|(Illustration courtesy of tmaclabi)|
On Tuesday, Kyrie Irving went up for a layup and came up limping after taking an awkward fall. Irving could barely put any weight on his feet and had to be helped to the locker room, in a moment that no doubt scared the crap out of Cavs fans and his fantasy owners. But... Kyrie Irving was able to return to the court. The team physician cleared him and Irving was out there for the final nine minutes of yesterday's game against the Pacers. So all's good, right? Well, no. Irving is going to get an MRI on his knee, and after the game he said this:
"When I went back it still didn't feel right. I thought the worst happened. I felt something pop in my knee. I was falling down around all over the place. It was a painful experience. I was praying to God everything was OK. I just have to hope for the best. We'll see what's going on."If you own Kyrie Irving, you're probably terrified right now, because "when I went back" + "I felt something pop" + "it was painful" + "I was praying to God" + MRI exam = something scary-sounding. Keep in mind: that was what Irving said after he was able to return.
But while all of that sounds incredibly scary, and would usually sound like the recipe of a prolonged absence, Irving was still able to play in the fourth quarter -- though why Mike Brown decided to throw him out there at all, in a game that the Cavs were losing by 20, is anyone's guess. And, then there's this other quote from Irving that immediately followed the one you just read:
''It's probably something slight, if anything at all. I'm going to hope for the best, honestly. Right now, it's a little bit of a painful experience but it's something I'll get through.''Uh... huh?
I'd like to think I'm pretty good at reading the tea leaves on injuries like these, but I honestly have no clue what to make of this one. I mean, this is in one part an injury serious enough that Irving had to be taken to the locker room, and even when he returned, the pain was such that Irving said things like "praying to God" and "the worst" and "pop in my knee" and "I just have to hope." But then, it's also an injury benign enough that he was medically cleared to play through it, and he himself said it's "probably something slight, if anything." So then what the hell are we talking about? I mean, it sounds like Irving could either play in his next game or miss the rest of the year. It could be anything.
All I know is that if Kyrie Irving does indeed miss any time, Jarrett Jack would move into the starting point guard role and become a must-own player. I believe that owning a handicap in fantasy basketball is impractical 90% of the time. But in this instance, Jack is a good enough fantasy producer already that anyone who owns Irving would be well-served keeping Jack on the end of their fantasy team, even when Irving is perfectly healthy.
By the way, I actually do own Kyrie Irving in my one money league. Several weeks ago, I made what I considered a risky gamble; I dealt the then-struggling Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol to a team for Irving, who at the time was also struggling. Noah has since really picked up his game, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't regretted that deal at times. But Irving has been spectacular for me and added some scoring to my roster that I really needed. So, suffice to say, I'm SINCERELY HOPING he's okay.
By the way, in case you were curious, here's what my fantasy team looks like:
My team name is still "Better Call Gasol," even though I traded Pau Gasol, which is mainly because I can't think of an awesome suitable replacement. I'm also holding out a thin ray of hope that maybe -- maybe -- I could get Gasol back in a trade somehow, though that's really just a hope on my part. Also, Ross is probably not long for my team; it's not that he's awful, but I have so little big guys after the Noah trade that he's pretty expendable. Unfortunately, there aren't any major trending bigs on the waiver wire right now. Where are you, JaVale McGee?
But anyway, like I was saying... please be healthy Kyrie Irving! (And yes, someone else already owns Jarrett Jack in my league, which stinks.)
All right, enough of that. Let's get into our regularly-scheduled fantasy blurbs, shall we?
- Jordan Farmar, who was questionable to even play in yesterday's game with a tight hamstring, was around for only 20 minutes before he had to sit down with what he described as "a little tug" in his hamstring, which could require him to sit out even more games. This would be quite the bummer, as Farmar has a glorious opportunity to put up stats with the bulk of the Lakers' guards hurt. Amazingly, because the team's de facto backup point guard of late, Xavier Henry, is ALSO injured, Kendall Marshall could start at point guard for the team in their next game -- which is astonishing, because he's the team's sixth option at that position behind Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar, Kobe Bryant and Xavier Henry. It's taken an almost unprecedented amount of misfortune, but Kendall Marshall may actually be worth owning as a stream option. Maybe.
- Pau Gasol returned from his respiratory infection in style, dropping 25 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks on the hapless Milwaukee Bucks. Gasol could be heading out the door soon via a trade, but he's still someone you should want on your fantasy team.
- With John Henson out for a few weeks with an ankle injury (tough blow), Larry Sanders is back in the starting lineup and had his best game yet with the Bucks: 7 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 4 blocks. Hopefully you snagged him while you had the chance.
- Brandon Knight continues to make me feel really good about myself when I slobbered all over the guy in the preseason. Knight scored 37 points yesterday to go with 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 three's. I'd happily let him impregnate me, if he so wished. I don't know how he'd do it, since I'm not a woman, but hey, he's earned the right to try. Did I mention I love Brandon Knight?
- How did Larry Drew reward Khris Middleton after his 23-point-9-rebound outing on Dec. 28? Why, he relegated him to the bench, and poor Middleton was only able to come up with 5 points and 1 rebound in 17 minutes. The moral of the story is that role players are not to be relied on when they play for Larry Drew, because even if they've done nothing wrong, they're liable to get sent to the bench in favor of a horribly-disappointing player like Ersan Ilyasova. (Who did go for 15-and-12 yesterday, but you know what I mean.)
- Kevin Durant scored 37 points and pulled down 14 rebounds against the Blazers, marking his third straight game with at least 33 points and 12 rebounds. He's pretty good.
- Remember when Derrick Williams was a trendy pickup? Well, that was before the Kings traded for Rudy Gay, because ever since they made that deal, Williams has been flat-out invisible. On Tuesday, Williams failed to score in 19 minutes, which gives him a grand total of 13 points and 12 rebounds over his last five games. In other words, he shouldn't be on anyone's fantasy team right now. (I know. Captain Obvious, right?)
- James Harden rebounded nicely from his 8-point embarrassment on Sunday, lighting up the Kings for 38 points, 10 rebounds and 5 three's. When he's at his best, he's as good as any guard in the NBA.
- Stephen Curry produced a measly 9 points and 8 assists against Orlando on Tuesday. It's not a horrific statline, but the Warriors were so ahead of Orlando that they benched Curry in the fourth quarter -- which prevented him from further padding his stats. It's explainable in real life, but in fantasy bball it's a rather unfortunate way to lose precious statistics.
- Paul Millsap continued to be spectacular, this time lighting up the Celtics for 34 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Honestly, you could trade him for Anthony Davis straight-up and I wouldn't bat an eye if I was the league commissioner. That's how good he is with Al Horford out.
- Do you guys have any resolutions for 2014? One of mine is to try to be more punctual with my writing, hence why I'm getting this post out in the morning -- which I seriously haven't done in over a month.