2010 Fantasy Basketball: 10 Busts To Avoid in Your NBA Draft
The first rule of fantasy basketball is that on-court success doesn't always translate into fantasy success.
Often, some of the big names, who are great NBA players, don't put up all of the stats across the board required to be great fantasy players. Or, sometimes the problem is that the player, who has been good in the past, has been affected by a transaction that looks to negatively influence their statistical output.
The big-name status or past performances of such players can have a tendency to mislead fantasy owners and analysts into believing that they are more valuable than they, in fact, are.
The result of this is that many players become drastically overrated (with regard to ESPN and Yahoo rankings), causing people to reach for them on draft day.
By avoiding these 10 busts, and by paying careful attention to detail, such a draft-day disaster may be prevented, helping you to take the first step toward a fantasy championship.
(For more fantasy draft advice, check out the 10 Sleepers to Target in Your Draft.)
No.10: Steve Nash
Over the past decade, Steve Nash has won two MVPs, played in seven All-Star Games, and been one of the most accomplished players in the NBA.
So why is he on this list?
Well, entering the 2010-11 NBA season, Nash is 36 years old (and will be turning 37 in February), and although athleticism isn't a huge part of his game, his body is aging, and he will soon begin to see his skills diminish.
Yet, that still isn't the primary reason as to why he will be a bust.
When Amar'e Stoudemire departed from the Phoenix Suns via free agency this summer, Nash effectively lost the receiving end of a significant portion of his assists.
What's more, the Suns acquired Hedo Turkoglu, a forward who thrives with the ball in his hands. Turkoglu will likely see a decent amount of time handling the rock, which means less time for Nash.
Lastly, backup point guard Goran Dragic came into his own last season, efficiently filling his role behind Nash. As a result, he will likely see more time in 2010-11, especially since Phoenix will likely seek to give their future point some more experience.
Consequently, this season Nash should probably see a big drop in his scoring, steals and assist totals, which means that his ranking 11 by ESPN and 29 by Yahoo are likely a bit too high.
He will still put up numbers as one of the better point guards in the league, while contributing high shooting percentages, but he's no longer worthy of a pick in the first or second round.
No. 9: Jason Kidd
Much like Steve Nash, Jason Kidd is another point guard who will soon begin to feel the devastating effects of aging.
At 37 years old and with nearly 1,200 games played, Kidd is among the oldest players in the league.
Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that he will soon begin a drastic decline.
Additionally, he also has a talented young guard waiting behind him.
However, the guard behind Kidd, Rodrigue Beaubois, is a far more talented and potential-laden prospect than Nash's backup.
As a result, the Dallas Mavericks will likely try to start working Beaubois into the lineup—largely at expense of Kidd.
So with age taking its toll and a young gun taking his minutes, it's likely that Kidd won't warrant a selection worthy of his 13 and 16 rankings by ESPN and Yahoo, respectively.
So at this point, Kidd is still a solid fantasy contributor, due to his overwhelming versatility. However, this isn't the same J-Kidd as in years past, so be wary of targeting him with an early round draft pick.
No. 8: Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose is one of the best young players in all of the NBA, however, he is a prime example of why on-court success doesn't always translate to the fantasy realm.
His lack of threes, steals and blocks, coupled with his average free-throw percentage, drastically hold him back as a fantasy contributor.
And even though he was reported to have been spending a lot of time working on his shot during the offseason, he has experienced little three-point shooting success thus far in the preseason, illustrating that he has not yet made any significant strides.
He is a prime candidate for a fantasy draft reach because he is such great NBA player, but since he only really contributes points and assists, his ESPN ranking of 53 and Yahoo ranking of 50 may be a little too high.
You may love Derrick Rose's game all you want, but don't expect much out of him on your fantasy team.
No. 7: Manu Ginobili
Unlike Derrick Rose, Manu Ginobili can contribute across the board for a fantasy team.
So, as a good and versatile player, why is Ginobili a bust?
Well, the veteran Argentinian has a history of injury problems, averaging only 59.5 games and about 28 minutes per game during the past two seasons.
Furthermore, the only reason that Ginobili's numbers were boosted in 2009-10 was due to Tony Parker's absence. Now that Tony Parker is back and entering a contract year, he will likely dominate the ball a bit more, meaning fewer touches for Manu.
Consequently, this has resulted in Ginobili becoming overvalued, with ESPN and Yahoo rankings of 56 and 35.
Although he will still contribute some scoring, assists, threes, steals and free-throw percentage to your fantasy squad, his limited minutes and touches will cause his numbers to not be high enough to outweigh his risk of injury.
No. 6: Chauncey Billups
After averaging only 5.6 assists, the lowest since his 2003-04, Denver Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups is still ranked at 18 and 19 by ESPN and Yahoo, respectively.
However, with sophomore stud Ty Lawson breathing down his neck, Billups could see that number fall again.
Furthermore, with Carmelo Anthony, Al Harrington, J.R. Smith and Lawson all providing some of the scoring punch, it's possible that Billups could see his scoring role (he put up a career high 19.6 points per game in 2009-10) diminish as well.
And if the hype ends up being true and Anthony is traded this season, Billups could become the primary target of opposing defenses, resulting in a drop from his already-dismal field goal percentage of 41.8 last season.
He still will contribute threes, steals and an amazing 90-plus percent free-throw shooting, but Billups' ranking is still a stretch.
No. 5: Corey Maggette
During the offseason, Corey Maggette made some headlines signing with the Milwaukee Bucks.
However, leaving the up-tempo offensive system of the Golden State Warriors is akin to fantasy suicide for a player like Maggette, who contributes little other than scoring, a few rebounds and free-throw percentage.
Now, in the Bucks defensive-oriented, grind-it-out style of play (which averaged 97.7 points per game, tied for eighth worst in the NBA), Maggette should expect his numbers to drop significantly.
Further hindering Maggette's production is the fact that Milwaukee re-signed John Salmons and now have a logjam at his small forward position (which can also be played by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, Michael Redd and Chris Douglas-Roberts).
So, overall, Maggette will play less and have fewer scoring chances, making career 16.7 point per game scorer fantasy-irrelevant, and definitely not worthy of his ESPN and Yahoo rankings of 104 and 96, respectively.
No. 4: John Salmons
In 2009-10, following his trade to from the Chicago Bulls to the Milwaukee Bucks, John Salmons played some of the best basketball of his career, helping to carry the Bucks to the playoffs.
Furthermore, with his ability to score, hit threes, dish out assists, get steals and convert free throws at a high percentage, Salmons became a fantasy must-have.
However, like Corey Maggette, Salmons' numbers will likely suffer due to the Bucks impressive depth.
Competing for time with the likes of Maggette, rookie Darrington Hobson, Redd, Mbah a Moute, Delfino, Ilyasova and Douglas-Roberts, Salmons won't likely get the 36.5 minutes per game that he did last season.
Moreover, with the return of Andrew Bogut from his horrific late-season injuries, and the development of sophomore point guard Brandon Jennings, Salmons won't be asked to shoulder the scoring load as he did in 2009-10.
Salmons could still contribute to a fantasy team, although his output should be nothing like it was. Consequently, his 89 and 74 rankings by ESPN and Yahoo respectively are a reach.
No. 3: Troy Murphy
The New Jersey Nets acquired Troy Murphy as a part of the Darren Collison-Trevor Ariza trade, and since then, he has established himself as the projected starter at power forward.
Furthermore, due to his past performances and ability to score, grab boards and knock down threes, he has become a hot fantasy commodity.
However, Murphy has always had injury concerns, even though he's only played one full NBA season. Recently, he hurt his back and may now miss the beginning of the regular season.
It's still widely expected that he will be a solid contributor upon his return, but this may not be the case.
Playing alongside an established center, Brook Lopez, for the first time in his career, Murphy will likely see his rebounding numbers take a serious dive.
Moreover, his role as a starter only appears to be a temporary one, as he is only holding the spot for No. 2 overall pick Derrick Favors. Therefore, with Favors eating up some of his minutes, Murphy might not even see 30 minutes per game.
As a result, ESPN's and Yahoo's rankings of 40 and 30 will likely end up to be a reach.
Murphy will do some good things in 2010-11, but taking him in the first half of your draft could be a big mistake.
No. 2: Gerald Wallace
On the court, Gerald Wallace is an ideal teammate, playing basketball with unrelenting hustle and a reckless abandon.
Such effort, when coupled with Wallace's freakish athleticism, can pay dividends. This was evidenced by his career year during the 2009-10 season, when he put up 18.2 points, 10 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.1 blocks and .7 threes per game, on shooting percentages of 48.4 from the field and 77.6 from the line.
However, although last year Wallace played a career-high 76 games, his hustle has resulted in a horrific injury track record (a concussion, a collapsed lung, fractured rib, separated shoulder and so on), as he has only averaged about 60 games per season.
This injury concern alone makes Wallace, nicknamed "Crash," at severe risk of being a bust nearly every season.
Furthermore, 2009-10's rebounding total was, by far, a career high for Wallace, since he had never even averaged eight per game in the past. A drop in that total would not be shocking.
Therefore, the rankings of ESPN and Yahoo of 20 and 15 are very high; using a first- or second-round pick on a player who will likely get injured and may see a drop-off in production is extremely dangerous for any fantasy squad.
No. 1: Chris Bosh
The Miami Heat's signing of Chris Bosh was one of the marquee moves during 2010's blockbuster-laden offseason.
However, by joining up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, many of Bosh's numbers, except for maybe his shooting percentages and turnovers, are going to suffer.
In 2010-11, James and Wade will certainly shoulder the majority of the scoring for the team, and Bosh will have to compete with James, Udonis Haslem and Miami's center-by-committee for boards. Seeing as though he has never put up jaw-dropping numbers in any other category, Bosh's fantasy-value should take a massive hit.
However, with all of the hype that the Big Three has gotten since July, many fantasy owners have doing some reaching for anything Heat-related—including Bosh.
This makes even less sense when one considers the fact that Miami will likely blow out many teams, allowing their stars, including Bosh, to spend some extra time on the bench.
So, with ratings of 22 and 24 by ESPN and Yahoo, Bosh is being set up to be one of the biggest fantasy busts in recent memory, as he could end up being a second-round pick, while only producing like a slightly above-average big man.