Brandon Roy's return had the potential to be one of the best stories of the 2012-13 NBA season. But sadly, it seems the comeback is close to ending before it really had a chance to begin. The condition of Roy's knee is now being described as Level III degenerative arthritis. Level IV means knee replacement.
I've been expressing skepticism about Roy for weeks, but at this point, I can't see any reason to have him on a fantasy roster.
The big beneficiary of Roy's absence is rookie guard Alexey Shved. In the first four games after Roy was forced out of the lineup, Shved posted averages of 14.5 points, 1.3 three-pointers, 3.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.0 block in 29 minutes per game. But those numbers haven't triggered a huge Black Friday discount run on Shved; he's still available in about 85 percent of all Yahoo! Fantasy NBA leagues.
Are people sleeping on Shved? Maybe. But consider . . .
• As my Rotowire colleague Fred Katz pointed out in this week's Rookie Report, Shved is at his best when he plays as a scoring lead guard. He's good at creating offense for himself but not as productive playing off the ball. And off the ball is where he'll spend most of his time when Ricky Rubio returns in a couple of weeks.
• Jose Barea (foot) returned Wednesday, and he will also cut into Shved's playing time. Shved played 33 minutes against the Warriors on Nov. 16. Five days later, with Barea back in the rotation, Shved played just 21 minutes.
• And let's not forget that Kevin Love (hand) is now back in uniform. Love will be the first option in Minnesota's offense, limiting the touches available to Shved.
All that said, I'm still a buyer. I'd make a claim on Shved this week and hang on until Rubio is back. By late December, we should have a much better idea what sort of value he'll have.
Another interesting development in Minnesota, with Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic back in the frontcourt, is that newly-signed forward Josh Howard played 13 minutes Wednesday, and Derrick Williams – the second-overall pick in the 2011 draft – got the dreaded DNP-CD.
Obviously, Rick Adelman had to shake up his rotation to create space for Love and Pek, but the move to marginalize Williams – while playing the likes of Howard and Dante Cunningham – comes as a pretty big surprise. It may be confirmation of something we've long suspected: that Williams is best suited to play the power forward spot, and that power forward minutes will be in very short supply on any team that has Kevin Love under contract.
Don't make any decision on Williams based on just one game, but temper your expectations for his fantasy production this season. The best-case scenario for him in fantasy might require he be traded to another team in reality.
Picks for the Week
(All percent-owned stats are from Yahoo!)
Jamal Crawford (86%) – Crawford is having a tremendous season off the bench for the Clippers and is generating some early Sixth Man of the Year buzz. He has scored 20 or more in three of his last four games and is averaging 19.7 points for the season.
Metta World Peace (60%) – Mike D'Antoni told reporters that he expects World Peace to average about 17 points and four made three-pointers per game this season. I suspect many fantasy owners are hoping he's right.
Danny Green (59%) – Green has been one of the Spurs' primary three-point threats this season and has seven makes from long range over his last three games. Just don't look for much fantasy production beyond that. He's a bit of a one-category specialist at this point.
Jason Thompson (45%) – It seemed likely he'd be marginalized this season by an improving DeMarcus Cousins and the rookie Thomas Robinson, but Thompson has been averaging a near double-double (12.6 points, 9.8 boards) and a block in his last five games.
Alonzo Gee (30%) – Gee has scored 14 or more in five of six games and is rebounding very well for a wing player. With the Cavs playing a fairly short rotation this season, he should continue to get significant minutes.
Nate Robinson (28%) – Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is reportedly considering a lineup change that would move Robinson into the starting five and put struggling starter Kirk Hinrich on the bench. Robinson has been thriving as a bench scorer, but it remains to be seen if he can handle the point guard gig on a full-time basis. He's certainly worth a look.
Jeremy Pargo (17%) – The most obvious add of the week . . . Pargo replaced Kyrie Irving (finger) in the Cavs' starting lineup on Wednesday, and promptly dropped a career-best 28 points on the Sixers. Is he likely to do that regularly? Heck no. But Irving is out for about a month, which means Pargo will have plenty of opportunities to show what he can do.
Kosta Koufos (9%) – I still have a hard time believing he's the Nuggets' starting center, but George Karl has given no indication that he'll change his mind on that. Koufos doesn't play enough minutes to be a major factor in fantasy, but he is averaging 1.7 blocks per game.
Matt Barnes (7%) – Barnes has played very well in the last two games, with Caron Butler limited by a shoulder injury. That could lead to a larger role, and even if it doesn't, Butler isn't exactly Lou Gehrig.