2008-09 NBA Draft Kit: Busts
The 2008-09 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit continues today, as we move into the meat of the kit, with Derek revealing our choices for busts this season.
As the NBA season rapidly approaches, let’s take a look at a few players who may be in store for a decline this season.
Andre Miller, PG, Philadelphia 76ers – On the surface, the addition of power forward Elton Brand should help the 76ers and it will. However, Brand’s presence will almost certainly hurt the productivity of numerous players including Miller. Brand is a 20-10 guy and that will cut into the numbers of Miller, who will expect to feed him the ball early and often. Miller, an 11-year veteran, compiled career highs in points (17.7) and field goal percentage (49 per cent). He also totaled a career high in field goals attempted. Due to Philly’s ability to score easy baskets, Miller thrived as well. With the emergence of Thaddeus Young and Brand’s arrival, they take pressure off Miller to be one of the key figureheads in the Philly offense. Miller was the team’s second leading scorer in ’07-’08, but entering the new campaign, Brand, Andre Iguodala and Young will be the top guns for the 76ers. So, expect a drop in Miller’s scoring output.
Baron Davis, PG, Los Angeles Clippers – A change of scenery may not help Davis. The Warriors owned a bevy of offensive talent that helped average over 100 points per game last season. In fact, in four seasons at Golden State, Davis hit his stride offensively. It will not be so easy with the redheaded stepchild of Los Angeles basketball. Davis, who averaged just over 21 points and seven assists per game last season, will have to shoulder the load for the Clippers, but this squad is not nearly as talented as the Golden State gang. Brand left for Philadelphia, but Marcus Camby will try to fill the void (which he won’t be able to do offensively). Outside of Davis though, no one on this team strikes fear into anyone offensively. The “Body Guard” may approach his season totals from ’07-’08, but he’ll have to take more shots to do so and expect his assists per game to drop as well because Cuttino Mobley and Chris Kaman as other scoring options will not make things easier for him. Of course, this doesn’t even factor in the major injury risk that Davis represents.
Marcus Camby, C, Los Angeles Clippers – We’re on a roll slamming L.A. Clippers basketball, so let’s keep it going. Okay, what’s a better starting lineup to play for? One featuring Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony or another that includes B. Diddy, Mobley and Kaman? If you chose the Iverson-Anthony option, congratulations. The pace at which that Denver played is conducive to scoring points aplenty (the Nuggets averaged 110 points per game, second in the league), which leads to more opportunities for all involved. Granted, Camby’s forte is not scoring (he only averaged nine points per game last season) but instead as a stat stuffer. He ranked second in the league in rebounding (13.3) and blocks per game (3.0). Some of those numbers are a byproduct of Camby’s environment. Teams often got into a shootout with the Nuggets which meant more missed shots (equaling more rebounding chances) and you guessed it, more chances to block shots. Ultimately, Camby’s problem — besides the cast of characters he’s surrounded by — is likely to be his health. He is 34 and has never played at least 70 games in three straight seasons before. So far in the preseason, he is already banged up. It could be a long year for one of the NBA’s elder statesmen.
Allen Iverson, SG, Denver Nuggets – If we were to call this article six degrees of separation, Iverson would be the Kevin Bacon of this piece. Davis’s new teammate Camby used to play with Miller in Denver. Then, Miller was traded from Denver to Philadelphia for Iverson. Sorry, I had to indulge myself momentarily. Anyways, Iverson, who should be bound for the Basketball Hall of Fame one day, is climbing the age chart. He turned 33 back in June and played all 82 games last season, a Herculean achievement for the six-foot guard who takes as nasty a beating as any player in the association. No NBA player played as many minutes as Iverson, who averaged 26 points per game last season. Those numbers will catch up with the former 76er eventually and with a lack of defensive presence in Denver, the decline for Iverson should start sooner rather than later. That run and gun style of basketball just isn’t conducive for a 33-year-old to tee it up on a night in, night out basis.
Hedo Turkoglu, SF, Orlando Magic – The eight-year pro experienced the best season of his career, averaging 19.5 points per game. He also compiled high marks in shooting percentage and assists. Playing with Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis helped make those numbers possible. As the new season looms, Turkoglu will be hard pressed to repeat his breakout season. Typically a player who averages roughly 14 points per game, Turkoglu drained key shots throughout the year that aided Orlando towards making the NBA playoffs. His modus operandi is hitting jumpers, but he made more of an effort to get to the basket, which increased his offensive output. It remains to be seen if the 2007-08 Most Improved Player is willing to do the same again this season. Expect a bit of a step back for him as players like Lewis and Howard continue to grow.