I’m sure this is just an illusion, but it seems like an awful lot of players are getting hurt this season, leading to an excessive amount of rookies and no-name players making an impact.
The trend continued on Wednesday as it was announced that Los Angeles Clippers center Marcus Camby and Hornets center Tyson Chandler could each miss two weeks with an ankle injuries.
Obviously, these injuries have dramatically different impacts. Camby is an elite rebounder and shot blocker and playing like a first-rounder while Chandler has struggled this season after an uninspiring 2007-08 campaign. It’s hard to believe, but he’s borderline ownable in most leagues.
But, their respective absences leaves holes that must be filled. Big men getting hurt tend to provide more of an opportunity for obscure players to become valuable. After all, increase the minutes of any mediocre 7-footer and rebounds and blocks will likely follow.
However, increase the minutes of a mediocre point guard and he’ll probably put up some numbers (FG%, TOs) that hurt you as much as other can help.
The Clippers’ situation is pretty clear. Chris Kaman is still out with a foot injury is not coming back any time soon. That leaves Los Angeles with precious few big men, including DeAndre Jordan, Steve Novak and Cheikh Samb.
Jordan has established himself as the clear man in the middle until Camby returns. If you need boards, blocks or FG% and need a nice, two-week fill-in, this is your guy.
Jordan made his first start of the season on Monday and had eight points (on 4-of-6 shooting), eight rebounds and SIX blocks. He followed that up with an impressive start against the Lakers on Wednesday, posting 23 points (on 11-of-12 shooting), 12 rebounds, and four blocks.
I expect most of his performances to be like the former line: around 10 rebounds and a handful of blocks with high-percentage shooting. At 7-feet tall, he was the only Clippers starter over 6-foot-9. That’s going to pave the way for some rebounds.
Keep in mind that even before he got into the starting lineup, Jordan was averaging 10 rebounds and two blocks per 36 minutes in very limited time. So, he has a knack for playing inside.
For those in head-to-head leagues, the Clippers have four games next week, including matchups against undersized teams Chicago and Washington. The only thing that could derail his short-term value is if Camby heals quickly. And honestly, what are the odds of that?
The Hornets situation is a far more fuzzy because Chandler’s injury comes as David West is day-to-day with back spasms. With both out on Wednesday, New Orleans plugged the holes in its starting lineup with Melvin Ely and Sean Marks.
A quick glance at each player’s numbers per 36 minutes:
Ely (last season): 11.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 2.4 TOs, 1.1 assists, .472 FG%, .552 FT%
Marks (this season): 7.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.7 TOs, .2 assists, .327 FG%, .672 FT%
Not an intriguing choice is it? I used Ely’s stats from last season since his limited playing time this season (15 games) is too small a sample size to indicate how he may perform with a larger role.
Marks has never played in more than 25 games in a season so is career is nothing but a series of small sample sizes.
The Hornets could also give some minutes to newly-signed Anthony Tolliver, who played 19 games with the Spurs earlier this season and averaged 9.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, .9 steals and shot 29 percent from the floor per 36 minutes.
The picture will become clearer the longer Chandler is out, but he and West will be near-recovered by the time the value of any of these guys comes into view. Each of them is worth leaving on the wire.
The shame here is that this happened as Hornets center Hilton Armstrong is also sidelined with a knee injury. This could have been a golden opportunity for Armstrong, who has averaged 9.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals per 36 minutes while shooting 50 percent from the floor in his first three seasons.