Jonas Nader

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Waiters out for Season

Friday, January 12, 2018


I know I say this every year, but I absolutely mean it when I say that this has got to be the worst season in recent memory in terms of injuries. The bad luck continued on Thursday with Dion Waiters expected to undergo season-ending ankle surgery, while DeAndre Jordan went down with an ankle issue of his own and couldn't return. For NBA news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!

 

 

Dion Waiters out for the season?

 

According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Dion Waiters is expected to have season-ending surgery on his troublesome left ankle after seeking out multiple second opinions. This is the same ankle that cost him the final 12 games of the 2016-17 season, and he opted not to have surgery right away so that he could get his four-year, $52 million deal from the Heat (Miami should’ve known better) this offseason. The problems obviously persisted in 2017-18 and he’s now looking at several months on the shelf. The Heat haven’t confirmed the report and Waiters hasn’t had the surgery yet, but Shams Charania is as credible as it gets so it’s safe to drop him in re-draft formats. 

 

Waiters is a decent player, but Miami should be just fine because Waiters’ absence will lead to more touches for Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, and Wayne Ellington — the Heat are also 7-2 since Waiters went down. Here’s a mini breakdown of what I would expect for each of those guys going forward:

 

Goran Dragic- The Dragon’s usage rate climbs from 23.5 to 29.0 with Waiters off the floor, and while he does see a bump in value, it’s not going to be too big because the Heat are running their offense through Josh Richardson a lot more these days — if you’ve watched them lately you will notice Richardson handling the ball more and getting Miami into their offensive sets. Dragic has still been terrific lately with 20.6 points, 7.6 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 triples over his last five games, and he’ll be even better when his steals (0.6 in that span) come back up. He could be a top-40 player the rest of the way. 

 

Josh Richardson- If you hung onto him after his poor shooting in November, then your fantasy team should be in tremendous shape. He’s been the 17th best player in standard 9-category leagues over the past month, averaging 17.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.8 triples on 50.8% shooting in that span. He’s a big winner with Waiters out, as his true shooting percentage (54.6 to 57.3%), effective field goal percentage (51.6 to 54.5%), usage rate (16.8 to 18.5) and assist percentage (8.2 to 14.4) all go up with Waiters off the floor. As long as he doesn’t go into another brutal slump like he did in November, Richardson could continue to be an early-round value going forward. 

 

Tyler Johnson- Unlike Richardson and Dragic, there’s still a chance that Johnson might be on your wire. Johnson is prone to injuries and his latest shoulder injury has caused his neck some problems. "They just gave me some pills to try and relax it, try and relax the muscles that kind of tighten up," Johnson said after playing 31 minutes on Wednesday. "I still can’t really turn my head. It’s still hard to turn my head. But we got it to somewhere where it was manageable, the pain, the movement and being able to at least lift my shoulder up, which to me was the most important part.” Johnson intends to keep playing though the discomfort, and it helps that the Heat have a couple more days off. He’s averaging 15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.6 triples over his last 10 games, and he’s playing 34.3 minutes per game in that span with time at both guard spots. He has top-75 value in that stretch and can be viewed as a player similar to Richardson without the blocks. 

 

Wayne Ellington- He’s another winner with Waiters out and has been playing nearly 34 minutes per game in his last 10. Coach Erik Spoelstra has all the confidence in the world in his jumper and said he wanted him to attempt 20 triples per game. He’s been a top-70 player in that span and has emerged as an elite 3-point specialist, averaging 15.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 4.0(!) triples. He has no business being on the waiver wire unless you’re punting that category. 

 

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DeAndre Jordan rolls left ankle

 

DeAndre Jordan rolled his left ankle after a dunk in the second quarter of Thursday’s game vs. the Kings and limped off to the locker room. The Clippers ran some tests and diagnosed with him a left ankle sprain and he was ruled out for the second half. The Clippers did not provide any details on the severity, but it looked really bad (link) and they didn’t wait long to rule him out. Montrezl Harrell looks like the best speculative add while we wait to hear more (we probably won’t know anything until Friday afternoon at the earliest), but I’ll talk about Harrell more in a bit. 


Jordan's name has been in the rumor mill a ton because of his expiring contract, as he's fully expected to decline his player option for 2018-19. That means the Clippers will likely be cautious if this injury is even remotely serious, so keep that in mind.  

 

Fantasy Pickups from Thursday

 

 

Montrezl Harrell- He hit 11-of-12 shots and 3-of-9 free throws for a season-high 25 points, six rebounds and one steal in 27 minutes vs. the Kings. He played 16 of his minutes in the second half with DeAndre Jordan ruled out with a left ankle sprain, and the Clippers aren’t afraid to use him at both the four and five. Coach Doc Rivers doesn’t seem to trust Willie Reed (four points and three boards in 10 minutes), so that helps Harrell’s case as well. Harrell is prone to foul trouble and is only hitting 60.6% from the charity stripe this season, but he would be a solid source of points, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage if Jordan does miss time. 

 

Milos Teodosic- There’s a good chance he was dropped in your league after he re-aggravated his foot injury for a second time last week, but he was back from a three-game absence on Thursday and played well. He hit 4-of-9 shots en route to 10 points, nine assists and two 3-pointers, and while I do think he’s worth owning, keep in mind that he will really only help you in assists (5.5 per game and triples (1.7) — the rest of his stats aren’t that appealing with 8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 0.2 blocks and 2.3 turnovers on 35.3% shooting. He might have restrictions for a while again, so will be also be annoying. 

 

Tyrone Wallace- There’s nothing better than seeing a player from the G-League making the most of his opportunity and Wallace has done that and more. The Clippers rewarded him with his first start of the season on Thursday, and while he didn’t light up the box score this time around, he played 37 minutes and sealed the win with a huge steal and slam in the final moments. He’s averaging 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 triples in 30.4 minutes through his first four games, and I could see him producing some low-end value in 14- or 16-team leagues until Austin Rivers (foot) is able to come back. 

 

George Hill- He missed two games due to the birth of his child, but he was back with a bang on Thursday, racking up 21 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in 35 minutes. It’s no secret that Hill hasn’t been happy in Sacramento and the trade deadline is less than a month away, so I expect Hill to showcase himself for a move over the next few weeks and the Kings should give him all the minutes he can handle with Frank Mason (heel) expected to miss four to six weeks. 

 

Bogdan Bogdanovic- He was on fire Thursday, scoring a career-high 22 points (7-of-11 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs) with four rebounds, two assists and four triples. He’s been trending up for weeks and is quickly approaching must-own status. He might be Sacramento’s best player right now and you have to love his rest-of-season outlook on the rebuilding Kings. They are running their offense through him quite a bit and he’s been up to the challenge, averaging 14.0 points, 4.1 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 1.8 triples over his last 10 games with top-75 value in standard 9-category leagues. 

 

Larry Nance- Brook Lopez and Julius Randle were both in some foul trouble on Thursday, but didn’t play well either, combining for four points on 1-of-11 shots. Larry Nance was the best big for the Lakers on Thursday and it wasn’t close, as he racked up 14 points with 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 30 minutes. His minutes have been all over the place lately and you can’t trust him every night, but his stash appeal is growing with the trade deadline less than a month away — even though Nance is on the block, Julius Randle is more likely to be moved. 

 

Fred VanVleet- Kyle Lowry (back) missed his second straight game, but instead of Delon Wright, it was VanVleet who delivered for his few fantasy owners, racking up a career-high 22 points with six triples, four rebounds, four assists and one steal in 24 minutes. He’s a solid player and could be worth a look in deeper leagues if Lowry misses another game, but I still prefer Wright for the time being for his upside in defensive stats. 

 

 

Layups

 

Blake Griffin returned from his concussion and did well despite a poor shooting line, finishing with 18 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and a steal in 33 minutes. If the Clippers can stay within striking distance of the No. 8 seed out West, his rest-of-season value should be fine. As always, his health is the key. 

 

Rudy Gobert (knee) has been cleared for non-contact work, but there’s been no update to his timetable. The Jazz are expected to re-evaluate him this weekend, and if everything goes well then that should set him up for a return in mid-January. If you can sell-high on Derrick Favors, do it. 

 

After missing last Saturday’s game with knee soreness, Al Horford was back in the lineup on Thursday for Boston’s only game of the week.  He had 13 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, one triple and a block, and he looked really good in his 35 minutes. There’s no concern here and he should be ready to roll on Monday. 





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