By Nick Whalen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
I’ve waited until the last possible moment, but — against all odds —I’m afraid I have to admit I was wrong about some things this season. As much as I would like to hope that Carmelo Anthony won’t miss a shot for the remainder of the year, dragging his field-goal percentage up to something respectable, I have my doubts.
Below, I’ve outlined five players who I projected incorrectly heading into this season with the hopes that you’ll forgive me and that we can all learn something moving forward.
Carmelo Anthony could be worth a fifth-round pick
It was hard to imagine Anthony slipping below 20 points per game for the first time in his career, even while sharing the ball with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. And, at the very least, if he did slip below 20 points per game, he’d presumably do so on better efficiency with more made threes.
Suffice it to say, Melo has struggled more than anticipated. Not only has his scoring fallen to a career-low 16.3 points per game, but he’s also in the midst of career lows from the field (40.5 percent) and free-throw line (76.4 percent), while only making 0.1 more threes per game than last season. Even his assist average has fallen from 2.9 to 1.3 per game — something I thought could increase.
Overall, Melo is having the worst season of his career and is the 106th-ranked player in fantasy, falling significantly below guys like Bobby Portis (86), Markieff Morris (76) and Joe Ingles (67).
Only two things save me a bit here. The first being injuries to both Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell forced Dinwiddie into a bigger role than even his biggest fans expected from him. The second was that I did manage to name-drop Caris LeVert in my training-camp preview as also being worthy of fantasy consideration, and he’s been — checks notes — technically relevant.
Still, out of Dinwiddie, Kilpatrick, LeVert, Isaiah Whitehead, and Joe Harris, I picked the guy who got waived to bring in Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas. It seemed to make sense. This is what I wrote at the time: The sheer number of options is somewhat overwhelming, especially because each player received between 21.9 and 25.1 minutes per game last season amid injuries and general rotation tweaks. If usage rate is any indication, Kilpatrick led the group at 23.8 percent, followed by Whitehead (18.2 percent). He was also given the most minutes per game out of the group (25.1).
I’d like to think that logic isn’t flawed. Maybe I didn’t watch enough Brooklyn Nets basketball. Maybe Dinwiddie put in the most work during the offseason. Either way, I think this will be a good lesson for when I try to predict who the third-best guard on the Atlanta Hawks will be next season.
Hassan Whiteside would definitely be a top-25 fantasy player
Maybe I should have seen the writing on the wall when the Heat drafted Bam Adebayo and signed Kelly Olynyk to a four-year, $50 million deal in the offseason. In hindsight, it’s clear that the Heat are preparing for life without Whiteside. Or, at least, very willing to have him sit on the bench for 28 minutes some nights due to small-ball matchups.
That said, I didn’t anticipate his workload slipping down to 25.9 minutes per game, dragging his numbers along with it. Last season, he averaged an All-Star-caliber 17 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. This year, those numbers are down to 14.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game — essentially the same production we’re getting from Clint Capela.
The situation has resulted in Whiteside being the 51st-ranked fantasy player for the 2017-18 season. That’s still good, but not worthy of the second-round production I pegged him for.
Myles Turner shouldn’t make it past the third round
This is all Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis’ fault. If Oladipo had only been “pretty good” instead of “literally an All-Star” and Sabonis had been “decent bench option” instead of “legitimate sixth man and nightly double-double threat”, Turner may have needed to carry a bigger offensive burden. But that hasn’t been the case. Turner is having essentially back-to-back identical seasons. Last year, he averaged 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. This year, 13.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.
It felt like he had the upside for closer to 17 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and at least a three while shooting around 50 percent from the field. Even though that would make him one of the most dynamic centers in the league, I don’t think that’s out of the question for next season or beyond, even after this relatively underwhelming campaign
Count on me to overdraft him again next year.
Marcin Gortat would have fantasy relevance
This one seems harsh, but I didn’t expect age to hit Gortat as hard as it did. I assumed he would average around 10 points and 10 boards in 30 minutes, like he essentially has since 2013-14, putting him around Nos. 90-110 in overall ranking. The reality has been much different.
His playing time has dropped to 25.3 minutes per game, and he’s averaging just 8.4 points and 7.6 boards while shooting 51.6 percent from the field — his lowest marks since his rookie year. That’s resulted in him being the 167th-ranked fantasy player on the year, holding relevance only in deep leagues.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Wizards tried to move on from Gortat heading into next season, so Gortat’s future in fantasy moving forward doesn’t look bright.
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