2018-19 Fantasy Basketball Busts
Justin Fensterman helps you find those the NBA players that you should avoid at all cost in your fantasy basketball drafts for the 2018-19 NBA season.
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- Dennis Smith Jr. -G-Dallas Mavericks: As flashy of a player as Dennis Smith Jr. is, there are flaws to his game. As soon as he gets double-teamed, he panics and forces bad passes. Smith is a much better driver than shooter. He shot under 40 percent from the field last season and with the additions of DeAndre Jordan and Luka Doncic , Smith will likely lose out on the amount of time he has with the ball and shots he takes. Wesley Matthews is a more reliable shooter and the Mavs will trust the vet as the team’s kick out option. Smith will score off of driving. With Doncic being a good ball-handler, we can also see Smith’s assists drop a tad. Doncic is a much more of a complete player than Smith. He’ll start, but won’t have as long of a leash if his shot isn’t falling.
- Brandon Ingram -G/F-Los Angeles Lakers: With LeBron James on the Lakers, someone is going to lose out on production. Brandon Ingram could end up playing a reserve role and only be in line to produce when James is off the court. The Lakers have a lot of guards and forwards and there will be times that James can shift to PF and Ingram will fill-in at SG, but it’s very difficult being the direct shadow of James. Ingram may lose out on minutes unless an injury occurs. There are a lot of spot-up shooters on the Lakers and two drive-first point guards. Ingram will likely not get as many shot opportunities in this crowded situation. His assist numbers could drop to being that Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo are efficient passers.
- T.J. Warren-G/F-Phoenix Suns: Warren is in a crowded situation with Devin Booker healthy, the emergence of Josh Jackson and the addition of Trevor Ariza . Why would the Suns pay Ariza $15 Million? They have a major need for perimeter defense and Ariza has been one of the best perimeter defenders of the last decade. The Suns have a lot more depth and Warren will likely lose out on playing time. He hangs at the arc too much and because Ariza does that on the offensive side of the ball, there is less of a need for Warren. He’s simply the odd man out. Jackson will be rotating to both forward spots and Ariza can shift down to SG. He’s looking not only at a reduction of playing time, but his scoring numbers will likely drop. The Suns were badly injured with very little depth and Warren got to serve as the second scoring option. He’s not the second option anymore.
- Bojan Bogdanovic -F-Indiana Pacers: Bogdanovic doesn’t make enough of an impact on defense to garner 30 minutes a night. He’s a spot-up shooter with size who doesn’t play in the paint. He should be a match up nightmare, but doesn’t crash the boards enough and doesn’t get enough steals. Bogdanovic may start the season as the Pacers SF, but he will be on a short leash. The Pacers added Tyreke Evans and Doug McDermott and both of those players will be a threat to Bogdanovic’s production and minutes. He’s very scoring dependant and the Pacers will go with the hot hand. Evans can rotate to multiple positions and is a better ball-handler than Bogdanovic. Thad Young may also impede on Bogdanovic’s minutes if the Pacers stick to their plan of wanting to have Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on the floor together. Bogdanovic was helpful grabbing long rebounds, but his stats as a whole will likely drop because of the likely playing time decrease
- Zach LaVine -G-Chicago Bulls: While LaVine may be over his injury, the Bulls have added more depth and Jabari Parker can shoot and drive. LaVine is too scoring dependant and with the Bulls having more depth in their frontcourt, the backcourt will have less pressure to handle the bulk of the scoring this season. LaVine will help with steals and he’ll start, although he doesn’t drive the lane as much as he used to. He mainly sticks to the arc and taking shots off of screens. After returning from injury last season, he didn’t shoot well from the field. There are more reliable options out there and with the amount the Bulls trust Kris Dunn , LaVine will be playing exclusively SG. He’s not the same player he was from a few years ago. He doesn’t move as quick and he’s not as aggressive of a driver. While Parker is injury-prone, he commands the ball a lot.
- Pau Gasol -C-San Antonio Spurs: There’s already talk that Gasol will be coming off the bench with new addition Jakob Poeltl starting in his place. The Spurs dealt with their fair share of injuries and Gasol didn’t make as much of an impact. As he’s aged, his moves to the basket are not as effective. Gasol has become more of an elbow screener setting up other players. Even last season, he was frozen out of games a good amount and not involved in the offensive scheme. His rebounding numbers could see a bit of a drop and he may not even score 10 points a game. He doesn’t shoot from the outside unlike teammate Rudy Gay and when he doesn’t have position on the low block, rather than using a one-handed spin move or hook, Gasol will likely pass off a lot more.
- Thad Young-F-Indiana Pacers: Young caught a break when Myles Turner was banged up going into last season. This year the Pacers are looking to get Domantas Sabonis on the court with Myles Turner more and this could send Young to the bench. The Pacers have a ton of depth including good spot-up shooters and playmakers. Even if Young runs with the second unit, he’ll be in a competition for shots with Tyreke Evans and the Pacers have a lot of SF options. Young will see most of his minutes at PF. The Pacers are going to be a faster moving team this year and Young is more of a half-court style player when the offense is looking to slowly get in the lane. Young should see a decrease in playing time and scoring.
- Avery Bradley -G-Los Angeles Clippers: Even when Bradley was on Detroit, he looked like a one-tool player. He shot a ton of long-range jumpers, but didn’t make as much of an impact on defense. Expect minimal scoring despite the fact that he’s healthy. The Clippers have a ton of guards and Bradley could see fewer shots. He doesn’t drive the lane anymore like he did in Boston. His rebounding ability is a shell of what it used to be. He’ll be a help with steals, but after looking slower last season, it is uncertain how much time he will have with the ball. Patrick Beverley will take shots away from him.
- Buddy Hield -G-Sacramento Kings: Like Bradley, Hield is too much of a “just a shooter” type of player. He helped out with steals and looked to improve his defense in the summer, but the Kings have a lot of options and he’ll be in a constant competition for shots. De’Aaron Fox’s role is expected to grow and Bogdan Bogdanovic can do more on the court than Hield can. More of the Kings scoring will come from their frontcourt. They drafted Marvin Bagley III to help with getting to the basket. Hield will be very trey-reliant and if the Kings can get in the lane, they will keep forcing the ball inside. You can find other scoring –reliant players later in your drafts.
- Brook Lopez -C-Milwaukee Bucks: You want your Center to rebound and Brook Lopez for some reason is unable to do that consistently. He’s over seven feet tall and focuses more on long-range shooting than rebounding. John Henson was a good compliment last year because he stayed out of Giannis Antetokounmpo ’s way and played exclusively on the low-block. Lopez will serve as a back up kick out option when the Bucks are on the drive. Khris Middleton and/or Eric Bledsoe will be open a ton because of the amount of pressure defenses will have to put on Antetokounmpo. Even though Lopez can score, he’ll likely be frozen out because of the amount Antetokounmpo commands the ball and won’t see as many shot opportunities. Thon Maker will be a constant threat to Lopez playing time and if Maker can show he improved defensively, you may not see as much of Lopez as the season continues.
- Dirk Nowitzki -F/C-Dallas Mavericks: With DeAndre Jordan on the team, the Mavs will look to force the ball inside to him. Nowitzki served as the team’s Center a good amount and was far from impressive. Jordan gives Nowitzki more of a reason to camp out at the three-point arc. He’ll be too shot reliant and won’t move the needle when it comes to rebounding and blocks. He’s at the end of his career and is already coming into the season banged up with an Ankle injury. Without that Ankle support, his shot will be impacted. Nowitzki has nothing else going for him besides his shot and may even start the season coming off the bench. The Mavs will look to rotate Luka Doncic and Harrison Barnes to the PF spot at times and they’ll need Jordan to play heavy minutes. Nowitzki is likely looking at a reserve role. He may start, but then other younger players will sub in for him early.
- JaVale McGee -C-Los Angeles Lakers: Outside of a few shining moments McGee has been a bust his whole career. He never meets expectations and even though the Lakers lack Center depth and experience, McGee won’t score consistently and his rebounding numbers won’t be impactful enough to start him. I don’t care that LeBron James is on his team. How did it work out for Tristan Thompson ? McGee is a placeholder for someone else to step up. Besides blocks, he does more harm than good when on the court. The Warriors didn’t have much depth at center and he wasn’t able to play consistent minutes. His moves to the basket with the ball are atrocious and he slows down the pace of the game. His court awareness is comical and panics when he gets the ball.
- Dennis Schroder -G-Oklahoma City Thunder: Schroder is now Russell Westbrook ’s understudy and we saw how detrimental to them team he was when he was the top option on the Hawks. Schroder is not a good enough shooter to share the court as Westbrook for a long period of time. Andre Roberson is still dealing with a Knee injury, but he plays way better defense than Schroder does. Once Roberson is healthy, Schroder will see fewer minutes. Schroder is much more of an impactful driver than shooter. He’s quick, but so is Westbrook. Schroder moves down the priority list of scorers and he’ll lose out on shots. Expect his scoring numbers, shot attempts and playing time to decrease. Schroder showed his immaturity with the ball as he made a lot of reckless passes and in close games, Schroder will likely see limited minutes.
- Tyler Johnson -G-Miami Heat: There are just too many cooks in the kitchen and Johnson did a poor job rotating to PG last season. With Rodney McGruder fully healthy, Wayne Ellington still present and Dion Waiters working his way back to the court, Johnson, who doesn’t drive as much for some reason, will see fewer shots. Even Dwayne Wade returning hurts Johnson’s value. He was constantly on and off the waiver wire last season. The Heat prioritize Josh Richardson over Johnson, and while Johnson will see more time at PG and he’ll be used just to set the plays up. He’ll make the first pass on plays that involve four or five passes and his playing time at PG won’t translate to assists unless Goran Dragic gets hurt. It’s too crowded of a situation for Johnson.
- Bobby Portis -PF/C-Chicago Bulls: Portis could be the odd man out if Wendell Carter Jr. pans out and with Robin Lopez still on the team, it will be hard for Portis to find heavy minutes. Lauri Markkanen will play a ton of minutes at PF with Jabari Parker also around to take more minutes away. Both Markkanen and Parker (despite past health issues) have more to their game than Portis. Portis will help the Bulls with intangibles. He’ll serve as an enforcer and there won’t be many plays drawn up for him. He’ll have to score most of points off of rebounding. Portis is more of a low-block banger and both Lopez and Carter have those skills down-low and it will be hard for Portis to standout.
- Allen Crabbe -G/F-Brooklyn Nets: Crabbe shouldn’t be drafted. He should be left on the waiver wire. With the emergence of Caris LeVert and Joe Harris , Crabbe could be looking at a minutes decrease. Harris is a better jump-shooter than Crabbe, while the Nets seem to covet LeVert’s youth and potential. They plan on giving LeVert heavy minutes this season. Crabbe could see playing time at PG backing up D’Angelo Russell, but his offensive play has always been a bit inconsistent. DeMarre Carroll ’s strong play last season will keep Crabbe limited at SF. It will be hard for him to find consistent minutes and shots. He makes poor decisions with the ball and is too streaky of a shooter to put trust in. Russell being healthy decreases Crabbe’s value.
- Josh Hart -G/F Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James has just stunted Hart’s growth as a player. If I think Ingram will see a decrease in production, Hart won’t see the floor nearly as much. Hart has Kentavious Caldwell-Pope , Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma competing with him for time with the ball and shots. Hart will need an injury to occur in order to see more playing time. Caldwell-Pope is also a good defender and that will further keep Hart out of the game. With two solid ball-handlers, one will play the off-guard at times. Hart could very well be the 10th man on this Lakers team.
- JaMychal Green -PF/C-Memphis Grizzlies: Green was all over the place last season and it’s hard to trust him going into the season. With a healthy Mike Conley and the additions of Kyle Anderson and Jaren Jackson Jr., Green will see a decrease in minutes and shot attempts. He may be a starter to start the season, but once Jackson gets acclimated and can keep up, Green will be moved to the bench. The Grizzlies got rid of Zach Randolph so Green can takeover and he hasn’t been able to make that impact on the court. Green slows the Grizzlies down and they’ll be looking to run this season and with Jackson having that pedigree for the game, it shouldn’t take him long to learn. Green will be too inconsistent of a fantasy option to draft and the Grizzlies showed their lack of confidence in Green by drafting Jackson with the fourth overall pick. They are looking to move on.
- George Hill -G-Cleveland Cavaliers: Hill is just a guy at this point. Collin Sexton will be playing heavy minutes and the Cavs have other options they can look to in order to keep the pace of play quick. Hill is just a spot-up shooter who will be used more as mentor than an actual piece this season. He’s too scoring dependant and provides very limited help with anything else. Hill looked a lot slower last season and shooting did not come as easy for him. Even playing alongside JR Smith takes the ball out of Hill’s hands. Jordan Clarkson will also limit Hill’s production.
- Reggie Jackson -G-Detroit Pistons: Jackson is always hurt. Let him be someone else’s problem. Jackson relies too much on his shot and not as much on being a playmaker. He’s dealing with an Ankle injury coming into the season. He’s not as quick as he once was and doesn’t make the players around him better. Jackson’s health issues alone are a turn off. Expect the Pistons to have him feed players like Luke Kennard and Stanley Johnson a bit more. He dribbles too much and stalls the Pistons offense. Expect his scoring to drop a bit this season. He’s lost a lot of speed from all of the injuries.
Player AlarmsView All
M. Wagner - SF
Wagner (knee) has been participating in some non-contact drills and some controlled contact post work in practice, Mike Trudell of the Lakers' official site reports.
Wagner was forced to miss the whole preseason due to a knee contusion, although it's good to see that he's been getting some work in during practice. His status for the season opener Thursday against Portland has yet to be revealed, but he's expected to be reevaluated in the next few days to determine his availability moving forward.
Added Yesterday 7:31 pm (EST)
R. Gay - SF
Gay (heel) is expected to play in Wednesday's season opener against the Timberwolves, Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News reports.
Gay sat out the team's preseason finale over the weekend with a heel injury, though he's on track to play in the regular season opener after fully participating in Monday's practice. The veteran averaged 10.5 points and 5.0 rebounds across 21.2 minutes per game last season.
Added Yesterday 6:31 pm (EST)
B. Simmons - PG
Simmons (neck) returned to practice Monday after sitting out Saturday's session with stiffness in his neck, Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philly reports.
Simmons' absence Saturday was more precautionary than anything else, and all indications are that he'll be fine for Tuesday's season-opener against the Celtics. The 22-year-old is among the best young talents in the league and is coming off of a monster rookie season in which he averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks in 81 starts.
Added Yesterday 5:56 pm (EST)
M. Harkless - SF
Harkless (knee) went through most of Monday's practice but remains questionable for Thursday's season opener against the Lakers, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports.
Harkless was held out of all five preseason games due to a sore left knee, but his participation in Monday's session is a major step in the right direction. Nonetheless, coach Terry Stotts didn't provide much insight into Harkless' status for the opener. "He doesn't have a status right now," Stotts told the media. For the time being, consider Harkless optimistically questionable, but he appears to be trending in the right direction.
Added Yesterday 5:49 pm (EST)
D. Arthur - PF
Arthur was waived by the Suns on Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
This was the expectation all along when the Suns acquired Arthur back in July, but the team decided to keep him around through training camp and the preseason. The veteran will now become a free agent and look to catch on with another team in need of frontcourt depth.
Added Yesterday 5:30 pm (EST)
S. Harrison - SG
Harrison was waived by the Suns on Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
Harrison was thought to be in competition for minutes at point guard for the Suns, who don't have a reliable veteran at the position, but the two sides will part ways and Harrison will become a free agent. With Harrison out of the picture, Devin Booker will likely slot in as the immediate starter, with rookies Elie Okobo and De'Anthony Melton battling veterans Isaiah Canaan and Jamal Crawford for reserve minutes.
Added Yesterday 5:28 pm (EST)
L. Nance Jr. - SF
Nance (ankle) signed a four-year, $45 million extension with the Cavaliers on Monday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports.
Nance joined the Cavaliers at the trade deadline last season, and following some impressive showings in the second half of the season and playoffs, the 25-year-old has solidified his second NBA contract. Nance is expected to serve as the first backcourt player to come off the bench for the Cavaliers this season, and while his offensive game is still somewhat limited, he's shown plenty of promise with his versatility on defense. Nance, however, is currently questionable to play in Wednesday's season opener in Toronto due to a right ankle sprain.
Added Yesterday 5:08 pm (EST)
K. Caldwell-Pope - SG
Caldwell-Pope (knee) took part in practice Monday and worked with the starting group, Bill Oram of The Athletic reports.
Caldwell-Pope was held out of the preseason finale Friday due to tendinitis in his knee, but the issue doesn't appear to be anything of great concern, even though he was held out of the final scrimmage Monday as a precaution. "In my medical opinion I think he's going to be just fine," head coach Luke Walton said after the session. Perhaps the more relevant news is that Caldwell-Pope worked as a starter alongside Rajon Rondo in the backcourt, which could be an indication of how Walton is leaning in advance of the regular season opener Thursday in Portland. Caldwell-Pope has been in competition, primarily, with Josh Hart for the starting shooting guard job, and Walton said Monday that he'll continue to evaluate the position on a daily basis.
Added Yesterday 5:04 pm (EST)