By now most of us have heard about Blake Griffin’s season-ending knee surgery that will knock him out of action for four to six months. It’s a frustrating situation that has to have many patient fantasy owners cussing at their computer screens, and rightfully so. Not only was he an extremely promising rookie for the Clippers and the NBA, but Griffin had a real shot at averaging some nice fantasy stats. He was also set to return in about two weeks.
An owner in one of my fantasy leagues has already dubbed him “Blake Oden,” and while those comparisons may be a bit premature, it’s hard to ignore the frightening similarities: They’re both talented big men with oodles of potential who went No. 1 overall in their respective drafts and were supposed to christen a lackluster team’s redemption.
All silly talks of curses aside, it’s time to take a look at the fantasy ramifications of Griffin’s injury.
Griffin loses all value for this season, but will be an intriguing fantasy player in 2010-11. In keeper leagues, he’s a solid buy-low target, but in non-keeper leagues, his owners should feel completely at ease cutting him loose. It’s hard to say enough about how disappointing this is, but Griffin still has a shot at averaging around 19/9 next season, and could average healthy double-doubles for the majority of his career – if he stays healthy.
Marcus Camby, who is no picture of health himself, immediately gets a large boost in value, partly thanks to Griffin’s injury and partly thanks to Chris Kaman’s current back problems. The Clippers are stuck in a tough spot right now. Camby’s a free agent after this season and remains good trade bait, but the team, which is still within reach of a playoff spot, needs his help more than ever. Owners who were worried about how Griffin’s return would affect Camby can breathe a little easier now knowing that there’s probably little need to sell high on him now.
Kaman, who suffered a lower back injury in Tuesday’s game, will also maintain his value once he returns to the court. He is likely to have an MRI scheduled for Thursday, so keep an eye out for those results. If his injury isn’t severe and if the Kaveman can return to the court in a few weeks, he’ll continue getting major minutes and should resume his steady production.
DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers’ second-year big man, will see a big uptick in value, at least for the coming week. With Kaman out, Jordan should start at center and will be a nice source of boards and blocks, along with high shooting percentages from the field.
Rasual Butler and Al Thornton, who have basically split minutes at the SF spot, maintain their roles as interchangeable and unpredictable swingmen for the Clippers. Neither is good for all that much production, but they should maintain whatever value they’ve had in your leagues for the duration of the season.
Craig Smith should see extra minutes so long as Kaman is out but only holds mildly attractive value in the deepest of leagues.
While it would’ve been interesting to see how Baron Davis and Eric Gordon would’ve jelled with Griffin, that will have to wait another season. Their respective values remain unchanged.
Throughout the season, be sure to leave your questions, comments, concerns, trade offers, roster problems and more in the comments below.
Follow Jason on Twitter at @fbasketballblog.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.