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2023-2024 Fantasy Basketball: Five Players With Bust Potential

DeMar DeRozan - NBA DFS Picks, Daily Fantasy Basketball Rankings, Injury News - rotoballer icon

Every NBA fantasy season, numerous players are at the top of everyone's draft boards. This could be because of offseason hype, last year's production, or purely potential. No matter what the reason is, it is inevitable that some of these players will not live up to the hype, or, as I like to call them, fantasy busts. For example, last season Colin Sexton was traded to Utah, and everyone presumed he would have a great year. He was thought to have gotten a bigger role on a rebuilding Jazz team, but that couldn't have been farther from the truth. In reality, Sexton was plagued by nagging injuries and boasted a career-low in points per game.

Fantasy busts in my opinion are guys who underperform during the season based on expectations. These are usually guys you select early or select to be a very vital piece to your team. These are absolute season killers and can singlehandedly lose you your season in an instant. But, that's why I'm here to give you at least a fair warning on guys to avoid in this upcoming draft season.

My predictions for the guys I think will be fantasy busts are not absolute but, they also are not just wild predictions with no type of evidence behind them either. Without further ado let's hop straight into my list of five players with bust potential for this upcoming NBA fantasy season.

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1. DeMar DeRozan- SG/SF, Chicago Bulls

Even though he has produced some great seasons, I think that Father Time will slowly catch up to the now 34-year-old DeRozan next season. DeMar has produced some great scoring seasons since becoming a member of the Bulls, but I believe that his role will slowly decrease. With him playing 36 minutes per game and being the number one option, I don't think it will be as sustainable as in past years. I think that Zach LaVine will firmly cement himself as the number one option for the Bulls next season, which in effect will decrease DeMar's role.

In the second half of the season, I think we saw a trend that should continue this season as well. Zach Lavine saw an uptick in shot attempts and increased his PPG by three points after the all-star break. DeRozan, on the other hand, saw a decrease in shot attempts and a dip of 4 points in his PPG. I don't think DeRozan is a bad player, but I think this is the year we see his regression in his production.


2. Deandre Ayton- PF/C, Portland Trailblazers

Deandre Ayton is a good center, and I think we can all agree on this, but I don't necessarily know if he will play better in his bigger role. Ayton is primarily a score-first big man who can defend and do some dirty work occasionally. But, in multiple instances when we've seen him upset about his offensive role, he simply does not give maximum effort. This could potentially only get worse for the young big man, as the Blazers will primarily run their offense through their young electric guards, Scoot Henderson and Jerami Grant.

Ayton's post-all-star break saw a decrease in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage, which is not a great sign. I still think the 25-year-old has potential, but I have not seen enough positive signs. Ayton could potentially develop into the big man he was originally drafted to be, but the jury is still out on that.


3. Khris Middleton- SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks

I still believe Khris Middleton can be a very good number two or three option on the Bucks next year, but the risk is far greater than the reward. Middleton is only 32 years old, but he dealt with nagging injuries that affected his play all year. He only suited up in 33 out of 82 possible games last year, and he was not particularly great in those games either. Which was part of the reason why the Bucks saw a very early exit in the postseason.

Middleton averaged his lowest PPG in a season since 2016 and his lowest field goal percentage since 2017. He possibly played hurt, as he opted for knee surgery after his season ended. This could mean that he could return to form next year, but I'm not sold on that point yet. Many people believe he will return to his efficient scoring ways, but I think he will disappoint for another year.


4. Cade Cunningham- PG/SG, Detroit Pistons

The consensus I've gotten from most people is that they have very high hopes for Cade Cunningham. This could be very true, but similar to Ayton, I think his situation will either propel or stunt his growth as a player next year. In my mind, the Pistons starting lineup would probably be Cade-Ivey-Ausar-Stewart-Duren. In my opinion, that is downright some of the worst spacing for a starting lineup I've seen, and only two guys are really high-level defenders. This could hurt Cade because he is a player who loves to get downhill and use his size, which he will need while still trying to develop a consistent jump shot.

Also, he could see more opportunities playing off the ball because Ivey and Thompson have shown flashes of being capable ballhandlers; this will only make Cade's usage decrease next season. Another huge red flag is that Cade is just returning from a season-ending surgery last year. He was bothered by a nagging shin injury and opted to get surgery because of how badly it bothered him. It could take him some time to regain his rhythm, so I think there's a good chance he could disappoint a lot of fantasy owners.


5. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

It truly hurt me to put KAT on this list, but his durability is a big question mark after only playing 29 games while dealing with a calf injury last season. He is one of the best stretch big men in the league when he is healthy, but availability is always the best ability, in my opinion. If KAT can't stay on the court consistently for at least half of the season, there is no way I can trust him with an early pick in one of my drafts.

Also, another big factor in avoiding KAT is the weird and clunky fit he has with Rudy Gobert on the court. On paper, the two together sound great because they are complete opposites, so they help each other's weaknesses. But, in reality, it's a bad fit on defense because of KAT and a bad fit on offense because of Rudy. In the small sample size of games KAT and Rudy played together, KAT saw a decrease of four points and two rebounds. If they play together next year again, I don't think this will get any better, so in my opinion, I would stray away from selecting KAT early this year.

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