Over the past decade, Dirk Nowitzki has been one of the NBA's most dominant big men and an elite player on the offensive end of the court. He has also been a perennial top-10, if not top-five, fantasy force. Chris Bosh
can't match Dirk's longevity, but the Raptors' star is extremely consistent from season to season and is only 25. Which one would you rather have on fantasy basketball teams in 2009-10?
Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavericks (by Danny Goldin)
Come on Cory, you're really going to take Bosh
in this argument? Nowitzki is as sure of a thing as they come in fantasy basketball, a man who has provided first-round production for nine years in a row; call him the Peyton Manning of the hoops world. The dependability that Dirk brings to the table is invaluable, and the reason why I'll clearly take him over Bosh.
Looking at the statistics, a lot of the categories between the two are pretty much washes. Field goal percentage, blocks, steals, assists, and turnovers are all too close between the two power forwards to give either one an edge. Sure, Bosh
has the edge in rebounds, but not by much - only about one to 1.5 a game. Nowitzki trumps his disadvantage in that category in a major way with his dominance over Bosh
in the other three; Nowitzki will knock down one three-pointer a game, while Bosh
will rarely venture outside of the arc, Nowitzki will average a good two to three more points per game than Bosh, and finally, Nowitzki should shoot a significant 5-to-10 points higher from the free throw line.
I also hope that Cory ignores the age factor, because, while Bosh
is obviously younger, Dirk still has at least two or three prime years left at 31, and Dirk has been the far more durable of the two. Bosh
has been a bit brittle in his young career; he played 77 games last season, but prior to that, hadn't made through more than 70 for three years in a row. Dirk, on the other hand, has missed a mere 22 games the past 10 seasons. He's also been involved in the playoffs nearly every year of his career, but has shown the resilience to play nearly every night.
Sure, the Mavericks have a few extra guys like Shawn Marion and Drew Gooden that could put a slight damper on Dirk's numbers, but the same can be said about Bosh
with Hedo Turkoglu and Jarrett Jack arriving in Toronto. In the end, Dirk's durability, as well as his three-category edge to Bosh's one, give him what in my mind is the clear lead in value heading into this season.
Chris Bosh, F/C, Raptors
(by Cory Elfrink)
This will be the first season that Bosh
surpasses Dirk in terms of fantasy value and there are a number of reasons aside from the facts that the Raptor is entering his prime and that Nowitzki turned 31 this summer. Both power forwards hold player options on their contracts following this season (though Nowitzki seems less likely to opt out of the $21+ million that he is due), so there are financial motivators for each of them. These All-Stars are very similar in defensive production, field goal shooting, turnovers, and assists so most of this discussion comes down position eligibility, scoring, rebounding, and three-pointers.
Both players are the cornerstones of franchises that went through significant changes this offseason, but while the Raptors
moves figure to enhance Bosh's production, adding Drew Gooden and Shawn Marion to the Mavericks will make a negative impact on Nowitzki's fantasy value. Dirk's rebounding should decline for the fifth straight season, and he is also coming off a campaign in which he hit a 10-year low of 61 three-pointers. Expect his scoring to regress back towards his 22.7 career average, as well.
The Raptors, on the other hand, brought in an additional playmaker in Hedo Turkoglu and committed to Andrea Bargnani
as their starting center. Bosh
was the first and second option on offense last season in Toronto and opponents knew it. With Turkoglu in town and Bargnani
developing, teams will no longer be able to consistently double-team the Georgia Tech product. Also, Bargnani
is a perimeter player, allowing Bosh
to pile up the boards underneath the basket. A second straight season of double-digit rebounds is a given.
This is certainly a close call. I think these two will score a similar amount of points while Bosh
will hold a significant edge in rebounds and Nowitzki will get the nod in three-pointers. The decision-breaker for me is this - Bosh
is eligible at center while Nowitzki is not. The winner here is Bosh.