15 Players Lockout Could Hurt
1. SG Joe Johnson
Maybe the rest will do Joe some good, but he's getting older (30) and saw his numbers (and minutes) take a hit last season. He's one of those guys looked at as the best player on his team, but would be much better suited to a support role, instead of trying to be "the man." And a year of inactivity could work against the former second-round fantasy stud.
2. PF Josh Smith
Smith's not known for his work ethic and I could see him taking it easy from last May through August of 2012. And if that happens, he could be, as David Letterman once called Terry Forster of the Braves, a 'fat tub of goo' by the time he plays again. Maybe Smoove has grown up and will work hard during the break, but I'm afraid the odds aren't in his favor.
3. F Michael Beasley
The last thing Beasley needs is free time, in which he can smoke weed and smush guys' faces at streetball games. At least he's not a Twitter junkie, but I am concerned about him staying out of trouble (and working hard) during the lockout.
4. C Brook Lopez
Maybe Lopez will spend the next year learning how to rebound, but I think there's a better chance he'll put on weight and struggle even more than he famously did last year. Yes, he can score, but six boards a game from such a big guy playing a ton of minutes is not too helpful in fantasy.
5. SG Vince Carter
Carter's numbers fell in Orlando last year and then got worse in Phoenix. He'll be 35 in January and has a lot of miles on his legs. The future didn't look bright for Carter before the lockout hit and he's going to look like an old man the next time we see him on the court. He's not expected to play overseas and the rest would do him some good, but we're looking at a future role player, and not the dunking phenom he once was.
6. SG Brandon Roy
While you would think rest would be good for Roy's chronic knee condition, my understanding is that time is more of an issue. He only has a few years left and missing one of them is probably not going to help him. And even if this season were to start on time, he's sadly become a fantasy afterthought due to the injury.
7. G Gilbert Arenas
Like Beasley, the last thing Arenas needs is time to goof around. He's already made several questionable decisions on Twitter and seems to be genuinely excited about a lack of rules due to the expiration of the CBA. I am guessing we'll see several more poor decisions from Arenas and his surgically repaired knees aren't going to get any younger. I used to give Arenas the benefit of the doubt when it came to him returning to form, but I am jumping off that bandwagon.
8. The CelticsKevin Garnett
(35, 36 next May), Ray Allen
(36, 37 next July) and Paul Pierce
(34 in October) are not getting younger, while the only real center on the roster is Jermaine O'Neal, who played in just 24 games last year. O'Neal will 'only' be 33 in October, but his knees might as well be 90. While the Celtics' chances of winning it all were dwindling heading into this season, a year-long lockout should effectively end the run.
9. PF Zach Randolph
Z-Bo was one of the league's biggest feel-good stories last year. He was a team leader, stayed out of trouble and led the Grizzlies to a fun run in the playoffs. But he's a big boy and there are still plenty of questions about his work ethic and the people he associates himself with. If he comes back looking like Eddy Curry
Jr., I will not be surprised. Additionally, the freedom and strip-club time could lead to more problems for Randolph.
10. F/C Tim Duncan
Rest is just what the doctor ordered for Duncan, but the fact he'll be 36 in April is not a good thing. He'll likely still be an effective fantasy big man, but his minutes are going to take a hit and DeJuan Blair
is going to see a much bigger role for the Spurs. He's no longer worth a pick in the first four or five rounds.
11. PG Chauncey Billups
Billups will be 35 in September and saw his numbers fall across the board last year. He's no longer an elite point guard, and while the Knicks don't have anyone to challenge him for the starting job, his minutes will have to be monitored closely. The imminent demise of Billups should mean good things for Toney Douglas
12. F/C DeMarcus Cousins
I am a fan, but he's another guy known for his immaturity, and an unsupervised year of freedom could land him in some precarious situations. He's also a hefty man and it's easy to imagine him reporting to camp well over his playing weight.
13. PG Steve Nash
Nash is another old guy who doesn't need to see his birthday roll around again, as he turned 37 in February. This means he could be 38 ½ by the time he plays in the NBA again, which is just old – I don't care who you are.
14. C JaVale McGee
McGee is young and has an unnatural love of planking
. In fact, it can be argued that he loves planking more than playing basketball. In other words, he's a goofy kid who could fail to take care of his body, meaning he could come into camp in bad shape. I still love his game and upside, but we'll have to see how he looks in camp before placing fantasy value on him this year (or next).
15. PG Baron Davis
Not only is Baron perpetually injured, he's also 32 years old (33 in April). Add in the fact that Ramon Sessions
is still on the team, and that the Cavs drafted Kyrie Irving
with the first pick, and we might have seen the last of Baron Davis
as we once knew him. I will not be drafting him in fantasy, regardless of how late it gets.