December 23, 2009
Here are a few of the more notable fantasy NBA developments over the past few days...
• Paul Pierce(notes) will miss the next two weeks after having an infection drained from his right knee Wednesday. He complained of swelling of soreness in the morning, and an MRI revealved the infection (while also showing no structural issues). Tony Allen(notes), J.R. Giddens(notes), and Bill Walker(notes) will see extra time while Pierce is out, with Allen deserving some attention in super-deep leagues. If the two-week timeframe plays out, he'll miss five or six games.
• Kevin Garnett(notes) was not in the lineup Tuesday because of right thigh bruise, but his injury is not considered serious and he's likely to be back in the lineup for the team's next game (Friday, @ORL).
• Joel Przybilla(notes) is yet another Blazer to be lost to a major injury, as he suffered a ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella Tuesday. How long he'll be gone will be determined after he undergoes tests Thursday, but it's not a minor injury. Juwan Howard(notes) was effective after replacing Przybilla Tuesday (34 minutes, 10 points, 10 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal), started for the team Wednesday, and should see major minutes on most nights, barring a transaction that brings in another big man. Howard's most recent run of significant playing time came in 2006-07, when he averaged 12.8 points and 6.5 boards in 38 starts. Brandon Roy was also out of the lineup for the Blazers Wednesday because of a sore shoulder. At least in his case, the injury is not expected to be long-term.
• Roy Hibbert(notes) has averaged 14 points, 5.7 boards, and 4.3 blocks in 32 minutes over the past three games, with the extensive playing time being the key. With Jeff Foster's(notes) recurring back issues having shelved him indefinitely, the playing time will (once again) be there for Hibbert if he can avoid significant foul trouble, and he could be heading for another productive streak like we saw earlier in the season.
• In four games since returning from a one-game stint on the inactive list, Delonte West(notes) has averaged 11.5 points on 50-percent shooting, 4 boards, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 27 minutes. His teammates and coach have noticed his play and, at the risk of sounding overly-optimistic, he could be on the verge of settling back in with this team. Given the fantasy potential here, a speculative add is starting to look more and more appealing, although clearly nothing is assured when it comes to West.
• T.J. Ford(notes) has lost his starting job to Earl Watson(notes) for the foreseeable future, with problems playing within Jim O'Brien's system being cited as the main cause. O'Brien thinks Ford's tendency to dominate the ball and look to create his own shot is a better fit with the second unit, but he still called him a "key scorer" for the Pacers. Before you see it as the death knell for Ford's already dismal fantasy impact, consider that he averaged 13.4 points, 5 assists, and 1.2 steals in 25 games as a reserve last season (27 minutes). What Ford has yet to do this season is get comfortable, and perhaps this move will help him do just that (but maybe that's just me being overly-optimistic again).
"It's more of a come down and pass it scenario. That's not the style where I'm effective as far as passing. I've got to go back to doing what I know how to do best, and that's attacking."
Watson certainly becomes more useful for fantasy purposes as the team's starter, and he's averaged 9.3 points, 1.3 threes, 4.3 boards, 5.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in his three starts (29 minutes).
• Tyson Chandler(notes) will miss at least a week due to a stress reaction in his left foot, the same foot the needed offseason procedures to deal with turf toe and a sprained ankle. Nazr Mohammed(notes) will get the starts for Chandler in the interim, and deep-league owners should seriously consider an add here, given Chandler's extensive injury history. In 276 career starts, Mohammed has averaged 9.8 points on 50-percent shooting, 7.6 boards, 0.8 steals, and 1 block in 25 minutes.