Dwyane Wade and 5 Fantasy Basketball Stars Who Are in Decline

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIJanuary 3, 2013

Dwyane Wade and 5 Fantasy Basketball Stars Who Are in Decline

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    In fantasy basketball, it’s difficult to be disappointed with a guy who gets you a nightly 20, five and five—unless his name is Dwyane Wade. Wade is averaging 20.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists this season, but it feels like it isn’t enough.

    Last season, Wade put together a stat line of 22.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists. That doesn’t differ much from his numbers this year, but his defensive stats have majorly declined. Wade was known for otherworldly production in the blocks category from the fantasy backcourt, having swatted over 1.0 shots per game in each of his last four seasons entering the 2012-13 campaign—and 1.3 last year.

    He’s currently averaging 0.6; his steals are also down from 1.7 last in 2011-12 (and career) to 1.2.

    Whether his numbers are simply in a temporary—albeit, a bit prolonged—state of depression remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, though: He’s not alone.

    Five other guys have experienced even steeper declines on ESPN.com’s player rater when comparing their average ranks this season to their season total in 2011-12. Wade was the 27th-most valuable fantasy asset in the lockout-shortened NBA season. He’s 32nd this year in leagues that don’t count turnovers and 39th in leagues that do.

    All stats accurate as of games played prior to Jan. 3, 2013.

Paul Millsap, SF/PF, Utah Jazz

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    2012 Season Total Rank: 7

    2013 Season Average Rank: 81

    2013 Season Average Rank (TO leagues): 69

    Paul Millsap added the SF position to his eligibility this year, but that hasn’t balanced off the drop in value introduced by the dip in his numbers. In 2011-12, Millsap posted averages of 16.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.8 BPG and 1.8 SPG on 49.5 percent field-goal shooting and 79.2 percent from the line.

    He’s introduced the three-pointer to his game, knocking down 0.4 shots per game (0.1 last season), without too big a drop in his field-goal percentage (1.6 percent). However, his free-throw number has inexplicably taken a nosedive: Millsap’s free-throw percentage dropped from 79.2 to 71.1 over the course of an offseason.

    He’s even shooting more of them now.

    Millsap’s steals (1.8 to 1.0) and boards (8.8 to 7.5) have sunk along with his points (16.6 to 14.4) and minutes (32.8 to 30.0). It’s possible that he’s a buy-low candidate, in the event that the Utah Jazz break up their frontcourt logjam.

Steve Nash, PG, Los Angeles Lakers

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    2012 Season Total Rank: 8

    2013 Season Average Rank: 67

    2013 Season Average Rank (TO leagues): 73

    Steve Nash has barely played this season (seven games), so his averages have the greatest chance to fluctuate. His percentages are still stud-like, but carry even less weight than they have in the past as the star PG hasn’t shot fewer than the 8.3 field-goal attempts he’s averaging this season since 1999-2000.

    Nash’s assists (10.7 in 2011-12 to 8.0 in 2012-13), threes made (2.0 to 0.4) and points (12.5 to 10.0) are making him look like a completely different fantasy player—who isn’t as enticing as the mainstream idea of Nash’s fantasy game.

Pau Gasol, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers

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    2012 Season Total Rank: 6

    2013 Season Average Rank: 85

    2013 Season Average Rank (TO leagues): 84

    Pau Gasol’s once-fantastic percentages have plummeted in his 11th season. Considering that they—along with his assists, which have experienced a slight bump—were his fantasy fingerprint from the PF/C spots, Gasol’s shooting woes are problematic.

    He is a career 51.8 percent shooter, but connecting on just 41.7 percent of his shots from the field this season. Gasol’s free throws were dropping at least 78 percent of the time in each of his last six campaigns, but have declined to a rate of just 74.7 percent this time around.

    His boards have also declined from 10.4 to 8.7 per night since last year; his points have gone down from 17.4 to 12.7.

Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    2012 Season Total Rank: 5

    2013 Season Average Rank: 100

    2013 Season Average Rank (TO leagues): 116

    Kevin Love is rebounding at an even higher rate than he did last year. It’s a good thing, too—because his fantasy scoring prowess has imploded. In 39.0 minutes per game in 2011-12, he pulled down 13.3 boards while scoring 26.0 PPG on 44.8 percent shooting from the field and 82.4 from the line.

    In 2012-13, Love is averaging 13.8 rebounds in just 34.9 minutes a night. However, he’s scoring just 18.7 PPG because of fewer shots overall, more three-point attempts and worse percentages across the board. In 17 games, Love is shooting an awful 35.4 percent from the field, a putrid 22.2 percent from deep on 5.3 shots per game and a disappointing 70.1 percent from the line.

    He missed the beginning of the regular season with a broken hand, so hope remains that he’ll get over his shooting woes as the year progresses. Love’s a buy-low candidate.

Ty Lawson, PG/SG, Denver Nuggets

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    2012 Season Total Rank: 19

    2013 Season Average Rank: 104

    2013 Season Average Rank (TO leagues): 140

    Ty Lawson’s fantasy game is perhaps the most disappointing of the players on this list. He was expected to bring a monster fantasy effort in 2012-13 after posting promising splits post-All-Star break: 50.1% FG, 40.7% 3FG, 84.5% FT, 17.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG and 2.5 TOPG in 35.6 MPG.

    He’s now shooting career lows—by far—across the board. Lawson’s PPG has dropped from 16.4 in 2011-12 to 13.6 in 2012-13. His assists (6.6 to 6.9) and steals (1.3 to 1.6) have experienced a slight bump, but so have his turnovers (2.4 to 2.8).

    Lawson is shooting 40.8 percent from the field, which is about as well as he was converting from distance in the season’s final couple of months last year. He’s hitting 30.8 percent from deep in 2012-13, which is disappointing for a guard who’s averaging 37.4 percent for his career.

    Somehow, his free-throw percentage stopped rising (from 75.7 percent in his rookie season to 82.4 last year) and crashed in the opposite direction during 2012-13: Lawson’s charity conversion percentage is a mere 69.2.

     

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