While the extent of their injuries is currently unknown, Chauncey Billups (groin) and Allen Iverson (knee) are both heading for MRI’s. Any extended absence for either player would open up a chance for a rookie to take a significant leap in value.
With Billups, that player is Ty Lawson, who started the season well but has lost playing time since J.R. Smith returned from suspension. He is currently ranked as a 14th-rounder in eight-category leagues, according to Basketball Monster, and not ownable while the Nuggets are fully healthy.
However, Lawson has been pretty productive with his minutes, averaging 14.1 points, 5.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 3-pointers per 36 minutes. He also has strong percentages (.503/.788) and any significant jump in playing time could make him one of the league’s more valuable rookies as long as Billups is out.
If you need steals, assists or 3-pointers (and, of course, if you own Billups), keep an eye on the situation to see if Billups’ MRI is bad news.
Jrue Holiday will stand to gain the most if Iverson stays sidelined. Practically non-existent until Lou Williams broke his jaw in late November, Holiday has been the 73rd most valuable player in eight-category leagues over the past two weeks.
Holiday is averaging 10.3 points, 1.3 3-pointers, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals during that span. He’s been far less efficient than Lawson, shooting just .303 from the floor this season and less than 70 percent from the line.
Williams had the wiring removed from his jaw on Wednesday and may return shortly. I’m not making an estimate because clearly anything the 76ers say about their players is to be taken with a grain of salt (see Dalembert post).
But should Iverson have a lingering injury, Holiday would continue to get minutes once Williams returns.
If both Billups and Iverson are sidelined for a while, Lawson is the preferred pickup. He’s far more efficient and plays with a more talented team, making him more of an overall threat to contribute even when he’s not scoring.