Can We Shoot Him with an AK-47?

Andrei Kirilenko decided on Thursday to have surgery on his right ankle instead of playing through the pain. I miss the good old days when Russians were extremely tough bastards.

But Kirilenko, Anna Kournakova and Maria Sharapova are destroying the image. Vladimir Putin alone is keeping it alive. But I digress….

Kirilenko was having a solid season, posting his best per minute numbers since 2004-05, although he doesn’t block shots like he used to. Now he’s sidelined for about a month and his combination of stats are difficult to find.

Kirilenko has missed the last four games so we already know that there is no one player on the Jazz that jumps out as the biggest beneficiary of his absence.  In those four games, the universally-owned Deron Williams, Paul Millsap, Mehmet Okur and Ronnie Brewer have all logged 31minutes or more per game.

Next in line is C.J. Miles, who has averaged 25 minutes per game – slightly over his season average. Miles had some decent value early in the season, providing solid percentages and 3-pointers while Williams was sidelined.

Miles may regain some of that value, but those are not the categories you lost when Kirilenko went down, so it probably doesn’t help.

Kyle Korver‘s minutes have stayed consistent and he’s good for 3-pointers and FT% only. Matt Harpring is playing 16 minutes per game, quite a bump of his usual number but not enough to make him worth having.

Looking at each player’s per minutes numbers (per 36 minutes):

Miles: 15.0 points, 2.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 1.4 3-pointers, .470 FG%, .862 FT%

Korver: 13.6 points, 2.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 1.8 3-pointers, .419 FG%, .842 FT%

Harpring: 14.1 points, 1.5 assists, 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 steals, .471 FG%, .763 FT%

Keep in mind that none of those guys will play near 36 minutes per game and their playing time will be more based on matchups, giving each a decided lack of consistency.

But where can you turn to find some kind of stopgap replacement for Kirilenko, who was averaging 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks?

Kirilenko was contributing mildly in rebounds and assists as well as points (12.7) and FT% (.798 on 5.2 assists per game). But it’s the blocks and steals where he will be missed the most.

A quick glace shows that there are only 18 players in the NBA that average one block and one steal per game. Only one of them can be described as widely available and it’s the mind-numbingly frustrating Tyrus Thomas.

Thomas is owned in just 51 percent of Yahoo! leagues and is averaging one steal and 1.7 blocks per game. He’s putting up 1.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes, so perhaps they should give him more minutes than Andres Nocioni.

Thomas is also shooting a career-best .812 from the line and averaging 5.2 rebounds per game. Thomas is a aggravating dude to own … but so is Kirilenko. The key with Thomas is patience. If you can stomach having him in your lineup every day, you’ll get the benefit of the 22 multi-block games he’s had thusfar.

There are a few other players who approach the one block, one rebound standard that are more widely available:

Francisco Garcia (owned in 49 percent of Yahoo! leagues) is averaging 1.1 steals and 0.8 blocks per game as well as 11.5 points and 1.1 3-pointers. He’s shooting .425 from the floor but .793 from the line.

In addition, with the rumours swirling about the potential trade of Brad Miller and/or John Salmons, there is an outside chance Garcia’s minutes will receive a bump within the next month.

Garcia’s teammate Spencer Hawes (48 percent owned) could also receive a boost following a trade. Hawes is putting up 1.4 blocks, 0.6 steals and 6.3 rebounds per game with erratic minutes. A bigger role could bump him into the one block, one steal realm, although his percentages are poor.

Anderson Varejao (43 percent owned) is averaging 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks and well as 7.1 rebounds per game. He is a career 50 percent shooter from the floor but just 59 percent from the line. The impending return of Zydrunas Ilgauskas will limit his effectiveness, however.

And, you have to hand it to Ben Wallace (38 percent owned), because the old bastard is still averaging 0.9 steals, 1.6 blocks and 6.7 rebounds in limited minutes. His role will also take a hit when Ilgauskas returns but if you’re strictly looking for some fill in for steals and blocks, there are only four out of 41 games this season he has failed to record either.  In 20 of those 41 games, Wallace had had at least one of each and there is some limited value in that.

No need to worry, Andrei just needs a little R&R. And some surgery.

No need to worry, Andrei just needs a little R&R. And some surgery.

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1 Comment

Filed under Injuries, Player Analysis, Uncategorized

One response to “Can We Shoot Him with an AK-47?

  1. Kirilenko is definitely frustrating to own. We actually added a new rule to a league I am in this year. Maybe we should call it the ‘Kirilenko rule’ since (1) he is so apt for injury and (2) he is the first player that caused us to need to invoke the rule. Basically, if a player get hurt after a trade was accepted but before processed by the system then the trade can be “undone” if the players new owner wants it.

    On a side note, I fail to see how Anna Kournakova and Maria Sharapova can be seen as destroyers of ANY image.

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