One of the reasons I prefer fantasy basketball to fantasy football is that in basketball it is much less likely to have your entire season derailed by an injury. That being said, opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season twisted my world view right along with Gordon Hayward’s ankle. Ouch!
It is when these things happen that I am reminded of two famous quotes: “Knowledge is power,” which I saw on a bumper sticker, and “Chaos is a ladder,” words spoken by the scheming Littlefinger in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. An injury can open the door for this year’s waiver wire MVP or at least offer a younger player an opportunity to get more minutes and become fantasy relevant. In order to take advantage you must not only act quickly, but you need to know which players will benefit the most, and that my friend is not easy.
So without further ado, here are the major injuries lingering around the NBA, some suggestions for which replacements to target, and whether you should stash, drop, or use an I.R. spot (if your league allows it):
How did you read the title to this post? Was it, “Oh, What a Night!” or was it, “Oh, What a Night…” because we got both last night. The NBA was finally back after a crazy offseason and provided matchups that had us all salivating: Boston vs Cleveland and Houston vs Golden State. Hot diggidy! Unfortunately, the story of the night was the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward. Last night was finally having great sex with the “crush.” Not having to do the walk of shame. Making it to the morning. Even going out to the local joint for breakast. Then…..the “crush” goes Exorcist and pukes all over your food, clothes, and the table….with some chunks causing collatoral damage to the innocent byeaters. Get well soon Hayward. Our thoughts are with you. Since this is a fantasy website, we have to get into the impact of injury. The Celtics started the game with Kyrie Irving at PG, Gordon Hayward at SG, Jaylen Brown at SF, Jayson Tatum at PF, and Al Horford at C. With Marcus Morris injured, I’d imagine that they continue to play small ball with Tatum at PF, Brown at SF, and Marcus Smart at SG. Terry Rozier would receive elevated minutes backing up both Kyrie and Smart.
I’ve had fun writing these team previews, so I’m sad that this will be the final one for this season. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the journey with me. Not all is poo poo, though, because it means the season starts tomorrow night! Yaaaaaassssssss! Any of you remember Voltron, Defender of the Universe? Five robot lions, that each had specialized skills and roles, would come together and form a super robot to protect the universe from evil? That’s what the Warriors are. Five players that can do damage individually, but go to a completely different level when playing with a collective consciousness. What if the response by the aliens to one of the SETI signals beamed out to outer space is: Game on, bitches! Putting all hate aside, the Warriors would be the squad we’d send, right? They are the NBA’s Voltron.
Man, you guys don’t even know. There’s been a mob outside my house every night for the past two weeks carrying tiki torches and screaming, “We want the Top 200 with stats!” Or at least I think that’s what they were saying. Anyways, big shout out to Rudy who waved his magic wand and created the beautiful looking spreadsheet below. It even sorts. Here is Rudy in his lab:
To you who are reading this post, I love you all. To those who aren’t, I hate you. Good thing those people will never see that. I don’t care if you are just a hoops junkie, need something to pass the time when on the can, or if you love/hate my work. You’re here and that’s all that matters. It’s been a long journey, but alas…sniff sniff…the end is here. There are a few upside players here that could definitely make a leap in the rankings, but for the most part, this post will be populated with specialists and “use in case of emergency.”
Dirk Nowitzki became the 6th player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points, becoming the first international player to hit 30k and one of three players to score all 30,000+ points with one team. It’s been a truly impressive career for the future hall-of-famer. As Steve Nash joked, what’s German for ball hog?
20 points shy of the milestone heading into the game, Nowitzki wasted no time, knocking down and a fadeway early in the second quarter:
Scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Dirk finished with 25 points (all in the first half), 11 rebounds, 1 block, and 3 threes for his third double-double in the last four games. His fantasy days are numbered, but after a slow, injury-filled start to the season, Nowitzki has given patient owners plenty to smile about since the start of the New Year.
… A Long Ass post trade deadline analysis (couldn’t come up with a word that rhymes with automobiles). I’ll dive deep into a couple of trades (Boogie and Nerlens Noel). I’ll also cover the much hyped but somewhat boring (thanks to Boston, Indiana & Chicago!) trade deadline that has come and gone.
Oh and by the way, if you’d rather just listen to an analysis instead of read and see some copy/pasted stats from NBA.COM, just go ahead and listen to JB’s podcast.
The headline should serve as a warning: one of the most exciting days of the entire NBA season is fast approaching, and the results of said day could make every bit of what I’m about to write a moot point. If that happens I’ll be gloriously thrilled, because every year I cheer for the chatter to come to fruition on…NBA TRADE DEADLINE DAY!
The All-Star Game is tonight, and then three days of rest for the whole league (which is actually a full week for every non-All-Star). But the day everyone comes back to the court is the day the madness can occur. As a result, the names I’m mentioning are either hot hands or stand in line to get a boost from the hired hands that left their team. It’s certainly a tricky week, and the limited games only add to the nuance.
So, go play with the Trade Machine, let me hear the proposal you want to happen for your team, and let’s get ready for…
For the three people who wondered, the most enjoyable Trade Machine scenario I can find for my Hawks is (and no, it’s not for Carmelo Anthony: the expiring contracts of Mike Scott and Tiago Splitter with a 2nd round pick to the Lakers for Nick Young and Jose Calderon. Gives Hawks a legit second-team scorer, gives Lakers cap flexibility and a pick.
Down at halftime and without fellow All-Star DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry took over in the 2nd half, carrying the Raptors to an overtime victory against the Pelicans. He hit a big time step back jumper with just 4.3 seconds to play to secure the win. Lowry finished with 33 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, and a season-high 6 threes.
After returning to the court on Sunday, DeRozan experienced swelling in his ankle, forcing him to sit Tuesday’s game. He’s already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game, giving Lowry another chance at monster scoring numbers.
Known for pouring it on in stretches, it was his 3rd straight 30+ point game, the longest streak of his career. Had he scored 1 more point last Wednesday, he’d have a streak of 5 games. You’re already starting Lowry regardless, but the loss of DeRozan really ups Lowry’s value.
DeMar DeRozan didn’t have his usual backcourt mate, with Kyle Lowry given the day off for rest, but it didn’t matter. After starting slowly, Double D took over after halftime, producing a game high 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists. He was also a perfect 10-10 from the line.
And the guy replacing Lowry in the starting lineup, he was pretty good too. Cory Joseph slid into the starting lineup and responded with a career high 33 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
DeRozan is playing some of his best basketball of his career. That is now 20+ points in 13 straight games, a span that features all three of his double-doubles. While DeRozan should still remain a great player, the lack of threes and defensive stats will keep him from being elite. Now is a great time to see what you can get for him.
As for Joseph, he will return to the bench for the next game, but has shown top 150 value over the last 14 days for deep leaguers.