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Welcome to a preview of Steve Alexander's annual 'Busts' column for the EDGE+ Draft Guide!
In today’s day and age I’m not sure we should even use the term ‘bust” anymore, as almost everyone who qualifies as one does so because of a lack of games played. It’s more of an “injury risk” list, than anything else. But with load management and COVID concerns ruling the NBA these days, finding a team full of guys who can stay on the court from week to week is almost as important as drafting a team full of good players. Having said that, here are the guys I’m avoiding in fantasy this year, basically ranked from round-to-round of where you might be able to draft them.
LeBron James – LeBron and teammate Anthony Davis have been listed as day-to-day for two years now, and will probably continue to be on the injury report for the remainder of their careers. He’ll be 37 in December and played in just 45 games last season. We’re four years removed from his 82-game season in 2017-18 and load management will be a theme for the Lakers once again this season. There’s nothing wrong with LeBron’s fantasy numbers but he was a third-round pick on a per-game basis last season and fell to an eighth-round player once you add in the countless missed games. The Lakers simply want to make the playoffs and have a healthy LeBron and AD when they roll around. And to me, that makes both of them very tough to trust in fantasy. I’m letting someone else draft LeBron and AD this season.
Mitchell Robinson – Robinson, whether he’s healthy or not, is very tough to trust. Foul trouble, injuries, inconsistency, an undefined role and a failure to live up to the hype are all factors in why it’s easier to leave Robinson on the board for someone else as opposed to drafting him. He played in just 31 games last season after dealing with both a broken foot and a broken hand. Don’t get me wrong, as there is still plenty of time for Robinson to turn it around and become the fantasy beast we all thought he might become a few years ago. But a lot of us are getting tired of waiting. And since he’s burned several of us a few times now, many fantasy managers are saying ‘no mas.’
He was a seventh-round value on a per-game basis last year but with the massive injury problems he returned just 19th-round overall fantasy value, meaning he was essentially not worth having. His game log, games started and scoring average have never been anything to write home about and almost all of his value comes in the form of blocked shots, steals, rebounds and field goal percentage. But he’s also a horrible free throw shooter and when you add it all up, managers have to determine if some blocked shots and great field goal percentage are enough to offset all the areas he struggles in. Like I said, Robinson still has plenty of time to put it all together and break out, but I’m going to let another fantasy manager be the guinea pig until it happens. This is a classic case of ‘been there, done that.’ And I’m not ready to do it again.
For all the rest of Dr. A's potential Busts/Injury Risks, plus Sleepers and everything else listed earlier in this column's intro, get the Draft Guide!