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Five Players On Our Do Not Draft List: 2022-2023 Fantasy Basketball

A lot of content focuses on who you should draft and where, but the goal of this article is to convince you to absolutely avoid these players in your upcoming drafts at all costs.

Do not draft them. Like not even if they drop like stones in the draft and you think "okay, this is too far, this guy has an ADP that's like 50 spots higher - he has to be a value, here, right?"

Why waste a pick - even a late-round pick - on a player who is going to miss time with injuries or who simply isn't going to be value added to your team for whatever reason? I've combed through our RotoBaller rankings (my own and some of our other staff writers) to find five players who you simply should fade in fantasy basketball drafts this year.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Five Players on our DO NOT DRAFT LIST

Russell Westbrook - PG, L.A. Lakers

I will start with the most controversial pick of the bunch, Mr. Russell Westbrook. Look, I know that Westy has been a fun player to watch play basketball over the years and those triple-double years in OKC were great for points leagues, but we are getting pretty far removed from those days at this point. Westbrook's fantasy game has always been reliant on volume - racking up counting stats. He was a PRA (points, rebounds, assists) machine for years, but his reduced role on the Lakers has really squashed his value and he looked like a shell of his former self last year.

The Lakers made a huge mistake bringing him in and they know it, but now they're stuck with him unless they package him with draft picks to ship him off elsewhere. The reality is that no team wants Westbrook in the NBA, and your fantasy team doesn't need him either. He finished #229 in 9-cat player value last year as he was a negative value in six categories and only positive in three (points, rebounds, and assists - of course). The massive drag on FG%, FT%, and turnovers simply isn't worth it. In an era of basketball where efficiency matters more than ever, why draft one of the least efficient players in the NBA?

Jonathan Isaac - SG/SF, Orlando Magic

It's really a bummer that Isaac's injuries have prevented him from taking the court the last two seasons. Everyone was excited about this young man's potential when he put up 12-7 with 4 stocks (steals + blocks) in 29 minutes per game back in 2019 before the injury. He was only 22-years-old then and he looked like one of the more promising young big men in the league. His incredible length allowed him to rack up defensive stats in bunches and his offensive game was just developing.

And we are still waiting for him to return to the court, but when? He has no timetable and no concrete reports on when that might happen. His injury happened 26 months ago and he is still not taking contact or playing in live situations. He can be as optimistic as he wants in press conferences, but the fact remains that the team has still not announced a timetable and that's obviously very concerning.

Orlando has little incentive to hurry him back now too. They drafted Paolo Banchero this year to play PF and have a bunch of other young big men (Wendell Carter Jr., Mo Bamba, Franz Wagner, Mo Wagner) who they want to develop too. Even in the best-case scenario that Isaac does return at some point this year, what would his role be and would he have much value at all if he's limited to say 10-15 minutes per game? I am all for stashing guys with upside, but it's hard for me to get excited about Isaac's situation anymore.

Lonzo Ball - PG, Chicago Bulls

Here's another injury mystery - the curious case of Lonzo Ball's knee. Chicago Bulls fans have to be really anxious about the Ball situation as he looked like one of the most important parts of their early season success last year. Now Chicago is trying to fill his spot with the likes of Coby White, Alex Caruso, Goran Dragic, and Ayo Dosunmu. If you combined all of those guys' strengths into one player, you'd get Lonzo Ball.

His ADP has cratered in the last few weeks after he came out and said, "I still can't run or jump," when giving an update on his rehab. He had yet another procedure last month to clean up his knee and we are looking at at least a few months before we see Ball on the court with a Bulls jersey on.

The best case looks like January or even February now, and when he does come back, I am sure there will be some limitations too. And we simply don't know if he will be as dynamic as he was before missing all this time with the injury. The vague timetable and prolonged absence are simply too much for me in redraft leagues, I am out entirely.

Mike Conley - PG, Utah Jazz

Mike Conley is still being drafted around 108 per his ADP and I am really puzzled as to why that might be. Yes, he has suited up and played preseason games and he is the nominal starter in Utah, but how long does anyone think that will last? Utah has no incentive to play Conley (or really anyone this year as the tank for Victor is already on) this year. I am pretty confident that he will be traded at some point, but what contending team is going to add him as a starter and why would he have much fantasy value there?

Listen, Mike Conley is still a very good NBA player and I'd take him on my team tomorrow. But it's been years since he was an asset in fantasy basketball. Once he came to Utah, his value took a huge hit. He has seen his minutes dip to only 28 per game and his only real contributions are based on efficiency (FT%, low turnovers) and a few steals/assists. He's one guy that you can easily get faked out on with the BB Monster player rater as he finished 67th last year but was nowhere close to that good for 9-cat redraft leagues.

I just see his season playing out like this. He plays a few games for Utah but splits minutes with Collin Sexton and other younger guards. He doesn't need to be "showcased for a trade" as everyone in the league knows what he can do. He's either traded to a team that uses him as a depth piece off the bench or he gets shut down at some point this season while Utah tanks and plays younger guys. I'm simply not interested in any of those outcomes for a player on my fantasy teams.

Miles Bridges - SF/PF, Charlotte Hornets

This one might seem obvious, but I have actually seen people drafting Bridges this year in redraft! Honestly, I wouldn't even touch him in dynasty leagues either. His legal situation is obviously ongoing, but it looks like there's not much of a chance he'll play this year.

And if he does get convicted of the charges against him, he's not likely to ever play in the league again. Even if he were acquitted of these charges, what team wants to take a chance on him with the stigma that is now attached to his persona?

The NBA isn't the NFL, teams do care about off-the-field/court stuff. This isn't a Deshaun Watson situation, Bridges has most likely played his last game in the NBA and there's simply no reason to be drafting him and stashing him in any format.

As always, thanks for reading my NBA content and supporting my work here at RotoBaller. Good luck in your leagues this year!



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