StrategyJanuary 23, 2009

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Getting Defensive: Ten Points, a Steal, and a Block

By Phil Londen

One of the biggest knocks on defensive players in the NBA is that, in general, they tend to have low scoring averages. In fantasy, finding players that provide help in defensive categories as well as in points is one of the many various keys to success.

The following chart lists the fifteen players who are currently averaging at least ten points, one steal, and one block on the season. The players are sorted in descending order according to their scoring average this season. In addition to the players’ season averages for points, steals, and blocks, the player’s per game value according to Basketball Monster’s Player Rankings is also listed.

1Dwayne Wade28.82.31.53
2Lebron James27.82.01.32
3Danny Granger26.21.01.44
4Amar’e Stoudemire21.31.11.113
5Dwight Howard20.21.03.247
6LaMarcus Aldridge17.61.01.051
7Kevin Garnett16.11.21.38
8Josh Smith15.81.41.484
9Paul Millsap15.51.11.244
11Andris Biedrins13.71.31.633
12Kenyon Martin13.21.61.268
13Andrei Kirilenko12.71.61.439
14Marcus Camby12.31.02.66
15Shawn Marion12.01.41.037

Although the chart is largely self-explanatory, there are a couple of patterns that stand out. First, the players tend to be power forwards and centers (two-thirds of the fifteen players listed play primarily at the four or the five). The other five players — four small forwards and a lone combo guard — consist of first-rounders Lebron James, Danny Granger, and Dwayne Wade, and former undisputed fantasy kings, Shawn Marion and Andrei Kirilenko.

Second, the players that meet these statistical criteria tend to be elite fantasy players. The average BBM ranking of these players is 30th in per game value so far this season. These players are good players to target in trades as well as in future drafts to pickup defensive production without sacrificing points. In keeper leagues, players like Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Rudy Gay, and Francisco Garcia are guys that have a high chance of fulfilling the ten point, one steal, and one block criteria in the future. Once they meet the statistical criteria, these players will most likely sustain their averages for multiple seasons.

If you find yourself owning one or more of the players on this list, get defensive and do not trade these guys for less than their full value. If you notice your current fantasy squad needs an extra boost in the defensive categories, without losing your edge in points, hit the trading block and make a move for one or more of these elite, defensive fantasy players.

Phil Londen is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Phil in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of plonden.
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