Knowing who to draft is almost as important as knowing who NOT to draft. Here are my tips for the top 5 players to avoid in order to become a winner in your 2010 Fantasy Basketball league.
1. Yao Ming C Houston Rockets
Averaging over 19 points and 9 rebounds in his career when healthy, Ming came into the league as a 7 foot product with all the tools necessary to be an NBA superstar. For a few years, Ming delivered for his fantasy owners as well. But since the 2005-2006 season, Ming has only once topped the 57 games played mark(2008-2009). Injury plagued seasons in 2005, 2006, 2007 and missing the entire 2009 season make Ming my #1 Player to Miss this year. The hairline fracture in his left foot that cause him to miss all of last season has healed, but he is too big an injury risk to even make him worthy of a roster spot. At best, Houston will limit his minutes on the floor, and even give him games off in hopes that their one-time franchise player will make it to the end of the year. With a deeper pool at center this draft, Ming is definitely one to leave for your loud mouth buddy across the draft table.
2. Andrew Bynum C Los Angeles Lakers
I don’t know about you, but I have been duped into drafting this fantasy bust year after year. With talk of “superstardom” surrounding him, I continually gave him a chance to shine, only to have him break my heart time after time. Well, not again Andrew! Having played just one full season since coming into the league in 2005, Bynum has continued to be an inury risk. Already sidelined for part of 2010 due to surgery on his right knee in July, if and when he will comes back is all a mystery right now(December?). His upside of 15-17 points per game and 10 rebounds a game may entice some to draft him and plant him on their bench, but let me tell you, this would be a foolish gamble. Use the mid to late round pick to get a good bargain. With players like JJ Hickson and DeMarcus Cousins sure to be on your board, these would be much wiser selections. And also players that could potentially contribute all season long.
3. Gilbert Arenas G Washington Wizards
Gilbert, Gilbert, Gilbert. I would say that Gilbert was an injury risk and not worth your pick, but that would only be half of it. Gilbert is not worth your pick in this year’s draft due to the intangibles. Let’s rewind to last year when Gilbert was found guilty of bringing guns into the locker room in Washington, and fast forward to this season where Gilbert has already clashed with management over his “fake” injury before a preseason game October 12th. Something is not right here. Whether he needs a change of scenery, new teammates, or a vacation from basketball, I just do not trust Gilbert Arenas this season. Having him on your roster will not help you succeed and bring you to the promised land. Do not let him bring you down. There’s also that small detail that he has not played a full season since 2006-2007 either. Stay away… you’ve been warned!
4. Rashard Lewis F Orlando Magic
Rashard Lewis is one of those guys who was in the right place at the right time. He had an incredible year with Seattle in 2006-2007, averaging 22.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, which earned him a huge contract with the Orlando Magic. Since joining The Magic though, Lewis has not lived up to the deal. Since the 2007-2008 season, his point production has steadily decreased. Last year Lewis averaged just 14.1 points per game, 2.6 points per game below his career average and his lowest point total since his 2nd year in the league in 1999. Entering 2010 there is talk of Lewis moving to power forward, but at 31 how will his older body be able to handle the young guns in the NBA. Not so well if you asked me. I’d avoid Rashard and take my chances on a younger crop of forwards for my team. Kevin Love and Danilo Galinari should be available around the same time Rashard gets drafted in your league. Same yourself the headache and go with one of them.
5. Samuel Dalembert C Sacramento Kings
Dalembert was slated to be the Kings starting center this season, but an injury and a rookie sensation seem to have put a stop to that. Sam will be out around 4-6 weeks due to a left groin strain and DeMarcus Cousins, the rookie out of Kentucky(and 5th overall pick in the 2010 draft), will be filling in for him while he is sidelined. So far in the preseason DeMarcus has been making the most out of his opportunity, putting up solid numbers scoring and rebounding the ball. With the way Cousins has been playing, it would not be a shock to see him stay in the starting roll, and have Dalembert ride the bench upon his return. Remember, Cousins was passed over by the New Jersey Nets, in favor of Derrick Favors, at the same position during the draft. With a shot like this to start and prove the critics wrong, DeMarcus may never give up the starting reigns. Dalembert has not become the superstar center he was predicted to be, and with a career best of just over 10 points and 10 rebounds in 2007-2008, his best years are probably behind him.
Data collected from NBA.com and Fantrax.com