What a difference a year makes.
Last year, I was high on a couple of the guys on my new busts list.
This year, you'd have to be high to take them. (I'm looking at you, Kobe Bryant.)
Fantasy Basketball predictions are an imperfect science, but if nothing else, they give you a strong basis of analysis. Sometimes WHY you don't take players is more important than the actual players themselves.
Whoa. That was deep.
So who do I hate this year?
1. Kobe Bryant, LAL, SG
Kobe apparently is going to switch up his position this year, but I'm betting he'll be injured by Christmas. Kobe as we know him is gone. We're officially in Jordan-on-the-Wizards territory. These last couple years won't affect Kobe's legacy at all, but he's not somebody you want on your Fantasy Basketball team. He'll have some games where he'll score a boatload of points while taking like 50 shots, but the LAL future squarely belongs in the hands of D'Angelo Russelland Julius Randle.
It was fun while it lasted though, Kobe. Enjoy your retirement. It actually happened 2 years ago - but nobody told you.
2. Kevin Martin, MIN, SG/SF
I still think K-Mart is gonna put up numbers, but there's a youth movement afoot in Minny - and Kevin is on the wrong side of 30. I think a trade is likely here, but with Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVineready to run the league for the next decade, Martin's gonna lose usage big time...
If injuries pop up, Martin could find increased usage. But I wouldn't count on it. He's the past, and the T-Wolves are squarely focused on their future...
3. Dwight Howard, HOU, PF/C
Anyone care to guess how old D-12 is?
That's just crazy.
With that said, I just don't trust his health.
His lack of explosiveness is well-documented, and his counting stats have started to decline as a result... He's missing lots of games, and is starting to look more like Yao Ming every day... He still has talent, but with declining athleticism and a perpetual injury risk (not to mention those horrible FT% numbers), let someone else dream on a 2007 version of Dwight Howard...
4. DeMarre Carroll, TOR, SF
Carroll was the best 5th starter in the NBA last season, and got a major contract this off-season as a result.
Carroll benefited greatly from being both: a) on one of the best offensive teams in the leagues; and b) completely under-the-radar.
On the Raptors, he will be neither of those things.
Don't get me wrong, Carroll will make the Toronto Raptors better in the actual NBA. But in the Fantasy version of it, let someone else chase his hustle stats...
5. Joel Embiid, PHI, C
Since Embiid is out for the year, you weren't going to draft him in a 1-year league anyway. But for the dynasty crowd, leave this guy alone. He's more Greg Oden than Blake Griffin, and there's a chance he'll NEVER play in the NBA... He's not worth a late round stash, he's not a high upside option: he's a perpetual nightmare.
6. Derrick Rose, CHI, PG
Here's your latest health update on Derrick Rose.
I'm sick of writing about his injuries, and you're sick of rostering him.
He's still extremely talented, but the guy has gotta be one of the most fragile players in NBA history.
I trust him as much as that girlfriend that broke up with you 11 times, but wants to give it a go 'one more time'.
Break the habit, move on. Derrick Rose may look good in photos, but he'll never marry you.
Yes, that got weird.
7. Rajon Rondo, SAC, PG
Sacramento has traditionally been the place where basketball players give up and die.
Rondo continues this storied tradition of failure.
After his worst statistical season since his rookie year, Rondo has officially been exiled to the Wasteland (also known as Sacramento). While B & Es with DeMarcus Cousins would probably be fun for awhile, I am waiting for an early retirement announcement from R2 any day now...
Remember when Dwight Howard and Rondo were the core of the punt-FT% strategy?
If you did that today, you're essentially punting yourself out of the league...
So there are a bunch of guys that I wouldn't draft - unless you put a gun to my head. And even then, I'd probably eat the bullet.
I've got pride, man.
Generally speaking, you want to avoid older players, leaving their prime, on rebuilding teams - with a history of injury problems.
And avoid Sacramento.
Avoid it at all costs.
If you somehow end up there, you're already dead.