1. Tim Duncan
Power Forward, San Antonio
It’s hard to say age is affecting his game as he continues to put up solid fantasy numbers. In only 31 minutes a game last season Tim still averaged a double-double with 18 ppg, 10 rpg, 3 apg to go along with 1.5 blocks per game. At some point in his career he is going to slow down and this upcoming season could be that time. He has a young bruiser playing next to him in DeJuan Blair, who in his second year should be more of a force inside, which could limit the pounding Tim has to take. It could also take away some rebounds. There is also a lot of talk about the Spurs youngster, Tiago Splitter. Tiago is going to come off the bench a lot to keep Duncan fresh. The bottom line is that Tim Duncan will continue to produce if he’s on the floor, but at some point in the very near future he is going to breakdown. You don’t want to be stuck with that type of player on your roster.
2. Chris Bosh
Power Forward, Miami
When Chris Bosh signed with Miami, his fantasy value took a bit of a hit. Last season he averaged 24 and 10 for 43 fantasy points per game. In Toronto he was the first option offensively, now he’s the third on a Miami team with two of the best scorers in the league. There’s absolutely no way he can average 24 ppg again this season, there’s just not enough scoring opportunities to go around. Bosh should still be able to average 13 to 15 ppg and 10 rebounds with Wade and LeBron’s defense causing the other team to force up bad shots. In years past, Bosh was a mid-first round pick. This year, while he may still average a double-double, he’s not worth taking prior to the end of round three or the beginning of round four. Let somebody else draft him on what he’s done in the past. It’s a total crapshoot on what you should expect out of Bosh and that risk outweighs his potential in Miami.
3. Carlos Boozer
Power Forward, Chicago
Carlos Boozer’s acquisition instantly made the Bulls a much better team, and he becomes the best fantasy player on Chicago. Derrick Rose will shine, but Boozer will likely average a double-double down low for a team that has needed a presence inside for over a decade. The problem is that he just broke his pinky on his right, shooting hand and will be sidelined until December. You are still going to have to use a fairly high draft pick to get a player that will miss one third of the season. Is it really worth it? There is also the chance that Boozer is bothered by the injury all season. Then there is the whole Joakim Noah ordeal. How can we expect Carlos to rebound like he has in the past when Noah will be playing right next to him? The bottom line is avoid Boozer for the first five rounds. If, for some reason, he makes it to you in the sixth, make the pick.
4. Gilbert Arenas
Shooting Guard, Washington
Last season, Arenas was healthy for the first time in two years and ready to have a big comeback year. Unfortunately, he was caught with a gun in the Wizards locker room and suspended the rest of the season. In the 32 games he played in before the suspension, Arenas averaged 22.6 points, 7.2 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game. We all know that this is what he can produce when he’s on the court, but that playing time has been sparse between the injuries and suspension. Washington decided to bring in Josh Howard last season and draft John Wall with the first overall pick in the draft. Then they signed Kirk Hinrich in the offseason. All of these moves to the backcourt are troubling news for Arenas. He has a ton of baggage following him in fantasy drafts and now he has competition for stats. It might be a good idea to just leave Agent Zero alone. Sure, there is a ton of upside, but he’s going to be a headache for his owners all season.
5. Joe Johnson
Shooting Guard, Atlanta
Joe Johnson got the max contract he was seeking in the offseason, but that doesn’t mean he’s worthy of a top pick in your draft. Johnson had a good season last year, averaging 33 fantasy points, but he does little to fill the stat sheet. He’s one of the most explosive scorers in the league, but that’s about all he does. Johnson doesn’t rebound and doesn’t dish out that many assists. Players like JJ have a tendency to cause owners headaches from time to time. If he has a rough scoring night, he does little else to fill the stat sheet, which makes him very inconsistent. While Johnson’s the highest paid player on his team, he’s the third best fantasy option behind Josh Smith and Al Horford. Let someone else make the mistake of taking him in the 4th round based on name recognition. We are very wary of a player coming off a contract year. Now that he’s got the big payday, will he be as motivated to produce?
The next five are the next page…
6. Troy Murphy
Power Forward, New Jersey
Troy Murphy was born in New Jersey and grew up a Nets fan. Now he gets to play for New Jersey. The 6’11” power forward was traded from Indiana in the offseason in a four-team deal. Murphy has averaged 12.1 ppg and 8.6 rpg in his nine-year career. With Yi Jianlian gone, he will be starting for Avery Johnson’s Nets and his main competition will be the number-three overall pick, rookie Derrick Favors. There is one thing to remember if you are preparing for your draft: Murphy is now surrounded by a lot more talent than he was in Indiana. When Troy was on the Pacers, there was only one other guy he had to contend with, Danny Granger. Now he moves to a Nets team where Brook Lopez will be stealing rebounds and Devin Harris will be digging into his point production. New Jersey also has Terrence Williams on the wing. This is looking like one of those cases where a change of scenery will be more of a negative to a player’s value.
7. Luis Scola
Power Forward, Houston
Scola was another pleasant surprise for fantasy owners who drafted the Argentine last season. He increased his scoring average (12.7 to 16.2), assists (1.5 to 2.1), and free-throw percentage (76% to 79%) from the previous season and recorded 32 double-doubles. Luis has improved every season, but with a slew of power forwards on the Houston roster, and the return of Yao Ming to the post, it might curtail Scola’s progress. If you find him sitting there in the eighth round or later then you should draft him; otherwise, Scola is not worth it. If Yao can maintain at least 25 minutes a game for the entire season, Luis is going to see a big dent in his rebounding and double-double totals.
8. Paul Pierce
Shooting Forward, Boston
“The Truth” about Paul Pierce and the rest of the “big three” is that they are not as old as everyone proclaims them to be. They dethroned the so-called “King” on the way to taking the best team in the NBA to a seventh game in the Finals. Pierce still has a money jump shot and can go off on an opponent on any given night. The big problem is, time might be catching up to Pierce. He has been in the NBA for 12 years and last year’s totals were his lowest in almost a decade! That type of downward trending should be sounding the alarm in fantasy owners’ heads. Paul Pierce is one of those players that is way more valuable in real life than he is in fantasy. He is better off on someone else’s roster unless you can snag him in the seventh round or later.
9. Andrew Bynum
Center, Los Angeles Lakers
Last year he scored a career high in points while pulling down 8.3 rebounds per game. The big problem is he has missed 30 or more games in four of his last five NBA seasons. There is no doubt that when Bynum is on the court, he is a fantasy beast, but more often than not he ends up in your Injured Reserve slot rather than in your starting lineup. It’s not his talent that is in question; it’s his durability. He has had major surgeries on both of his knees, and for a big man, that is a death sentence. There is almost zero chance that he can play an entire season and that should be all you need to hear to convince you on passing on Bynum at your draft.
10. Vince Carter
Shooting Guard, Orlando
Vince Carter is no longer the Vinsanity of old, as he will turn 34 this season. He averaged 25 fantasy points last year, but his bigger issue was consistency. For games at a time Carter would just disappear, then light up the scoreboard on other nights. The Magic are looking to make a deep playoff run and Carter will have to carry his fair share of the load if they are going to make it, but don’t expect much more than what he did last season. With the age and inconsistency factored in, you are better off drafting a player that has more upside than Vince Carter. You know what you are going to get with Carter and it can only get worse for him as the season wears on.