A new NBA season brings its own sets of challenges. NBA rosters and lineups have changed and impact players who were hurt last season are healthy and back in the fold of their respective basketball teams. Playing time is key when it comes to fantasy basketball and between the NBA Draft and free agency, some players who were playing 30-35 minutes last season could see a decrease in playing time. 20 minutes per game shows a true rotation commitment. If an NBA player that you’re planning on rostering can’t hit the 20-minute mark in their lineup, it’ll lower their production ceiling. Here are a few potential busts for the 2022-2023 fantasy basketball season.


2022 Fantasy Basketball Busts

Trae Young - Guard - Atlanta Hawks

Young is coming off a fantastic season. He shot better than he ever has throughout his career. He also averaged the most assists he’s ever posted since joining the league. In what was shocking, the Hawks acquired Dejounte Murray from the Spurs and while in theory, Young will be the prioritized shooter for the Hawks this season, it’s looking like he won’t be bringing the ball up as much. If Young isn’t playing point as much, his assist numbers are bound to drop. He’ll still get plenty of shots. Murray is also a rebounder and he’ll immediately cut to the basket to fight for boards. Young could be spending more time waiting to be fed at the arc. 

Yes, Young will have games where he brings up the ball more, but Murray being there brings major competition from a fantasy standpoint. If Young is going to become mainly scoring dependent, is he worth the draft capital? We’re talking about a borderline first-round pick in 12-team fantasy basketball leagues. Murray likely taking command of the offense will be great for the Hawks in reality, but it could hinder Young’s overall production.

Russell Westbrook - Guard - Los Angeles Lakers

Will Westbrook even remain a Laker? Unfortunately, Westbrook is one of those players who has proven to be more valuable in fantasy than reality. We’re used to all the years of Westbrook filling up the stat sheet deep in multiple areas, but he’s clearly fallen out of favor with the Lakers. We saw his stats drop off in a big way last season. Westbrook is a horrible defender. He’s too much of a liability as a one-way player. He slows down possessions when he’s on the ball.

The Lakers have added other guards to their roster such as Patrick Beverley, Dennis Schroder, and Lonnie Walker IV. Let’s also not forget that LeBron James will bring up the ball a good amount. Westbrook’s contract makes it hard for him to move and if Westbrook is still on the team by the time the season kicks off, there’s a decent chance he won’t start, and the Lakers choose defense over offense in their backcourt. This situation is just too murky right now and we don’t know what teams can or would want to make a run at him because of his ridiculously high salary. 

Wendell Carter Jr. - Forward/Center - Orlando Magic 

Carter has never averaged 30 minutes per game in any of his four years as a pro and even though he averaged a double-double and came close to notching 30 minutes per game, we will likely see his minutes drop a bit. Carter has had trouble staying healthy, but that’s not as much of an issue for him as the arrival of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Paolo Banchero is.

Banchero will take over the PF spot where Carter often played. Carter and Mo Bamba shared the court a lot together, and that will likely change now with Banchero being there creates a big of traffic for the Magic under the basket and it is possible that Mo Bamba (who the Magic retained in free agency) and Carter split the playing time at center. Bamba is the bigger center and Carter isn’t a great defender and it will be a big competition to see who gets more minutes early on between the two.

Daniel Gafford - Forward/Center - Washington Wizards 

With how the Wizards retooled their roster, Gafford is looking like he will back up Kristaps Porzingis. Some may think that Porzingis, who has operated as a PF for a good amount of his NBA career, will be put back there, but we saw him have a lot of success playing center and Gafford is lucky if he sees 20 minutes per game. Gafford does a good job of standing his ground when the opposition is driving, but Porzingis has a few inches on him.

Gafford swatted away 1.4 shots per game last year and nearly scored in double figures, but he won’t have as many opportunities as he did last year with this team. Is there a chance Porzingis gets injured? Absolutely, because he always does, but at least until that happens, Gafford could be looking at 15-17 minutes with a limited number of shots. His job will be to just keep the play alive for Washington by grabbing offensive rebounds and helping clog the lane on defense. Porzingis isn’t the best defender, but height-wise, he’s a nightmare of a matchup and should see his minutes in the 30s for the most part. 

Bogdan Bogdanovic - Guard/Forward - Atlanta Hawks

His Knee is already causing some problems and while Bogdanovic showed a lot of promise in Sacramento, he’s going to run into similar issues in Atlanta as he did out west because the Hawks (like the Kings when he was part of their team) have a lot of guards, skilled guards, who can score. The arrival of Dejounte Murray really hurts the Hawks mid-court and with De’Andre Hunter being a bit bigger of a wing, Bogdanovic could be used mainly as a reserve. Health issues have been tough for Bogdanovic to deal with in the NBA.

We saw his three-point shooting percentage drop seven percent last season and his overall shooting percentage dropped over four percent. He and Hunter will be in a constant battle for playing time because both Murray and Trae Young will play deep into games night in and night out. He certainly won’t be bringing up the ball as much which will limit his assists a bit. He’ll mainly be utilized for his scoring and he’s already going to be a step behind the rest of the team when it comes to his conditioning and gearing up for the season because of his health.

Derrick White - Guard - Boston Celtics

While the Celtics are on the lighter side when it comes to depth, they have plenty of backcourt options they can choose to rely on including new arrival Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon will likely serve as the first player to come off the bench for Boston and White, who saw his minutes drop when he was traded to Boston at the trade deadline, could be looking at a further reduction. The Robert Williams injury could help White indirectly salvage a few minutes if the Celtics decide to shift up Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to SF and PF, but they can also opt to start Grant Williams instead.

It’ll be tough for White, who dropped nearly five dimes per contest, to have control of the possession with Brogdon and Marcus Smart in front of him. White’s shooting percentage has gone in the wrong direction since joining the league and it will be hard for him to take eight to 10 shots per game and his scoring will most likely drop as well. 

Caris LeVert - Guard/Forward - Cleveland Cavaliers 

LeVert is another player who has had trouble staying healthy and he won’t be prioritized as much when it comes to shooting as he was when he was on Indiana. The Cavs backcourt of Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell can hold their own when it comes to scoring and Evan Mobley will be heavily featured. He could potentially start at SF, but there will be others vying for that spot including Cedi Osman and Isaac Okoro

It may even be smarter for the Cavs to reduce LeVert’s role to preserve his health so they can make a deep playoff run. Lauri Markkanen being sent back to Utah clears things up for Mobley and even for Kevin Love to be relevant, but LeVert will be in competition for minutes and is likely looking at a reserve role. He’s not the most reliable shooter from long-range, but he drives the lane nicely and he’s good at weaving through defenders getting in the lane. 

Jordan Poole - Guard - Golden State Warriors

We saw Poole fill in for Klay Thompson very nicely last season, but when he came back, we saw him off the court more and he was taking fewer shots and after the amazing NBA Finals display that Andrew Wiggins put on later in the series, Poole will be looking at a reserve role who won’t be taking 14 shots per outing. What’s good about Poole is that he can bring up the ball as well, but Stephen Curry plays a lot of minutes and after seeing Poole drop off like his production did once Thompson returned, he’s not as appealing in fantasy basketball. Will he come into games, and hit threes with the second unit? Of course! He just won’t get as many shot opportunities unless the Warriors are blowing teams out consistently and opt to rest their starters but it’s hard to rely on that. 

Reggie Jackson - Guard - Los Angeles Clippers

Jackson took 16-17 shots per game last season, but with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard healthy, Jackson will serve more as a bailout shooter with both George and Leonard working the elbow to try to get inside and that will eat up most of the shot-clock on a lot of possessions. John Wall joining the team also doesn’t help. Jackson shot under 40 percent last season and if Wall can speed up the tempo and out-run opposing second-units early, he could overtake Jackson in the starting lineup. Both aren’t great defenders with Wall being the worst of the two, but Jackson who logged nearly 35 minutes per game will likely see his minutes drop in general and then drop some more after Wall has a few weeks to settle in (regarding that he can stay healthy). Both are quick and they can change the pace, but Wall isn’t there to ride the bench and barely play. 

Evan Fournier - Guard - New York Knicks 

Fournier shot the worst he’s ever shot throughout his career with the Knicks last season. He’s very streaky and doesn’t do much else on the court. Even though he swiped a ball per contest last year, Fournier isn’t a reliable defender. The Knicks extended RJ Barrett and they covet Quentin Grimes (on the sleepers list). Fournier played under 30 minutes, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him come off the bench a month or 2 into the season. Grimes can do more for the Knicks defensively. The Knicks should utilize Founier as a shooter off the bench when they need long-range scoring to help them fight back in games as he shot over 38 percent from long-range, but outside of high-percentage 3-point shots, he’s not much of a help with the team. He gets paid a lot of money and that will keep him in the rotation, but it’s hard to imagine that he’ll have a similar role to last season. He shot under 42 percent from the floor last season.


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