Category Archives: Fantasy Basketball

8 Fantasy Basketball Busts For 2009-2010

Hulk Yi

This is a guest post by my buddy Julian, who writes the blog Comedy Landfill. Like me, he’s a huge NBA fan and a fantasy basketball aficionado. We thought that in addition to giving you know some potentially awesome fantasy picks, we should list some guys to stay away from. Anyway, enjoy. And follow him on twitter.

Bad Fantasy Fits

Richard Jefferson: There is no doubt in my mind that Richard Jefferson is going to improve the Spurs this coming season. However, this is fantasy basketball, not real basketball, and hard questions must be asked. How is Jefferson going to behave when slotted next to other scorers that are going to require a large amount of touches? Duncan, Ginobili and Parker all like to take a fair amount of shots, and Jefferson might get squeezed a bit in this respect. I expect his shooting percentage to rise, but his PPG to go down, and his rebounds to stay around the same.

Andre Miller: Many people questioned this decision by Portland GM Prichard in the offseason, myself being one of them. It might work a bit better in practice than it does on paper, but that doesn’t mean that Miller’s stats won’t suffer. Never the long bomber, Andre doesn’t figure to benefit too much from Roy’s ability to draw double teams. However, his number of three point shots made should go up marginally. Even with Portland’s high powered offense, I don’t expect Miller’s assist numbers are going to change much – they may even dip slightly because he’s just not going to have the ball in his hands as much and, unless he’s traded, Blake will be competing with him for minutes. His PPG should take a much bigger drop than his assists, though. He simply does not have to score as much, or create offense for himself with so many other, more versatile scoring options on the floor.

Allen Iverson: No, no, no. I know what you’re thinking. It’s Allen Iverson! Former MVP! Shining light to all those little basketball players who dreamed of making it in the NBA! Yeah, those days are mostly behind him, if last season was any indication, and guess where he’s headed? Memphis. A team that has the very similar OJ Mayo, the shot happy Rudy Gay and infamous black hole Zach Randolph. Expect his stats to take a dip, with perhaps a slight increase in efficiency.

Injury Concerns

Jermaine O’Neal: Don’t be fooled by the positive injury reports coming out of Miami, O’Neal is likely not worth it. His rebounding over the past couple of years, even when healthy, has been suspect, his FG% is too low for a big, and obviously, he is a big question mark when it comes to injuries. Don’t pick him too early, but be open to picking him up later on, when he might be worth it as a value pick.

Shaquille O’Neal: The Big Galactus may be tempting for people, seeing as he had what appeared to be a bounce-back season in Pheonix last year. However, what many people do not realize is that Pheonix has probably the best medical and training staff in the NBA. They have prolonged the careers and peaks of many an aging player over the years, and it’s no surprise that Shaq went from being an injury-prone malcontent in Miami, to a revitalized Diesel in Pheonix. I expect him to miss a substantial number of games next season, but contribute well when he does play.

Tyson Chandler: He’s not with Chris Paul any more, so a lot of his scoring opportunities are going to dry up, and with it, his fantastic FG% and his somewhat decent ppg averages for a center. It also looks like his injury problems may be a bit more serious than first imagined.

Fake Sleepers

Lou Williams: Andre Miller is gone, so surely Lou Williams is going to step up and get a lot of minutes and help your team out, right? I wouldn’t bet on it. Last year he shot worse than 40% in terms of FG%, had a poor assist rate, and turned the ball over a lot. He contributes threes and steals, but I would only pick him up very late.

Yi Jianlian: Oh my! I’ve heard far to much about a guy who is legitimately terrible just because he flexed his muscles in the offseason and someone took a picture of it. Don’t count on any miraculous improvements.

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8 Fantasy Basketball Picks For 2009-2010

The superduperstar

Kevin Durant: This is the least creative choice on the list. The guy is a stud, we all know it. He put up 25.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG with great percentages last year. He turns 21 at the end of this month, so if I was in a keeper league I might even take him with the #3 pick in the draft. In a recent podcast, Bill Simmons and Chad Ford both said they wouldn’t be surprised if he averaged 30 PPG next season – this doesn’t sound too crazy when you realize he averaged 30.6 PPG in the month of February last season. If you can get him mid-to-late first round, just do it. You won’t be sorry.

Scorers on bad offensive teams

Luis Scola: After Durant, this was the easiest call for me. I don’t see grabbing Scola as a risky move at all. He and his game are not pretty, so a lot of people might forget about him, but he averaged a solid 12.7 points and 8.8 rebounds last season while shooting 53% from the field and a much-improved 76% from the free throw line. His per-game numbers should go up across the board, as his 30 minutes a game should go up and he should get way, way more touches. With Yao likely out for the season and McGrady’s health still a big question mark, Scola should be Houston’s #1 offensive option. If he averages 17 and 10, I won’t be surprised.

Spencer Hawes: I can’t stand Spencer Hawes’s game. He’s not extremely skilled and he’s not really a blue-collar worker, either. I couldn’t bear to watch much of the Kings last year, but when I did I found him extremely annoying. Still, on this Kings team, he is asked to score and he is effective. In fantasy hoops, this is what matters. His averages of 11.4 PPG and 7.1 RPG from last season won’t blow you away, but look at what he did in the last two months of the season when he played big minutes. His per-minute scoring, assists, and 3-point shooting improved from his first season to his second and we can hope this will happen again. Even if it doesn’t, though, he’ll likely average more than 30 minutes a game for the first time in his career this season and this alone is reason to expect a jump in his fantasy value.

Back from injury

Gilbert Arenas: I know, I know. It’s a risk. The guy has played 15 games in the last two seasons. There’s no guarantee he’ll put up the same numbers he did when he was healthy. Still, though, I say it’s worth the risk. Some people might forget just how good he was before the injury – he averaged 28.4 PPG, 6.0 APG, 4.6 RPG in his last healthy NBA season, 2006-2007. Oh, almost forgot: he also shot 84% from the line and hit 2.8 3-pointers a game that year, too. He doesn’t need to put up numbers as ridiculously good as those to be of value to your team. He’s still only 27 and, from what we’ve seen this summer, he still has plenty in the tank. My prediction: points go down, rebounds go down, assists go up, and he’s still easily one of the top-5 point guards in the game, fantasy-wise.

Jose Calderon: He was on everybody’s list last year, and rightfully so. This is a guy who had put up great per-minute numbers, improved every year, and was finally given a permanent starting spot – can’t miss, right? Well, it kind of did miss. His numbers went up in some categories (including PPG and his ridiculous FT%) and went down in others (including FG% and TO). Essentially, he was as good as the season before, despite the fact he was playing 4 more minutes a game. This meant his per-minute stats actually went down. As any Raptors fan can tell you, this was because the Jose on display for the vast majority of last season was injured. He couldn’t turn the corner like he used to and he couldn’t get the same lift on his shot. If he remains healthy this time, then his stats should jump a bit this year, meaning you should pick him a round or two higher than he’s projected to go.

Up-and-comers in Minnesota

Ramon Sessions: This 23-year-old point guard will be handed the keys to Minnesota’s offense next season. There will be no more Luke Ridnour nonsense. Yeah, Johnny Flynn will be in the picture, but I anticipate Sessions’s minutes will be fine because he’ll get some time at shooting guard. We know the man can score and get assists – as a rookie, he averaged 8.1 PPG and 7.5 APG in 26.5 MPG and, as a sophomore, he averaged 12.4 PPG and 5.7 APG in 27.5 MPG. You’ll notice a common theme here – there’s reason to believe that his minutes will go up, so even if this third-year player doesn’t make a big jump in per-minute production, his total numbers for your team should be just fine.

Kevin Love: Okay, I could just as easily put any number of second-year players on this list – Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley (don’t sleep on him because of this rehab stuff), Anthony Randolph, D.J. Augustin (especially if Felton goes elsewhere), Brook Lopez, and Russell Westbrook should improve next season. I picked Love because he might not be an obvious choice and he has a ton of upside. His averages of 11.1 PPG and 9.1 RPG are good, but they’re way better when you consider that he did this in only 25 minutes a night. He’s an elite rebounder and, under Kurt Rambis, I expect to see him get the time on the floor to show that to the world. Based on his shooting and passing ability, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a big jump in his per-minute scoring and assist numbers.

Late-round gamble

Ike Diogu: Okay, this might be a reach, but I have to mention him. Those who have followed the blog from the beginning know I love this guy’s game. He’s put up great per-minute stats throughout his career, but he’s been unfairly benched by coaches who don’t know what they’re doing. I’m not sure if I should trust Byron Scott to do what no one else has done in his career (save for a couple games late last season), but the fact that New Orleans is pretty weak in terms of frontcourt depth makes him a worthy gamble if you’re in a very deep league and you want to make a low-risk pick at the end of the draft.

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