Just Step Away...
By Rick Kamla

Don't Sleep | Risk Management

"Get back! Please step away from the potentially troublesome player."

Previously, we discussed which players are worth taking the risk on this upcoming fantasy season. Now, we're going to flip the coin and talk about the players you should run from like the boogie monster was coming after you.

Amare Stoudemire, Suns: At the top of the sleeper article, I talk about avoiding players who enter the season with a lingering injury. Well, based on Amare looking rather human in Las Vegas, getting left off the 12-man Olympic roster, and the whole microfracture thing, I have little confidence that weíre going to see rock-star Amare in 06-07. I could see 18 points and seven rebounds, but I also see minimal D and multiple DNPs. If he slides to the third round, give him a long look, but you gotta do better in the first two rounds.

Baron Davis, Warriors: When Baron was nasty Baron last season, I was unstoppable in the NBA.com expertsí league. However, when Baron was banged-up Baron, my championship run was derailed. Thatís Baron in a nutshell. Heís like a wannabe jam band that takes you to the brink of ecstasy but then botches the crescendo Ė every time. Looking back over his seven-year career, Baron played 82 games in each of his first three seasons, but he has averaged 54 games played over the last four. No thanks.

Larry Hughes, Cavaliers: Hughes is a lot like Davis in that heís a steal freak, which we all love, and heís a DNP waiting to happen, which we all hate. Hughes led the league in steals two years ago, but he has averaged 24 DNPs over the past six seasons, including 46 last year. Unlike Davis, however, there isnít the same upside with Hughes now that he shares the stage with LeBron James. In 35.6 minutes per game last season, Hughes posted pedestrian averages of 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.5 steals. When you combine his medical history with the low ceiling for production, Hughes just isnít worth the risk.

Will Larry Hughes be around long enough to provide eye-popping performances?
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

Kenyon Martin, Nuggets: After a summer of shopping K-Mart and coming up empty, which would be exactly like shopping at K-Mart, the Nuggets are stuck with their delicate, high-priced power forward. Everyone is saying the right things in the aftermath of Martinís playoff meltdown, but I find it hard to believe everythingís cool. With all the weirdness and the lingering effects of microfracture surgery, Martin is too risky for my blood.

Stephen Jackson, Pacers: Steve Jack wore on everybodyís nerves last season and ultimately got called out by Larry Bird in the papers. (You gotta love The Hick from French Lick.) I think The Brawl, which was escalated by Jackson, tempted the Basketball Gods to the point where we may have seen the best of him. Yes, Iím serious. If the Pacers bring back Al Harrington, as rumored, Jackson is finished in fantasy leagues. But even if the Pacers donít re-acquire Harrington, weíre probably looking at a five-cat line of 15-4-3-0-1 from Jackson. Big deal.

Adam Morrison, Bobcats: Is it just me, or is Adam Morrison the spitting image of Randall ďPinkĒ Floyd from Dazed and Confused? If you have the DVD, look at the picture of Floyd on the spine of the DVD case and try to tell me that isnít Adam Morrison. You canít. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the fantasy world to the second coming of Allan Houston. Enjoy.

Damon Stoudamire, Grizzlies: Word has it, Damon was impressive in a workout for the Grizzlies in late July, which is encouraging news as he battles back from surgery to repair his patellar tendon. I wish Damon well because heís a cool dude and hip to the fantasy of it all, but I wonít be targeting the Mighty Mouse at drafts this fall. When you combine the surgery with the re-signing of Chucky Atkins, thereís virtually no upside in drafting Damon.

Luol Deng, Bulls: If youíve watched one episode of NBA TV Fantasy Hoops, you know Iím a big fan of The Man from Sudan. Thereís nothing I would love more than seeing what Deng could do with 35 minutes a night. (Actually, thereís a lot more to love than that, including world peace and Bisco Radio for every man, woman, and child, but you get my point.) With the drafting of Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefalosha, and the acquisitions of Ben Wallace and P.J. Brown, Deng is going to be more squeezed than Paris Hiltonís new chest.

Don't Sleep | Risk Management