Fantasy Forecast: Ricky Rubio goes down; Luke Ridnour steps in
Week 12 of the NBA season is not a good one for Timberwolves fans as Ricky Rubio tore his ACL in the final seconds of the Lakers game on Friday. Rubio proved in his rookie campaign that success (or lack thereof) in the international circuit doesn’t equate to success or failure in the NBA. Rubio finished his rookie season with an average of 10.6 points, 8.2 assists and 2.2 steals per-game, quite impressive considering he was putting up just 6.5 points, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals a night in Barcelona.
What the injury means in fantasy terms is that Luke Ridnour will slide into the starting PG role, and J.J. Barea will back him up. Ridnour is a must-own player moving forward and Barea is someone to keep an eye on, but not add for the time being. Martell Webster should get the bulk of the starts at SG, but Wayne Ellington is still in the mix and will get his share of the minutes as well. Neither is a compelling option at SG unless you are in an extremely deep league.
Making my rounds around the rest of the league, you should know that Houston Rockets PG, Kyle Lowry is expected to miss 2-4 weeks due to a bacterial infection. From what I hear on the inside, a return in two weeks is unlikely, which means I would target him closer to a month. In the meantime, Goran Dragic is someone to grab right this second if you need PG help. Dragic has put up 23 points and 8 assists and 20 points and 8 assists in the two games he has started since Lowry went down, meaning he should have real fantasy value while he is seeing minutes.
Jeremy Lin: Lin has peaked in value, so if you were looking for a chance to cash in on the waiver wire addition, do it now. That being said, Lin and the Knicks play a 4-game schedule this week and the team needs to find a way to stop the bleeding before it is too late. Lin will kill you with turnovers, but if you accept that, then he will also give you about 15 points and 6 assists a night.
Evan Turner: Turner is now the starting SG in Philly, which means he is sure to be gone from most waiver wires already. Turner posted a huge double-double on Sunday, scoring 24 points to go along with 15 rebounds, so his fantasy value is evident. Even with just 3-games this week, Turner is still someone to play as a solid third tier SG.
James Johnson: Johnson isn’t someone that many fantasy owners are going to recognize off-hand due to his team being located in Toronto, Canada. But, despite that problem Johnson is still putting up 10.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals a night over the last 5 games. The Raptors play 4-games this week and I have Johnson in the 3rd tier of SFs for week 12.
Serge Ibaka: Now, the problem with Ibaka is going to be that coach Scott Brooks seems to limit his playing time at his own whim, and for little or no reason whatsoever. But, if you can stand the heat of that little kitchen, Ibaka has the ability to post huge lines like he did last week against the Suns. In that game, Ibaka finished with 18 points, 20 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. At some point, one has to think that Ibaka will finally get consistent minutes and be a solid force at PF.
Chris Kaman: The simple reality is that as long as the Hornets try to trade Kaman, his fantasy value remains extremely high. And, since he still hasn’t been dealt to the Pacers, he is someone I would start this week as a top tier C. Something else to consider is that when Kaman does get traded to someone like the Pacers, he immediately becomes a back-up and his fantasy value takes a nose-dive. I’d float him in trade talks just like the Hornets are doing and see what he will bring back from a team enamored with his recent production.
Raymond Felton: When I did my weekly spot on XM and Sirius radio last week I was asked if I thought Felton was someone to target after he put up 23 points and 9 assists against the Wolves, and I said no. I still stand by that comment because the very next night he went out and put up 8 points and 4 assists, just to follow it up with 21 points and 5 assists the next game. Felton has been a disaster for the Trail Blazers and I want no part of that roller coaster ride at PG, so you should make sure you stay away from it as well.
J.R. Smith: When Smith signed with the Knicks fans ran to their waiver wire and added him. The problem in doing so is that people seemed to have forgotten about his attitude problems and tendency to be in the dog house most nights. Smith has recently returned to a reserve role for the Knicks, which means he is little more than a source of 3’s most nights, and that all depends on how well his shot is falling.
Danilo Gallinari: Gallinari is officially in the Nuggets starting line-up once again. But with the team playing just 3-games this week, and a ton of rust to knock off, he isn’t someone I would plug into my starting line-up until we see a couple of solid games from him.
Marreese Speights: Now that Zach Randolph is near his return, Speights run of fantasy value is over. Z-Bo put in a hard practice on Friday and I could easily see him returning in week 12, so Speights is someone I would cut for a hot FA right after you finish reading the rest of this article. I’d look to target someone like Ibaka, or a PF/C combo player such as Bismack Biyombo.
Nene Hilario: Nene is doing his damage in limited action (fewer than 30 MPG) and his recent run of big games were thanks to thin interior defenses. That being said, the Nuggets play just 3-games this week and he will face a little more competition against the Hawks, Thunder and Celtics.
For more Fantasy advice, follow James Morris on Twitter or on Facebook and tune into SiriusXM channel 87 and Sirius channel 210 every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. CT when he talks NBA fantasy hoops.