Commentary

Al Jefferson among best since break

Updated: March 7, 2011, 11:07 AM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

With February in the books, it's time for another game of fun with numbers, this time focusing on recent trends by analyzing monthly and post All-Star splits.

The Top 130

Note: Brian McKitish's top 130 players are ranked for their fantasy value from this point forward in the 2010-11 NBA season. Previous rank is indicated in parentheses.

1. Kevin Durant, SF, OKC (1)
2. Chris Paul, PG, NO (2)
3. Deron Williams, PG, NJ (3)
4. LeBron James, SF, MIA (4)
5. Pau Gasol, PF/C, LAL (5)
6. Dwight Howard, C, ORL (6)
7. Amare Stoudemire, C/PF, NY (7)
8. Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC (8)
9. Kevin Love, PF, MIN (9)
10. Stephen Curry, PG/SG, GS (10)
11. Monta Ellis, PG/SG, GS (11)
12. Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL (12)
13. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL (13)
14. Derrick Rose, PG, CHI (14)
15. Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA (15)
16. Josh Smith, PF/SF, ATL (16)
17. Carmelo Anthony, SF, NY (17)
18. Rajon Rondo, PG, BOS (18)
19. Steve Nash, PG, PHO (19)
20. Al Horford, C/PF, ATL (20)
21. Al Jefferson, C/PF, UTA (27)
22. Danny Granger, SF, IND (21)
23. Blake Griffin, PF, LAC (22)
24. Zach Randolph, PF, MEM (23)
25. Chauncey Billups, PG, NY (24)
26. John Wall, PG, WAS (25)
27. Joakim Noah, C/PF, CHI (26)
28. Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, PHI (32)
29. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, POR (28)
30. Joe Johnson, SG/SF, ATL (30)
31. Jason Kidd, PG, DAL (31)
32. Dorell Wright, SF, GS (33)
33. Carlos Boozer, PF, CHI (34)
34. Paul Pierce, SF/SG, BOS (35)
35. Brook Lopez, C, NJ (36)
36. Stephen Jackson, SG/SF, CHA (29)
37. Manu Ginobili, SG, SA (37)
38. Andrew Bogut, C, MIL (38)
39. Kevin Martin, SG, HOU (43)
40. Andrea Bargnani, C/PF, TOR (39)
41. Luis Scola, PF/C, HOU (40)
42. David West, PF, NO (42)
43. David Lee, PF/C, GS (44)
44. Nene, C/PF, DEN (45)
45. Marc Gasol, C, MEM (47)
46. Kevin Garnett, PF, BOS (48)
47. Chris Bosh, PF/C, MIA (49)
48. Tim Duncan, C/PF, SA (50)
49. Devin Harris, PG, UTA (52)
50. D.J. Augustin, PG, CHA (53)
51. Paul Millsap, PF, UTA (51)
52. Brandon Jennings, PG, MIL (54)
53. Michael Beasley, SF/PF, MIN (55)
54. Andray Blatche, PF/C, WAS (57)
55. Luol Deng, SF, CHI (58)
56. Lamar Odom, PF/SF, LAL (59)
57. Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, POR (46)
58. Andrew Bynum, C, LAL (60)
59. Elton Brand, PF, PHI (61)
60. Serge Ibaka, C/PF, OKC (62)
61. Ray Allen, SG, BOS (63)
62. Andre Miller, PG, POR (64)
63. Wesley Matthews, SG/SF, POR (65)
64. Roy Hibbert, C, IND (66)
65. Jose Calderon, PG, TOR (70)
66. J.J. Hickson, PF/C, CLE (78)
67. Emeka Okafor, C, NO (71)
68. Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG, DET (76)
69. Kyle Lowry, PG, HOU (72)
70. Marcin Gortat, C, PHO (73)
71. Greg Monroe, PF/C, DET (87)
72. Marcus Camby, C/PF, POR (74)
73. Tony Parker, PG, SA (75)
74. DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, SAC (77)
75. Jrue Holiday, PG, PHI (69)
76. Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, DEN (67)
77. Beno Udrih, PG, SAC (79)
78. Tyson Chandler, C, DAL (80)
79. Channing Frye, PF/C, PHO (81)
80. Mike Conley, PG, MEM (82)
81. Kris Humphries, PF, NJ (103)
82. Darren Collison, PG, IND (68)
83. Mo Williams, PG, LAC (86)
84. Jamal Crawford, SG/PG, ATL (83)
85. JaVale McGee, C/PF, WAS (84)
86. Nick Young, SG, WAS (85)
87. Amir Johnson, PF, TOR (88)
88. Chris Kaman, C, LAC (89)
89. Jason Terry, SG, DAL (90)
90. Hedo Turkoglu, SF/PF, ORL (92)
91. Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, UTA (93)
92. Baron Davis, PG, CLE (110)
93. Boris Diaw, PF/SF, CHA (94)
94. Raymond Felton, PG, DEN (95)
95. DeJuan Blair, PF, SA (91)
96. Jason Richardson, SG, ORL (96)
97. Kirk Hinrich, SG/PG, CHI (104)
98. Landry Fields, SG, NY (97)
99. DeMar DeRozan, SG, TOR (98)
100. Wilson Chandler, SF/SG, DEN (99)
101. Ramon Sessions, PG, CLE (100)
102. Marcus Thornton, SG, SAC (124)
103. Shawn Marion, SF/PF, DAL (101)
104. Randy Foye, SG/PG, LAC (NR)
105. Jameer Nelson, PG, ORL (102)
106. John Salmons, SG/SF, MIL (105)
107. Samuel Dalembert, C, SAC (106)
108. Trevor Ariza, SF/SG, NO (107)
109. Carlos Delfino, SF/SG, MIL (108)
110. Chase Budinger, SF, HOU (109)
111. Samardo Samuels, PF, CLE (NR)
112. George Hill, PG/SG, SA (120)
113. Gerald Henderson, SG, CHA (111)
114. Wesley Johnson, SF, MIN (NR)
115. Tayshaun Prince, SF, DET (113)
116. Ryan Anderson, PF, ORL (112)
117. C.J. Miles, SF, UTA (115)
118. Rudy Gay, SF, MEM (NR)
119. Anthony Morrow, SG/SF, NJ (122)
120. Brandon Roy, SG/SF, POR (118)
121. James Harden, SG, OKC (NR)
122. J.R. Smith, SG, DEN (117)
123. Eric Gordon, SG, LAC (41)
124. Vince Carter, SG/SF, PHO (116)
125. Jeff Green, PF/SF, BOS (121)
126. Chuck Hayes, SF/PF, HOU (126)
127. Ty Lawson, PG, DEN (127)
128. Shane Battier, SF, MEM (125)
129. Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, SAC (123)
130. Anthony Randolph, PF/C, MIN (NR)

27.8: Points per game in February for Blazers big man, LaMarcus Aldridge, which ranked second in the league behind only Carmelo Anthony. Aldridge also added 9.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.7 steals while shooting 56.3 percent from the floor and 83.2 percent from the line. Numbers like those make Aldridge a top-5 fantasy player, so I can see why I took some heat last week when he dropped from 24th to 28th in the rankings. I guess folks forgot that the Blazers added a terrific scorer and rebounder in Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline and saw Marcus Camby and Brandon Roy return from injury all in the same week. I don't think Aldridge completely falls off the table, but it's hard to deny that his value took a hit with the Blazers getting healthy and the addition of Crash. Aldridge, by the way, has averaged a much more realistic 19.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks since the acquisition of Wallace.

2.8: Al Jefferson's blocks per game since the All-Star break. Big Al has been on fire since the Deron Williams trade, averaging 25.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals to go along to the impressive block totals since the break. One would have thought that Deron's departure would hurt Jefferson, but he's taken over as the go-to player on the team and is thriving in the role thus far. Look for Jefferson to be a top-25 player the rest of the way.

7.5: Assists per game for Andre Iguodala in the month of February. Since taking over as the primary playmaker in the Sixers offense, Iguodala's fantasy value has skyrocketed due to his ability to contribute in multiple categories. Averaging 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 3-pointers since the All-Star break, AI2 has turned himself into a LeBron James-like fantasy asset. Meanwhile, second-year point guard Jrue Holiday saw his numbers plummet to 12.4 points and 5.1 assists in February action.

4.0: Carlos Delfino's combined 3-pointers and steals per game in five contests since the All-Star break. It really is a shame that Delfino missed much of the season with a serious concussion, because he's one of the league's best in steals and 3s. That said, Delfino's upside is limited due to the logjam of players vying for minutes in Milwaukee. He's still a must-own player due to his ability to contribute so heavily in two of the fantasy game's most coveted categories, but his owners should realize that he can be inconsistent on a night-to-night basis.

13.2: Rebounds per game for Kris Humphries since the All-Star break. We thought Humphries would benefit from the Deron Williams trade, but who would have thought that he'd be putting up 15.8 points, 13.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks since the break? With Derrick Favors gone, Humphries is going to be one of fantasy's better big men.

17.5: Points per game as a starter (18 games) for Randy Foye, which is all the more important now that Eric Gordon is on the shelf indefinitely after reinjuring his right wrist. Foye put up 17.5 points, 3.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.2 3-pointers when filling in during Gordon's last absence, and should come close to duplicating those numbers for as long as Gordon remains out (which has potential to be a considerable amount of this season).

2.2: 3-pointers per game for Marcus Thornton since joining the Sacramento Kings five games ago. Thornton went from preseason darling to early-season bust to start the campaign, but has been rejuvenated since the trade. With 21.2 points, 2.2 3-pointers and 1.8 steals since the trade, Thornton needs to be owned and starting in all fantasy formats, particularly with Tyreke Evans still hurting.

There's always next year

Whether you're in a keeper league or not, we've reached a point in the season where it's time to start thinking about next season. If you're out of contention this season and not in a keeper league, don't think that you can use it as an excuse to forget about hoops and focus solely on your upcoming fantasy baseball draft. The end of the hoops season is where we get to see an extended look at the fantasy stars of tomorrow. Let's take a look at some players who have sneakily improved their draft/keeper status for next season.

11.5: Rebounds per game for Cavaliers power forward J.J. Hickson, good for sixth in the league last month. For those that wondered why some of us here at ESPN were so high on Hickson coming into the season, this is exactly why. Hickson is an absolute beast on the offensive glass with 5.1 offensive boards per game during this span. Oh yeah, and he's added 18.4 points and 1.5 blocks, to boot. Since he's done all of this fairly quietly, Hickson is one of my favorite sneaky keepers for next season.

1.9: Blocks per game for Amir Johnson, which ranked ninth in the league last month. After averaging 12.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.9 blocks while shooting 60.2 percent from the floor and 76.9 percent from the line in 29.0 minutes per game in February, Johnson is one of fantasy's brightest young stars. It might seem like Johnson has been around forever (this is his sixth season), but he's still just 23 years old, making the sky the limit on his potential as a fantasy player.

5: Double-doubles for Greg Monroe in seven games since the All-Star break. Averaging 15.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals during that span, Monroe has already shown enough potential to be considered one of the better keeper candidates heading into next season.

9.4: Rebounds per game for Suns center Marcin Gortat in seven games since the All-Star break. Gortat has been money since February and is averaging 15.7 points, 9.4 boards, 0.6 steals and 1.3 blocks since the break. As far as his keeper potential goes, Gortat is a sneaky keeper pick. He's 27 years old, but is really getting his first shot at extended minutes after being buried on the bench behind Dwight Howard for the first three seasons as a professional. That said, his potential as a full-time starter and future fantasy star is off the charts.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com, and was recently named the Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He can be reached at bmckitish@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter @bmckitish.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com and is a two-time Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year, as named by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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