to try and make that push to the top of the West if they really want to win this season.
- Who will finish as the league MVP: Durant or LeBron? This will be a great match-up as May and June approach quickly. My early vote is going to be Durant squeaking out the victory assuming the Thunder finish 1st in the West.
- Will the Pacers finish as the 1st seed in the East? The Pacers are looking good to keep their distance from the Heat and win the East, however, the two-time defending champs might have something to say for that when all is said and done.
- Where will Carmelo end up after the season? While Carmelo made it clear today that the Knicks are not planning on trading him, there are a handful of teams that may need to make a trade if they want to move from pretender to contender.
- DeMar DeRozan: In the start of DeMar’s fourth season in the NBA, he had been an inconsistent player on all levels and hadn’t found his fit within the Toranto Raptors offense. However, this season DeMar seems to be finding his stride as a NBA star averaging career highs in all categories. He has grown into a leader for the Raptors averaging 22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists helping them finish the first half of the season as the 3rd seed in the East. Additionally, DeMar was selected to his first All-Star game of his young career. In terms of fantasy, DeMar has averaged 31.8 FanEx points per game, so look for him to continue his hot hand in the second half of the season.
- Goran Dragic: Dragic had been in the shadow of Steve Nash when he first entered the league, but now that he is the main PG for the surprise Phoenix Suns he has taken a giant leap forward in all basketball categories. Averaging a career-high in points at 20.3 points per game and being in the top 10 of fantasy point guards with 30.3 FanEx points per game it is safe to say that Dragic has made the leap to Fantasy stardom and NBA elite.
- Al Jefferson: Jefferson has been a solid veteran presence at the center position for the Bobcats this season, and he has made the most of this new opportunity. In the first half of the season, Jefferson had a great 11 game stretch where he averaged 28 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Jefferson’s skills have never been in question, but in his 10th season he is proving he still has all the tricks in the books to play at an elite level in the NBA. Look for Jefferson to continue his dominance in the second half of the season.
- LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge should be no surprise on this list as he has taken his game to the next level this season helping the Blazers become the talk of the NBA for the first half of the season. Aldridge is averaging a career-high 23.9 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game leading to the 5th best FanEx average this season at 39.9 points per game. Aldridge has had a few disappointing games for the price that is on most fantasy sites, but with the second half of the season here look for Aldridge to push his game even further to give the Blazers the best chance come May and June.
- Blake Griffin: Griffin has been completely on fire and he even continue that hot hand during the All-Star game scoring 38 points making his streak of 20 or points in a game to 14 games entering the second half of the season. With Chris Paul sidelined most of the first half of the season, Griffin stepped up in a big way dominating on all levels of the game. Without question, Griffin is an elite player in this league with unbelievable athleticism ever since he entered the league in 2009, but this season he has taken the next step to become a top 5 player in the NBA. Griffin enters the second half of the season averaging 38.2 FanEx points per game.
- Chris Kaman – With the trade rumors still swirling over the injured Pau Gasol, Kaman is in prime position to continue his recent success as the Lakers Center in the second half of the season. He still has great value at the otherwise bleak Center position, so snag him now while he is still low in price. Additionally, if the Lakers part ways with Jordan Hill, boost up Kaman’s value by half because someone has to score for the riddled Lakers right??
- Russell Westbrook – While we all now he is still one of the best point guards in the game today, he is still coming off of injury and it could take him a few games to get back into the swing of things. His return could lower Durant’s value moving forward, but look for Westbrook to have some great value games at the start of the second half in a point guard position that is extremely deep at the moment.
- Kyrie Irving – A lot of people are jumping straight on the Irving wagon due to his big performance during the All-Star game, but come on that is not a real life NBA contest. Irving has been in Mike Brown’s dog house a few times this season due to in-game struggles. While he is an elite player in this league, he has a tendency to not hit his fantasy value on pivotal games. Therefore, I would proceed with caution with Kyrie Irving to start the second half.
- Lance Stephenson – Lance has had the entire All-Star break to recover and relax from the tough first half of the season, and I think he is primed to excel in the second half of the season. He has been a great fantasy player the entire first half, and with the Pacers looking to secure the 1st seed in the East look for Stephenson to step up and deliver for fantasy players who roll with him.
- Dion Waiters - Dion entered the All-Star break in good spirits as he had been performing well at the close of the first half, and at the Rising Stars Game he definitely delivered an encouraging performance for fantasy owners. Keep an eye on Waiters as his name has been thrown around trade rumors, and as he emerges as a great option for Mike Brown and the Cavs moving forward.