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Who was the MVP of fantasy basketball this year?

Determining who was the most valuable player this year based on ADP.

Getty Images/USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Who do you think was the most valuable fantasy basketball player this season? Before we can answer that, we have to define our terms. What does “most valuable” mean in this column?

James Harden ended the regular season as the #1 player in ESPN basic fantasy, so he was the “best” fantasy player this season.

Nikola Vucevic ended the regular season as the #10 player on the ESPN Player Rater (again, basic), and he had the highest (worst) Average Draft Position (“ADP”), 52nd overall, of the top 10 players, so he was the “cheapest” top 10 player this season. (No other top 10 player had an ADP past 30th.)

Terrence Ross ended the regular season as the #74 player on the player rater, and his ADP was 300(!), so he outperformed his ADP by the largest margin of the top 75 players; he was the most surprising top 75 player of the season.

Which one is the most valuable, though?

For the purposes of this column, we’ll consider “valuable” as players who outperformed their ADP by at least 10 spots. For example, Paul George was drafted as the 17th best player, but ended the season as the #4 player on the player rater. He outperformed his ADP by 13 slots, but that’s still nothing compared to Vooch’s beating his ADP by 42 slots. You’d probably rather have PG13 (28.6 points per game, third in the NBA this season) than Vooch (20 and 12 this year), though, so is Vucevic really more valuable than Paul George?

Beauty, and value, are in the eye of the beholder. Below are the players who beat their ADP by at least 10 spots (we’re only looking at the top 75 on the player rater). I’ll let you know who I consider the MVP at the end of the list, so you can make your own judgment without any influence from yours truly.

Players in the Top 75 in ESPN Basic (Player Name: Player Rating, Average Draft Position)

  • Paul George: Finished 4, ADP 17
  • Bradley Kind of a Big Beal: Finished 9, ADP 27
  • Nikola Vucevic: Finished 10, ADP 52
  • Kemba Walker: Finished 11, ADP 23
  • Rudy Gobert: Finished 15, ADP 41
  • Tobias Harris: FInished 17, ADP 45
  • Buddy Hield: Finished 21, ADP 84
  • Brook Lopez: Finished 22, ADP 114
  • D’Angelo Russell: Finished 24, ADP 75
  • Pascal Siakam: Finished 25, ADP 96
  • Myles Turner: Finished 27, ADP 74
  • Klay Thompson: Finished 29, ADP 46 (which is ABSOLUTELY CRAZY, GET REAL, HE’S KLAY THOMPSON)
  • Mike Conley: Finished 31, ADP 49
  • Jusuf Nurkic: Finished 32, ADP 69
  • Trae Young: Finished 33, ADP 67
  • De’Aaron Fox: Finished 36, ADP 57
  • Danilo Cincinnatus Gallinari: Finished 37, ADP 79
  • Eric Bledsoe: Finished 38, ADP 62
  • Montrezl Harrell: Finished 46, ADP 109
  • JaVale McGee: Finished 48, ADP 137
  • Jeremy Lamb: Finished 51, ADP 125 (BTW: Lamb just had his best season, he’s only 26 years old, keep an eye on him this offseason, and remember him in drafts next year.)
  • Joe Ingles: Finished 53, ADP 122 (Consistently underrated by fantasy folks.)
  • Serge Ibaka: Finished 54, ADP 102
  • Jarrett Allen: Finished 58, ADP 94
  • Bojan Bogdanovic: Finished 60, ADP 131
  • Thad Young: Finished 61, ADP 143
  • Darren Collison: Finished 62, ADP 127 (These three ratings are based on Victor Oladipo getting injured and missing the majority of the season, so don’t read too much into it.)
  • JJ Redick: Finished 63, ADP 123
  • Josh Richardson: Finished 65, ADP 105
  • Jerami Grant: Finished 69, ADP 106
  • Marcus Smart: Finished 70, ADP 151
  • Derrick Favors: Finished 71, ADP 100
  • Danny Green: Finished 72, ADP 167
  • Terrence Ross: Finished 73, ADP 300
  • DJ Augustin: Finished 75, ADP 99

For me, the MVP of fantasy basketball is obviously Brook Lopez, Center for the Milwaukee Bucks. He is the only top 25 player who was drafted outside of the top 100. He was also 3rd in blocks value on the player rater, and top 20 in three pointers made (more than Kyrie Irving), AND he had the lowest ownership percentage (64%) in the top 50. Collin Sexton was drafted before BroLo (and has a higher ownership), and Rodney Hood was drafted right after, which shows you how Lopez was valued prior to the season.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments.