After looking back at last week’s Runnin’ The Weave, I came to a realization. I discovered how easy it was to state facts after they’ve played out. Anyone can list the Top 25 then critique and analyze on who did not belong after the season… I get that.
To clarify, last week’s list was meant to be somewhat of a history lesson for all of us to learn from – some players just will not repeat last year’s performance. This theory does not only work for players coming off superb seasons I might add. It also is effective and works wonders for that seasoned, hungry, and motivated professional coming off a down year to train harder, eat right, and come back with a vengeance.
In this week’s informative and very important article, I will take you in-depth to highlight who was a Top 25 performer last year in fantasy basketball and will not duplicate and attain such high status this upcoming season. This time I do not have the luxury and cushion of seeing results. My artillery will be my 25-plus years experience and many lessons i’ve learned to pass on and guide you. Let the fun times begin.
Here is the list of players who finished in the 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
Here are above-mentioned players that won’t appear on the Top 25 list again after next season:
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
Jennings enjoyed the best statistical season of his young career – points, steals, threes per game and, believe it or not, his 41% field-goal shooting were all personal bests. Even the arrival of Monta Ellis did not slow down this smooth and lightning quick southpaw. So, wherein lies the problem?
First off, his ADP (Average Draft Position) will surely be in the superstar range during drafts this coming season. Second, even though he and Ellis seemed to co-exist, I fully expect Monta to demand the rock more in his second season with the Bucks.
While I am not suggesting to totally write off Jennings and his potential, I am saying I would not draft him with expectations of getting last years’ numbers. I would consider him after the third round of a standard-sized 12 team league, but really don’t think he lasts that long. Anything before that and I believe you are passing on players that are more of a sure thing.
Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder
I was not going to include Ibaka on this list, but after seeing a few mock drafts (BMF’s full one to be published soon; in the meantime, check our round reviews) I am getting the feeling the league leader last season in blocks will be getting drafted way too early in drafts. After sifting through the blocks what are you really gaining over the competition? Even by drafting Ibaka, it’s not like you are monopolizing the blocks category.
Sure the guy is a pogo stick, terrific shot blocker, and shoots a nice field-goal percentage. After that what do you own? Ibaka is an average rebounder for a big man and will never be a scoring go-to option. As long as Scotty Brooks is coaching the Oklahoma City Thunder, hoping for an increase in minutes is frivolous thinking. Another player I like, yet I won’t be reaching for anywhere before the third round.
Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Hornets
Do I really have to explain? Gonna try and keep this short and sweet. Anderson led the league in three-pointers made and led it by a whopping 28! In his first three seasons his scoring averages were 7.4, 7.7 and 10.6, and last year, you guessed it, a career-high 16.1 points per game.
Anderson’s rebounds in the same time period were 4.7, 3.2, 5.5 and, of course in his Top 25 campaign, another personal best at 7.7 rebounds per game. So why the drop-off this coming season? What has changed?
Clearly Anderson enjoyed playing on the same team and side as Dwight Howard. Gone is Dwight. Hello, New Orleans. Gone is the “magic” for Ryan. Hello to Anthony Davis. Goodbye Ryan Anderson as a fantasy option. Where would I be okay with taking him? I wouldn’t. I am betting his name appears on waiver wires on and off this year because owners will be looking back at last year’s numbers hoping history repeats itself. Look forward and look elsewhere.
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
The Truth was great last year, terrific the prior year, and just as special the season before that. Heck, every year! Simply stated with no questions asked, Pierce is a lock Hall of Fame player. Clearly one of the best all-around players I have seen in the last 15 seasons. Read that? Fifteen seasons! Pierce was counted on once again to carry the load and as sure as the mortgage bill is in your mailbox, he responded with another terrific all-purpose season.
It’s just that Father Time is creeping up. It is inevitable. After averaging significantly better than his career 44.8% shooting the previous four seasons (46.4, 45.7, 47.2, 49.7), Pierce’s 44.3% shooting was his lowest since 2006 and that could be a sign that the shot is starting to slip. I am passing on drafting him, but will not forget how great a player he once was. Much respect.
Antawn Jamison, Los Angeles Lakers
Career numbers; 19.5 point scorer, 7.9 rebounds per game, hit slightly more than 1.1 three per contest, and 1.0 steal a game. We are talking about a really nice player here who had a wonderful and solid, yet unspectacular career. Jamison combined his rebounding prowess with the ability to hit the long ball, second to only Dirk Nowitzki in the history of the game for the highest rebounding average with the most threes made in a career. Impressive stuff.
Entering this season Antawn has amassed 7,740 rebounds and a whopping 1,071 threes made in 14 professional seasons. Unlike previous seasons, last year Jamison stayed healthy (65 of 66 games) and was able to post sound and reliable stats. Albeit all his numbers were under his career averages, he did enjoy modest success on a bad Cleveland Cavaliers team – 17.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and canned more than one trey (1.4) each time he laced them up while logging 33 minutes per tilt, a number that surpassed his previous three years.
On the Los Angeles Lakers, his role will be, best case scenario, as a sixth man. No starts and definitely not big minutes. The former fourth overall pick out of UNC will not be looked upon for stats and will be leaned on for leadership and experience. We can safely go all-in, or in this case all-out, and realize we are looking at a player that is nearing the end.
So as Snoop Dogg notoriously proclaimed to “drop it like it’s hot,” I echo that sentiment and urge you to recognize decline and to “drop’em off your radar.” If not, you might yield, succumb, and surrender to “sippin’ on gin and juice.”
Stay on the lookout for more helpful fantasy articles here on Runnin’ The Weave. With the season rapidly approaching we are working on mock draft, sleeper, busts, and other helpful articles, and updating our projection list to be published for you very soon.
Quote of the week: “I hate it. It looks like a stickup at 7-Eleven. Five guys standing there with their hands in the air.” – Norm Sloan, on zone defense