In fantasy basketball, the biggest mistake anyone (and everyone) makes is over-hyping certain players. Men that fall into this category aren't necessarily bad players, but they aren't exactly people that qualify as the main foundations of a fantasy franchise. In other cases, these players just have limited fantasy value. As I've mentioned before, one's approach to drafting a fantasy team should be to have players who can contribute in multiple ways and not just light up one particular statistic.
That said, this year's fantasy draft season is going to have some one-time fantasy greats who may very well find themselves on the outside looking in. Once great picks, their stock has now fallen to the point where drafting them could just be to fill a roster spot rather than to be a solid team member.
One name that I'm convinced will drop in stock this year is Pau Gasol, whose role with the new-look Los Angeles Lakers seems unclear now that Steve Nash and Dwight Howard are in the starting lineup with him. Unless coach Mike Brown employs a run-and-gun style offense, the 7'0" Spaniard's production could drop.
Of course, Gasol isn't the only one-time fantasy stud who will probably lose stock come draft day.
2011-2012 Stats: 17.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG, .501 FG%
Now, out of all of the people who will be mentioned on this list, Gasol is the one whose stock will probably drop the least. No matter how you look at it, he is a fine scorer and good rebounder when he chooses to get his hands dirty under the basket.
Yet, Gasol's role with the Lakers for the upcoming season just seems unclear. For the past few seasons, the offensive approach was to let him and teammate Kobe Bryant take care of most of the scoring, with everyone else on the team chipping in here and there. This season, however, is going to be much different.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak turned the team into the top contenders in the ultra-competitive Western Conference by signing free-agent point guard Steve Nash to a three-year deal and then trading for All-Star center Dwight Howard. That gives the Lakers four players in the starting lineup capable of averaging 15 points per game or more.
Thus, seeing as how Nash has one of the most accurate scoring touches in the NBA and how Howard is a monster in the middle, just how much can Gasol contribute? He doesn't really need to be great on defense anymore, and unless coach Mike Brown employs a Mike D'Antoni-like run-and-gun offense, he could slowly become the odd man out on offense.
Nothing against Gasol, but it just seems like he's now a fantasy liability waiting to happen.
2011-2012 Stats: 18.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, .454 FG%, .388 3P%
Like Gasol, Johnson's fantasy stock probably won't drop that much. Still, seeing as how he's no longer on a team in which he is the star of the offense, it's probably best not to gamble on him.
Thanks to a trade on the eve of free agency, Johnson is now on the Brooklyn Nets and one of star point guard Deron Williams' go-to guys. Seeing as how Williams is a guard who can balance passing and scoring extremely well, not to mention the presence of high-scoring center Brook Lopez and valuable forward Gerald Wallace, it's hard to say just how much we'll be able to expect from Johnson.
Sure, he'll surely average double digits in scoring and be a great three-point threat, but that only counts for so much in fantasy. Those looking for him to be the type of player he was with Atlanta and Phoenix will be setting themselves up for disappointment.
2011-2012 Stats: 17.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, .403 FG%, .341 3P%
In the prime of his career, Jamison was a fantasy beast. He was a good scorer who could hold his own in the rebounding department, and on top of that, he was a lock to put up a good field-goal percentage. Yet, that's going to be all gone next season.
The sad truth is that Jamison is now 36 years old and no longer has the consistency required of a starter. He signed a one-year deal with the Lakers and will definitely come off the bench, probably as the sixth man.
Seeing as how Los Angeles now has a starting five that rivals that of the Miami Heat, don't be at all surprised if the former Tar Heel averages a career low in minutes per game.
2011-2012 Stats: 4.9 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 22.9 MPG
Camby has never been a prolific scorer over the course of his 16 NBA seasons, but his uncanny abilities to pull down rebounds and block shots made him a great player to have on a fantasy team during the prime of his career. However, as is the case with the aforementioned Antawn Jamison, Camby's age and role this season just don't make him worth the draft pick.
Sure, the former UMass Minuteman is still a fine rebounder and blocker, but he is going to be a backup center for the New York Knicks. More importantly, he is also one of the most injury-prone players in the league. With the amount of minutes he'll play each night unclear, Camby just isn't worth the draft pick.
Thus, unless you're absolutely desperate for rebounds and blocks in your draft, don't even bother gambling on him.
2011-2012 Stats: 11.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, .408 FG%, .368 3P%
When Richardson debuted in 2001, he quickly established himself as a fine scorer who could also hold his own from behind the three-point line. For his career, the former Michigan State Spartan has averaged 17.5 points per game while shooting a respectable 37 percent from downtown.
Yet, once he was traded from the fast-paced Phoenix Suns to the slow, defense-oriented Orlando Magic in 2010, his production dropped immensely. In a major case of the truth hurting the fans, Richardson proved to be little more than a glorified shooter, with half of his shots in Orlando coming from long range.
Fortunately, he'll get something of a fresh start this season, as the Dwight Howard trade ended up sending him to the Philadephia 76ers, where he is expected to start at shooting guard. Seeing as how coach Doug Collins employs a team-oriented system where no one player really outshines the other, Richardson will most likely continue to drown in mediocrity.
Save for three-point percentage, he doesn't really have much fantasy value.
2011-2012 Stats: 12.5 PPG, 2.4 RPG, .442 FG%, .429 3P%
Taken by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 3 pick in the 2004 draft, Gordon established himself as a talented scorer and three-point threat over the first five seasons of his career. In terms of fantasy value, his was through the roof, at least on offense.
Yet, after signing a contract with the Detroit Pistons in 2009, Gordon became little more than a shooter. To add insult to injury, his consistency deserted him, and he went from being a viable fantasy option to someone you draft just for a little extra help in the three-pointer department.
This season, Gordon's value couldn't be lower, as he is now a member of the Charlotte Bobcats, where he is expected to be the starting shooting guard. Unless rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist proves to be an absolute beast, Gordon is going to be shouldering most of the load on offense, which means taking lots of low-percentage shots and thus posting a low field-goal percentage. In fantasy terms, that means avoid drafting him at all costs.
2011-2012 Stats: 10.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, .411 FG%, .361 3P%
Sorry, fans, but the glory days of Vince Carter are over. Once a phenomenal scorer who could make a shot from seemingly anywhere on the court, the man once known as "Air Canada" is now nothing more than a three-point threat.
Sure, Carter may still have some gas left in the tank, but he's playing on a Dallas Mavericks team that has Dirk Nowitzki controlling the offense. Carter's role in that department is essentially one in which he shoots the ball only when wide open.
He may have a 21.4 PPG lifetime scoring average, but just let last season's numbers do the talking. The former Tar Heel put up career lows in all major offensive categories. At this point, I'd be surprised if he got drafted at all.
2011-2012 Stats: 15.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.0 BPG, .503 FG%
Garnett is not a bad player by any means, but at this point of his career, he is no longer a can't-miss fantasy pick. Not only is he getting old at age 36, but he is no longer the double-double machine and defensive beast that he was in the prime of his career.
Most important to note, however, is Garnett's difficulty at staying off of the trainer's table. The former first-round pick has yet to play a full 82-game season since the 2004-2005 campaign when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves. If you play in a league with weekly lineups as opposed to daily ones, this could prove to be a problem if you draft Garnett to be a starter.
Will he put up solid numbers next season? Most likely, yes. Is he worth drafting? In my opinion, not at all.
2011-2012 Stats: 6.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 0.4 BPG, .352 FG%, .252 3P%
In terms of fantasy stock dropping, last season was as bad as it could get and more for Lamar Odom. Seeing as how he was named Sixth Man of the Year for 2011, it was only natural that Dallas Mavericks fans expected nothing but greatness from the two-time NBA champion.
Unfortunately, Odom would get off to a slow start and never recover, posting career lows in every major category. He was even sent to the D-League at one point.
This season could very well be different, as Odom is back with the Los Angeles Clippers, the team with whom he became a household name. Yet, with another great sixth man in Jamal Crawford coming off the bench for the Clippers as well, it is unclear just how much playing time and what role Odom will serve.
That said, combined with last year's atrocious numbers, you can definitely mark Odom as someone to not even bother drafting, not even if you have the last overall pick.
2011-2012 Stats: 11.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.6 BPG, .494 FG%
After being drafted first overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1999, Brand became a triple-threat big man. Already blessed with great size, the former Duke Blue Devil proved to be a great scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. Those talents followed him to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2001, and it seemed that he was going to be at top form for a long time.
Then, after signing a lucrative five-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2008, Brand suddenly became a yearly victim of the injury bug. His scoring, rebounding and blocking skills have all greatly diminished as he is now on the old side of 33 years of age.
Seeing as how he will open the new season as a backup big man for the Dallas Mavericks, it's pretty easy to see why most fantasy managers won't want to touch him with a 10-foot pole on draft day.