Monday didn’t contain many bombshells, which was a nice change in the fantasy hoops world. Sure, Eric Gordon is having more surgery, Brook Lopez is getting closer, and Chris Kaman is relevant again, but there was limited Jeremy Lin news yesterday, other than the fact he became the first player in history to win both the D-League and NBA Player of the Week awards in the same career, but who’s counting?
I’ve been on a Pavement kick lately, and despite my better judgment, am going with song titles for headlines in today’s column. Here we go.
For those of you holding Eric Gordon, the news wasn’t great on Monday. He’s having knee surgery and will be out for at least six more weeks, meaning his season could easily be over, although it’s not like it ever started. We’re also not sure why the Hornets weren’t more forthcoming with the extent of his injury, but it doesn’t matter now. Greivis Vasquez, Trevor Ariza and Jarrett Jack (if his knee is not in the same state as Gordon’s) are all going to benefit from this news and if you are holding Vasquez, continue to do so. He had 12 points, 10 assists and three steals on Monday night, but hit just 4-of-12 shots. If you can drop Gordon for GV, do it, but there is no reason to hang onto Gordon any longer in fantasy leagues. Jack is out for the rest of this week, making Vasquez a nice option for at least a couple more games.
Elevate Me Later
Brook Lopez should participate in today’s (Tuesday) practice and if that’s successful, I’m guessing he’ll play by the end of the week. In other words, if he’s somehow still available in your league, pick him up, and get ready to use him as soon as this weekend.
The good news on Derrick Rose is that there is no structural damage in his back, and that he’s just suffering from spasms. But the bad news that’s lost in those headlines is that he sounds doubtful for play on Tuesday because of it. If you can plug another option (C.J. Watson?) into your lineup for tonight, do it, although with just nine games, you may not have options available. In any case, just be thankful Rose isn’t likely to miss an extended time period with his balky back.
Spencer Hawes is supposedly targeting Friday for his return from an Achilles injury, but I’ll believe it when I see it. He’s been out for 15 games with a couple different injuries, but if he could come back on Friday and stay healthy throughout the rest of the season, it would be a dream come true for many fantasy owners. However, based on how tough it’s been for Hawes to get back on the court this season, another setback seems more reasonable than a miracle return to glory. If you’re still holding him, there’s no use in letting go now. Nikola Vucevic finally came to life on Monday with eight points, 10 boards and two blocks, but should become irrelevant if Hawes really is ready to go by the end of the week.
Carmelo Anthony is expected back “toward the end of this week” from his groin injury. That means he’ll likely miss Tuesday and Wednesday’s games, meaning Jeremy Lin has a couple more nights to enjoy his scoring spotlight. As for Lin’s value going forward, DO NOT CUT HIM. Sure, Melo will come back and eventually slow down the flow of the ball in New York, but I doubt it’s that big of a deal, and I am thinking the two will feed off each other in the end. Lin’s scoring will take a hit, but he could still average 12-14 points, 12 dimes per game, as well as post full stat lines on a regular basis. Melo has already been painted into the bad-guy corner without playing a game with Lin, but I think it is going to work out better than anyone expects it to. Melo needed a good point guard to play with and he finally has one.
Luke Ridnour missed Monday’s game for personal reasons, and while it’s unclear when he’ll return, Jose Juan Barea had 11 points and two 3-pointers in 25 minutes, and I sense a timeshare coming from the two guards. Hanging onto Ridnour is fine, but expecting him to post numbers like he was earlier in the season is looking like a pipe dream.
Spit On A Stranger
D.J. Augustin (toe) is targeting a Wednesday return, which will likely shift Kemba Walker to the position of backup point guard. This is fairly bad news for Walker, who might have shifted to shooting guard instead, meaning he’s a possibility to be dropped from fantasy teams if Paul Silas sticks to his word. However, Walker had 21 points, five assists and three 3-pointers on Monday, and I’m leery about Team Jordan actually benching the rookie. The Bobcats have not only lost 15 straight games, but are 3-25 on the season! After visiting Charlotte on Saturday night, I’m not sure Michael Jordan is even still managing this team, and if he allows Silas to bench a promising rookie in order to start a guy like Corey Maggette in a lost season, it would be inexcusable. The new lineup, when everyone is healthy, would be PG Augstin, SG Gerald Henderson, SF Maggette, PF Boris Diaw and C Bismack Biyombo. Henderson is due back from his hamstring injury soon, and possibly by the end of the week, and it would make a heck of a lot more sense if they started the following lineup, in order to let the kids play and develop for the future: PG Augustin, SG Walker, SF Henderson, PF Diaw/Tyrus Thomas, C Biyombo.
I have no idea why Silas is being allowed to steer this sinking ship, but using Maggette over Walker just makes no sense. Cut Walker if you must, but at some point, the Bobcats have to let him play and learn how to function in the NBA. Speaking of Maggette, he had 22 points and three steals in 32 minutes last night, but even if he continues to start, you have to think his next injury is just a couple games away. Ride Maggette until he breaks, and then look for Walker to suddenly re-emerge as a starter. Reggie Williams continues to start, and had 14 points last night, but is soon headed to the bench once Henderson is ready to go.
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