Wednesday was a busy night and we’re not even going to waste time on an introduction.
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Wednesday’s injury news:
WHEN KEEPIN’ IT BEAL GOES WRONG
The Wizards announced Bradley Beal suffered a fractured right fibula and he will miss the rest of the season. They have handled Beal in a very strange manner since he sustained a left ankle injury on March 3. The team listed him as day-to-day and even though X-rays were negative on March 4, it didn’t make any sense considering he missed six games after the sprain. After averaging 20.0 minutes per game in his three contests after that sprain, he suffered a gruesome ankle injury in Phoenix on March 20. He returned on Sunday, scoring 24, then on Tuesday Beal tapped out in the fourth quarter of the game for what looked to be left ankle soreness. It was not a fun month for one of the best rookies this year.
Moving forward, he is expected to resume basketball activities in six weeks and he should be ready to go for next season. Although, there will be an injury red flag on him. This year he missed 26 games with injuries to his right fibula, left ankle, right wrist and back. Not good. That said, the Florida rookie shot 49 percent from the field and hit two triples per game in March and February, plus he has the arsenal to be a fantasy beast for years to come. It's early, but I plan on targeting him.
MARCIN TO THE BEAT OF HIS OWN DRUM
Marcin Gortat said that he expects to return to the lineup at some point this year and Phoenix needs him back. Since Gortat has been out, the Suns have allowed the most shot attempts within 15 feet and their hollow defense has dropped them to the worst record in the Western Conference. As nice as it sounds that Gortat could return, why would the Suns do that? They sat their best player, a healthy Goran Dragic, for two games last week to give Kendall Marshall a shot to run the point. Marshall doesn’t really have the skills to be a legit point guard, so one would think that they let a player with a little promise, Markieff Morris, get some extra playing time. Gortat isn’t likely to have an impact this year.
IT’S NOT BATUMOR
Nicolas Batum did not play on Wednesday due to a right shoulder injury and his owners have every reason to be concerned about a shutdown. He has a tear to his labrum, but there’s nothing official just yet. Terry Stotts did say that he’s not inclined to sit players under most circumstances. "If a player wants to play and he can play, then he should play,” Stotts said. This isn’t exactly going to make Batum or LaMarcus Aldridge owners feel all warm and fuzzy and cynics will try to call shenanigans on that pretty quickly.
CRASHING FROM A CUP OF JOE
Gerald Wallace and Joe Johnson did not play on Wednesday and both players have been disappointments. Many will call Joe Johnson the worst max player this side of Rashard Lewis and it’s tough to contest that outside of his clutch play in the last minute of games. As for Wallace, he’s been an absolute disaster all year. He entered the night ranked 164 in eight-cat leagues and guys like Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince and Kendrick Perkins have turned in better seasons. Yes, The Kendrick Perkins. The Nets are one of six teams that play on Thursday, so some owners in stream-happy daily formats might want to give them a chance. As for next year, they’re both going to have draft repellent on them.
DEVIN THE DUD
Devin Harris missed Wednesday with a foot injury. This is a recording.
NO WAY, JOSE
Jose Calderon was a late scratch with an arm injury. It’s too bad since he was playing well all year and leads all starting point guards in assists-to-turnover ratio and 3-point percentage. He isn’t expected to miss much time and we’ll cover this further below. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
Nets vs. Cavs
MarShon Brooks went off against the Cavs on Wednesday, shooting 12-of-16 from the field for a career-high 27 points with four boards, seven assists, one block and one 3-pointer. Yes, this came against the Cavs and it should come with a tablespoon of salt, but it’s nice to see him step up with Joe Johnson out of the lineup. Brooks had a solid rookie season with 12.6 points per game, but he was moved to a secondary role this year and was scoring just 5.1 points per game before Wednesday’s eruption. Johnson was ruled out early for Wednesday’s game, so daily league owners might want to consider giving MarShon a look for a light three-game night on Thursday.
As for the other Brooks Brother, Brook Lopez had a somewhat positive line, making all six free throws and shooting 4-of-9 from the field for 14 points with six boards and two blocks in just 26 minutes. The Nets as a team shot 57 percent from the field and scored 113 points. The Cavs allow the worst field goal percentage in the league and the Nets have the slowest pace in the league, so it was the classic matchup of the immobile force vs. the very, very movable object.
Reggie Evans continued his rebounding bonanza with 18 boards and eight points in 27 minutes while Deron Williams filled it up in the win, adding 24 points, three boards, eight assists and four 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Deron has been a monster from deep and in his last 21 games, only Stephen Curry has made more treys.
SWERVING WITH IRVING
Kyrie Irving played in his second game since returning from a shoulder injury and shot an ugly 5-of-16 from the field for 16 points with six assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 28 minutes. We’ll have more on the poor shooting in the loss in a bit, but Kyrie didn’t look to be hindered by his shoulder. The Cavs said they won’t play him in a back-to-back set, so Kyrie owners should prepare for a DNP in each of the upcoming two weeks.
When Kyrie plays, the Cavs use him a bunch. In his previous five games he has a usage rate of 33 percent. Only Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook have a higher number in that span. Kyrie has also been scoring from all over the place and you can check out his scoring heat maps by clicking here. It's also interesting that he shoots 52 percent from the field in wins and 44 percent in losses, which really isn't that surprising.
As for the other Cavs, Marreese Speights and Tyler Zeller were solid with 16-10 and 14-4 lines, respectively. Speights has caught fire in the shooting department lately and is worth a look. Kyrie driving and kicking to him for mid-range jumpers makes some sense. Tristan Thompson had a ho-hum game of eight points and eight boards on 4-of-11 shooting. He’s struggling badly in his last five, shooting 39.5 percent from the field and a putrid 21.3 percent from the line. He’s still a must-start in almost every format.