Commentary

Nicolas Batum continues rise in ranks

Updated: March 5, 2012, 4:23 PM 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 and monthly splits for some of the big movers in this week's rankings update.

The Top 130

Note: Brian McKitish's top 130 players are ranked for their fantasy value from this point forward in the 2011-12 NBA season. Previous rank is indicated in parentheses.

1. LeBron James, SF, MIA (1)
2. Kevin Durant, SF, OKC (2)
3. Chris Paul, PG, LAC (3)
4. Kevin Love, PF, MIN (4)
5. Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA (5)
6. Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC (6)
7. Dwight Howard, C, ORL (7)
8. Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL (8)
9. Deron Williams, PG, NJ (9)
10. Derrick Rose, PG, CHI (10)
11. Josh Smith, PF/SF, ATL (11)
12. Al Jefferson, C/PF, UTAH (12)
13. Pau Gasol, PF/C, LAL (13)
14. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, POR (15)
15. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL (16)
16. Monta Ellis, PG/SG, GS (17)
17. Kyle Lowry, PG, HOU (18)
18. Stephen Curry, PG/SG, GS (14)
19. Andrew Bynum, C, LAL (19)
20. Marc Gasol, C, MEM (20)
21. John Wall, PG, WSH (24)
22. Blake Griffin, PF, LAC (21)
23. Rudy Gay, SF, MEM (22)
24. Marcin Gortat, C, PHO (23)
25. Greg Monroe, PF/C, DET (25)
26. DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, SAC (27)
27. Ty Lawson, PG/SG, DEN (28)
28. Steve Nash, PG, PHO (29)
29. Paul Millsap, PF, UTAH (26)
30. Paul Pierce, SF/SG, BOS (31)
31. Rajon Rondo, PG, BOS (32)
32. Carmelo Anthony, SF, NY (33)
33. James Harden, SG, OKC (34)
34. Marcus Thornton, SG, SAC (35)
35. Ricky Rubio, PG, MIN (30)
36. David Lee, PF/C, GS (36)
37. Ryan Anderson, PF, ORL (40)
38. Roy Hibbert, C, IND (37)
39. Danny Granger, SF, IND (39)
40. Jeremy Lin, PG, NY (43)
41. Kyrie Irving, PG, CLE (45)
42. Nicolas Batum, SF/SG, POR (65)
43. Brandon Jennings, PG, MIL (41)
44. Andre Iguodala, SF/SG, PHI (42)
45. JaVale McGee, C, WSH (38)
46. Serge Ibaka, C/PF, OKC (44)
47. Tyreke Evans, PG/SG/SF, SAC (46)
48. Tony Parker, PG, SA (47)
49. Mike Conley, PG, MEM (49)
50. Luol Deng, SF, CHI (52)
51. Chris Bosh, PF/C, MIA (50)
52. Joakim Noah, C/PF, CHI (54)
53. Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, POR (53)
54. Joe Johnson, SG/SF, ATL (48)
55. Kevin Garnett, PF/C, BOS (67)
56. Kris Humphries, PF, NJ (55)
57. Carlos Boozer, PF, CHI (56)
58. Kevin Martin, SG, HOU (57)
59. Tyson Chandler, C, NY (58)
60. Amare Stoudemire, C/PF, NY (51)
61. Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, DEN (60)
62. Nikola Pekovic, C, MIN (59)
63. Jose Calderon, PG, TOR (61)
64. Jrue Holiday, PG, PHI (62)
65. Paul George, SF/SG, IND (63)
66. Jamal Crawford, SG/PG, POR (70)
67. DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC (64)
68. Manu Ginobili, SG, SA (105)
69. Brook Lopez, C, NJ (80)
70. Antawn Jamison, PF, CLE (72)
71. Jason Terry, SG, DAL (68)
72. Ray Allen, SG, BOS (69)
73. Nene, C/PF, DEN (71)
74. Jeff Teague, PG, ATL (74)
75. Jarrett Jack, PG/SG, NO (75)
76. Drew Gooden, PF, MIL (84)
77. Al Harrington, PF, DEN (77)
78. Tim Duncan, PF/C, SA (79)
79. Lou Williams, PG/SG, PHI (81)
80. Luis Scola, PF, HOU (78)
81. MarShon Brooks, SG, NJ (82)
82. Jared Dudley, SF/SG, PHO (83)
83. Channing Frye, PF/C, PHO (85)
84. Isaiah Thomas, PG, SAC (86)
85. David West, PF, IND (87)
86. Ersan Ilyasova, SF/PF, MIL (104)
87. Jordan Crawford, SG, WSH (117)
88. Dorell Wright, SF, GS (66)
89. Darren Collison, PG, IND (89)
90. Brandon Knight, PG/SG, DET (90)
91. DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, TOR (91)
92. Chris Kaman, C, NO (103)
93. Zach Randolph, PF, MEM (100)
94. Caron Butler, SF, LAC (76)
95. Mo Williams, PG, LAC (93)
96. Wesley Matthews, SG/SF, POR (94)
97. Arron Afflalo, SG, DEN (98)
98. D.J. Augustin, PG, CHA (95)
99. Wilson Chandler, SF/SG, RFA (96)
100. Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG, DET (97)
101. Andre Miller, PG, DEN (99)
102. Jason Richardson, SG, ORL (102)
103. Gerald Henderson, SG, CHA (108)
104. Andrea Bargnani, C/PF, TOR (101)
105. Mario Chalmers, PG, MIA (106)
106. Devin Harris, PG, UTAH (125)
107. Elton Brand, PF, PHI (110)
108. Andray Blatche, PF, WSH (NR)
109. Jameer Nelson, PG, ORL (112)
110. Trevor Ariza, SF/SG, NO (107)
111. Jason Kidd, PG, DAL (109)
112. Hedo Turkoglu, SF, ORL (114)
113. Kemba Walker, PG, CHA (73)
114. Samuel Dalembert, C, HOU (111)
115. J.R. Smith, SG/SF, NY (92)
116. Boris Diaw, PF/SF/C, CHA (115)
117. Thaddeus Young, SF/PF, PHI (NR)
118. Randy Foye, SG/PG, LAC (118)
119. James Johnson, SF/PF, TOR (119)
120. Anderson Varejao, PF/C, CLE (121)
121. Kenneth Faried, PF, DEN (NR)
122. Shawn Marion, SF/PF, DAL (123)
123. Carlos Delfino, SF/SG, MIL (122)
124. Iman Shumpert, PG/SG, NY (NR)
125. Nick Young, SG, WSH (88)
126. Tayshaun Prince, SF, DET (127)
127. Luke Ridnour, PG, MIN (NR)
128. Raymond Felton, PG, POR (116)
129. Tony Allen, SG, MEM (128)
130. Bismack Biyombo, PF, CHA (129)

5.7: Steals plus blocks plus 3-pointers per game for Portland's Nicolas Batum in February. Taking advantage of increased minutes, Batum has averaged 17.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.6 blocks and 2.5 3-pointers in 12 February games. There simply aren't many players in the league who can offer this type of multicategorical goodness. In fact, Batum and Kevin Durant are the only two players who are averaging 1/1/1 in steals, blocks and 3s on the season.

7: Double-doubles for Kevin Garnett in his past nine games. Who would have thought that aging players like KG, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash would be so productive in this 66-game condensed season? Garnett looks as healthy as he's been in years, and his trademark intensity is as high as it's ever been. With their lack of frontcourt depth, the Celtics will need KG to continue to play at this pace to move up in the Eastern Conference standings, unless they want to match up with Chicago or Miami in the first round of the playoffs. Adding to his value, fantasy owners should also take note that Garnett just recently became center-eligible in ESPN.com leagues.

.336: Ricky Rubio's shooting percentage in 15 games during February. Rubio still managed to stay incredibly useful as a fantasy player with averages of 10.0 points, 7.7 assists, 2.4 steals and 0.9 3-pointers on the month, but his shooting woes are a real concern for his owners. While there is a possibility that Rubio has hit the dreaded rookie wall, now is as good a time as any to jump on the opportunity to buy low on the 21-year-old.

.439: Amare Stoudemire's field goal percentage in his past 10 games. I was holding out hope that Jeremy Lin would help Amare get back to his old ways, but the more I see him taking shots from the free throw line extended, the less hopeful I become. With 5.9 of his 15.0 shots per game coming from 16-plus feet away from the basket, Stoudemire is going to have a hard time getting back to his old scoring ways, even with Lin running the point. What's particularly concerning about Amare's shot selection is that he's simply not very efficient from that distance, shooting well below 40 percent for the season.

.385: Dorell Wright's shooting percentage in the month of February. Here we go again. Between Wright, Channing Frye and Samuel Dalembert, I'm not sure who's been the most frustrating fantasy player this season. After averaging 11.2 points, 1.1 steals and 2.0 3-pointers in January, Wright slumped to the tune of 9.9 points, 0.6 steals and 1.6 3-pointers in February. I don't blame owners for dropping Wright given the way he's been playing, but keep in mind that he's a streaky player and he'll likely get hot again before the end of the season.

21.3: Minutes per game for Kemba Walker in three games since Gerald Henderson's return. Walker was able to maintain much of his value when D.J. Augustin returned, but he hasn't been as lucky now that Henderson is back in action. With so few minutes, Kemba is going to have a hard time producing for fantasy owners at the moment, but not all hope is lost. With a 4-31 record, odds are that the Bobcats will want to give Walker increased minutes toward the end of the season.

19: 3-pointers for Jordan Crawford in his past 10 games. With Nick Young struggling (and now on the shelf with a knee injury), Crawford has caught fire to average 18.4 points, 0.8 steals and 1.9 3-pointers in his past 10 contests. For now, it appears that Crawford has won the starting shooting guard spot in Washington even after Young returns, but let's not get carried away with Crawford's value. He's a similar player to Young in that he'll score and hit his 3-pointers, but his fantasy value won't extend much further than points and 3s.

4.9: Offensive rebounds per game for Ersan Ilyasova in February. Ilyasova has always been a terrific rebounder, but he's finally getting his first real audition with extended minutes in the NBA. With Andrew Bogut likely lost for the season, Ilyasova should continue to earn 30-plus minutes per game for the Bucks. He's averaged a versatile 11.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.5 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers in 17 starts this season, but has been even more impressive as of late, and he looks primed for a big finish to the season.

56.5: Percent of free throws Andre Iguodala made in February. Iguodala was once a solid free throw shooter earlier in his career, but his three-year trend of declining free throw percentages is quite alarming. Now shooting 60.6 percent on the season, AI2 is becoming a major liability in the free throw department. Thankfully, he still averaged a versatile 12.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.1 3-pointers in 15 February games.

4: Double-doubles for Nuggets rookie Kenneth Faried in his past eight games. With 10.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks over his past 10 games, Faried has taken advantage of injuries to Nene and Danilo Gallinari to become a force in the Nuggets' frontcourt. His game reminds me a lot of a young Paul Millsap, and while his value will undoubtedly suffer once Nene returns to action, Faried definitely has a bright future in the league.

15: 3-point field goal attempts for Miami's Dwyane Wade on the season. After averaging 1.9 3-point attempts per game for his career, Wade has almost exclusively moved his offensive repertoire inside the 3-point line this season. Just a 29.0 percent shooter from downtown for his career, fantasy owners shouldn't mind the lack of 3s, as his field goal percentage should remain near 50 percent, which is obscenely high for a shooting guard.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com and was named the Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2011. 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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