Come on, you didn’t think Steve Blake was going to provide this value for the rest of the season without some kind of obstacle, right? He was having his best all-around season on a loaded team and deep down, you were just waiting for the other shoe to drop, weren’t you?
Well that shoe slammed to the ground on Wednesday as Blake separated his right shoulder in a loss to Philadelphia. This certainly won’t hurt the value of Brandon Roy or Rudy Fernandez, both of whom will be handling the ball more. But who else stands to benefit? And how many more question marks can I use in this post?
Here are the candidates:
Sergio Rodiguez (6-3, 168, 3rd season)
Per 36 minutes:10.1 points, 8.3 assists, 3.3 TOs, 1.9 steals, 1.1 3’s, .355 FG%, .865 FT%
Pros: Excellent ball handler, solid on the ball defender that averages 1.6 steals per 36 minutes for his career, solid FT%, makes a fair amount of 3-pointers despite shooting less than 30 percent from the arc.
Cons: Poor shooter overall, zero rebounding ability.
Jerryd Bayless (6-3, 200, rookie)
Per 36 minutes:12.0 points, 4.5 assists, 4.2 TOs, 1.7 steals, 0.2 3’s, .283 FG%, .808 FT%
Pros: A ferocious defender likely to be a magnet for steals, strong FT%
Cons: Horrific FG% thusfar this season, a turnover machine. In other words, your typical rookie point guard.
Coach Nate McMillan has yet to decide who will start in Thursday’s game at New Jersey, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Both players have been getting around 12 minutes per game since Roy returned from injury, so it’s quite possible they will get an equally-marginal bump in value instead of one dominating the minutes.
Rodriguez is a polished point guard. Jose Calderon’s handle with none of the scoring efficiency. Bayless is a rookie attack dog, aggressive and athletic but rough around the edges.
With Blake likely set to miss around a month – which is how long Elton Brand has been sidelined with his dislocated shoulder – there will be a week or so to see if either player develops enough fantasy value for a short-term pickup.
My prognosis: both player’s are marginally enhanced that neither becomes a must-have in the short term. In a deep league, I’d prefer Rodriguez due to his near 3-to-1 assist/turnover ratio and ability to make same 3-pointers.