It’s getting to the point of the season when panicked owners, like me, who have seen their players drop like flies, make poor managerial decisions. For example, yesterday I discovered that Joakim Noah has been playing with a bad digit on his right hand and will now be lost to surgery for eight weeks. In my bewildered state, while holiday shopping for my wife last night, I unwittingly spent an extra $5 on the double-straw drinking helmet when a single straw would have sufficed. These owners are beginning to not think clearly and we should be ready to pounce with either lowball offers or additional straws.
The list of injured stars is growing by the day as Chauncey Billups, Aaron Brooks, Stephen Curry, Chris Kaman and John Wall are all in civilian clothes and their statuses are uncertain. Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, Tyreke Evans, David Lee, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Roy are playing in pain and could all be on the verge of an extended vacation.
Speaking of Lee, how on earth is he still competing at a decent level after taking a Wilson Chandler fang to the elbow a few weeks ago? I didn’t realize that Chandler, in the midst of a breakout campaign, was part mako as there is a hole in Lee’s limb in which small children can swim.
More disturbing than the dell in Lee’s elbow is the fact that Clippers owner Donald Sterling has taken to heckling his players during live play. Sterling, the charming architect of the current dynasty, in 2008 paid Baron Davis $65 million for five years. He is the only one in the room surprised that he is not getting his money’s worth from his mercurial point guard. This has reality show written all over it.
Speaking of reality shows, there’s one brewing in the Nets locker room as they now have two players – Sasha Vujacic and Kris Humphries – dating A-List celebs. Vujacic has been seeing former Wimbledon champ Maria Sharapova, while Humphries has inexplicably secured the heart and mind of Kim Kardashian, heiress to the Wheaties fortune. With Lamar Odom married to Kim’s sister Chloe and Vujacic now Humphries’ teammate, we could have an incestuous dynamic on our hands not seen in professional sports since the days of Yankee twirlers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich. I would entitle this show, “Jersey Sure Thing”.
On to more pressing matters. Who should you pick up for your injured stars, you say? Let Fox Unbalanced be your source for bi-partisan injury-replacement information.
Ty Lawson, PG, DEN (10.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 4.0 apg, 49% fg)
Lawson is a dynamo and the Denver offense has thrived with him at the helm. Billups could be back next week from his wrist injury, but if the damage to his ligaments is too severe, he could opt for surgery and miss the next six weeks. Regardless of Billups’ status, the electric Lawson is one to own. He has averaged 29 minutes over his last four and produced 16.5 points, 4.5 assists and outstanding percentages.
Taj Gibson, PF/C, CHI (9.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.5 bk)
Gibson will again receive starter’s minutes with the news that Noah will be sidelined for the next two months following thumb surgery. Gibson is as tough as they come, and even sharing the frontcourt with a healthy Carlos Boozer, could flirt with a double-double and a block-and-a-half per game. He’ll have competition for minutes from the incomparable Omer Asik, but Gibson is a good bet for 30+ per night. Jump on him.
Nate Robinson, PG, BOS (7.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.5 3-pt fg)
With Rondo about to make medical history with quite the assortment of ailments, Robinson could be pressed into serious service in the Celtic backcourt. Rondo is one of if not the toughest player in the league, but Doc Rivers will likely sit his maestro and give him ample time to heal. This will be music to the ears of Robinson owners as L’il Nate is a pure stat magnet. If you’re in need of points, assists, steals and threes, dip your toe in the water by making a preemptive move on Kryptonate.
Goran Dragic, PG, PHO (8.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg)
The most premier professional athlete named Goran since Ivanisevic roamed the hard courts of Flushing, Dragic just needs a real opportunity. Playing behind Nash hasn’t afforded him much of a chance, but the Suns’ legendary starting point is 37 and playing through a groin strain. Alvin Gentry would be best served sitting Nash for a few weeks and inserting the athletic Yugoslavian. In starter’s minutes, I envision his numbers being a thing of beauty, but what is up with his 56 percent (29-52) shooting from the charity stripe?
Greg Monroe, C, DET (5.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 bpg)
With Ben Wallace getting more rickety by the minute and no other viable options up front, owners should look to add the #7 pick out of Georgetown. He has played at least 20 minutes in each of his last eight contests and has acquitted himself rather well, averaging 7.8 points and 6.5 boards over this period. The Pistons will again be on the outside looking in and guys like Austin Daye and Monroe should at some point get a chance to become regulars.
Ersan Ilyasova, SF/PF, MIL (8.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.7 3-pt fg)
The situation in Milwaukee is a bit messy right now with Corey Maggette, Drew Gooden, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Ilyasova vying for time at both forward positions and Carlos Delfino trying to return to the small forward mix after suffering a concussion. Ilyasovsa and CDR have recently been promoted to the starting unit and the team is playing better. The one thing we can count on with the Turk is that he will play hard. With Delfino out, Gooden just returning from a nagging case of plantar fasciitis and Bogut’s elbow being held together by Silly Putty, the well-rounded Ilyasova could find close to 30 minutes nightly.
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