As history has and continues to show us, specific players’ values will vary greatly in subsequent years. Due to injury, situation/PT or just Father Time, we can be certain that the shiny new car we saw last year will not be as lustrous as when it was first bought, driven, and parked in our garage. And although there will be reasons, the great thing about playing fantasy basketball is not to figure out specifically why a player will decline. Rather we just have to distinguish and pinpoint who that player is and steer way clear of that oncoming wrecking ball that will surely knock down you and your championship title hopes. Let us take a look at some history…
Taking into account a standard roto-style scoring format, I have listed the top 25 players’ actual rankings from the 2010-11 season according to CBS Sports. I highlight a select few below and in parentheses are the following season’s ranking. Before identifying the next year’s rankings, care to play Monday Morning QB and see who predictably underperformed the next season? Can you spot the certain names on this specific list that were pretty much guaranteed not to offer the same value?
1. Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets
2. LeBron James, SF/PF, Miami Heat
3. Dorell Wright, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors
4. Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic
5. Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors
6. Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Jason Kidd, PG, Dallas Mavericks
8. Dwyane Wade, PG/SG, Miami Heat
9. Manu Ginobili, SG, San Antonio Spurs
10. Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
11. Pau Gasol, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers
12. Josh Smith, SF/PF, Atlanta Hawks
13. Raymond Felton, PG/SG, New York Knicks/Denver Nuggets
14. Al Jefferson, PF/C, Utah Jazz
15. Danny Granger, SF, Indiana Pacers
16. Kyle Lowry, PG, Houston Rockets
17. Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers
18. Amar’e Stoudemire, PF/C, New York Knicks
19. Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors
20. Kevin Love, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves
21. Channing Frye, PF/C, Phoenix Suns
22. Mike Conley, PG, Memphis Grizzlies
23. Deron Williams, PG, Utah Jazz/New Jersey Nets
24. Jrue Holiday, PG, Philadelphia 76ers
25. Paul Pierce, SF, Boston Celtics
Remember, although there needs to be a reason(s) why a player won’t perform like the previous year, let us understand, recognize, and identify who just did not belong on this list of top players and would be in store for a predictable disappointment. Below each player’s name is followed by their actual rank after the following 2011-12 season.
Dorrell Wright, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors (58)
After posting a league-leading 194 treys, 1.5 steals per game, and almost 17 ppg, did you really think he would improve or even come close to matching those lofty numbers? I didn’t.
Jason Kidd, PG, Dallas Mavericks (77)
A surefire Hall of Famer and arguably one of the greatest point guards of all-time no doubt. More importantly for us fantasy ballers, 39-years-old. Hello, Father Time.
Raymond Felton, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers (72)
Running the point for a Mike D’Antoni team, Felton posted career-highs in PPG (17.1) and assists (9.0), and on his way in triples (88) in 54 games. But then the roof crashed when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets for 21 games (11.5 PPG, 6.5 assists, and 28 treys). Clearly this situation was baseball’s version of playing in Coors Field. Recognize!
Kyle Lowry, PG, Houston Rockets (53)
After getting his chance to shine, which he certainly did by posting career-highs across the board in EVERY category, Lowry simply could not handle the rigors of carrying over those substantial numbers for an entire season and predictably broke down.
Channing Frye, PF/C, Phoenix Suns (34)
Not a huge drop-off, but a step back nonetheless. Frye enjoyed his new surroundings in the desert for a consecutive year, but could not continue his impressive string and fell off in every category. A shoulder injury stopped this tall and lean shooter from accumulating the same stats from the previous year and maintaining his top 25 status.
Here is the list of players who performed as Top 25 for the 2011-12 NBA season:
1. Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
2. Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
3. LeBron James, SF/PF, Miami Heat
4. Josh Smith, SF/PF, Atlanta Hawks
5. Brandon Jennings, PG, Milwaukee Bucks
6. Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Kevin Love, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves
8. Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers
9. Marc Gasol, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies
10. Ryan Anderson, PF/C, Orlando Magic
11. Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic
12. Al Jefferson, PF/C, Utah Jazz
13. Deron Williams, PG, New Jersey Nets
14. Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
15. Pau Gasol, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers
16. Mike Conley, PG, Memphis Grizzlies
17. Paul Millsap, PF, Utah Jazz
18. Paul George, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers
19. John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards
20. Danny Granger, SF, Indiana Pacers
21. Paul Pierce, SF, Boston Celtics
22. Rudy Gay, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies
23. DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Sacramento Kings
24. Wesley Matthews, SG/SF, Portland Trail Blazers
25. Antawn Jamison, SF/PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
As we can see there are the usual suspects that re-appear on both lists. On the flip side, we see numerous players that make their debuts on this coveted list. Identifying any names that do not belong? Care to take a guess who won’t offer the same shiny bright value for the upcoming 2012-13 season? Be sure to check out and read next week’s column where we will be doing an in-depth fantasy basketball analysis of which players are sure to have a letdown and who we must dodge, duck, and elude. I would love to hear your opinions.
Quote of the week: “I’m tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money. I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok.” – Shaquille O’Neal