Heat moves might leave deep impact on fantasy game
LeBron James might have been the most coveted basketball player
on the planet this summer. It’ll likely be a different story this
At least in the fantasy basketball world.
Sensing that James will be hard-pressed to match the stats he
posted in Cleveland now that he’s around other star-caliber players
like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, fantasy experts say the
Heat forward probably shouldn’t be considered the automatic No. 1
pick in drafts that’ll take place around the globe over the next
In short, the NBA’s reigning two-time MVP might not be as
valuable anymore in the stat-driven world.
”It’s the definition of watered-down when you take a look at
it,” said Sergio Gonzalez, a fantasy analyst for CBSSports.com.
”It’s the same thing that happened in Boston a couple years ago
when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen went there with Paul Pierce.
There’s just not enough stats to go around for all these guys, who
are used to being ‘The Guy’ on their teams.”
Gonzalez’s site predicts James to finish with 21.3 points, 8.0
assists and 7.6 rebounds per game – great numbers, yet not at the
clip of 29.7 points, 8.6 assists and 7.3 rebounds he posted with
the Cavaliers last season.
Most experts agree, while James might be the league’s most
dynamic player, Kevin Durant will likely be the No. 1 pick in the
fantasy draft world this season. James is typically slotted in
around the No. 3 spot on most draft boards, behind Durant and New
Orleans guard Chris Paul.
On the day he signed with Miami, James said he couldn’t care
less about his numbers.
Still, it clearly stands to reason that James’ statline will
dip, now that he has Wade and Bosh alongside him.
”It’s probably not going to be as pronounced as maybe the
conventional wisdom right now,” said Brandon Funston, a fantasy
expert for Yahoo! Sports. ”In the fantasy game, at least in the
Yahoo! fantasy game, the standard is to use nine categories. I
think the only one you really see going down is points per game.
Maybe a few assists go down because he won’t have the ball in his
hands quite so often.”
James left Cleveland after seven seasons and was the biggest
star in a summer of stardom on the NBA free agent market,
eventually choosing to join Wade and Bosh in Miami as the Heat
engineered one of the most sizable offseason overhauls in league
The Heat made the moves, of course, to win a title.
Which raises the question – will James, Bosh and Wade be helpful
or hurtful come fantasy-title time at the end of the regular
”If they’re geared for a championship, they win a ton of games
and blow teams out, then starters get rested … you just don’t
know what’s going to happen,” Funston said. ”How good are they
going to be? Are their starters going to be sitting in the fourth
quarter? Come fantasy playoff time, will they be there when owners
need them the most? I don’t know if there’s ever been a team with
these good of players right in the middle of their prime.”
Either way, Gonzalez thinks fantasy basketball – which is
growing – could easily see a big spike this season after the summer
”It’s going to open things up,” Gonzalez said. ”We’re already
starting to see people pick it up.”