Young players Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo returned to their respective teams last week, after missing the first few weeks due to injury. This week, the Washington Wizards welcomed back shooting guard Bradley Beal. He came off the bench to a standing ovation (or rather, the 25 fans in attendance stood up and cheered), but impressed in his first game of the season. In 26 minutes, Beal scored 20 points, with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 3PTM. It was only one game, but expect Beal to put up similar lines all season. He averaged 17.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 3.3 apg last season and I expect those numbers to rise slightly this year.
Now that Beal is back, owners should move on from Garrett Temple and Otto Porter. Garrett Temple started off hot, but has since cooled off and will go back to being a reserve and defensive replacement. In Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks, Temple threw a 3-pointer off the side of the basket and then air balled another three on the same possession! Porter is more offensively gifted than Temple and will have a good game off the bench here and there, but look elsewhere for more consistent production.
Desperate for some offensive help, Nick Young returned to the Lakers on Tuesday night. Yes, this guy is back. In his first two games back, Swaggy P is averaging 16.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 2.0 3PTFGM. Those games also happen to be Laker wins. Kobe Bryant even had nice things to say about Young after the Rockets victory.
While he’ll be hard pressed to produce the same numbers he provided last year on a Kobe-less team (17.9 ppg and 2.1 3PTFGM), Young can still be a helpful pickup for 3-pointers. The field goal percentage will always be a problem (career 42.9% shooter), but perhaps it rises a bit, as defenses focus more on Kobe. Owned in 59% of Yahoo leagues, Young is a solid pickup.
Derrick Rose left last week’s Bulls’ game against the Raptors in the 4th quarter. It was too early to report the prognosis in last week’s injury report and unfortunately, we still don’t have a clear answer on when he’ll return. Rose missed last night’s game, his third straight. The good news is that the strain is only considered mild and Rose should return soon. The day-to-day injury tag is frustrating for owners because there’s no definite timetable. Like I said last week, expect Rose to continually miss games, as he rests his body for the long term.
Fellow Bull, Pau Gasol, is also on the shelf. He has missed two games this week due to a strained left calf. It doesn’t appear to be anything serious, but consider him day-to-day like Rose. Taj Gibson was already serviceable as a backup, but gets an offensive boost while replacing Gasol. With the Bulls’ injuries, just hope that Tom Thibodeau doesn’t run Jimmy Butler into the ground with the insane minutes. He’s currently averaging 40.3 minutes per game!
On Monday night, the Rockets’ play-by-play announcer, Bill Worrell, said that Terrence Jones could miss another month with his leg injury. The report has not been confirmed, but owners might want to look for a contingency plan in the meantime. What we do know is that Jones hasn’t played since November 3 due to a bruised nerve and there’s no timetable for his return. The Rockets aren’t going to rush Jones back to the lineup, since we’ve seen how debilitating nerve issues can be to players like Steve Nash.
In shallower leagues where you don’t have an open IR spot, Jones is droppable. Donatas Motiejunas (say that three times fast) has been starting in Jones’ place, but isn’t much of a fantasy asset. I would look elsewhere to find a Jones replacement, and one of those players might be Timberwolves backup center Gorgui Dieng.
Starter Nikola Pekovic has missed one game this week and has been ruled out for Friday and Saturday’s game as well, thrusting Dieng into the starting lineup. Pek sprained his right wrist in last Saturday’s game against Dallas. With Pek already ruled out for the weekend, don’t expect to see him until the T’Wolves play again on Wednesday at the earliest. Keep Pek owned until we know more. Hopefully he’s not out much longer than these games, but Pek has an injury history and was already dealing with an ankle issue, before being bothered by the wrist.
In his first start of this season, Dieng provided 8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 1 block on Wednesday. Quite an all around game for Dieng. While you shouldn’t expect that many assists and steals, it’s not crazy to think that Dieng provides close to a double-double a night. Dieng averaged 12.2 ppg, 12 rpg, 0.9 spg, and 1.7 bpg while filling in for Pek last year. He’s a smart add for the short and long term, due to Pek’s injury history.
Another ailing big man is the Pelicans’ Omer Asik. He’s missed two games this week due to a sore back and is questionable for Friday’s game. Asik has been pretty dependable as a big man with 9 ppg, 10.5 rpg, and 1.3 bpg so far this season. Dieng and Asik will provide similar stat lines, with Dieng being slightly more productive on the offensive end. If I had to pick between the two, I would still give Asik a slight edge, since he has a clearer path to minutes, unless Pek is out longer than initially expected.
George Hill and David West have been ruled out for Saturday and Monday’s games. Until we hear more optimistic news about Hill, don’t expect to have him back until December. Donald Sloan owners will get a few more games of starters’ minutes from him, but the window to sell high is closing. West is likely to return before Hill, but the Pacers have no incentive to rush either of these guys back, since this is a lost season. Chris Copeland and Luis Scola will continue to get run with West shelved.
For dynasty and deeper leagues, C.J. McCollum fractured his index finger in Monday’s game against the Pelicans. The finger is broken in three places, but won’t require surgery. He’ll be reevaluated in four weeks, but may miss more time if the finger doesn’t heal properly. He was only getting 13 minutes a night, but Allen Crabbe and Will Barton will share those minutes off the bench.