Steph Was another player who I expected a lot more from but could not deliver completely on the hype.
Analysis: After a stellar rookie season, expectations were incredibly high. In his first season he removed all doubts that his game belonged in the NBA. In his sophomore season Steph played decently and had a few games that really made you acknowledge his scoring mastery. However looking at Steph’s rookie season and then predicting his sophomore season the consensus was on fairly significant improvement, but that wasn’t the case. It was safe to say that he entered into a bit of the notorious sophomore slump. What really hurt 2011 fantasy owners regarding Steph Curry was his decline in steals. He grabbed approximately a 1/2 a steal less this season than last. I like many others thought he was poised to average closer to 3 steals this season rather than 1.5. His percentages improved slightly which was nice, but he actually averaged less made 3s per game. Furthermore Steph averaged less rebounds and assists than he did a season ago. The numbers are down very slightly, basically nothing, but we were all counting on him progressing up another level rather than producing the same stats.The factor here is a lack of improvement rather than a decline, because of Steph’s age.
Projection: Steph Curry is an excellent scorer and playmaker and will always find a spot on somebody’s fantasy team. I think he recovers from his sophomore slump and puts up major fantasy stats next season. Be on the lookout for a Monta Ellis trade this offseason, because if that happens Curry will handle the ball a lot more and his stats should go up even more. They have managed to coexist okay, but an Ellis trade is certainly not out of the question.
There were a number of incredibly disappointing fantasy players this season, but I’m going to dissect the biggest letdowns. Starting with Brooke Lopez, here we go!
Analysis: Going into this season, fantasy owners had some pretty high hopes for the better Lopez brother. Over his rookie and sophomore seasons Lopez was very consistent and showed the potential to be one of the better big men in the league. There were two serious flaws in his game that really hurt his value and caused him to be such a bust this season. Lopez seemingly forgot how to rebound, averaging 6 boards a game. That’s a drop of 2.8 boards from last season. I don’t think anybody could have predicted that, when they drafted him. Losing that many boards when you expected his boards to climb was absolutely painful. Lopez’s assists and blocks were down too hurting his value even more. The bottom line is that Lopez was expected to have a breakout year, or in the very least make a substantial jump, but he did neither. He improved his scoring numbers, but lost out in his percentages a little. The minor jump in scoring does not account for the drop-offs in the other categories mentioned.
Next Season Projection: I think the addition of Deron Williams will help Lopez find his game once again. Playing with one of the best players in the game and undoubtedly having a better win percentage will keep Lopez motivated and productive. I expect next season to be the breakout season we were expecting this year. After this bad season Lopez might fall quite low in your fantasy draft, be sure to pick him up when he does.
I had high hopes for the dorky white kid who looks like he’s 15 years old, but I really didn’t expect any real production from him.
Analysis: In perhaps one of Utah’s best victories of the season it was the doofy young gun who led the team in scoring. Hayward poured in in 22 points against a team favored to win the whole shabam (LAL). Topping it off was Hayward’s shooting percentage. He was 9-14 from the field, which means he really caught fire. The points alone were solid, but he also contributed nicely in other important categories. He pulled down 6 boards, added 5 assists, had two steals, and even threw in a block for good measure. The question is whether or not this was a fluke night or a sign of things to come. One good sign is that he’s averaged 16 points for 3 straight games in April. Shooting 54% for the 3 games.
Projection: Hayward needs to put on some serious muscle so he doesn’t get pushed around at the small forward position. If he can bulk up a bit I think next year can be a solid year for him. Not spectacular fantasy production, but he’ll shoot a decent percentage and put up some points on occasion. His 3 point shooting is a serious plus for fantasy owners as he’s shot the ball well from deep all season. He’s averaging 45% from downtown this season, so when he actually gets some minutes he’ll put up a fair number of 3s for your fantasy team. If Hayward starts to heat up for any stretch expect Utah fans to jump aboard the Hayward train. I believe Utah is the perfect place for Hayward and Utah’s Mormon community will not hesitate to push Hayward to his greatest potential.
Vince Carter has been in obvious decline over the past few years, but this year has all but sealed his fate. He no longer has the potential to be an impact fantasy player.
Analysis: Carter put up 28 points in his last game on March 30th, but that has not happened with any consistency this year. He is averaging a paltry 14 points a game, which is on par with what Beno Udrih is putting up this season. Carter’s fall from grace has gone further with him shooting roughly 42% from the field. His assists, rebounds, and steals are all down significantly from the last few years too. Carter averaged 22 points, 5 boards, and 4 dimes on his career, but I think it is safe to say he won’t reach those numbers ever again. I was surprised by his fantasy production this year, because I really thought the excellent training staff in Phoenix would whip him into shape. If the same Phoenix staff who got the Shaqtus back in to shape can’t fix Carter than he doesn’t stand a chance. Throw in the fact that he is playing with one of the best pure point guards in the league and, simply put, Carter is a big piece of crap this year.
Projection: Phoenix is not going to make the playoffs this year and Carter will have little reason to finish out the season very strongly. Carter should not still be on your fantasy team, there are plenty of better alternatives on the waiver wire.
Despite the Wizards second worst record in the East they still have a few things to be excited about, JaVale’s playing being one of them.
Analysis: This has been a breakout year for JaVale with everything except team success coming his way. He really broke out of his shell during the all-star game with his creative dunks. The dunk on two separate rims was epic. He appears to have found a new confidence and is harnessing it very successfully. Over the last 10 games JaVale is averaging a whopping 3.5 blocks per game along with 11 boards. He is also putting up decent scoring numbers with 14 points a contest at 59% shooting. These last 10 game statistics are well above JaVale’s season averages, but I don’t see them as a fluke. I believe the more he plays with a great point guard in John Wall and the more confidence he accumulates the better he will be. At this point in the season the Wizards aren’t playing for anything. Their playoff hopes have long been dashed and their is really no purpose to them trying their hardest. JaVale is still putting up one of the best streaks of his career.
Projection: JaVale has finally arrived and I expect his stats to improve on his recent streak. He’ll finish out the season posting similar numbers, but next season is when you should expect him to really pour it on. Imagine how good he’ll be when he’s actually playing for something.