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Monday, March 12, 2012
Who benefits with Ricky Rubio out?


One of the best stories of the NBA season came to a crashing halt this weekend, as it was announced that Ricky Rubio tore his ACL in Friday's game and will miss the remainder of the season. He could potentially miss the beginning of next season as well, but despite that, he played well enough in his first season that he'll likely be selected around the fourth round of fantasy drafts next season -- not bad for a guy who went 104th overall on average this season.

Luke Ridnour's value should see a bump, especially in the assist department, as he'll slide into more of a ball-handling role, and it's a toss-up for who else will benefit between Jose Juan Barea, Martell Webster and Wesley Johnson. Barea should see increased playing time when he returns, although it's hard to imagine that he and Ridnour will share the court too much, as teams with size would easily take advantage of that diminutive backcourt. Webster is a solid player with 3-point capability, and Johnson is playing better recently and the Wolves have a lot invested in him, so he also could see increased opportunity. Between the three, I'd go with Barea if you'll need to start the player you pick up, because he'll provide consistent dimes and be the most dependable, Webster for 3-pointers only, and Johnson for upside. Johnson is obviously the most intriguing, and as I highlighted in Working the Wire on Friday, has multicategory capability if he can figure out how to put it together. So if you're looking for a player with a high ceiling and can afford to stash him on your bench and see if some magic happens, target Johnson now that Rubio's injury could open the door to more opportunity.

Looking Back

Evan Turner is on a rampage, as he scored 16 points with 12 rebounds and six assists on Friday, then dropped 24 points with 15 boards on Sunday. Doug Collins has shortened his rotation and Turner is entrenched in the startling lineup, so we'll get a prime opportunity to see what the second overall pick from last season's draft can do when given legitimate playing time. He's averaging 14.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.4 blocks per game over his past five, and has the tools to put up start-worthy numbers for fantasy teams going forward, especially with the way he rebounds from the guard position. Feel free to add Turner in all formats, as it's looking like it'll be a long time before he's ever found on a waiver wire again.

Kyle Lowry will miss 2-4 weeks with a bacterial infection, opening up prime minutes for Goran Dragic, who scored 23 points with eight assists and four 3s on Saturday, then 20 points with eight assists and four 3s on Sunday. Unless the Rockets trade for someone to fill Lowry's shoes short term, Dragic clearly has the tools to be worth a spot on any fantasy team, and is worth adding and starting in all formats while Lowry is sidelined.

Danilo Gallinari started on Sunday, his first time since returning from an extended absence due to a bum ankle. He scored exactly zero points in 21 minutes, and has failed to hit double-digit scoring since his return. It's clearly taking him some time to reassimilate into the lineup and shake off the rust, but remember that he averaged 18.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 3s, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks in 17 January games. He should be putting up fine fantasy numbers soon, and his slow start since returning makes him a prime buy-low candidate as the trade deadline approaches.

Looking Ahead

Deron Williams missed Saturday's game against the Rockets, and is considered day-to-day with a calf injury. I wouldn't expect him to miss much time, and would keep him active in weekly transaction leagues, although in formats where you make daily roster moves, be sure to monitor his condition leading up to game time on Monday versus the Bucks. … Luol Deng (wrist), Richard Hamilton (shoulder) and Joakim Noah (illness) all missed the Bulls' game on Saturday, and it's looking like Noah will return against the Knicks Monday. Deng will be a game-time decision, and Hamilton is likely out. … Raja Bell missed Saturday's contest due to an "internal matter," which provided Gordon Hayward with a chance to get back into the starting lineup after he was moved into a reserve role last week. This doesn't have huge fantasy impact, although it will likely improve Hayward's stock a bit if Bell remains on the sideline, so if you own Hayward monitor the situation.