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We’re only but a few games into the 2014-2015 NBA season and we’ve already had a lot injuries to promising young players. Here’s the Week 1 injury update:

After getting an inadvertent elbow to the face in practice, Victor Oladipo is out for the first month of the season with a facial fracture. No injury is a blessing, but the time off will give Oladipo ample time to rest his MCL. He had previously missed games in the preseason due to the sprained MCL in his right knee.

Elfrid Payton will continue to start at point guard, with or without Oladipo in the lineup. There will be some growing pains, but he’s a star in the making. To replace Oladipo at shooting guard, the Magic will rely on Ben Gordon and Evan Fournier. Ben Gordon is coming off of a horrible season, where he averaged 5.2 ppg in 14.7 mpg. His minutes, scoring, and field goal percentages have all declined in the last three years. Now he could have a game or two where he explodes for some threes, like he did against the Wizards on Thursday (22 points on 7-12 shooting), but I wouldn’t count on it and waste a roster spot waiting for those games. He scored only 5 points on 1-8 shooting in the first game. Gone are the days where he is worthy of a fantasy spot.

Traded to the Magic in the Aaron Afflalo trade, Evan Fournier should be the better replacement for Oladipo. He started in the Magic’s first two games of the season, averaging 16 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 3PT FGM in 33 minutes. A first round draft pick in 2012, Fournier is a career 38.3 3PT FG shooter, but hasn’t shown that he can do much else beyond hit threes in his short career. He is much younger than Gordon and should see more playing time, even when Oladipo comes back.

After contending for minutes at shooting guard in the preseason, Maurice Harkless didn’t even play in either game.

One game into the season, and Julius Randle’s rookie campaign is already over. The 7th overall pick in last summer’s draft broke his leg in the 4th quarter in Tuesday’s game versus the Rockets. He went through successful surgery on Wednesday and will be out for the year. Depending on your keeper rules, I would hold onto Randle in dynasty leagues. As James Worthy tweeted, he suffered the same injury his rookie year and turned out fine. Disclaimer: I’m not saying Randle is a future Hall-of-Famer, just that he should be fine next season.

In redraft leagues, you can safely drop Randle and pick up someone. Ed Davis will take over Randle’s role as the first big man off the bench, at least until Ryan Kelly comes back from his hamstring injury. Davis finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 blocks in Tuesday’s game. He could be a fine replacement, but depending on your league, there may be someone with more upside on the waiver wire.

Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill’s roles become even more secure. Carlos Boozer will continue to start at power forward and will provide solid scoring and rebounding numbers, with lots of double doubles. Jordan Hill has the bigger upside because he blocks shots. After the All-Star break last year, Hill averaged 12.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, and 1.3 bpg in only 24.3 minutes per game. With more minutes – those numbers – especially his rebound and block numbers, could rise.

Continuing the theme of injured young promising players, Bulls shooting guard, Jimmy Butler, was reportedly out 2-4 weeks with a sprained thumb. He was a game-time call for the opener, but you never know with the Bulls’ medical staff.

This is the same staff that cleared Omer Asik to play Game 4 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, despite fracturing his left fibula during Game 3. Another former Bull, Luol Deng, has also voiced his frustration with the Bulls medical staff.

With Butler out, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Kirk Hinrich should see increased time on the court. Dunleavy was starting alongside Butler in the preseason and should continue to do so. He averaged 11/4/2 points/rebounds/assists last year in 31 minutes a game and should continue to post similar lines this year. Thibodeau loves Hinrich for his defense and will be starting him at the two. Hinrich is a better real life player because of his D, but could give some value in deeper leagues.

One of the Miami Heat’s newest members, Josh McRoberts, sat out the home opener against the Wizards due to a toe injury. Last year, he had bone spurs removed from a toe on his left foot. He was expected to be ready for the regular season, but the recovery time has latest past expectations. McRoberts’ return is up in the air, but he should be back in a few games. In the meantime, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen will earn some additional clock.

Coming back from a torn ACL, Danilo Gallinari will begin the season on a minutes restriction. The oft-injured shooter will play no more than 20 minutes a night, no matter how well he’s playing. He played 18 minutes in his first game back. This is obviously frustrating to owners because it will limit his fantasy effectiveness. There’s no word on how long the restriction will continue, but it will probably take a couple weeks for Gallinari to get back up to his career average of 31 minutes a night.

Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb will both miss the first two games of the season, after injuring themselves in practice. Jackson sprained his ankle and Lamb tweaked his back. More will be known in a few days when both players are evaluated after the Thunder return home from their road trip. I wouldn’t worry about these guys, but lesser owned Perry Jones and Andre Roberson will start the first two games.

David Lee (hamstring) and Kawhi Leonard (eye), both sat out their season-opener, but don’t expect them to be out much longer.

[editor’s note] – Russell Westbrook fractured his hand late last night, after this article was completed.  We’ll have more information today, but will likely miss 4-6 weeks.

 

That’s it for this week. Keep the comments coming. I’ll try to read and answer as many as I can. Wishing your players health and good fortune!

  1. hanns says:
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    should I drop henson for DJ Augustin? I’m just looking for a better player right now and I’m not so hopeful kidd will play henson for a lot of minutes…

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @hanns: So far you’re right. Henson isn’t getting the minutes to justify a roster spot and Augustin is playing more than the starter, Brandon Jennings. Most of Henson’s value comes with the blocks. If you’re good there, then dropping him for Augustin sounds like a good idea.

  2. Philzilla says:
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    Would you trade Monta Ellis for RWB?

    • Bye Felicia says:
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      @Philzilla: I wouldn’t but id try to get lillard or Lowery for westy. I might settle for ellis if I couldn’t get those guys. Aim higher is what im saying

      • Peter Kap

        Peter Kap says:
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        @Bye Felicia: I wasn’t sure if you were getting Westrbook or trading for him in your question, but I’ll answer it from both sides.

        Trading for Westbrook is a little risky because he’s injured. However, if you’re team is solid enough to still win while he’s injured, then trading up for him while injured is a good move.

        If you’re getting rid of Westbrook, I agree with Bye Felicia that you should aim a little higher. Ellis is sound, but Westrbook was still a first round pick so getting a top 15-20 in return is what you should aim for.

  3. Wen says:
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    Hi Peter, would you drop J.J. Redick for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope?

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Wen: I think it’s too early to drop JJ Redick. He’s off to a slow start with his shooting, but he’s the clear starter and will pick things up sooner than later. KCP is a good pickup. He’s going to be a little inconsistent, especially with his shooting, but is playing lots of minutes right now. Maybe there is someone else on your team that you could drop for him.

  4. hamtime says:
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    1. would you drop chalmers for elfrid in a 16 man league
    2. would you accept gallinari for wiggins?
    3. hawes, wright, or demarre?

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @hamtime: 1. I would definitely pick up Elfrid. He’s a rookie so there will be some growing pains, especially with his shooting, but he will be the starting point guard. He played little in the Wizards loss because he was in foul trouble, not because he was ineffective. Is there someone else you can drop instead of Chalmers? Elfrid is an upgrade, but I like both players and would try to keep both if possible.

      2. Personally, I would prefer to have Wiggins. Gallinari is going to be on a minutes restriction for a while and is still a question mark with his injury history. Wiggins is off to a slow start, but that is expected with any rookie. Wiggins has way more upside than Gallinari so for that, I would want Wiggins.

      3. DeMarre. Hawes and Wright are efficient bench players, but are not playing as much as DeMarre. He’s starting and provides solid 3PT and steals numbers.

  5. Lawson says:
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    Hi there! In my 16 team 9 cat league I have players that worry me like Marcus Morris (competition for the job), Matt Barnes (performance so far) and Bojan Bogdanovic (same reason as Barnes).
    The rest of the team is: Conley, Holiday, Payton, Batum, LeBron, Dray Green, T. Jones, Favors, Sanders, Ed Davis.
    I dropped Fournier because I considered that Bogdanovic had better chance to play decent minutes, however this does not guarantee better stats… Marcus Morris had a great and a not so good game and Gerald Green and Pj Tucker, even the rookie which name I do not remember right now will take minutes from him.
    The best options in the waiver wire are: Caron Butler, H. Thompson, Copeland, Fournier, Devin Harris, Len, Telfair, Wes Johnson, Exum, Aminu, J. Lamb, PJ Tucker, O´Quinn, Motiejunas, Muhammad, Hood.
    The options I like the most are Butler, Fournier, Lamb or PJ Tucker ( when the rotation looks a bit more clear…)
    Any thoughts? Thanks a lot !
    Waiver wire:

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Lawson: Be patient with your roster. We’re only a few games into the season so it’s tough to project on a small sample size. Barnes should be fine. I’m not that high on Bojan and you’ll have to monitor the rotation in Phoenix. PJ Tucker is out for three games due to a suspension, but it’s still unclear who is going to get the minutes in there.

      Personally, I would pick Devin Harris, Fournier, or Copeland. You probably don’t have a need for another point guard because of your current roster, but those are the best options IMO. Some of the other guys you mentioned are only short term help because of injuries (Telfair, Lamb) and the others aren’t getting the minutes you probably want.

      • Lawson says:
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        @Peter Kap: Ok I dropped Bogdan for >Fournier as I needed a SG desperately now I am considering asking for Copeland in the waiver wire, dropping Marcus Morris. I need 3s and points so I think is the best option.
        WHat do you reckon?
        Thanks in advance Kap!

        • Peter Kap

          Peter Kap says:
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          @Lawson: Copeland is definitely a good grab on the waiver wire. He’s playing well and there’s no one really challenging him for minutes. Morris is off to a good start too, but he has more competition for minutes. Also, the window on grabbing Copeland on waivers is closing each day.

  6. John says:
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    H2H League, I still have Mason Plumlee and Patrick Beverley, Jose Calderon and Larry Sanders are still in Free Agency. Should I pick them up?

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @John: Depends on who you are dropping. Calderon is the starter, but is out 2-3 weeks with a calf strain. We’ve seen what he’s done in the past with assists and threes. Beverley is the starter as well and does it all, except shoot efficiently. Larry Sanders is an elite shot blocker. All three are upgrades over Mason Plumlee, if that’s who you are considering dropping.

  7. AC says:
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    Should I be worried about Stuckey? He played only 16 minutes and 13 minutes in his first two games, even though he looks good when he’s out on the flood. I’m guessing this is because he’s still a little hurt, but is there any chance it’s something else?

    I really appreciate these injury analyses since they’re often what makes or breaks your season. Thanks!

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @AC: Frank Vogel said that Stuckey would play limited minutes in a backup role to start the season. Stuckey is still not 100% from his foot/tendon injury and the Pacers are playing it cautious with his minutes. They can’t afford another injury to an already depleted backcourt. I’ve never really been a big Stuckey fan in general, but it may be a while until he’s completely healthy and Vogel trusts him for more than the 13 minutes he’s averaging so far.

  8. gimmedemblocks says:
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    would you trade dirk + any one of the following: josh smith,, wesley matthews, jimmy butler for serge?

    which should i try to move first? prob jsmmove? i know that guy’s a wreck but i like the blocks from my sf spot and i think he’s kind of an asset for what i’m trying to do. 9 cat h2h league just have to win 5 of the categores. trying to win fg%/blks/rebounds and turnovers every week

    • gimmedemblocks says:
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      @gimmedemblocks: and steals, trying to win those too..

      • Peter Kap

        Peter Kap says:
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        @gimmedemblocks: Ibaka is off to a fast start, but his usage is going to go down when Westbrook and Durant come back. That’s still a ways away so until then Ibaka’s value is going to be at an all high now while the Thunder have so many injuries.

        Josh Smith and Dirk is probably a fair offer for Ibaka. Matthews and Butler are solid fantasy contributors, but are a little more underrated because they aren’t the “sexy” names like Dirk and Smith. It’s worth a shot, but I’d be reluctant if I’m an Ibaka owner.

  9. Nikko Respeto says:
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    Just so you can get a full look at my team in a H2H points league:

    Front Court: Paul Pierce, Lamarcus Aldridge, Kelly Olynyk, Rudy Gay, Josh McRoberts, Jared Sullinger and Andre Drummond

    Back Court: John Wall, DeMar Derozan, JR Smith, Jeff Teague, Brandon Knight and Jarrett Jack.

    Which trade is better for me (if there is one):
    1) Wall and Drummond for Lillard and Love
    2) Wall and Aldridge for Lillard and Love
    3) Wall and Drummond for Bledsoe and Love
    4) Wall and Aldridge for Bledsoe and Love?

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Nikko Respeto: John Wall is the best player in all of those trades so it would be difficult for me to trade him away in any of those deals. I would stand pat with Aldridge and Wall.

  10. Cleo says:
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    I’m in a 12 team 8-cat H2H and am hurting for blocks, Rebs, 3s and pts.
    Should I dump khris Middleton and/or Josh Roberts for any of the following wire pick-ups?

    M Teletovic, B. Wright, K Garnett, T Mozgov, T Booker, C Kaman, N Mirotic?

    Thanks

    • Peter Kap

      Peter Kap says:
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      @Cleo: Teletovic is probably the best bet out of those guys, but I don’t really feel comfortable in any of them. Then I’d go Mozgov and McRoberts. Mozgov won’t help in scoring or 3s, but should be close to 8 pts./8 rebs./1 block a game. McRobert is barely seeing any court time right now, but will offer consistent performance and out of position assists and threes.

      Garnett and Booker will cool off. Booker already has more threes this year than he had as a Wizard last year. Wright is the best shot blocker, but won’t really help in rebounds or points. Mirotic and Kaman aren’t getting enough minutes to warrant a pickup.

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