After each month of the NBA season we will compile our NBA All-Fantasy teams comprised of the top fantasy performers at each position along with a few honorable mentions that might break into the starting lineup next month.
For this month’s Western Conference All Fantasy Team there is little change as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, David Lee and Tim Duncan all remained top fantasy dogs for a second month running. The only new comer is James Harden who managed to bump Russell Westbrook out of the starting lineup.
The Western conference is an incredibly deep talent pool. There is no question that the guard play here is far superior as Chris Paul and Westbrook both couldn’t crack the All-Fantasy starting five. The competition elsewhere is also tight as one bad month could easily vault Blake Griffin into the lineup.
The player rankings used are from ESPN.com Fantasy Sports and are based on a fantasy point per game production.
Here is the December edition of the NBA All-Fantasy Team for the Western Conference.
Kobe Bryant – LA Lakers
Kobe continues to dominate on-court competition and fantasy leagues alike. After a stellar month of November Kobe followed it up with an even better month of December. Despite previously averaging a gaudy 27 ppg he managed to increase by a whopping 6 ppg to a ridiculous December scoring average of 33.8 ppg. What is even better news for fantasy owners is that since Steve Nash’s return Bryant does not have to work as hard to get off his shots and in return he is posting considerably better field goal percentages. The rebounding and assists numbers are constant, the scoring is way up and now the accuracy is up; Bryant is solidifying his status as a fantasy stud.
James Harden – Houston Rockets
James Harden had himself an incredible month of December; he not only leads the highest scoring offense in the league he posted a stat line of 27.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 5.2 apg and 2 stl per game. As if that wasn’t enough the real bright spot for Harden owners is that his free throw attempts per game are reaching ridiculous heights. His aggressiveness around the basket is being rewarded with more than 10 free throw attempts per game; this parallels many of the league’s best players in terms of superstar-calls.
Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
It seems like the competitive level of play in the Western conference is positively affecting everyone. Add Kevin Durant to the list of players who managed to raise their game that little bit extra despite no one thinking there was that kind of room for improvement. How does an MVP candidate raise the stakes? By posting 31 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 3.7 apg over an entire month. If Harden and Bryant keep raising the bar, just how high will Durant take it?
David Lee – Golden State Warriors
If you were surprised by David Lee’s appearance on the first edition then don’t be by his second. If you still don’t own David Lee, stop right now and go buy him or put together a trade for him because he is a tremendous value. I thought that maybe his November stats were sustainable; I didn’t realistically think that they would get better. Well, get better they did as Lee put up 22.6 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 3.4 apg while shooting at a .575 clip. With production like this I expect Lee to be making many more appearances here on our All-Fantasy team.
Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs
Mr. Fundamental is also proving to be Mr. Consistency as Duncan is maintaining solid fantasy production as the season wears on. The December numbers aren’t as good as November’s; however, they remain better than Dwight Howard and Al Jefferson’s. Biggest difference between these three is the free throw shooting. Duncan is shooting them at a .869 clip for the month; those extra makes add up to easy points.
Chris Paul – LA Clippers
Boy it is tough getting some fantasy respect as a MVP candidate and perennial All-Star in the Western conference. Here is one of those occasions where reality and fantasy sports cross paths and don’t see eye to eye. In reality Chris Paul is probably the most valuable player on one of the league’s best teams. In fantasy terms he is hanging onto an honorable mention spot by a thread in the ultra-competitive Western conference.
Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder
Durant wasn’t the only Oklahoma City Thunder player to improve on a stellar November; Westbrook put the finishing touches on a great 2012 by bumping his stats for December. Westbrook is pushing James Harden pretty hard with his December stat line of 22.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 8.8 apg and 2.2 stl per game.
Blake Griffin – LA Clippers
In completing an undefeated month of December, Blake Griffin raised his game and produced some wicked fantasy stats. I don’t want to sound greedy because these days I’m buying whatever it is that Griffin is selling; however if those pesky free throws could be hit with more regularity then the scoring average would swell to over 20 a night easily.