It’s time to get negative. We all enjoy a healthy discussion about our favorite fantasy basketball sleepers, but it’s equally important to talk about the biggest busts in 2010-11. For purposes of this post, busts will be loosely defined as players who will most underwhelm their owners based on expectations and projected draft positions. In no particular order, here are five players who will be fantasy busts this season.
1. Andre Iguodala
He’s starting at shooting guard, a position that has yielded mixed results for him in the past, and the Sixers are featuring a young, promising point guard in Jrue Holiday, a big man on the comeback trail in Elton Brand, and a versatile rookie in Evan Turner. Top off this bitter mix with coach Doug Collins reining in Iguodala’s shots from beyond the arc and calling him to be a catalyst on offense and a stopper on defense, and it’s quickly apparent that there’s a lot working against AI9 this season. He’ll be drafted in the top 25 in many drafts, but he’s at risk to finish the season outside of the top 40.
2. Mo Williams
Besides having his heart broken by LeBron James, Williams strained his groin during the offseason, which will render him a bit rusty at the outset of the year. Another cause for concern for Williams’ fantasy value this season is the presence of Ramon Sessions, who is capable of putting up impressive lines when given enough minutes. Will Williams be a more important fixture in the Cavs’ offense this season compared to last season? Yep. But with James absent, defenses will have plenty more defensive juice to focus on Williams and his teammates, which could mean poorer shooting from the field and more turnovers. Color me crazy, but his offseason comments about his emotional struggles post-LeBron might be a bigger downer for his potential this season than many realize. Remember what happened to Steve Francis after Cuttino Mobley was traded from the Magic? Take that as a cautionary tale.
3. Baron Davis
He didn’t show up to training camp in shape and continues to work on his conditioning. Add to this Davis’ history of injuries and the possibility for an unhealthy portion of DNPs this season seems very good – in a bad way. Eric Gordon’s emergence should also be a red flag for Davis’ production this year, and it’s likely that he’ll have to adjust playing with a potential stud like Blake Griffin in his frontcourt. Davis will be a player who should make you happy when he is drafted onto someone else’s roster, not yours.
4. John Salmons
He put up great numbers across the board when he was dealt to the Bulls in the middle of the 2008-09 season, but struggled last fall as he embarked on what was supposed to be his first full season in Chicago. Salmons is in a similar position this season in Milwaukee, where he landed and produced solid lines after being dealt by the Bulls last year. The big, unfavorable difference is that the Bucks have bulked up their roster, most notably with Corey Maggette. This, along with his knee sprain and the continued development of Brandon Jennings, and there’s good reason to be skeptical of Salmons’ chances this season. He followed up his strong start in Chicago with a flop, and it’s easy to see why he might repeat that cycle this year in Milwaukee.
5. Channing Frye
He began last season as a candidate for sleeper of the year, but quickly dropped off the map after he lost his starting job to Robin Lopez, who figures to be a more prominent player for the Suns this season. With Amar’e Stoudemire no longer in Phoenix, the Suns clearly need an interior defensive presence and a big man capable of finishing near the basket off of Steve Nash’s adept passes on the offensive end. Lopez fills both of those needs, though he isn’t anywhere near the offensive threat Stoudemire was. While some still hold hope that Frye will win the starting job, it’s clear that a starting lineup that includes Frye would just be five dudes slashing around and standing behind the three-point line. It’s not going to happen. Frye’s fantasy appeal shriveled once Lopez took over at center, and a comeback this season isn’t likely.
What do you think?
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