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NBA Draft Kit: Busts 2013-14

Eric Caturia

Eric is the assistant NFL editor for RotoWire.

In the process of performing pre-draft preparations, the vast majority of players are who we think they are: a dead-eye shooter; a deft passer; a glass cleaner; a scoring machine; a swat artist; and, on rare occasions, a peerless, wholly complete, basketball monster (i.e. LeBron James).

Sooner or later, the mining operation gleans sought-after treasures, but not before tracking down and noting deficiencies that have the ability to bring a fantasy squad crumbling to its core. Hence, we discover the bust, who, for any number of reasons ₋ the aging process, injury (either a holdover or ever-present issues), a log jam at his position ₋ should be avoided at most costs unless their specific weakness can be offset during a draft. What ensues is a thorough analysis of NBA talent that may threaten a campaign before it even launches.

Please note that the forthcoming players will be handled by position, though not all will be discussed. If you, the reader, would like a specific athlete covered, head to the comment section, where the author will gladly state his case for said player. Now, we head onward to the 2013-14 NBA season's likely busts, with the number next to each representing's ranking at their respective position.

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin (16), Rajon Rondo (21), Jameer Nelson (29), Steve Nash (40), Devin Harris (67)

Jeremy Lin, Rockets ₋ With no track record of sustained production to his name, Lin was truly hard-pressed to replicate his breakout with the Knicks during the lockout-shortened, 2011-12 campaign, especially after Houston acquired James Harden, who, like former teammate Carmelo Anthony, requires the rock in his hands in order to operate at an optimal level. The beauty of Lin's dramatic introduction to the basketball-viewing public was an ability to create something from nothing, with a flair for the dramatic sprinkled in, but with a full-time gig in hand last year, his per-36 scoring fell back from 19.5 to 15 points per game. With even less shots to go around this season following the offseason addition of Dwight Howard, the downward trend is expected to be reinforced, but an uptick in assists could be in Lin's future. On the other hand, it should be noted that fellow guard Patrick Beverley impressed when Lin sustained a chest contusion and was limited thereafter during the Rockets' first-round playoff loss to the Thunder, a development that may also hinder his workload.

Rajon Rondo, Celtics ₋ Rondo relayed a number of times that he was targeting opening night for a return date, but as the summer rolled along, there was a change in tune wherein he'll most definitely miss the month of November and may take the court in some capacity during December. Because very little has leaked regarding his recovery, unlike fellow point guard Derrick Rose's saga from a season ago, a season in which Rondo's arrival to the Celtics' roster is teased could be a store. Due to the rebuilding nature of the club, their franchise player may remain on the sideline until no threat of a setback is apparent in order to ensure Boston's standing for next summer's lottery. Whenever he achieves full health, the assist maven will be looking to dish out at least 11 per outing for the fourth consecutive year, which will certainly please owners in both rotisserie and head-to-head formats. The question remains, when will he ultimately be available, and in what capacity?

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant (14), Jamal Crawford (26), Eric Gordon (36), Shabazz Muhammad (82)

Kobe Bryant, Lakers ₋ Yet another fantasy stalwart, Bryant is similarly recovering from a devastating injury, a ruptured left Achilles tendon suffered on April 12, which holds a 6-to-9 month timetable to rehabilitate fully. Not surprisingly, the recent development that he'll soon be healthy enough for full weight-bearing running could have the rumor mill contemplating a return soon after the preseason, which the shooting guard will not participate in. No timetable currently exists for a return to the Lakers, though, who have gone out of their way to insist that the perpetually-driven Bryant has been a patient subject who will display no notable difference from the player we've come to know. Considering the fact that he's logged the 14th-most regular season minutes and 2nd-most playoff minutes in NBA history, the aforementioned injury may be the spur that leads to a generous decline in his efficiency, despite returning to a talent-deprived roster that will require his scoring touch to compete.

Small Forward: Paul Pierce (18)

Paul Pierce, Nets ₋ A change of scenery begets a change in role, which is slated to be that of a glorified role player in Pierce's initial season with the loaded Nets. The totality of his reduction in minutes under rookie coach Jason Kidd remains to be seen. but it is not out of the question that Pierce takes the court for less than 30 per night, while missing one end of back-to-backs entirely ₋ much to the chagrin of commissioner David Stern in his final half season on the job ₋ in order to preserve him and fellow newcomer Kevin Garnett for an extended playoff run. If the preceding comes to fruition, Pierce may only be of assistance in head-to-head leagues where his deflated output can be covered up, as well as squads with deeper benches, which is a far cry from his former fantasy forecast.

Power Forward: Kenneth Faried (30), Tristan Thompson (42), Kevin Garnett (44), Glen Davis (80), Amar'e Stoudemire (95)

Kenneth Faried, Nuggets ₋ Somewhat overvalued due to his high-energy antics on the court, Faried will now contend for run at power forward with J.J. Hickson and Darrell Arthur this coming campaign. At question is a reduced minutes load after last year's All-Star break, when he managed just 10 points (on 53.8 percent shooting), 8.2 boards, 1.4 blocks, and 0.8 steals in 25 minutes per tilt, down from nearly 30 in the first half of the season. If coach Brian Shaw decides that more of an offensive threat is required from the Nuggets' frontcourt, Hickson is the logical option to be tapped for the role, which may result in a Faried-Hickson timeshare similar to the one that center JaVale McGee endured with Kosta Koufos under former head honcho George Karl. Thus, tread lightly among all Denver big men without McGee stitched on the jersey.

Kevin Garnett, Nets ₋ See Paul Pierce, Nets.

Center: Marc Gasol (1), Andrew Bynum (14), Robin Lopez (19), Andrew Bogut (23), Omer Asik (25)

Marc Gasol, Grizzlies ₋ Ranking in the top five among centers last season in minutes played with 35 per contest, Gasol and his Memphis compadres embarked on a lengthy playoff run, reaching the Western Conference finals before flaming out in four games. He then competed in the recent EuroBasket 2013 for Spain, logging another 30 minutes nightly across 11 outings. Similar workloads ₋ a full NBA season followed by extended international play in the offseason ₋ by both current and former players have more often than not resulted in reduced efficiency in the subsequent campaign. Because new coach Dave Joerger is bringing a more fast-paced offense to town, the Grizzlies' brass will seek to hold Gasol's minutes in check in order to avoid fatigue-related concerns by employing an offseason addition, the steady Kosta Koufos, with a reasonable amount of minutes. The preceding shouldn't steer a prospective owner from avoiding Gasol, but expectations of a repeat of last year's line should be tempered.

Omer Asik, Rockets ₋ After yet another active NBA summer, Asik's inclusion as a bust is perhaps the most obvious of all players heading into the season, what with perhaps the top player at his position, Dwight Howard, joining the ranks of the Rockets in July. Asik initially voiced his preference for a trade following the move, but nary a word, positive or negative, has been uttered in the meantime. As training camp opens, coach Kevin McHale intends to test out a frontline featuring both Asik and Howard, which may result in more run than initially expected. In any case, Asik will certainly have his run scaled back from the 30 minutes per game that he garnered during his first year in Houston, though his output scaled to per-36 numbers should produce a double-double with a fair number of blocks.

In case you missed the sleepers article for the upcoming NBA season, head here to check it out.

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Since we're hating on these players' fantasy potential this season, let's do a little extra hating by watching some NBA bloopers from last season. Enjoy.