Hey guys, welcome back to the NBA Roundtable. This week’s topic is going to be real quick and simple, as we will be talking about potential shut-down candidates. Like we saw with Carmelo Anthony last season, there are always players who could be shut down for the final stretch of the season either because they are hurt or their team is tanking. With that said, which players are you guys worried about moving forward? I'll start...
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
Anthony Davis- By now we are all well aware that his durability is a major concern, and I've already lost count of how many different injuries he has dealt with this season. The Pelicans are sitting in 12th place in the West with a 14-27 record, and now they will have to move forward without Eric Gordon (fractured finger) for a while. Their roster simply isn't good enough right now and they could be sellers at the trade deadline (Ryan Anderson), so don't be surprised if the Pelicans pull the plug on the season if they don't turn things around quickly.
Tyreke Evans- While we're on the topic of the Pelicans, it's worth mentioning that Evans is another player who has been beat up all season. His knee is a major concern, and the Pelicans have no incentive to play him if the playoffs are out of reach. At this point, Evans' owners should be hoping that he is traded out of that nightmare.
Brandon Knight- Shut-down candidates are usually always on tanking teams, and Knight's team might be the worst in the NBA right now. I'm a little concerned about his ankle even though we haven't heard about it lately, and I do think the Suns would like to see what they have in Archie Goodwin. It also doesn't help that Knight has been terrible lately.
Kevin Garnett and Nikola Pekovic- Not that anybody cares, but there is no way these two guys will be playing towards the end of March. The Wolves will want to get Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng all the experience they can get.
Steve Alexander (@docktora)
1. Anthony Davis - The Pelicans are so, so bad and Davis is pretty much so, so fragile. It makes no sense to risk his future for a team going nowhere fast and he's just a sprained ankle, twisted knee or banged shin away from missing the fantasy playoffs. I don't think any of us are trying to create a panic in the fantasy community regarding Davis, but it just seems like he's a prime candidate to miss a bunch of games when his fantasy owners need him the most - the fantasy playoffs.
2. Any other Pelicans of note, including Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, who might be done after breaking a finger last week. Norris Cole is the most "must pick up" player there is right now, in my opinion.
3. Carmelo Anthony - If the Knicks aren't going to make the playoffs, you can probably expect Melo's knee or back to act up just in time for the fantasy playoffs. They're only 1.5 games out right now, but if they fall out of the race, Melo will make me very nervous.
4. Kevin Love - I don't really expect Love to shut it down at any point prior to the real NBA playoffs, outside of a few games of rest here and there, but his history is disturbing.
Last season: Missed March 15, 16, April 2, 12, then suffered major injury four games into real playoffs.
13-14: Missed April 5 and 11, one of his best finishes ever.
12-13: Played last game of the season on Jan. 3.
11-12: Missed final eight games of the regular season.
10-11: Missed 10 of his team's final 12 regular-season games.
Just something to think about.
Jared Johnson (@JaredJ831)
Anthony Davis is no stranger to spending extended time on the sidelines, and this year has been no different. Davis missed 18 games his rookie year, and sat out the final four games of the season. His sophomore year he missed 15 games, with seven of those absences coming during the final month of the season; and last year he missed 14 games, although to his credit he did play down the stretch. The Pelicans are not going to be competing for a playoff spot this year, and with AD's propensity to find himself on the sidelines, I'm not all that confident he finishes this season on a high note.
Going through the Rotoworld database, a simple CTRL+F reveals the word "knee" 235 times under Mr. Tyreke Evans. After undergoing an unexpected arthroscopic surgery on his right knee just a week before the 2015-16 season began, Evans spent the first 17 games of the year on the sidelines, and recently swelling in that same surgically repaired right knee forced him to the sidelines for another two games. On Wednesday Alvin Gentry came out and said that he doesn't want Tyreke to be playing through injuries, so I see either forced rest days or a strict minutes limit falling upon 'Reke when the games really start to matter in fantasy hoops (and mean less and less for NBA teams out of the playoff hunt).
Ricky Rubio - The Wolves are another team that is nowhere near playoff contention out West, and I foresee Ricky Rubio spending the final months of the 2015-16 season in street clothes. Excluding Rubio's miraculous 2013-14 campaign in which he played in all 82 games, his career has been more of a fashion show with him constantly busting out his suit collection on the sidelines. He made it through just 41 games his rookie season, played 57 games his sophomore year, then came the asterisk season (*82 games played), and then last year he made it through a mere 22 games. Not great.
Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)
Brook Lopez - At this point you’ve already heard the names Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans multiple times, and I agree on both, so I’ll start elsewhere. The Nets are obviously horrendous (only Philly has a worse record in the East), and as you know, Lopez missed most of the 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons due to injuries (five and 17 games played those two years, respectively). It is worth noting that he played 72 games last year, and has played in all 43 so far this year. It’s also worth noting that he’s been really good all season (including 20.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 0.9 spg and 1.8 bpg the last month). But with the Nets sitting at 11-32, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at all concerned, and there certainly is the risk that even a relatively minor injury could end Lopez’s season prematurely as we get into March and April.
Dwight Howard – Even though he left early with an ankle injury on Wednesday, I’m not too worried about Howard at the moment as long as Houston – currently No. 7 in the West – remains in playoff contention. But I would be watching the Rockets’ W-L record closely, because if they do fall out of the playoffs, Howard – who missed 41 games last season, and has already missed seven this year – becomes even more of a shutdown risk.
Ricky Rubio – After missing six games in November, Rubio has actually played in 27 straight, which is good news for his fantasy owners, but also feels a little bit too good to be true. The good news here is that if you have Rubio on your roster(s), you don’t necessarily need to worry about shopping him; you just need to make sure you stash Zach LaVine. Last year, when Rubio played in just one game over the final month of the season, LaVine posted 18.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.3 apg and 1.8 3s in 18 games.
Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)
Tyreke Evans - He has to be the No. 1 shut down candidate. He’s had two right knee surgeries since May and he’s already missed two games due to right knee tendinitis. In 2014, Evans had two more right knee injuries, so it’s a gigantic red flag right now. The Pelicans are only four games out of the eight spot, so they’re not dead yet. If they fall out, his shut down alert is DEFCON 1.
Dwight Howard - The Rockets should be able to make the playoffs, but Dwight’s back injury is scary enough to think the team will shut him down for the last month of the season or something along those lines. Side note: Dwight could be traded.
Anthony Davis - He has such a weird injury history. Davis’ major wear-and-tear issue has been his ankle, which hasn’t been a problem too much this year. I don’t think he’ll be “shut down” this year unless he has a new injury to his leg, but the Pelicans will be very careful.
Brandon Knight - Ankle patrol. Knight has a few ankle sprains, including a bad one that ended his season last year.
Danilo Gallinari - Knee injuries are the top reason to shut a guy down and the Rooster has quite the knee history. He’s avoided knee issues for now, but we’ll see what happens when the Nuggets fall out of it.
Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)
Tyreke Evans' surgically-repaired knee has already been drained last week and he sat out Monday's game, setting the stage for a potential shutdown. With the Pelicans four games out of the playoff picture it will take a strong push for them to be playing relevant games after the All-Star break, adding risk atop risk for Evans' owners. The same risks set the stage for a potential Anthony Davis shut down, as has been mentioned by almost everyone thus far.
Lakers trainer Gary Vitti has suggested shutting down Kobe Bryant for a few weeks to allow his exhausted body to recover, but so far the Black Mamba has insisted on gauging his availability on a day-to-day basis. He's missed eight games this season and is shooting a brutal, career-worst 34.5% from the field, so he's already a liability in the vast majority of fantasy leagues. Kobe will do everything he can to complete his farewell tour, but with injuries nagging at him already and the Lakers' playing for nothing but development, it's easy to him shutting it down.
Brook Lopez has been tremendous this season with zero DNPs and one of the steadiest game logs you'll find, which is even more impressive given the paucity of talent surrounding him. Unfortunately for BroLo, his team is hovering near the bottom of the East with no realistic prospects for a surge, so Brooklyn will have plenty of incentive to shut him down as a precaution while the season winds down. It doesn't help that he's under contract for a guaranteed $43.8 million over the next two seasons.