Fantasy: Disappointing ‘Draft Day Duds’
Last week we examined the “Top-5 Draft Day Values” thus far; but the first quarter of the 2012-13 campaign has also resulted in a handful of truly disappointing starts from players who entered the season with high expectations. While some players have dramatic injuries to blame for their lack of production, there are others that have been on the floor most of the season, but haven’t put up the numbers fantasy leaguers were hoping for.
Below, we’ll highlight a handful of players that were selected with early picks but have not yet delivered…
Deron Williams – Brooklyn Nets:
Consider this: Among the 50 “qualified” (on pace to play 70 games) point guards, only two are shooting below 40 percent from the floor and below 30 percent on three-pointers: Norris Cole and Deron Williams. D-Will’s ankle and wrist has been giving problems this season, and some have blamed his terrible season-long slump on those maladies. Williams has also been openly critical of the offense Avery Johnson implemented. However, with Johnson fired on Thursday, and P.J. Carlesimo taking over, will Deron’s production start inching back towards his career norms?
Dwyane Wade – Miami HEAT:
Coming into the season, Wade was viewed as an elite, top-5 overall talent. However, thru six weeks, LeBron’s sidekick is averaging near career-lows across the board: just 4.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks. In addition, he is on pace to score fewer than 20 points per game for the first time since his rookie season back 2003-04. Wade obviously has the talent to turn it around, but he’s dealing with a variety of minor ailments and as result, has seen his playing time shrink. If another GM in your league is willing to pay market-value based on Wade’s “bandname” and previous accomplishments, trading him sooner rather than later might be the best move.
DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings:
Many fantasy leaguers (myself included) were excited about Cousins’ potential heading into this season. Last year it seemed he started to begin to put it together. He was one of only two big men to average at least 18 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. The immense talent has always been undeniable, but the questions about attitude and maturity persisted. After a tumultuous first six weeks, the question marks have only increased. Cousins has already been suspended twice this season; and even when he’s played his numbers have been disappointing. I’m tempted to label him as a “buy-low” candidate, because the latent upside remains, but he remains a major gamble.
Pau Gasol – Los Angeles Lakers:
There was some concern surrounding Gasol at the start of the year, due to the fact that Gasol would have to share the low-block with Dwight Howard this season. Yet, Gasol’s game is so complete and he had consistently put up sparkling all-around fantasy numbers playing alongside Andrew Bynum, that Gasol rarely fell any lower than the late-second round on draft day. Unfortunately for those GM’s that selected him, Gasol has played like a mid-to-late round pick at best. Even before tendinitis in both knees caused him to miss eight games earlier this month, Gasol just wasn’t delivering. This is his 13th NBA season, and never before had he averaged fewer than 17 points per contest, nor shot below 48 percent from the floor. This year, through his first 21 games, Gasol is averaging just 12.6 points and converting just 42.0 percent of his FG attempts. Gasol has picked up his play a bit since returning to the Lakers’ lineup, and seems to have regained some confidence, but it remains highly unlikely that he’ll match the numbers we’ve grown accustomed too.
Ersan Ilyasova – Milwaukee Bucks:
Back during drafts in October, Ilyasova was a name that was highlighted on many a cheat sheet. He was projected as a sure-fire breakout candidate by fantasy pundits across the land. And with good reason: over the second half of last season, Ilyasova averaged over 16 points and 9 rebounds a night; while shooting over 55 percent from the floor, 50 percent from behind the arc, and 80 percent from the charity stripe. He was both effective and incredibly efficient. Over the summer, the Bucks rewarded Ilyasova with a monstrous contract, and it appeared he’d become one of the franchises’ cornerstones. As a result, Ilyasova was flying up draft boards this fall. Yet, once the season tipped off, Ilyasova all but disappeared, leaving a trail of bitterly disappointed and stunned fantasy owners scratching their heads. During the month of November, he averaged just 6.7 points, shooting a dreadful 34.9 percent from the field, 21.4 percent from three-point territory, and just 46.7 percent from the FT line. His production has picked up in December, but Ilyasova still currently sits outside the Top 180 based on overall production.