For those of you who were not sufficiently stunned by Tracy McGrady’s season-ending injuries, the current health woes of Nene and Kenyon Martin should put you over the edge.
More than halfway through the best season of his career, Nene is out with a knee injury that will force him to miss at least two weeks. Meanwhile, Martin is dealing with back problems that threaten to keep he streak of playing in less than 90 percent of each season’s games intact.
So, for the time being, that means the Denver Nuggets are in a precarious situation with their frontcourt. Which also means that about 65 minutes per game are being doled out to players who suddenly have some fantasy relevance.
What’s an owner to do? Pounce.
Any utter collapse of the Nuggets big men is going to bode well for everyone’s favorite eccentric white boy, Chris Andersen.
Andersen already had some fantasy value bocking 2.1 shots per game and shooting 58 percent from the floor. Considering the number of centers that have gone down to injury this season, anyone who can provide numbers in typical big men cats have value.
Andersen isn’t a life saver, but consider what he could do with 30 minutes per game: 8.5 rebounds, 9.8 points, 3.4 blocks, .8 steals. George Karl seems like he’ll never give Andersen 30 minutes per game, but stranger things have happened down the stretches of NBA seasons yore.
Owned in only 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Andersen averaged 2.7 blocks in nine February games before logging three in 20 minutes with Nene sidelined on Monday. If this Nene injury lingers or Martin’s back flares up, he will be one of the Top 20 fantasy centers in the final months of the season.
Andersen’s only threat among his teammates is Johan Petro, who started in Nene’s place on Monday and had nine points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Petro has always been an intriguing player because of his ability to rebound and collect blocks and steals at a solid pace (8.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, .9 steals per 36 minutes in his career).
Petro is new to the Nuggets as he was acquired in early January. He has gotten a mix of no playing time and very little playing time before his first start, which resulted in a 38-point loss to the Celtics.
So, to recap, in a lopsided blowout against a Garnett-less Celtics squad Petro has more fantasy relevance than he’s had in two years. Doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence.
On the bright side, he does have a hypnotically round head. But other than that, he’s a desperate option at center right now. If you’re in a need, get high with the Birdman. At least it won’t be boring.