Net Loss

In January I posed the question as to whether Devin Harris was becoming injury prone. He played in only 69 games last season after managing only 64 during the 2007-08 season, but was still highly-coveted entering this season as primary offensive weapon on the New Jersey Nets.

Harris was projected as a third-rounder with forecasted averages of 21.4 points, 6.5 assists, 1.6 steals and one 3-pointer with an .822 FT% in 73 games. Even factoring in a projection of nine missed games, he still figured to be a valuable asset.

But Harris is already sidelined with a groin problem for which he has seen a specialists. Frankly, it gives me chills whenever one of my fantasy players sees a specialist. It’s almost never good. Think early 2000’s Grant Hill or – for you baseball fans – Mike Hampton.

It could be a devastating loss if not for the fact that the Nets have a couple of built in replacements ready to go. Harris owners should act quickly.

Veteran point guard Rafer Alston, who was acquired in the offseason trade that sent Vince Carter to Orlando, filled in on Saturday with 20 points, eight assists and one steal. He made 8-of-11 shots from the floor, including three 3-pointers. He followed that up an awful game on Monday (two points on 1-of-8 shooting), but his prospects are still good.

Even with Harris in the lineup, Alston was projected to be an 11th rounder with averages of 10.1 points, 1.4 3-pointers, 4.2 assists and 1.2 steals. He would have already been a valuable guard off the bench for any fantasy team.

With starters’ minutes, Alston is going to be a nice fill in piece for the next couple of weeks and a much-needed handicap for anyone that owns Harris for the remainder of the season. He will kill you in FG% (projected: .402), especially if he tries to take the Nets’ offense into his own hands, but he can produce across the board in the usual point guard categories.

Alston’s career per minutes averages are 12.8 points, 6.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.9 3-pointers per 36 minutes. Even with his .386 career FG% and .730 FT%, those numbers can provide short-term help.

Another intriguing but less-proven commodity is Chris Douglas-Roberts, who scored 25 points in 38 minutes on Saturday and added 20 points in 39 minutes on Monday. CDR has made 50 percent of his shots from the floor and 88 percent from the line, displaying an aggressive mentality that got him to the line 17 times in the last two games.

CDR played in 44 games as a rookie last season and his per minute averages were decent, but not overwhelming: 13.3 points, 3.2 assists and .7 steals per 36 minutes. Most of his added value thusfar this season has come from his strong FG%, which will not last.

However, the Nets are young and will give the athletic CDR plenty of chances to make an impact. He’s not a recommended pickup in standard leagues but worth keeping an eye on.


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Filed under Injuries, Player Analysis

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