This article is part of our Numbers Game series.
The starting lineups for the NBA All-Star game were announced this week, though they curiously forgot to include Russell Westbrook. With all the All-Star excitement brewing, what better way to participate then by figuring out who would headline the Fantasy All-Star team? And, since this is Numbers Game, we'll use some math to determine our lineups.
Some Ground Rules
Guideline One: Real basketball is a 5-on-5 game, so the All-Star team picks five starters from each conference. Fantasy basketball is usually a 9-on-9 (or, for roto 9-on-9-on-9-etc) game, so we're taking 18 players.
Guideline Two: In the real All-Star game, talented players frequently get shut out because their teams are underperforming (see Kemba Walker, Hassan Whiteside in 2016, Carmelo Anthony in 2015, etc). Similarly, Fantasy All-Stars have to be more than just the most productive players this season – anyone can check out our rankings and read off the top 18 names. Fantasy All-Stars have to be players who are leading successful rosters. LeBron James and Karl-Anthony Towns are having great seasons, but they are not performing at a level needed to justify their early first-round selections. As a result, in most leagues teams with those two are struggling. Our format will punish players for underperforming compared to their cost, and reward players who were cheaply acquired.
Guideline Three: Since conferences are irrelevant to fantasy sports, we will ignore them. In their place will be consideration of categories – each of the nine standard categories must have at