Fantasy Basketball End of Season Awards (2019-20)
It’s been an…. interesting year to say the least. The NBA was put on hold back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Orlando bubble has brought basketball back in full force with the playoffs here at long last. The NBA recently released its finalists for regular-season awards, and it seemed fitting for FantasyPros to announce our own fantasy basketball awards. Just like the NBA’s awards, ours will be based solely on games played before the break, excluding games played in the bubble.
Winner: Hassan Whiteside
With an ADP of 101, Ingram was a studly pick with immense value. Bam Adebayo had a monster season as well, but Whiteside is the clear winner of this award. Though he was a top-75 pick, there was no pre-season chirping about a top-five campaign. With averages of 15.5 points, 13.5 boards and 2.9 blocks with a nearly 70 percent field goal percentage, Whiteside finished the year as a top-fiver and shocked the fantasy world. If you were fortunate enough to roster the Marshall product, you probably had a good year.
Winner: James Harden
Though Harden was one of the first guys off the board in most drafts, he’s still got to be the MVP this season. He finished as fantasy’s top overall player while leading the league in points (34.4) for the third straight season and going for at least 7.5 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals for the sixth straight year. Luka was phenomenal and made a real MVP case with his all-around play, while Giannis is the favorite to win the real-life award again, but neither rose to the level of Harden in 2019-20. The Beard is 2019-20’s fantasy basketball MVP.
Comeback Player of the Year Award
Winner: Carmelo Anthony
This was a tough one for sure. Rubio joined Phoenix and put up numbers he hadn’t seen since his Minnesota days, dishing 8.8 dimes (second-most of his career) to go with 13 points and 4.7 boards while orchestrating a Suns team on the rise. Hayward looked like he was back to his pre-injury form, improving significantly in points, rebounds, assists, threes, and shooting percentages from last season.
This pick may be a little from the heart, but Melo’s story is too good to not give him this award. Just when it seemed he wouldn’t get another chance in the NBA, Portland picked him up, and he played big. He appeared in 58 games and averaged 15.4 points and 6.3 boards in nearly 33 minutes per contest. The future Hall-of-Famer went from down-and-out to key contributor for a playoff team in a matter of months. It don’t get much better than that.
Best Late-Round Value Award
Winner: Spencer Dinwiddie
VanVleet (ADP: 112), Bjelica (ADP: 167), and Dinwiddie (ADP: 113) all had excellent seasons and far exceeded preseason expectations. Prior to the season pause, FVV averaged career highs across the board with 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.8 boards, 2.7 triples, and 1.9 steals and was a key contributor to a shockingly-good Toronto team that made life very difficult for Eastern Conference contenders. Bjelica also posted the best season of his five-year career, while producing eight double-doubles, five games with at least 20 points, and 18 games with at least three triples made.
The clear winner here, however, has to be Dinwiddie. While Kyrie Irving was out for most of the season with a shoulder injury, Dinwiddie shined, and shattered previous career highs with 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 boards en route to his first All-Star selection.
Age is Just a Number Award
Winner: Chris Paul
How could this go to anyone else? CP3 put up a top-10 fantasy season despite much lower preseason expectations. Paul led the Thunder to an unexpected postseason berth behind 17.6 points, 6.7 assists, 5.0 boards and 1.6 steals. He continued to shoot efficiently and was a cat-league stud for those lucky enough to have him on their rosters. LeBron posted another top-10 season himself, but that was to be expected. Lowry played a key role for a Raptors team that flourished despite the loss of Kawhi Leonard, though his accomplishments fell shy of Paul.
Hot Start Award
Winner: Andrew Wiggins
Morris went for 18.7 points, 6.2 boards, 2.8 triples and 1.5 combined blocks/steals while shooting over 50 percent from three and over 80 percent from the charity stripe through his first 19 games. Quite a hot start indeed for a guy whose career averages are 12.1 points and 4.7 boards. There was no way that production would continue all season long, but for those who rostered him over the first month of the season, you were handsomely rewarded. Holmes was one of Sacramento’s lone bright spots over the first two months of the season, and he may have finished as a top-25 guy had a shoulder injury not derailed his season in early January.
Finally, we come to Wiggins. Who could forget his blistering start to the season, where he averaged 25.9 points, 5.1 boards and 3.6 assists while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from three? He fell back to earth in terms of shooting percentages and points, but Wiggins still enjoyed his most productive campaign since 2016. His future is Golden with the Warriors.
Biggest Bust Award
Winner: Kyrie Irving
Irving was taken off the board inside the top-15 on average in 2019 drafts, and he started out the season on a tear, averaging 29.7 points, 7.0 assists and 5.3 boards over the first 10 games of the season. He first went out of the lineup in mid-November when he dealt with a shoulder issue that was supposed to be minor. Irving ended up suiting up for just nine games over the final four months of the season, playing 20 in total all season. Expectations were high for Williamson, though fantasy drafters knew he would miss time to start the season, and Draymond Green was a top-40 pick, but he wasn’t expected to have the same impact as the two guys mentioned ahead of him.
New Face New Place Award
Winner: T.J. Warren
Bubble stats aside (!), Warren had a strong season for Indiana and grew as a scorer for his new team. Terry Rozier was a top-50 guy but was expected to have a good season while leading Charlotte. Covington provided his usual well-rounded stat lines all year long, though he was another guy expected to produce for fantasy owners. Warren was drafted after the eighth round on average and provided fourth-round value with a quality campaign.
Winner: Domantas Sabonis
Sabonis was a huge contributor for Indiana this season, providing a career-best season with 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds (fourth in the NBA), and 5.0 assists. He came on strong and finished as a top-30 player while making a case for Most Improved Player for the second straight season. Devonte’ Graham came out of nowhere to provide top-60 value and should be a quality fantasy contributor for years to come. SGA shined for the surprising Oklahoma City Thunder and, just like Graham, should be on the fantasy map for the foreseeable future. Sabonis gets the edge here, but it was a tough call.
One-Man Show Award
Winner: Bradley Beal
Young and LaVine carried their respective teams this season, but Beal is in a league of his own when it comes to this award. With one of the worst supporting casts in the league, Beal was asked to take on a huge workload and provided his best season to date. On the year, the Florida product put up 30.5 points (second in the NBA), 6.1 assists, 4.2 boards, 3.3 triples and 1.2 steals. He was truly a one-man show this NBA season.