Fantasy Basketball: Breaking down the MVP after monster season

·4-min read
Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic scored far and away the most total points in Yahoo Fantasy this season, making him the undisputed fantasy MVP. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic scored far and away the most total points in Yahoo Fantasy this season, making him the undisputed fantasy MVP. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

Well, the fantasy basketball season is over, and it sure has been a wild one. 

This year has tested fantasy managers at every turn from postponed games, players in the health and safety protocols and a condensed schedule. 

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Now, it is time to honour some of the players who helped us through the season with our annual fantasy basketball awards.

Most Valuable Fantasy Player

There cannot be another answer here. It’s Nikola Jokić. 

Jokić finished the season with 500 more fantasy points than the second-placed player, which is just a phenomenal margin over an entire season. 

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The Denver Nuggets star had been the fifth-best total fantasy player the previous two seasons, but took it to another level this season to finish with the most total points and the most fantasy points per game and is well on his way to winning his first NBA MVP.

 Congratulations if you selected Big Chungus in your drafts.

Most Improved Fantasy Player

The easy answer is to look at players like Zion Williamson or Steph Curry, guys who barely played in 19-20 and went bananas in 2020-21, but I’m not sure that is the type of player I want to highlight. 

Instead, let’s go to a player we didn’t see play much last season, not due to injury, just because they weren’t very good and that player plays for the San Antonio Spurs. 

Keldon Johnson scored just 280 fantasy points in his rookie season. This season, he totalled a very impressive 1571 fantasy points, despite having a COVID diagnosis during the year. 

That is an increase of 1291 fantasy points, which trails only Steph, Zion, and Kyrie Irving in terms of single-season improvements. Johnson was the 92nd ranked player for total fantasy points this season.

Fantasy Rookie Of The Year

The winner of this award will differ if you look at total value versus per game value. 

On a per-game basis, it’s LaMelo Ball, and it isn’t that close, but if we give the award out of total fantasy contributions, Anthony Edwards runs away with it. 

Edwards scored more than 2100 fantasy points for the season, over 400 more than the second-placed player, Jae’Sean Tate. 

After a slow start, Minnesota's number one draft pick Anthony Edwards came good down the stretch, emerging as a fantasy force in the second half of the season. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
After a slow start, Minnesota's number one draft pick Anthony Edwards came good down the stretch, emerging as a fantasy force in the second half of the season. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

It was a slow start for Edwards, whose minutes and touches were low to begin the season, and his shot selection was one of the worst in the NBA. 

He got rolling late in the season though, so if you made the add at the right time, Edwards has been a player to provide championship-winning level play to your fantasy squad.

Fantasy Coach Of The Year

It has to be Tom Thibodeau. Why? Because Julius Randle led the NBA in minutes and went from the 34th ranked player to the sixth-ranked player under his tutelage. 

Also, the player who is third for total minutes also plays for the Knicks - RJ Barrett. 

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Barrett and Randle, along with Jokić, are the only players to play over 2300 minutes this season and Barrett, in his second season, went from the 127th ranked player to the 43rd for the season. 

I question Thibs a lot, especially his reliance on Elfrid Payton and the fact that these minutes are insane, but for fantasy, as long as these players aren’t hurt, they become significantly more valuable.

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