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Injury Impact

Starting five: Huerter is the Hawk to have

by Sandeep Chandok
Updated On: February 10, 2021, 5:15 am ET

The Bulls, Hawks and Cavs all recently discovered that they will be without some key players moving forward, leaving them slightly shorthanded and opening up minutes in the rotation.

Lauri Markkanen (shoulder) is going to be out for 2-4 weeks and Thaddeus Young (68% rostered in Yahoo) is the guy you want while he’s sidelined.

Atlanta forward De’Andre Hunter underwent meniscus surgery on Monday and there’s currently no timetable for his return. 

"It definitely doesn't sound like a season-ending injury,” said coach Lloyd Pierce. “I'm sure it's going to take some time for rehab and from a strength/conditioning standpoint. But all signs so far (are) he's going to be back, just don't know exactly when.

“I don’t know if you’re just going to replace De’Andre,” Lloyd continued. “You just have to have other guys step up and that’s what we’re looking for."

Those ‘other guys’ are Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter and Danilo Gallinari, all of which offer intriguing appeal as short-term holds.

And if you’ve been thinking about snagging Jakob Poeltl off waivers, the answer is yes.

Here’s my starting five for the week.

Injury Insurance

Hamidou Diallo - The Thunder are running short on guards as both George Hill and Theo Maledon (health and safety) are on the shelf, though it’s not clear exactly what Hill’s situation is and how long Maledon will be out. Regardless, Diallo should be picked up immediately as he’s been ‘in his bag,’ as the kids say, over the past two-and-a-half weeks. Since Jan. 22, the 22-year-old has scored in double figures in 10 straight games including six straight with at least 15. On Monday night vs the Lakers, he recorded 20 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in season-high 41 minutes. He doesn’t make many threes, but with the way he’s been scoring the ball, he’s totally worth a pick-up right now. He might’ve even solidified a spot in the rotation with his play since the calendar hit 2021. Diallo is only rostered in 29% of Yahoo leagues at the moment.

Kevin Huerter - There’s a trio of options to choose from while De’Andre Hunter (knee) recovers from surgery. None are a surefire bet, but Huerter has shown that he offers the most upside and is thus the safest pick. Over his last three contests, the shooter is posting 19 points, three boards, five assists, 1.6 steals and 3.6 triples. Compare that Cam Reddish who’s scored just 24 total points in his last three games. Veteran Danilo Gallinari offers some appeal, however. He’s available in 45% of Yahoo leagues and logged 14/5/4 on Saturday vs the Raptors and 19/2/2/1 a couple of games before that. If can put together a consistent stretch of basketball, he’s worth a look. But Huerter should be your first priority if he’s up for grabs. He should be rostered in all formats.

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Taurean Prince - Cavs forward Larry Nance Jr. had surgery on his finger is set to miss 4-6 weeks, meaning Prince and Cedi Osman will be playing major minutes for the foreseeable future. And while Osman might’ve been the better option in early January, Prince is the better option now as a 3-and-D player. He’s scored 12+ points in each of his last three games and is shooting 48% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc with averages of 0.8 blocks and 0.6 steals in February. He comes off the bench, however, as rookie Isaac Okoro is the starting small forward. But Okoro hasn’t made any fantasy-worthy noise this year whereas Prince, who’s only 11% rostered, ranks 161 in 9-cat this season, per Basketball Monster.

Juan Toscano-Anderson - Available in 85% of Yahoo leagues, JTA has seen a recent uptick in minutes with Kevon Looney (ankle) and James Wiseman (wrist) out and he’s made the most of it. A week ago, he came off the bench vs. the Celtics and finished with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Steve Kerr then bumped him into the starting lineup and in three starts since, the East Oakland native has totaled 24 points, 29 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks. He should continue to see the floor until both of the Warriors' centers are back from injury, which could be another week. Grab JTA if you’re in a deep league and in need of rebounds, high field goal percentage and defensive stats.

Jakob Poeltl - LaMarcus Aldridge (hip) is going to be reevaluated this week but he’s already missed two games and it doesn’t seem like he’ll be back soon. Enter Jakob Poeltl. He’s started in three consecutive contests and aside from a two-point dud on Saturday, he’s been playing well, averaging 11.6 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks a night. Thirty-two of his 35 points in those three games have come in the paint and even in a primarily reserve role this season he’s swatting 1.8 shots in just 21.5 minutes. The big man is only rostered in 38% of Yahoo leagues and is a must-grab player in standard and deeper formats.

Sandeep Chandok

When they say ball is life, it's me, I'm they. Been hoopin' since I was a kid, and the love for the game turned into a career. I'll still lock you up though! RIP Kobe. You can follow Sandeep on Twitter @sandeepchandok.