|(Illustration courtesy of Studio Rojo)|
And the reason I bring this up is because we're suddenly seeing a clear-cut case of rage dropping, and it's coming from one of the most unlikely sources imaginable: Kobe Bryant owners. In case you didn't know, Kobe Bryant suffered a fracture in his left knee on Tuesday and will be out for six weeks. Already, Bryant has gotten widely dropped in fantasy leagues. In Yahoo!, his ownership is down to 92% -- which is a 7% drop in less than 20 hours.
Now yes -- is it possible that Kobe Bryant might legitimately not be worth owning anymore? Maybe, because it is highly inconvenient to lose a player of his caliber for a month and a half. But... the dude is still worth owning. I mean, this is Kobe Bryant we're talking about. No, the real reason Kobe is getting abandoned so prominently is that his betrayed owners are rage dropping him. After all, they waited six weeks for him to make his season debut in December, only to see him average a meager 13.8 points per game in six games before suffering this latest injury, which is going to keep him out for yet another six-week interval. His owners are frustrated, and angry, and disappointed. They're pissed at Kobe for not coming through for them when they took on a chance on him in the middle rounds of the draft. They just want him off their team, so they drop him, cutting all ties with him as easily as you do when you delete someone's cell phone number. And like deleting a phone number, an owner gets a certain amount of glee dropping a disappointing player. It's like saying to them, "Fine, you wanna be like this? Then go ruin someone else's team."
The oddest part about the rage quit is that the decision made is quite often extremely regrettable. At the time, it's easy to pass judgment on a player and send them to the free-agency pool. But after a day, with a cooler head, more often than not a fantasy owner will look at the player they've freely auctioned off for the rest of the league and conclude, in a moment of horror, that they've made a terrible, terrible mistake -- the same way dropping Kobe Bryant is probably a terrible mistake.
Let's say, hypothetically, that when Kobe comes back, he'll be no better than the player he was in this six-game stanza. He'll maintain an average of 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. Who has similar numbers? Andre Iguodala, who's averaging 11.7 points, 4 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. Let's put aside how unlikely it'd be that Kobe wouldn't improve on his statline; instead, consider that this lesser, inferior version of Kobe would still be putting up stats on par if not better than Iguodala's. And here's the crazy thing. Iggy was out for a full month with a hamstring injury, and yet his ownership in Yahoo! never dropped more than 6% for that entire period. Kobe Bryant, who might have better stats than Iggy and was a higher draft pick than Iggy, has been dropped in a whopping 7% of leagues in not even a full day. Yes, the six weeks he'll miss is longer than the month Iggy was out for. Still, I think it's pretty clear why Kobe is being so widely kicked to the curb: rage dropping, yo.
Even now, even in his depressed state, Kobe Bryant still has some trade value and is worth stashing until he comes back in February. Unless you're in an extremely shallow league, I advise you to work the trade market if you don't feel like keeping him around. If you come to a reasoned, practical conclusion that your personal fantasy team is in such a position that you can't afford to babysit Kobe for six weeks, then a drop could be forgivable. But don't do it in spite. Take some time to come to terms with this horribly depressing news, assess his value with a cooler head, and then decide what to do with him.
Oh, and speaking of the Lakers...
- It was also announced yesterday that Steve Nash will be out for at least another four weeks, which casts serious doubt on whether or not he'll ever play another game for the Lakers. With Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar also hurt, the Lakers, amazingly, are down to their fifth option at point guard right now: Xavier Henry. Farmar is expected to return in a week or so and is line to put up some wonderful numbers on this vastly depleted Lakers roster, but until then, Henry makes for a solid pickup. He's probably not going to help you much in the assists column, but he contributes in enough other categories that he's bound to help you out in some form or another. Meanwhile, no Kobe and no Nash means that Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson and Nick Young will all remain relevant in fantasy basketball for the forseeable future.
- The aforementioned Andre Iguodala was decent on Thursday, scoring 6 points (3-4 shooting) to go with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Iggy is gradually working his way back from his hamstring injury and was looking fine enough physically to dive into the stands to save a loose ball at one point. He's bound to pick up his play in the relative future and is a tremendous buy-low candidate.
- Larry Sanders is close to practicing according to Bucks coach Larry Drew, and being close to practicing means that he's close to playing. Sanders has been an immense disappointment thus far, but he's an elite shot-blocker and his presence will be much needed on that cataclysmicly-awful Milwaukee Bucks. He's poised to return the court just after Christmas, meaning this might be your last chance to scoop him up off the waiver wire before someone beats you to it.
- Kevin Durant was his typical awesome self on Thursday, scoring 32 points and adding 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 three's, 3 steals and a block. If you're lucky enough to own him in a standard league, you're blessed, my friend.
- Steven Adams had a decent line yesterday, posting 4 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks against the Bulls. Adams just doesn't get enough playing time to be a permanent fixture on a fantasy team, but he does make for a nice spot start. In fact, Adams' Thunder plays on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, so if you're in a close matchup where you could use a few extra blocks, he might be a decent streaming option for you.
- Stephen Curry was a beast, posting 30 points and 15 assists to go with 2 rebounds, 4 steals and 6 three's against the Spurs. Curry is in the midst of a spectacular season.
- With Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all resting, Kawhi Leonard was able to score 21 points and add 10 rebounds and 3 assists last night. Leonard might not be the fantasy superstar some envisioned, but he's still an extremely useful player who's capable of putting up lines like this when Greg Popavich decides to be conservative and rest the Big Three.