Ask Brooks how feeble an NBA career can be. He’d know as well as anyone. In 2008, he was a hungry backup scratching for a few minutes a game. Two years later, he was one of the most dangerous players in the Western Conference, parlaying a big postseason into a 2010 season that saw him average nearly 20 a night and earn the Most Improved Player award. But last year, he fired blanks from nearly everywhere outside of the paint.
Brooks will probably end up back in Phoenix now that they’ve picked up his qualifying offer. The Suns can match any offer he receives, and those figure to be light after the past year.
While there’s little chance that Steve Nash and AB would ever work together in a backcourt (although it could be really exciting), what happens if Nash is traded before the deadline? Brooks could be in line for a major spike in production.
Chances at a bounce-back: 40 percent
A drop in production for a soon-to-be 32-year-old swingman is normal. But the way Salmons went about it was completely odd. His assist rate (22.1) was the highest it’s been since 2007, and his rebounding per minute actually spiked up compared to his first half season in Milwaukee. His floor game was fine, but that wasn’t at all what Milwaukee needed. They needed a scorer and Salmons had been that guy for them during the 2010 playoff race.
If you were one of those unlucky fantasy people who drafted Salmons (like me) expecting to get a solid offensive option, by the end of the year you were hitting yourself for keeping him around. All of his shooting numbers dropped, most alarmingly his field goal percentage (from 47 percent to 41.5). But that’s what happens when you take less shots at the rim then you have in any season since 2007 while shooting more long twos – at 35 percent – than you ever have.
Now that he’s back in Sacramento, can he find his game again? Not likely considering he doesn’t figure to have the ball in his hands that much.
Chances at a bounce-back: 20 percent
The real question is can he bounce back? Will his body let him coming off multiple knee surgeries? Last year in Orlando, Arenas’ game took a complete nosedive. Even as a Wizard to start the year, he still put up 17 a night, albeit with terrible efficiency. But once he moved to Disney World, the floor fell out.
Once perhaps the most dangerous point guard at the basket, Arenas hit only 46% of his shots at the rim. Once a guy who made three baskets from there every game, he was now only getting there barely more than one time a night. While his midrange game stayed somewhat consistent, his outside shot completely fell off. In 49 games with the Magic, he hit less than 30 percent from outside 16 feet. To me, that all spells it out. His legs are gone. There’s no lift. Hopefully an increase in minutes will refocus him, and another fresh summer will get back some of that old Agent Zero. I’m not sure I see it though.
Chances at a bounce-back: 15 percent
There’s one thing I can always count on during every one of my fantasy basketball drafts. One of my last picks will be spent on Biedrins. Ever since he averaged 12/11 with 1.5 blocks in 2009, I’ve taken a chance on him. It hasn’t worked the last two years mainly because of one thing: confidence.
Because he’s such a terrible free throw shooter (at 16 and 32% the last two years, he makes Ben Wallace look good), Biedrins now plays as if someone is constantly telling him “No!” He’s a puppy, trained to obey and then when he gets out on the floor, all he’s doing is looking for someone to tell him “No!”
The only reason he gets minutes is because of his activity and rebounding. What happened last year? His rebound rate was his lowest (17.3) since getting starter’s minutes, and his blocks dipped in half of where they were in 2007.
With a new system, and a healthy ankle, maybe this is the year I’ll get my reward for holding onto him.
Chances at a bounce-back: 50 percent