Fantasy Bust of the Year
Dorell Wright F Warriors
There were plenty of other busts out there (Derrick Rose, anyone?), but most of those were injury related. To be a true bust, I think the player had to be healthy for most of the season. Carmelo Anthony was nearly healthy enough to qualify, but he missed 11 games and actually came on late to help carry teams to a championship with his strong play down the stretch. In my case, he failed me so miserably during the bulk of the season my team nearly missed the playoffs. And ours started early enough he still wasn’t putting up big enough numbers to get me through the second round.
Amare Stoudemire played in just 47 games, meaning he missed 19 of them, which is enough to qualify him as injured this season. Melo and Amare were both serious bust candidates, but just missed too many games to take the title.
Wright, on the other hand, missed just five games this season and started in every one of them. He started to turn it on down the stretch, but then sat out the final four games with a mysterious ankle injury, the first of which was a surprise DNP. He went from averaging 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.4 3-pointers last season, to just 10.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.7 3-pointers this year, and saw his minutes drop from 38 per game down to 27. Maybe it’s Mark Jackson’s fault, but Wright was taken with the 40th pick (Round 2) of my 30-team league, Round 6 in a deep expert league and Round 4 in League Freak. He still managed to finish with sixth-round value in many leagues, because he hit 3-pointers and didn’t really hurt owners anywhere, but the 10 ppg and the fact owners were hoping for much better output, as he was a strong sleeper pick, spelled fantasy disaster for many of you.
Maybe Darren Collison or Raymond Felton would have been a better choice over Wright, but owners who drafted him were counting on him being an everyday fantasy starter, and he ended up being dropped in many leagues, especially when he tanked in February and March, averaging less than 10 points and two 3-pointers per game in 31 starts.
Fantasy Coach of the Year
Scott Brooks Thunder and Larry Drew Hawks
I was not a fan of how Brooks used Serge Ibaka this year, as the big man played just 27 minutes per night for the second straight season. But the Thunder played the exact same lineup and rotation every night, and helped Durant, Russell Westbrook and Ibaka to all finish with first-round fantasy value, while none of them missed a single game.
Drew also stuck with the guys fantasy owners wanted to play, and made a remarkable run considering that Al Horford was lost for the season right off the bat. Josh Smith, Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague all finished with solid fantasy value and you could count on them being on the floor and producing every night. Yes, Teague was up and down all year, but it wasn’t his coach’s fault. But some of the credit for Smith’s monster year certainly lies with Drew.
Worst Fantasy Coach of the Year
Gregg Popovich Spurs & Kevin McHale Rockets
Popovich would have gotten my vote (if I had one) for coach of the year this season. He rested his studs nightly, did a great job of incorporating young guys into the mix (and starting lineup), and made sure everyone was healthy and rolling when the playoffs came around. But from a fantasy perspective, things were just a mess. You never knew who was going to play or start, and having nine guys play 20 minutes is a recipe for fantasy disaster. But there’s a pretty decent chance the Spurs could win it all this season, which is why Popovich is a genius, and his disdain for fantasy hoops makes sense.
McHale screwed with Samuel Dalembert, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic early in the year, while owners never knew whether to trust Luis Scola, Chandler Parsons, Courtney Lee, Marcus Camby or Patrick Patterson from night to night. Injuries to Martin and Kyle Lowry helped McHale’s case with fantasy owners, but had they stayed healthy, things were going to be mess all year in Houston. McHale did a fine job with his team in reality, but from a fantasy standpoint, he simply cannot be trusted.
So there you have it. I’m sure I missed some players along the way here, as guys like Jeremy Lin, Goran Dragic, Kevin Love, Andrew Bynum, James Johnson, Gordon Hayward, Marcin Gortat, Kenneth Faried, Gerald Henderson, Lamar Odom, Eric Gordon, Stephen Curry and Channing Frye all probably deserved some love (or hate), but I wasn’t prepared to write a 15-page column.
Enjoy the rest of the playoffs!!