The NBA season can be a roller coaster. Heck, it can be a roller coaster in even one night. Wednesday had some peak NBA Twitter beef with Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid that made many sports fans forget the World Series just ended. On the other hand, Stephen Curry broke his hand after Aron Baynes fell on him to change the NBA landscape. We’re likely going to have three of the top 10 players miss games because of last night, and Curry is now expected to miss about a month as his hand heals.
It’s not just going to be the recovery time that’ll put a dent in the value for Curry and other Warriors vets. Thanks to giving up a 30-1 run to the Suns on Wednesday, the Warriors lost at home to bring their record to just 1-3. Owner Joe Lacob said tanking “is against everything we stand for,” but management might have their hand forced with how valuable Curry is to a team that is already struggling mightily.
We’ll get to more details on the Warriors in a bit, but let’s just run through what else happened from Monday to Wednesday.
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Injuries This Week (doesn’t include injuries from last week)
Stephen Curry (hand) is out for about a month and it’ll change the entire feel of the roster with essentially the whole roster needing to step up to help D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green. Lots more below.
Myles Turner (right ankle) had Garrett Temple clip him and is going to miss at least two weeks with a week-to-week status. Justin Holiday will likely start most matchups to move T.J. Warren to the four while Goga Bitadze enters the rotation as Domantas Sabonis’ backup. Edmond Sumner (hand) is also going to miss time to open up even more run for Holiday.
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Zach Collins (shoulder) is going to miss time due to a dislocated shoulder. He had it pop back in, so he may not miss time. Mario Hezonja, Anthony Tolliver and Skal Labissiere are all deep stream options.
Trae Young (ankle) is going to miss Thursday’s game and is likely questionable for Tuesday’s game. The schedule worked out nicely for them, so Trae missing only one game would be big. For tonight, expect some DeAndre’ Bembry at the point while Kevin Huerter also should see 25 minutes tonight.
Derrick Favors (knee) is dealing with another knee injury and the Pelicans may sit him until he can show he’s healthy again. Jaxson Hayes is free as a deeper-league guy while Nicolo Melli and Jahlil Okafor should see minutes.
Elfrid Payton (hamstring) and Dennis Smith Jr. (personal) did not play on Wednesday, which set up Wayne Ellington as a starter over Frank Ntilikina. Frank is probably starting the next one, but he’s only a very deep guy.
Old News (players who should’ve already been added this week and don’t require an explanation; I won’t double-dip on guys from last week): Richaun Holmes (if he's somehow on your wire, join a new league next year), Isaiah Thomas, Danuel House, Matisse Thybulle, Aron Baynes, Frank Kaminsky
The magnitude of the Steph injury is so massive I’m just going to cover the Dubs before going over some other guys who picked up some value and could be worth watching.
As mentioned above, the Warriors may have to start rebuilding their roster. By the time Steph gets back, the Warriors might be dealing with an insurmountable deficit to get back into the playoff race. The Warriors are going to have to replace around 30 minutes at a 30 usage rate while needing more help to distribute the ball in what has been one of the pass-happiest offenses in the league.
Plus, is D’Angelo Russell going to get traded in December? Early signs would say yes. The Warriors actually have a +16.6 net rating when he’s on the bench, which is the only positive net rating when a Warrior is on the bench. Among the 161 NBA players with 24-plus minutes per game and multiple games played, he also has the worst net rating in the league at -29.3. Sure, it’s four games, but it’s been a Hindenburg of a season.
Plus, Draymond Green is now more likely to miss games for rest or just a minor injury -- he has a back issue now and that elbow problem from opening night is something to watch. The Warriors have racked up so many games over the years with their long playoff runs that it makes sense to let him take his foot off the gas for a season. Kevon Looney is their fourth-best player and he might be missing a lot of time, too. The Warriors potentially being bad also has lottery implications with their 2020 first-round pick being top-20 protected, so the Nets wouldn’t get that pick if GSW missed the playoffs or were in the 6-8 seed neighborhood.
Besides the obvious stuff, the loss of Steph puts coach Steve Kerr in an unfamiliar spot on arranging his rotation with only 24 minutes of DLo and Dray while Steph was on the bench -- five of those were last night, too.
OK, let’s go through these Warriors who are on most wires.
Eric Paschall (13 percent) - While his path may not be quite as clear as some of the guards, he looks like the best player from a talent perspective. Over four games, Paschall averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 boards, 1.8 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.0 turnovers on a 64/0/91 line to start his NBA career. Kerr has played him plenty as a four and as a five, and he’s started next to Draymond Green on Wednesday. Marquese Chriss missed his window (shocker), there’s really no incentive to play Willie Cauley-Stein big minutes with only a cheap player option next year, and the Warriors probably won’t want to up Dray’s minutes too much. Looney has really struggled to stay on the floor and he’s had three issues with this hammy/neuropathy problem, so the Warriors are likely going to sit him for a long time and certainly cap his minutes once he can return. Paschall is really the only guy I’d add in a standard 12-team league.
Jordan Poole (3 percent) - If fantasy had been a game purely about opportunity, Poole would be worth like 70% of your FAAB. However, he’s been really bad to start his career, and now he’s looking at even more shots. He has been a disaster from the floor without Steph next to him, making just 4-of-22 from the field (18.2%) compared to 27.8 FG% with Steph. It’s been bad, but you probably knew that.
Let’s talk some positives. The Warriors did like him enough to give him minutes right out of the gate and he even got a start in a small-ball lineup against the Pelicans on Monday. He was also fairly productive as a scorer in the preseason, putting up per-36 stats of 21.1 points, 2.2 boards, 1.6 dimes, 1.0 steals and 4.1 treys over a 113-minute sample. He showed some bright spots in Vegas, he’s a good free throw shooter (also went to the line eight times in his minutes without Steph), and obviously the Warriors are dying for another ball-handler. Plus, there was talk in the preseason that the Warriors were trying to set him up with Klay Thompson-esque sets. I’d keep expectations fairly low because he’s likely going to be a disaster in FG%, but the volume could get there in the near future. He does offer plenty of DFS and points-league appeal, though.
Alec Burks (5 percent) - Excluding the lineup to start the third quarter last night, Burks was out there for the rest of the third and he did replace Curry at 8:31 after the injury happened. He’s 28 years old and I’ll admit I’ve fallen for the banana in the tailpipe 15 times on Burks for his ability to get to the line from his earlier days. He’s also vastly improved at making free throws at 84.2% over his last 129 games combined. Of all these guys set for more minutes, Burks is easily the best option to see more ball-handling responsibilities, which shouldn't be totally dismissed in this offense. He’s really the only stable veteran force on the perimeter besides D’Angelo Russell, and I'd prioritize him over Poole if you highly value FG%.
Glenn Robinson III (6 percent) - Pretty boring stuff here, but he’s easily been the best healthy perimeter player to date -- yes, that includes DLo. In 28.3 minutes per game, Robinson averaged 11.3 points, 5.5 boards, 1.3 dimes, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 0.5 treys on a 43/20/90 line. GR3 also had a great preseason to help propel him to the first unit, averaging 8.8 points, 4.0 boards, 1.0 dimes, 0.8 steals and 1.3 treys on a 50/50/100 line in just 19.9 minutes. Yes, this is good for him, and he’s been a better free throw shooter the last couple years on light volume. The problem is he was basically a placeholder in his 18 starts with the Pistons last year, averaging 5.0 points, 1.4 boards, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.6 treys over 17.3 minutes. He would even get some garbage time in starts on a Pistons team that wasn’t very good. He’s probably the best bet for safe stats in deeper leagues, but there’s really no need to add him yet unless you’re dropping something you’re not going to miss.
Ky Bowman (1 percent) - This is a pure mystery-box move. He went off in the fourth last night with 10 points, one rebound, one assist and one 3-pointer against the Suns. Maybe he can perform tomorrow against the Spurs, so give him a look if you want to be a day early should be bust out.
Damion Lee (3 percent) - Keep it in the family for Steph’s bro in-law. He’s actually been very productive in his 60 minutes this season, putting up per-36 stats of 20.9 points, 10.7 boards, 2.4 dimes, 0.6 steals and 3.0 treys on a 44/42/91 line for a 62.9 TS%. Lee did just turn 27 years old and has rarely flashed over his NBA career as an undrafted free agent.
Jacob Evans (0 percent) - He is out at least three weeks with a groin injury, but Evans could be looking at minutes upon his return. If you have an IR spot open in a deep league, he could be worth a spot.
Players who could trend up this weekend at under 25% owned
Troy Brown (5 percent) - I'm not going to double-dip too often, but Brown need another mention this week. He had a fantastic debut on Wednesday with 14 points, three rebounds and two 3-pointers in just 17 minutes. Isaac Bonga never really stood a chance to hold down the starting job and Brown should see his minutes climb into the 20s as soon as this weekend. He might even be able to get to 30+ before Thanksgiving. He’s widely available and the Wizards have high hopes for him this year.
Nerlens Noel (18 percent) - Chalk smash central with Noel’s 15 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in 28 minutes sans Steven Adams on Wednesday. It doesn’t sound like Adams will be out long, but Noel will be a must-start guy while he’s the man. Plus, he would have great value if Adams is ever dealt.
Jaxson Hayes (15 percent) - As mentioned above, Favors is hurt again, which led to a breakout debut for Hayes on Monday with 19 points, three rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal in 24 minutes. The Pelicans don’t have a win yet and Favors is one of the slowest-recovering players from injury that comes to mind. Hayes showed in Vegas he has some elite NBA-level athleticism for a big man.
Justin Holiday (2 percent) and Doug McDermott (0 percent) - The loss of Myles Turner is going to shift Domantas Sabonis over to the five, and his backup, Goga Bitadze, has just 1.9 minutes of overlap with Sabonis. Both Holiday and McBuckets should provide treys while Myles is out, but I’d lean Holiday for more steals.
Malik Beasley (6 percent) - Will Barton is banged up and the Nuggets get a Pelicans defense that is getting shredded. It was also interesting that coach Mike Malone even went with a non-PG lineup at the end of the third quarter (under a minute). I could see Beasley going off tonight.
Jordan Bell (1 percent) - The Wolves really talked up Bell’s ability to fit their switch-happy defense, and we all know how he can rack up the defensive stats. He picked up 12 minutes last night after the KAT fight and looks like he’s the next in line. If KAT gets 3-5 games, he might have some value for a week. I’d take him over Noah Vonleh and Gorgui Dieng.
Grant Williams (1 percent) - He did flop on Wednesday, but he was the first player off the bench. I still really like his outlook and there are a number of things that could help him establish himself in the rotation.
Malik Monk (4 percent) - As I wrote in his blurb on Wednesday, Monk can fall off a cliff more than Wile E. Coyote, but hey he’s been good for two games. He’s more talented than Dwayne Bacon, so I’d strongly consider making that swap with one more good Monk game.
DeAndre’ Bembry (3 percent) - If you want some stream action for tonight, Bembry is probably the guy, assuming Kevin Huerter is gone. Trae should be back next week, though.
Goga Bitadze (2 percent) - Sure, Justin Holiday is going to start in most matchups, but that’s no fun. He only played nine minutes against the Nets on Wednesday, but that figures to go up. He only has 1.9 minutes of overlap with Domantas Sabonis with all of those minutes coming on Saturday against the Cavs. Pacers vs. Cavs tomorrow.