The Bobcats were already one of the worst teams in the league. Then they lost Corey Maggette (hamstring) and D.J. Augustin (toe) to injury. On Thursday, things got even worse when they announced Gerald Henderson would be out 2-4 weeks with a hamstring pull of his own.
Early signs point toward this being a long-term injury. The 3-20 Bobcats certainly won’t rush him, the All-Star break looms in three weeks and serious hamstring strains are always tricky. Don’t be surprised if Henderson misses the full month. Considering Henderson was averaging just 0.3 3-pointers, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.8 assists, most owners will be forced to move on.
So what we have left is a team blatantly devoid of talent and scorers. That’s also known as an opportunity for fantasy owners.
When Henderson missed two games in January with a back injury, Matt Carroll started at shooting guard. Carroll averaged 15.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.5 3-pointers in those spot-starts. That likely earned him the starting gig going forward, at least until Augustin gets healthy or Reggie Williams gets up to speed.
Remember that Williams is the guy that has averaged 1.3 3-pointers made per game in his career on 40.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He’s also the guy that coach Paul Silas said will eventually be “unbelievable” for the Bobcats. Both Carroll and Williams need to be on the deep-league radar, with Carroll serving as the short-term add.
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NEWS OF THE DAY #2
Coach Rick Carlisle predictably squashed any talk that Roddy Beaubois would stick as the starter once Jason Kidd (calf) returns.
Yes, the Mavs are 6-1 without Kidd and 8-8 with him. But Kidd is the future Hall of Famer coming off a championship and Beaubois is still the inconsistent future. Roddy B may cut into Kidd’s minutes more and more as the year goes on, but a full-blown changing of the guard isn’t happening.
NEWS OF THE DAY #3
Jarrett Jack was a surprise late scratch Thursday night due to maintenance for a sore knee. That gave intriguing second-year combo guard Greivis Vasquez the start at point guard.
Predictably, Vasquez posted 16 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. That comes on the heels of a 20-point, 12-assists outburst off the bench on Wednesday night. Simply put, Vasquez can play.
And perhaps more importantly, Vasquez goes 6’6/211, meaning he’s very capable of playing the shooting guard spot while Eric Gordon (knee) is out. Marco Belinelli and DaJuan Summers are not capable. Vasquez is going to get plenty of burn at the "two," even when Jack comes back, making him a strong add in most formats.
NEWS OF THE DAY #4
Kenyon Martin has received clearance to leave his Chinese team and rejoin the NBA immediately as an unrestricted free agent. Yawn. Martin is 34 and averaged just 8.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks for the Nuggets a year ago. He was also getting just 14 points per game in the Chinese Basketball Association, a league where J.R. Smith has gone off for 60.
The prime suitors for Martin right now are the Clippers, Hawks and Heat. He’s not someone standard-size owners need to worry themselves with. Especially after it was revealed late Thursday night that China is fighting Martin’s release.
THURSDAY NIGHT GAME THOUGHTS: EARLY GAMES
The Grizzlies are finding out why Marreese Speights found the doghouse in Philly. He doesn’t play hard, takes bad shots and has perhaps the worst basketball IQ in the league. We can move along. … The Hawks were down by 24 after three quarters. Don’t read into the limited minutes for Jeff Teague and Josh Smith. … Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire look healthy. They should be fine to play in all three games of the Knicks’ back-to-back-to-back. … Iman Shumpert continues to start at point guard and Baron Davis (back) is at least a week away, if not more. Shumpert has played at least 35 minutes in two straight. … Gary Neal (seven points, 29 minutes) started ahead of Kahwi Leonard (two points, 11 minutes). … Tim Duncan played 22 minutes despite rumors of a rest night.
THURSDAY NIGHT GAME THOUGHTS: LATE GAMES
Marcus Thornton (thigh) returned with 20 points in 41 minutes. Jimmer Fredette played zero minutes. … DeMarcus Cousins appeared to get benched, as he played just 14 minutes. Stay tuned here. … Earl Watson is out indefinitely with a severe ankle sprain. It looked like a big chance for Devin Harris until he was a late scratch with a hamstring issue. Enter Jamaal Tinsley, who impressively went for nine points and 13 assists in 34 minutes. A timeshare with Harris likely coming here. … Gordon Hayward has reached double-figures in four straight games as he continues to hold off C.J. Miles. … Blake Griffin has 13 blocks in his last five games. Hmmmm. … Caron Butler (back) returned with 11 points in 25 minutes.
INJURY QUICK SLANTS: GUARDS
Jason Richardson (knee) did not practice Thursday and is questionable for Friday. Either way, J.J. Redick’s fantasy-friendly game is coming on in a big way. … Steve Nash (thigh) will play Friday even though he’s at 70 percent. … George Hill (ankle) expects to miss no more than three weeks. … Anthony Parker (back) is out again Friday. Mychel Thompson will start, but Ramon Sessions is the preferred fantasy play.
INJURY FAST BREAK: FORWARDS AND CENTERS
Luol Deng (wrist) remains sidelined. He hasn’t had a setback, however, making Saturday a possibility. … Andrea Bargnani (calf) remains out indefinitely with no timetable for a return. … Spencer Hawes (Achilles) still doesn’t feel right when he gets on his toes. No timetable here, either. … Darko Milicic (knee) missed practice Thursday. Nikola Pekovic is a sneaky add, just know that he doesn’t block much and is a turnover machine. … Lamar Odom (illness) and Brendan Haywood (back) are both expected back Friday. … Grant Hill (knee) is questionable for Friday.
DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
… Amir Johnson is having some personal issues, partially causing a drop in play. Ed Davis and Aaron Gray appear locked in up front for now. … Stephen Jackson had a chat with Scott Skiles and he’s back in the rotation as a bench player. A trade remains the most likely result here, although nothing is imminent.
The NBA announced the All-Star starters for the Feb. 26 All-Star Game in Orlando. I also announced my fantasy All-Star starters for a game being played in my head nightly:
REAL EAST ALL-STARS
PG Derrick Rose
SG Dwyane Wade
SF LeBron James
PF Carmelo Anthony
C Dwight Howard
FANTASY EAST ALL-STARS
PG Derrick Rose (Assists at career-high 8.0 per game)
SG Joe Johnson (3-point shot is back. Making 2.0 per game on 38.3 percent)
SF LeBron James (Shooting 55.3 percent from field. Career mark is 48.1 percent)
PF Ryan Anderson (Shooting “just” 43.2 percent from 3-point range. It’s sustainable)
C Greg Monroe (I play Roto style, so Dwight Howard is not an option)
REAL WEST ALL-STARS
PG Chris Paul
SG Kobe Bryant
SF Kevin Durant
PF Blake Griffin
C Andrew Bynum
FANTASY WEST ALL-STARS
PG Kyle Lowry (Chris Paul has missed 25 percent of his team’s games)
SG Kobe Bryant (Somehow reversing career arc at age 33)
SF Kevin Durant (Only one averaging at least 1.0 blocks, 1.0 steals and 1.0 3-pointers)
PF Kevin Love (Raised scoring from 20.2 last year to 25.3 this year)
C Marc Gasol (Dwight, JaVale, Tyrus Thomas, Josh Smith only others at 2.0 blocks, 1.0 steals)