Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
LeBron James was last year's best fantasy player and is on a tear with three consecutive triple-doubles. Dwyane Wade is playing at an unbelievable level too. And they're both slightly ahead of Kobe Bryant, who is leading his team to the best record in the NBA, which makes it an interesting question as to who is the best NBA fantasy player of 2009.
Looking at the numbers below, I'd have to drop Bryant from contention. Sure, I'd still want Kobe to take the final shot if I needed to win a game (or Paul Pierce), but that's not the question.
The question of the day is who is having a better year from a fantasy point of view and when you put up Kobe's numbers against "King James" and "D" Wade, they just don't hold up.
Not that Bryant is playing poorly by any means. In fact, he could easily be the NBA MVP because his Los Angeles Lakers have the best record in the league at 52-13 (.800). His team is just slightly ahead of James' Cleveland team who are 51-13 (.797) including a stunning 28-1 at home. The fact that Wade's Miami Heat are just 35-29 will probably knock him out of MVP contention.
But again, this is not about who you would want to take a last shot, or NBA MVP...it's "who is the No.1 fantasy player?"
Which is to say it's purely about statistics. And it's here that Wade shines.
The 27-year-old Wade leads the league in scoring, but he doesn't stop there. He is eighth in assists, second in steals and 23rd in blocks (highest guard on the list). His shooting percentage is the best of the three and his three-point shooting, which used to be a glaring weakness, is right up there with James and Bryant.
And Wade is doing it while being on a team with hardy any help. The Heat starting lineup (Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Yakhouba Diawara, Jermaine O'Neal) comes nowhere near the Lakers or Cavaliers in terms of talent.
Which means double teams. All the time. James gets double teamed too, but at least he has some shooters who came make them pay (Mo Williams, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Sasha Pavlovic, Wally Szczerbiak). Kobe gets double teamed the least of these three guys because of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and the three-point shooting of Sasha Vujacic and Derek Fisher.
So when you add it all up, Wade gets the nod as the fantasy MVP at this point. Of course with Wade, you always have to worry about injury. He played just 51 games in 2006-07 and 51 again in 2007-08. If he wants to be this year's NBA Fantasy Player of the Year, he'll have to survive the entire schedule. Then and only them can he pry the crown away from "King James."