By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Staff Writer
Nothing kills a fantasy team faster than the underperforming superstar. You
can't get equal value for him in a trade. You can't drop him. So you're
stuck… watching in horror as the hole in your lineup gets bigger and bigger,
and the number of teams between you and the money grows like the national
Injuries will play a big role in determining this year's busts, and we won't
attempt to predict which superstar will tear up a knee, or miss 20 games due
to a nagging case of plantar fasciitis. We will take a look at some common
warning signs - a guy who doesn't seem to fit on his team's roster, or with
a new coach, a solid performer from last season that may be a
one-hit-wonder, even a superstar starting to show signs of excessive wear --
and try to predict some sub-par seasons.
Tim Thomas, SF, Los Angeles Clippers
Don't fall into the same trap as Elgin Baylor and Donald Sterling, and think his showing in the playoffs is representative of the real Tim Thomas. Look instead to the teams that couldn't wait to get rid of him.
Manu Ginobili, SG, San Antonio Spurs
His stats will look great for a little while, but he'll drop off badly as the season wears on – his no-holds-barred style of play tends to lead to a lot of minor injuries that have a cumulative effect on his play. His participation in the World Championships probably won't help.
Vladimir Radmanovic, SF, Los Angeles Lakers
Radmanovic tends to get moody when he doesn't see the ball enough. And now he's on Kobe's team. Who thought that was a good idea?
Smush Parker, PG, Los Angeles Lakers
Smush came out of nowhere to win the Lakers'starting job last season, and for a good chunk of the year was LA's second-best player. But as a shoot-first point prone to turnovers and not a particularly good defender, he's a lousy fit to run the triangle. Don't look for a repeat of last year – instead, look for rookie Jordan Farmar to cut into Parker's minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Portland Trail Blazers
Of the 15 slots on Portland's roster, 13 are filled with power forwards and centers. OK, maybe that's not true, but it feels that way. The glut of fours and fives is one problem… a preseason shoulder injury is a second. It's hard to imagine Aldridge getting enough touches, at least in the early part of the year, to be fantasy-relevant.
Marquis Daniels, SG, Indiana Pacers
Another player with an unclear role. Daniels might have been a steal if he'd won regular minutes at the three for Indiana, but with the arrival of Al Harrington and the fact that Jermaine O'Neal and Danny Granger are still on the roster, that seems unlikely. There's also competition at shooting guard, with Stephen Jackson.
Joel Przybilla, C, Portland Trail Blazers
Przybilla looked like an up-and-coming fantasy center towards the end of last season, and the departure of Theo Ratliff improved his outlook. But he won't get a chance to play major minutes due to acquisition of Jamaal Magloire.
Kenyon Martin, PF, Denver Nuggets
Riddle me this: if Denver thought K-Mart was going to be a real contributor, would they have brought in Joe Smith? Or signed Nene to that enormous contract?
Chris Paul, PG, New Olreans Hornets
There's only so much basketball one body can play… playing a major role in the World Championships coming off his first full NBA season seems risky at best.
Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat
We have the same concern here as with Chris Paul… Wade played deep into June in winning the title and went right into training camp with Team USA; no offseason raises the chance that he'll miss time – or the chance that he'll be rested liberally during the season as Pat Riley saves him for the postseason.
Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio Spurs
All his numbers have been trending in the wrong direction for the last three years. This is a big man with a lot of mileage on him whose role in the offense isn't as enormous as it once was.
Allen Iverson, PG, Philadelphia 76ers
We can't help thinking that this is the year we'll start to see a major decline – Iverson's 165-pound frame just takes too much abuse in a season for him to continue to play at the same level into his thirties.
Chris Bosh, PF, Toronto Raptors
Here's a potentially sobering thought for Bryan Colangelo... rumor has it that Bosh had a great deal of trouble picking up the Mike D'Antoni offense employed by Team USA at the World Championships, and that that's the reason he was mostly glued to the bench in Japan. You SURE you want to move to that offense, Bryan?
Article first appeared on 9/9/06