NBA FANTASY BUSTS 2009-2010
By Dalton Del Don
RotoWire Staff Writer
Ron Artest, SF, LAL - Artest will help the Lakers defend their title, but his fantasy value took a major hit with the move to Los Angeles, where he'll now be no better than the third scoring option, and really, he might actually be the fifth. Artest will turn 30 this season, and he's started to lose a step defensively. His numbers dropped across the board last year, including career-worsts with 1.5 spg and 0.4 bpg. While he improved his three-point range, Artest's 40.2 percent shooting on two-point field goals ranked 145th in the NBA last year. He's someone to avoid.
Chris Duhon, PG, NY - Duhon was one of the better bargains in fantasy drafts last year, averaging 7.2 assists and 1.6 three-pointers per game with a strong 85.7-percent mark from the charity stripe. However, all those minutes caught up to him over the final two months of the year, when he averaged just 8.2 ppg and 5.1 apg. Because he's also a detriment in field-goal percentage and not much help in the steals department, his game is quite limited. His lack of shooting ability has always been a poor fit for coach Mike D'Antoni's system, so don't be surprised when New York brings in a new starter at point guard and makes Duhon a backup for 2009-10.
Hedo Turkoglu, SF, TOR - Turkoglu won't be a total bust in Toronto, but he'll likely cost more than he's worth. He followed up a career-season with another solid campaign last year, though his FG percentage dropped down to 41.3. The bigger worry is the change in scenery, something that often greatly affects a player learning a new system. Turkoglu is now 30 years old, so don't be surprised if his spg drop for the fourth straight season. Moreover, Jose Calderon will likely cut into his assist numbers, and he'll see fewer wide open threes with Dwight Howard no longer a teammate. Let someone else overpay.
Shawn Marion, SF, DAL - Marion obviously won't cost such a high pick like he used to, but this 31-year-old's career has gone in the wrong direction ever since leaving Phoenix. The three-point shot is no longer a part of his game, and his steals/blocks production sharply declined last year. Now, he'll be joining a Dallas team where he'll be no better than the third or fourth scoring option, and his rebounding numbers figure to continue to decrease with Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki as teammates. Marion won't fall off a cliff, but his numbers should continue to go in the wrong direction.
Troy Murphy, PF, IND - Murphy was likely on a lot of winning fantasy teams last year, when he became the first player in NBA history to finish in the top-five in rebounds and three-point shooting percentage. There's simply no denying how effective he was last year, as few players offered that kind of versatility (14.3 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 2.2 3PT, 82.6 FT%). However, it's rarely wise to invest in a player approaching 30 years old coming off a distinct career-season. Remember, Murphy averaged just 7.2 rpg in 2007-08 and 6.1 rpg the year before that. Tyler Hansbrough will take away some minutes at power forward this year, as will Danny Granger. Don't expect a repeat performance from Murphy.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, C, CLE - Ilgauskas has been a solid option at center for seven straight years now, somehow overcoming foot injuries than once appeared to be career threatening. He declined a bit last year, but his fortunes look even worse for 2009-10 with Shaquille O'Neal now in Cleveland. O'Neal is hardly guaranteed to stay healthy, but Ilgauskas is looking at a bench role entering the season, so his minutes will take a significant dip. O'Neal's value takes a hit as well, as both centers will split minutes this season in an effort to be healthy come playoff time.
Rasheed Wallace, C, BOS - Wallace has been remarkably consistent throughout his career, and though changing teams is hardly new to him, expect suppressed numbers in 2009-10. For one, Wallace has now surpassed 1,000 games played during his career, and the soon to be 35-year old slowed down over the second half last season, averaging just 9.7 points on 37.4-percent shooting from the field. He now joins a Celtics team loaded with offensive weapons, so he'll be an afterthought on offense. Wallace's best days are clearly behind him.
Richard Jefferson, SF, SAN - The Spurs improved with the addition of Jefferson this offseason, but his fantasy value went in the opposite direction. Over the last two seasons, Jefferson averaged 15.6 field-goal attempts per game, something that was especially easy to do on a Milwaukee team lacking scoring options, especially once Michael Redd suffered a season-ending injury last year. With Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker now teammates, expect Jefferson's scoring production to take a major dive in 2009-10. Jefferson should remain efficient, and his FG percentage should rise with more open looks, but don't be surprised if his scoring average drops by about five points, and he's never been a big help in the hustle categories.
Caron Butler, SF, WAS - For someone who typically goes in the second round, Butler's awfully injury-prone. Over the past three seasons, he's averaged 19.3 games missed, so this has officially become a trend and a major concern. There's no doubting his production when in the lineup, though last year's drop in steals is at least a bit worrisome. Still, with Gilbert Arenas looking healthy and impressive during the offseason, Butler may no longer be the No. 1 scoring option in Washington, something he's enjoyed the last two seasons. Butler is a terrific talent and was a part of one of the worst trades in NBA history (Kwame Brown to L.A.), but his injury history and the return of a healthy Arenas make him a risky top-20 pick.
Ben Gordon, SG, DET - After starting 76 games last year, Gordon looks like he's back in a bench role after joining the Pistons this offseason. Gordon has had success as a sub before, but Detroit has a crowded backcourt with Rip Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey, and with the new addition of Charlie Villanueva combined with incumbent Tayshaun Prince, there will be plenty of capable players fighting for shots. Playing for a defensive-minded team, expect Gordon's numbers to dip in 2009-10, though he could see a few more assists as he'll occasionally see minutes at the point.
Article first appeared on 8/24/09