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Fantasy Basketball Busts: Who has disappointed most through a quarter of the NBA season?

·6-min read

By Mike Barner, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Amidst a ton of uncertainty because of COVID-19, we’ve made it through a quarter of the NBA season. Now is a good time to take stock of your fantasy squad and reflect on how some of your draft picks are performing.

For the purposes of this piece, we’ll focus on some bigger-name players who have disappointed out of the gate based on their preseason ADP and discuss what to potentially expect from them moving forward.

Current rank refers to per-game value in eight-category leagues.

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

Yahoo ADP: 12.2

Current rank: 58

Booker hasn’t exactly been a total flop, but he’s certainly underperformed based on his ADP. His scoring numbers are down, as he’s averaging 3.5 fewer points per game than he did last season. His 30.3 percent usage rate from last season is nearly identical, but he’s attempting an average of two fewer free-throws per game and converting those attempts at a near-career-low 83.3 percent.

The more concerning stat when it comes to Booker is that he’s only averaging 3.8 assists after dishing out an average of at least 6.5 assists in each of the last two seasons. He might not improve that much in that area as the season wears on because of Chris Paul now being in the fold. However, there is some room for him to improve in the scoring column. Even so, unless something were to happen to Paul, Booker’s continued lack of assists will likely ensure he finishes the season ranked significantly below his ADP on a per-game basis.

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

Yahoo ADP: 51.8

Current rank: 143

Even with his numbers declining last season, Aldridge was a valuable fantasy option. He averaged 18.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 three-pointers, and a career-high 1.6 blocks. He did all of that while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 82.7 percent from the charity stripe, so he really wasn’t a liability in any category. Steady production like that has made Aldridge a mainstay in the fourth or fifth round of drafts for most of the last decade.

Unfortunately for those who drafted him, he’s been a disaster out of the gate. His scoring numbers are way down (14.1 PPG), and his rebounding production (4.3 RPG) has completely fallen off the map. To put that number into perspective, Aldridge hasn’t averaged fewer than 7.3 rebounds since his rookie season. Now he’s also dealing with a hip injury, which further complicates matters. Fantasy managers probably can’t get much for the veteran on the trade market at this point, so it might be best to just hold him and hope for a turnaround.

San Antonio Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge (12)
LaMarcus Aldridge has not been his usual reliable self this season. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Hassan Whiteside, Sacramento Kings

Yahoo ADP: 54.1

Current rank: 296

It’s not too often that a player has a difficult time finding a home after averaging 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks like Whiteside did last season. But Whiteside isn’t your average player. Despite some trepidation after he was forced to settle for a near-minimum deal, the big man was still a popular draft-day target in many leagues.

To say that he has been a bust based on his ADP would be an understatement. He’s only averaging 14 minutes per game in a reserve role, which has produced averages of 7.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks. With how well Richaun Holmes has played, there is little reason to believe Whiteside will receive more playing time as the season wears on. Judging by his 57 percent roster rate, many managers have already moved on.

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

Yahoo ADP: 64.5

Current rank: 157

Most people probably didn’t expect much from Green on the offensive end, but few could have seen this level of decline coming. He’s averaging just 4.6 points per game on only 5.3 shot attempts. He’s been terrible with his percentages, as well, shooting only 33.3 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe. On a more positive note, Green’s assists have sustained at an average of 6.6 per game, but his rebounding (5.0) and block (0.2) averages are also down significantly. The more removed we get from his standout 2015-16 campaign, the more his offensive numbers look like a major anomaly.

Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers

Yahoo ADP: 66.1

Current rank: 118

After last season, the Blazers badly needed to improve defensively, so they thought they’d accomplish that by adding one of the league’s premier three-and-D specialists in Covington. Not only do the Blazers continue to be a sieve defensively, but Covington is only averaging 7.2 points and 1.6 three-pointers per game, making him a tremendous disappointment.

Can Covington turn things around as the season wears on? His 12.4 percent usage rate is not a good sign for his upside moving forward, especially when CJ McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) eventually return. If you need immediate reinforcements, dropping Covington, who’s averaging just 0.4 blocks and shooting 33.1 percent from the field, in 12-team or shallower leagues isn’t a crazy idea. Most managers are still holding out hope, but Covington’s roster rate is down to 76 percent in Yahoo leagues.

Kelly Oubre Jr., Golden State Warriors

Yahoo ADP: 66.8

Current rank: 152

It looked like Oubre landing with the Warriors was going to be huge for his fantasy production. After losing Klay Thompson (Achilles), the Warriors badly needed someone to step up offensively to help out Stephen Curry. Outside of Andrew Wiggins, they didn’t really have anyone other than Oubre to help fill his void. Things have not worked out as planned, however, with Oubre averaging only 12 points and 1.1 three-pointers per game.

The opportunities have been there, but the main reason for Oubre’s scoring struggles is that he’s shooting 37.6 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from behind the arc. For his career, those numbers sit at 42.7 percent and 32.1 percent, respectively. With the expectation that he at least moves closer to his career averages as the season moves along, now might be a good time to see if you can acquire Oubre at a discount. He’s shown some more signs of life lately after a brutal start to the season.

Eric Bledsoe, New Orleans Pelicans

Yahoo ADP: 79.5

Current rank: 141

Bledsoe’s move to the Pelicans has been a disaster for his fantasy value. He’s still playing fairly heavy minutes, and he’s actually averaging a career-high 2.3 three-pointers per night, but his average of 13.8 points per game is still his lowest mark since the 2012-13 season. His usage rate sits at just 20.3 percent with the team building its offense around Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. Don’t expect that philosophy to change anytime soon.

Another problem for Bledsoe is that playing alongside Lonzo Ball has decreased his playmaking responsibilities, leaving him with an average of 3.7 assists per game. Even if Ball gets traded, the Pelicans have promising young guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker waiting in the wings. It might take Bledsoe himself being traded for him to ultimately live up to his preseason ADP.