All current Yahoo! rankings are based on ETB’s highly scientific fantasy hoops scoring format; players are ordered in the average order in which they were drafted in all Yahoo! leagues. Be sure to also check out Ten of the Most Pleasant Fantasy Hoops Surprises So Far This Season.
Elton Brand, Philadelphia 76ers
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 7.5 (Mid-First Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 184th Overall
Why He’s Been a Headache: The dislocated shoulder he suffered on December 17 was but icing on the foul fruitcake that Brand’s season had already turned into prior to the injury, which will keep him sidelined for a month or more. Those banking on a continuation, or even elevation, of his post-injury dominance with the Clippers last season have thus far been rewarded with a sometimes decent, never spectacular effort from the 76ers’ big free-agent acquisition. Through 23 games played, Brand has posted career-low per-game averages of 15.9 points, 44.7% FG, 68.3% FT, 1.5 assists, and 1.4 blocks; the 9.8 boards are his third-least. Worse yet, there’s a significant chance Brand could re-injure that shoulder once he returns in a few weeks, which could derail his entire season before it really even started.
Shawn Marion, Miami Heat
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 9.2 (Mid-First Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 56th Overall*
Why He’s Been a Headache: “The Matrix” was behind only LeBron James in terms of small forwards to come off the draft board, but now finds himself ranked 20th amongst players with SF-eligibility. Currently out with back spasms, Marion’s days of being an elite across-the-categories contributor seem farther and farther behind him with each passing game. His 11.5 points, 9.2 boards, 1.4 steals, and 0.2 triples per are all the lowest since his 99-00 rookie season, and unfortunately we just don’t get the sense he’s going to suddenly break out this season either; a lingering injury that keeps him out for extended stretches seems more in the cards, which could sink the title hopes of those who gambled on him one more time with a first-round pick.
Allen Iverson, Detroit Pistons
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 14.8 (Late First Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 75th Overall
Why He’s Been a Headache: A lot of owners drafting around 14th or 15th overall felt compelled to choose between either A.I. or Baron Davis, but are likely now wishing they’d “reached” for a Deron Williams, Chauncey Billups, or even Rashard Lewis. Since the early-season trade to Detroit, on a strict fantasy-level Iverson has been anything but dynamic. For the most part, he’s done his best (and done it fairly well to this point) to subscribe to the Pistons’ team-first approach, one which rarely allows for any one player to post monster fantasy stats. That’s all well and good for his real team’s long-term outlook this season, but his fantasy teams who spent a first-round pick on The Answer are likely searching for a new one every day.
Seven more fantasy hoops headaches after the jump…
Baron Davis, Los Angeles Clippers
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 14.9 (Late First Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 70th Overall
Why He’s Been a Headache: I’ve personally been trying to unload Davis all season-long, successfully doing so in a swap for Al Jefferson in one league but thus far finding no takers in ETB’s league. No shock, really, that he’s a tough sell–we had a feeling Davis’ health and productivity wouldn’t fully hold up this season on a bad Clippers team, but the potential for at least putting up mountains of garbage-time stats seemed very real. It hasn’t worked out that way: through 30 games, he’s shooting a dismal 36% FG (career low), averaging 17.3 points (worst since injury-plagued ’02-’03 season), and 29% three-pointers with 3.4 boards (both worsts since rookie season). He’s currently out for at least five games with a bruised tailbone–here we go again…
Josh Howard, Dallas Mavericks
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 57.9 (Early Fifth Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 193rd Overall
Why He’s Been a Headache: A gimpy ankle sidelined Howard for 13 of the Mavs’ first 22 games, and since returning on December 15 it’s been painfully obvious that this multi-category contributor is not yet close to full strength. Beyond points, he’s not giving his owners much return on their modest investment, one that most who drafted him probably felt would end up being a steal for this poor man’s Marion. Unfortunately, field-goal and free-throw percentages are down, rebounds are down, assists are down, blocks are down, and points are down compared to his strong ’07-’08 season. Patience is the key here, but efforts like Friday’s against Phoenix (3-13 FG, 10 points, 7 boards, 2 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers) are wearing thin.
Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 60 (Early Fifth Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 190th Overall
Why He’s Been a Headache: At a time when damn near every PF has also been granted C-eligibility (Jason Maxiell, really?), we were a bit shocked to see so many owners reaching for an unproven commodity like the rookie Oden. Commonly taken ahead of proven performers like Andrew Bogut, Al Horford, and Tyson Chandler, the lumbering seven-footer has produced solid boxscores highlighted by double-digits in points and boards here and there, but the 1.2 blocks are sub-par. The young man oozes with potential, but a still-raw offensive game and an inability to stay out of foul trouble are going to plague his fantasy contributions throughout his rookie season. This looked like a classic reach pick on draft day, and it still looks that way.
Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia 76ers
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 62.6 (Mid-Fifth Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 137th Overall
Why He’s Been a Headache: No idea what’s going on here. We assumed that finally having a consistent scoring threat in Brand lining up next to him in the post would help him further elevate his fantasy game, but it didn’t happen, at all. Then when Brand went down with the shoulder, and Mo Cheeks was relieved of his duties as head coach, we thought a drastic uptick in points, boards, and blocks was most certainly in the cards. Wrong again. For whatever reason, Dalembert has been a picture of fantasy mediocrity at the center position thus far, averaging 5.7 points, 8.3 boards, 46% FG, and 1.5 blocks through 33 games. If you weren’t able to move him already, you’re likely stuck with him. Ugh.
Corey Maggette, Golden State Warriors
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 63.3 (Late Fifth Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 188th Overall
Why He’s Been a Headache: Assuming he can stay healthy for more than a week at a time, Maggette is one of the players on this list who can quickly make up for lost time. As long as he has hamstrings, though, the looming threat of them becoming sore and sidelining him for 1 – 3 weeks consistently hangs over his owners’ heads; man is that annoying. The injury-prone swingman has already missed 19 of the Warriors’ first 36 games, but in his return on Monday showed why he can be so valuable whilst actually playing: 23 points, 5-9 FG, 13-16 FT, 5 boards, 3 assists, and 1 steal in just over 30 minutes. The guy’s going to shoot almost 10 free throws a game and always pushes 20 points, but for him to eventually make good on his fifth-round pick status, he’ll need to get that FG% back up (currently 41.9), hit a triple-try now and again (0.5 per at a 17% clip), and massage those damn hammys of his day and night.
Mike Miller, Minnesota Timberwolves
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 69.2 (Early Sixth Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 174th Overall
Why He’s Been a Headache: The nine-year vet has been a huge disappointment for fantasy owners thus far, but his presence on your make-believe roster pales in comparison to the pain Timberwolves fans must feel knowing their GM took Miller as a major piece of the draft-day deal that sent rising star O.J. Mayo to Memphis. I begrudgingly took Miller in ETB’s league as a value pick, but wasn’t expecting much–unfortunately, I’ve been right so far. Through 24 games, Miller is attempting a career-low 8.3 FG attempts, which has contributed to just 1.3 three-pointers made and 10.3 points scored–also career lows. A sore ankle has kept him out of nine games already, but at this point his fantasy contributions are so low that outside of that injury nagging him all season, I have to believe there’s nowhere to go but up from here.
Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls
Average Yahoo! Draft Position: 78.7 (Early Seventh Round)
Current Yahoo! Rank: 158th Overall
Why He’s Been a Headache: The highly efficient Deng of the past two seasons has been replaced with a guy who’s failed to adjust his offensive game to the scouting reports that have pinned down how to best guard him and exploit him on defense. Out with a sprained ankle since December 27, Deng has showed little confidence in his jumper–the 43% matches the career-low of his rookie season–and his 13.3 points/per are a big disappointment. The Bulls’ invested in Deng this past summer by inking him to a healthy contract extension, so you have to believe he’ll be given every oppportunity to succeed once that ankle comes around. Still, those who thought that getting Deng in the early seventh round would prove to be one of the draft’s bigger steals are still waiting for him to contribute much more than mediocrity across the board.
– Ten of the Most Pleasant Fantasy Hoops Surprises So Far This Season
* all current ranks based on ETB’s fantasy league scoring format