Operation shutdown: when a team shuts down a star player in order to preserve them for the future. It’s a fear of every fantasy owner and that’s exactly what the Knicks are contemplating doing with Carmelo Anthony and his sore knee.
As a DC sports fan, I’m all too familiar with the shutdown. Different sport, different circumstances, but it’s the same idea.
As of now, Anthony refuses to be shut down. He’s said that his knee won’t get any worse by playing on it, but he’s already missed the last five games with the injury.
Having lost 14 games in a row, the Knicks have now surpassed the 76ers as the worst team in the league. It’s clear that the Knicks are in total rebuild mode. This week, the Knicks waived Samuel Dalembert and traded JR “I’ve Never Taken a Bad Shot” Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers in a salary cap dump.
Right now, Anthony is day-to-day without a timetable for his return. He says he wants to play next week in London, but we don’t know for sure.
My best guess: Anthony comes back soon enough so that he can start in the All Star Game at Madison Square Garden. He gets his moment in the spotlight and then the Knicks shut him down for the season shortly after the ASG. It’s total speculation, but Melo owners need to realize that a shutdown is more and more likely as the Knicks lose more games.
You can’t trade him while he’s sitting, unless you’re okay getting pennies on the dollar. Owners should wait for his return and hope that he produces a few solid games. After a few games, try and trade him for someone valuable before it is too late. It may not work, but it’s the best bet to get any value for Melo.
On New York’s other team, Deron Williams has been diagnosed with a fractured rib. Williams injured his ribs in Sunday’s game, causing him to miss Monday night’s game. He tried to return for Wednesday’s game against the Celtics, but ended up aggravating the injury further. As a result, Williams is out indefinitely and will be reevaluated in a week.
Jarrett Jack usurped the starting role a few weeks ago. Now that Williams is hurt, he will continue to see the lions’ share of minutes at point. Two weeks ago when Williams suffered a calf injury, I told everyone to grab Jarrett Jack. Since then, he’s averaged 15.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 4.4 apg.
He’s still available in 55% of Yahoo leagues, but I see that number declining quickly. If he’s available, run to pick him up right now. Jack won’t be there after this weekend.
Enes Kanter is doubtful to play on Friday. He’s already missed three games due to a sprained ankle he suffered a week ago. With Kanter sidelined, Rudy Gobert will continue to start in Kanter’s absence. Gobert has been playing well, and in the last three starts, he’s averaged 11.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg, and 4.7 bpg. Already rosterable for his shot-blocking prowess, he becomes a top pick up if Kanter continues to miss games past this weekend.
LeBron James was away from the team to get extra medical care in Miami. He’ll miss a few more games, but James reiterated that he’ll be ready to go in another week.
Owners looking to buy low on Kawhi Leonard have only two more weeks to do so. He’s expected to return then from his hand injury then, after beginning to resume basketball activity this week. He’s a fantasy monster so you should target any impatient owners.
George Hill has been ruled out of Friday’s game against the Celtics. That will mark the fifth straight game that Hill has missed. We still don’t know any more about his groin injury so owners have to consider him day-to-day until more is known. CJ Watson and Donald Sloan will get the minutes at point guard while Hill sits.
T-Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio is expected to return shortly, with a mid-January timeline. He’s back to practicing with the team, but is having some trouble cutting on the ankle and will need a few more days to recover. Kevin Martin is also expected to return shortly from his wrist injury. Mo Williams and Zach LaVine will have a few more games of quality playing time, before Rubio and Kevin Martin push them back to the bench.
Rubio and Martin’s teammate Nikola Pekovic is still without a timeline to return. His latest MRI results came back clean and he’s begun some light practicing. He’ll continue to ramp up his activities and may even see some time in the D-League before returning. Given Pek’s injury history, I wouldn’t cut Gorgui Dieng even when Pek is ready to return. Dieng has played well enough to warrant more minutes and could even remain the starter.
Missing the last two Lakers’ games, Wesley Johnson is questionable to return on Friday. He’s suffering from a strained right hip flexor. Averaging 11 ppg and 4.1 rpg in 27.1 mpg in December games, Johnson should regain his starting spot upon return and remains a fantasy sleeper because he can average close to a block, steal, and three per game.
Fellow Laker Nick Young is also questionable to play on Friday. Young downplayed the injury, claiming it was only a sprain. He’s going to have his knee examined and more should be known this weekend.