Offseason fantasy hoops losers

Lance Stephenson should help the Hornets, but maybe at the expense of his fantasy stats. Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, I focused on the summer's big fantasy winners. I let you know that 2014-15 is shaping up to be the best fantasy basketball season in the history of everything.

But I've been told that some of you like negativity. So I'm here to tell you that it's not all stretch-4s and inflating effective field goal percentages.

Here are this summer's losers.

Lance Stephenson, SG, Charlotte Hornets: I love this move for Charlotte. But this is an acquisition that could offer more of a real-life benefit than fantasy boost.

Stephenson began last season underrated, became overrated, then migrated to some distant plane of uncharted perceptional significance after turning the conference finals into an Andy Kaufman-esque slice of performance art.

Stephenson became a fantasy darling because of triple-doubles, leading the league with five. (Stephen Curry and Joakim Noah finished second with four apiece). He was epic in January, finishing the month with 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists and a .520 field goal percentage.

Then he regressed.

The question is whether or not he was the victim of Indiana's post-All-Star malaise or the cause. My theory is that the addition of Evan Turner short-circuited Stephenson. In the end, Stephenson finished 57th on the Player Rater; solid, but not as high as a player who generated his level of fawning fantasy buzz.

Now he brings his still-budding upside to a still-budding team in Charlotte.

The problem is that the Hornets already have Gerald Henderson, a great defender who in some ways resembles a poor man's Lance Stephenson. Henderson can also play small forward, but he'll scarf up some of Charlotte's minutes at the 2.

And they already have Gary Neal, and they drafted P.J. Hairston, who was in full-on beast mode during summer league play.

I'm not tabbing Stephenson as a bust by any means. He's only 23 and still has potential for statistical growth. I just believe he'll be slightly overvalued at an overcrowded position.

Isaiah Thomas, PG, Phoenix Suns: Again, a great basketball move whose fantasy impact is kneecapped due to overcrowding.

Let me be clear: I love Isaiah Thomas. Sacramento letting Thomas bolt and replacing him with Darren Collison is one of the more puzzling NBA decisions of the past few years. He's a potentially transcendent fantasy producer who finished 23rd overall on the Player Rater.

But the Suns are not going to let Eric Bledsoe walk. So instead, we'll see a three-headed fantasy monster comprising Goran Dragic, Thomas and Bledsoe. They'll all still be productive, but the lack of available minutes should limit their production. Don't forget, they still have to find minutes for Gerald Green, plus they drafted Tyler Ennis.

A Bledsoe injury or trade would change everything. But at present, there isn't a path to finding the 34.7 minutes a night Thomas was getting up in Sacramento.

Spencer Hawes, PF/C, Los Angeles Clippers: It's two teams ago, but when I ponder Hawes, I still find myself instinctually scrolling down to "Phi" on the Player Rater page.

Hawes as a 76er was fantasy magic. Hawes was the No. 1 frontcourt option in a post-apocalyptic, high-pace offense that was designed to drive up offensive numbers.

Hawes was installed to put up overinflated fantasy-friendly numbers. Threes, blocks, rebounds, solid percentages ... magic. I still get misty-eyed thinking about last November, when Hawes threw down 15.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.9 3-pointers and 1.8 blocks.

Now, Hawes is DeAndre Jordan's backup. Yes, he might win a championship here in Los Angeles, but ask yourself; at what cost?

Victor Oladipo, G, Orlando Magic: Elfrid Payton and Oladipo pack a lot of upside. Payton has low-grade Damian Lillard rookie potential. Oladipo has already displayed the makeup of a special fantasy player.

The problem is that Oladipo still can't hit his shot on a consistent basis. And Payton's arrival means Oladipo shifts to shooting guard.

Historically, it's problematic when your shooting guard can't shoot, as Channing Frye is about to discover when he finds a hand in his face every time he takes a corner 3. (You could also make a case for Frye being included in this space, but I'm waiting to get a feel for what kind of minutes are coming to Aaron Gordon).

Oladipo had a commendable fantasy rookie season, but a quarter of his value was generated from the assists category. To maintain his upward fantasy trajectory, he has to supplement the projected dip in assists with improved 3-point production.

Monitor Oladipo in training camp. If there aren't reports of an ironed-out shot, don't overreach for him in your draft.

Pau Gasol, PF/C, Chicago Bulls: If Gasol plays in 75-78 games, his aggregate fantasy value will go up. But it's hard to see that happening. Gasol has entered the maintenance stage of his career and just joined a team that's the possible favorite in the Eastern Conference that's already thinking playoffs.

When ambulatory, Gasol still can produce. He put up great per-game numbers in 2013-14 (17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, an underrated 3.4 assists). But Gasol limped to 80th on the Player Rater because he only played in 60 games. And he's going from a team that spent a large portion of 2013-14 running Mike D'Antoni's offense to a defense-first Tom Thibodeau team.

Gasol, 34, still retains real fantasy value. I just won't be the one who overpays for that value come draft night.

Khris Middleton, SF, Milwaukee Bucks: Middleton was a pleasant under-the-radar fantasy success story in 2013-14. But Jabari Parker is going to play heavy minutes at both forward positions, and a lot of those minutes will come at Middleton's expense.

Julius Randle, PF, Los Angeles Lakers: Just when things were lining up so nicely for Randle, the Lakers go out and sign 5-7 other forwards. Welcome to Lakerland, Julius. The Carlos Boozer addition in particular took a major bite out of Randle's rookie fantasy potential.

Trey Burke, PG, Utah Jazz: Ideally, Burke locks down point guard and allows a potentially special Dante Exum to play at the 2. But Exum has momentum and upside in his corner, and if his natural position is at point guard, Burke could find himself out of a starting job by Valentine's Day.

DeMarre Carroll, SF, Atlanta Hawks: Carroll has developed into a solid deep-league small forward. I was excited to see track his growth in 2014-15. But the additions of Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha just made things a little more crowded on the wing in Atlanta.

Greivis Vasquez, PG, Toronto Raptors: If you have Vasquez in a keeper league, it's because you fondly remember those nine dimes per night he averaged back in New Orleans in 2012. You also heard many, many times over the past 12 months that there was a chance Kyle Lowry would leave Toronto via trade or free agency. Instead, the Raptors re-signed Lowry and brought in Lou Williams. I think it's time to let go.

Otto Porter Jr., SF, Washington Wizards: I saw Porter in Vegas, and he looked like a totally different player. He had command and presence. He looked like a player who could have gone No. 3 overall in a down draft year. And for a few hours on July 12, Porter was the Wizards' only healthy small forward.

Then the Wizards signed Paul Pierce.

Porter's fantasy value will still build in 2014-15, but it dropped from those five hours on July 12 when he was Washington's starting small forward.