As the NBA season gets closer it can be difficult to identify which players with high projections may be in line for a disappointing season. Every season is full of surprises and no one knows exactly how this season will play out. Here are some early round options at each position that I'm fading.
- Bradley Beal (ADP 20): Westbrook is running the show in Washington now, and Beal's numbers will almost certainly take a dip. Reunited with former coach Scott Brooks, Westbrook will be the top option and likely dominate the ball the way he did during his MVP seasons in Oklahoma City. While this could lead to some more open looks for Beal, his overall production will be inferior to the last couple years of being the top offensive weapon on the team.
- Kyrie Irving (ADP 35): Kyrie's talent is undeniable, but his last couple of seasons have been riddled with injuries. He has never played a full season and there's a high chance that will continue this year. His recent off-court behavior has been concerning to say the least, and he's one 911 call away from going full on Antonio Brown. Going into his first year of playing alongside Kevin Durant leaves very little room for him to dominate the box score. A recent IG Live with Durant suggests they might not be on the same page, and worse comes to worse Durant will take control of the offense, something he displayed during his time with Golden State.
- Paul George (ADP 13): After recently signing a Max contract to stay with the Clippers, expectations are high for George. A 2nd round price tag seems high for a player who has had trouble fitting in alongside Kawhi Leonard. His production in the Bubble left a lot to be desired, and it's hard to blame it all on the anxiety that everyone felt at the time. Watching that series against the Nuggets, it appeared George was holding the team back. While new coach Ty Lue should help maximize his value, George has a long way to go to produce top 2o fantasy value this season.
- OG Anunoby (ADP 55): While this is the player I'm most worried about missing on with this article, Anunoby simply has not shown the kind of consistency you want from someone who is being taken as the 22nd wing off the board, a high price in 12-team leagues. He will be the fourth best scoring option for the Raptors at best, and will need to rely on defensive stats in order to put up consistent numbers. He reminds me of Andre Iguodala in that he is a talented player who's value to the team may not always show up on the box score.
- Karl Anthony-Towns (ADP 9): Let me start off by giving my condolences to KAT and his entire family. It's hard to imagine focusing on a game after losing your mother and other close members of your family during this dreadful pandemic. For him to go out this year and play a full season would be an inspiration to NBA fans everywhere. That being said, there has been a lot of moving pieces in Minnesota and very little talent outside of him and D'Angelo Russell. Defenses will be locking in on KAT this season, and while he possesses elite talent, I view him as a risky first round option.
- Joel Embiid ( ADP 22): Being selected in the mid to late second round, the risk simply outweighs the reward here. An elite center, Embiid's injury concerns are a big factor here and load management is something to take into account. The game plan for the 76ers is likely to change with Doc Rivers as the new head coach. Forcing the ball to their big may not be as big of a priority on offense and a potential trade for James Harden would hurt his value even more. You may regret trusting the process with Embiid this season.
Time will tell how the 2021 NBA season will play out and it is sure to be anything but normal. Identifying players that will have a hard time living up to their ADP is a great way to begin building your rankings. It's important to minimize risk in fantasy, and fading certain players you view as risky is part of the process.
Photo Credit: Associated Press