The 50 Greatest Fantasy Basketball Players of All Time

2 min read

Inspired by our Fantasy Kombat series, I wanted to explore the greatest fantasy players and seasons of all time. One could take many different approaches to putting together such a list; here’s how I went about it:

  • The rankings are based on 9-category, per-game values (big thanks to the Basketball Monster Archive — see below for a brief explainer on how values are calculated)
  • I went as far back as the 1979-80 season, when the three pointer was first introduced in the NBA
  • Only one season per player (their best eligible 9-cat season)
  • Minimum of 41 games played

While these parameters exclude a number of elite seasons from Jordan, Bird, Robinson, and others, they allow us to compare many more players. We’re also missing some great names like Wilt (pre-1979) and Shaq (FT’s).

How player values are calculated:

  • Player values are calculated by Basketball Monster. According to BBM, “Values are expressed as standard scores where 0.0 is league average. All values indicate the number of standard deviations above or below the mean, where a large positive is good and a large negative is bad.
  • All values assume league settings as 12 teams and 13 players per team.”
  • The total value shown below is the average value across all 9 categories (Points, Threes, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks, FG%, FT%, TO).

Finally:

  • There are three 2018-2019 players on the list, in bold (data pulled on January 20th)
  • Anyone surprise you? Let me know on Twitter @BasketBlogBoy. (I was surprised by Shawn Marion, Kevin So by Peja Stojakovic)
  • Full spreadsheet available here: The 50 Greatest

Enjoy!

RankValuePlayerTeamYearAgeG
11.46Bird, LarryBOS86-873074
21.40Jordan, MichaelCHI87-882482
31.32Curry, StephenGSW15-162779
41.30Davis, AnthonyNOR18-192641
51.25Durant, KevinOKC12-132481
61.17Olajuwon, HakeemHOU92-932982
71.12Garnett, KevinMIN03-042782
81.11Marion, ShawnPHO05-062781
91.10Abdul-Jabbar, KareemLAL79-803282
101.06Paul, ChrisNOR08-092378
111.04James, LeBronMIA12-132876
121.04Robinson, DavidSAS93-942880
131.03Harden, JamesHOU18-192942
141.02Johnson, MagicLAL88-892977
151.02Nowitzki, DirkDAL02-032480
160.95Gervin, GeorgeSAS79-802778
170.93McGrady, TracyORL02-032375
180.93McHale, KevinBOS86-872977
190.92Bryant, KobeLAL02-032482
200.91Stojakovic, PejaSAC03-042681
210.87Ewing, PatrickNYK89-902782
220.83Mullin, ChrisGSW89-902678
230.82Stockton, JohnUTA87-882582
240.80Erving, JuliusPHI80-813082
250.80Leonard, KawhiSAS15-162472
260.80Towns, Karl-AnthonyMIN17-182282
270.79Barkley, CharlesPHI86-872368
280.79Duncan, TimSAS01-022582
290.79Jones, EddieCHH99-002872
300.79Vandeweghe, KikiDEN83-842578
310.78Brand, EltonLAC05-062679
320.78Wade, DwyaneMIA08-092679
330.77Stoudemire, AmarePHO07-082579
340.75English, AlexDEN80-812782
350.74George, PaulOKC18-192944
360.74Payton, GarySEA99-003182
370.72Adams, MichaelDEN90-912766
380.72Antetokounmpo, GiannisMIL16-172280
390.72Buse, DonIND81-823182
400.72Miller, ReggieIND90-912582
410.72Pierce, PaulBOS01-022482
420.71Allen, RayMIL00-012582
430.71Webber, ChrisSAC99-002675
440.70Scott, ByronLAL87-882681
450.69Ainge, DannyBOS87-882881
460.69Carter, VinceTOR00-012375
470.69Drexler, ClydePOR87-882581
480.69Gilmore, ArtisCHI81-823282
490.69Love, KevinMIN13-142577
500.69Nance Sr., LarryCLE91-923281

Notes: Magic had a slightly better season in 80-81 (1.03) but only played 37 games due to a knee injury.

*I had to plug in the years manually so let me know if you catch any errors