NBA Big Board: Karl-Anthony Towns continues to climb

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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 03: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Los Angeles Clippers and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves battle for a loose ball during the second half of a game at Staples Center on February 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Clippers

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 03: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Los Angeles Clippers and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves battle for a loose ball during the second half of a game at Staples Center on February 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Big Board takes into consideration past returns, current performance and expected future gains in determining who should be included among the top 50 fantasy basketball players. Essentially, the Big Board is a cheat sheet designed for a fantasy owner who is planning to participate in a draft today. Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball default scoring settings are used as the baseline for the Big Board

Big Board 50: Basketball

1. Stephen Curry (GSW)

G

+1

The clear No. 1 player despite sitting out 14 fourth quarters thanks to blowouts. Curry is on pace to hit 382 three pointers this season. The most in NBA history is 286.

2. Kevin Durant (OKC)

F

+5

He’s fully back, which is huge considering just how serious his injury was last season.

3. Anthony Davis (NOR)

F

-2

New Orleans has been one of the bigger disappointing teams in the NBA, and AD continues to deal with durability issues, but he’s still a top-three fantasy option.

4. Russell Westbrook (OKC)

G

0

Leads the NBA in Usage Rate and has the most triple doubles (19) since the beginning of last year by a wide margin.

5. James Harden (HOU)

G

-2

Has been considered something of a let down, but his 27.8 ppg are actually a career-high.

6. Chris Paul (LAC)

G

-1

Has been a monster ever since Blake Griffin went down, and the latter is out for the next two months with an ugly hand injury.

7. LeBron James (CLE)

F

-1

Still remains the man. His Usage Rate and PER are both Top-5.

8. Kawhi Leonard (SAS)

G

+3

There’s a strong claim he’s the second best player in the NBA right now.

9. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)

C

+70

He’s the real deal and has a legit argument to be the No. 1 pick if starting a franchise today.

10. Kyle Lowry (TOR)

G

+12

Showing up in “the best shape of his life” has really paid off here.

11. Paul Millsap (ATL)

F

+3

Just continues to keep getting it done.

12. Paul George (IND)

F

+11

Has struggled shooting but should still be a top-15 option down the stretch, even if his role in Indiana isn’t quite the same.

13. Hassan Whiteside (MIA)

C

+31

Has been a top-12 player despite seeing just 28.3 mpg and owning a 54.9 FT%. Leading the league in blocks (3.9) by a wide margin (next closest is 2.5) sure helps.

14. Draymond Green (GSW)

F

+11

Still leads the NBA in triple-doubles with 10.

15. John Wall (WAS)

G

-5

Averaging career-highs in ppg (20.0), spg (2.1) and 3pt (1.5).

16. DeMarcus Cousins (SAC)

F

-8

Has shot 38.2 percent from the floor over the past two weeks but should be an elite option from here on out. He leads the NBA in field goal attempts per game.

17. Damian Lillard (POR)

G

-8

Only Stephen Curry has attempted more three pointers per game than Lillard this season.

18. Al Horford (ATL)

C

+3

Continues to shoot more threes than ever while also getting the most bpg (1.5) in his career.

19. Klay Thompson (GSW)

G

-7

Has been the No. 2 player over the past two weeks.

20. Rudy Gobert (UTH)

C

0

Hasn’t totally lived up to the hype, but he should be a force down the stretch. He’s averaged 2.3 spg and 2.7 blocks over the past week while playing with a knee brace.

21. Pau Gasol (CHI)

F

+6

Continues to defy expectations, and injuries to Chicago’s frontcourt help secure Gasol’s value.

22. Kyrie Irving (CLE)

G

+10

Hasn’t been close to this ranking so far this season but is rounding into form coming off the knee injury. Irving has been a top-20 player over the past two weeks.

23. Kemba Walker (CHA)

G

+20

After never being a top-30 player, Walker has ranked No. 16 so far in 2015/16.

24. Nerlens Noel (PHI)

F

+11

After a slow start, Noel has been a top-20 player over the past two months, when he’s averaged 1.9 spg and 2.0 bpg.

25. Brook Lopez (BKN)

C

+11

Has been a top-25 player each of the past two seasons and continues to do so this year.

26. Chris Bosh (MIA)

F

+5

In a major shooting slump, but Bosh should be fine moving forward.

27. Derrick Favors (UTH)

F

+12

He’s back after missing 16 games with an injury and is slowly rounding into his previous form, recently rejoining the starting lineup.

28. Nikola Vucevic (ORL)

F

-4

Rebounds remain down, but his 1.1 bpg are a career high.

29. Kevin Love (CLE)

F

-3

Has thrived under new coach Tyronn Lue, as Love has been a top-15 player over the past two weeks.

30. Carmelo Anthony (NYK)

F

-13

There’s legitimate concern over his health in the long term.

31. Greg Monroe (MIL)

C

+16

Continues to thrive in Milwaukee, although there’s some concern he may be traded.

32. Marc Gasol (MEM)

C

-17

Currently dealing with a foot injury.

33. Rudy Gay (SAC)

F

0

Has been a top-15 player over the last month.

34. Isaiah Thomas (BOS)

G

+19

Has a higher Usage Rate than Kevin Durant this season.

35. C.J. McCollum (POR)

G

+58

Continues to be one of the league’s biggest breakout stars this season.

36. Serge Ibaka (OKC)

F

-17

One of the bigger disappointments of the year, Ibaka hasn’t been a top-75 player over the past month.

37. Victor Oladipo (ORL)

G

0

After a rough start to the year, the third-year player has been a top-40 player over the last month. Much better things are sure to come.

38. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)

G

+23

Would love more threes, and he’s slumped at the line of late, but obviously this is a future star.

39. Danilo Gallinari (DEN)

F

+33

Has been a top-25 player over his last 25 games.

40. Jae Crowder (BOS)

F

+139

A huge revelation, Crowder will go down as possibly the biggest steal in drafts this year.

41. Marcin Gortat (WAS)

C

+30

Has remained steady during a hugely disappointing season in Washington.

42. Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)

C

+130

This ranking might actually be too low. He’s exceeded all expectations.

43. LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)

F

-25

Has been a top-20 player over the last month despite seeing fewer than 30 minutes per game. Aldridge is becoming comfortable in San Antonio.

44. DeMar DeRozan (TOR)

G

+18

Toronto has a bottom five Pace in the NBA, yet its Offensive Efficiency is top-six.

45. Gordon Hayward (UTH)

G

-17

Has averaged career-highs in ppg (19.8), rpg (5.1) and 3pt (1.8). Utah has by far the lowest Pace in the league.

46. Dirk Nowitzki (DAL)

F

+13

Crazy good longevity.

47. Chandler Parsons (DAL)

F

+5

He’s officially over his offseason knee surgery. Parsons has been the No. 27 ranked player over the past month.

48. Reggie Jackson (DET)

G

-6

His Usage Rate has been top-10 in the NBA.

49. Rajon Rondo (SAC)

G

+45

Leads the league in assists with 11.9 per game. The next closest is 10.0.

50. Jimmy Butler (CHI)

G

-37

Leads the NBA in mpg and has been a top-10 player but will be sidelined for the next three-to-four weeks with a knee injury.

Note: "vs. ECR" compares my rank to the Expert Consensus Rank (ECR) as compiled by FantasyPros.

ON THE BUBBLE: Nicolas Batum, GF, Charlotte; Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota; Mike Conley, PG, Memphis; DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles; Khris Middleton, GF, Milwaukee; Dwight Howard, C, Houston; Otto Porter, SF, Washington; Nikola Jokic, C, Denver; Thaddeus Young, F, Brooklyn; Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto; Brandon Knight, G, Phoenix; Trevor Ariza, GF, Houston; Will Barton, GF, Denver; J.J. Redick, SG, Los Angeles; Kent Bazemore, GF, Atlanta; Ryan Anderson, FC, New Orleans; Gorgui Dieng, FC, Minnesota; Avery Bradley, G, Boston; George Hill, G, Indiana; Jeff Teague, PG, Atlanta

 

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