Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Sure, LeBron James' fantasy value is likely to drop in the upcoming season because he doesn't have to carry the entire scoring load for the Miami Heat as he did in Cleveland. And with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade alongside him, he'll be able to "take some time off" during a game to catch his breath while the other superstars do their thing. But have no doubts about it, James will still be a top-10 fantasy choice.
Unfortunately, elsewhere around the league there will be at least three of 2009-10 top-25 fantasy performers who won't return to that elite group next season.
First on the list is power forward Carlos Boozer. Boozer rebounded from an injury-filled 2008 to become a top-25 performer in 2009-10 with the Utah Jazz. He averaged 19.5 ppg, 11.2 rpg and 3.2 apg in 78 contests. However, he doesn't figure to be able to match those numbers next season. Signing a five-year, $80 million deal with the Chicago Bulls puts him on a completely different type of team.
In Jazz point guard Deron Williams, Boozer was matched up with one of the top-three pure point guards in the league. The same can't be said for Rose. He's a very good point guard, but he's from the "new" breed who shoots as much as passes. While Williams averaged 18.7 ppg, he did it on just 1,053 field goal attempts. Rose took 320 more shots than Williams while posting a 20.8 ppg average.
Additionally, the Bulls team has more weapons than Boozer's old Jazz roster. Besides Rose, the Chicago lineup includes Luol Deng (17.6 ppg), Taj Gibson (9.0 ppg), Joakim Noah (10.7 ppg) and former Jazz teammate Kyle Korver.
Last year's Jazz offense was almost always Boozer and Williams with just the occasional big game from Mehmet Okur or Andrei Kirilenko.
Therefore, I'm expecting Boozer to drop out of the top-25 ranking.
Chauncey Billups is my next candidate to fall from grace. He's no youngster anymore -- he'll be 35 on September 25th and the team already has his replacement on the roster in Ty Lawson. Add in the good possibility that neither J.R. Smith or Carmelo Anthony will finish the year in Denver, and Billups numbers figure to take a "hit."
Next to drop from the Top-25 rankings will be Philadelphia swingman Andre Iguodala. "AI" has seen his scoring drop in each of the last two seasons, and with the addition of No.2 overall selection Evan Turner to the lineup, Iguodala figures to take another "hit." And this time, not just the scoring category. Turner and point guard Jrue Holiday should be the team's primary ballhanders, meaning Iguodala's assist total, a career-high 5.8 last year, will also drop.
While Boozer, Billups and Iguodala will drop out of the top-25, there are a number of possible candidates for those who will jump up into the elite group, but we will leave those names for another day.