Parker's injury a blessing?

January, 29, 2010
01/29/10
10:39
AM ET

It was a fairly nonchalant Thursday night in NBA action, as the biggest news of the night was off the court, with news trickling out that San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker would miss the next couple of games with a sprained ankle he suffered Wednesday night.

While this might sound like bad news to Parker's fantasy owners, it could be a blessing in disguise. The injury itself should be fine in the long run, as it's a fairly minor one. More important is that it's on the left side, the foot in which he has had plantar fasciitis that has been affecting his performance all season. We've seen how much a foot injury can affect another blistering-quick point guard, Derrick Rose. While Rose downplayed his early-season ankle injury, it's clear his numbers (shooting 51.4 percent from the field while averaging 23.5 points and 6.5 assists this month) have seen a big boost since his health returned.

With Parker in the midst of his most disappointing season in five years, the real question is whether some time off can bring back the old Tony Parker, the 18- to 22-point scorer the Spurs will need to pose a threat in the loaded Western Conference.

Because the Spurs have a tough second-half schedule looming, it won't be surprising to see Parker miss as many games as he needs in order for him to come back at full strength. Tim Duncan can continue to carry the team for stretches at a time, and from a fantasy perspective, it should mean Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson will be forced to carry more of the scoring load. Roger Mason, who averaged 2.1 3-pointers per game last season in 70 games as a starter, also could carve out some value. But in the long run, it might serve as the ultimate buy-low moment for Parker, whose mediocre production hasn't been worth a top-100 spot on the Player Rater. A revitalized Parker, however, would be worth that and more, and right now he'd probably come at the lowest price you'll find him at all season.

Looking Back

THURSDAY, JAN. 28
HIGHLIGHTS
David Lee, Knicks: 29 points (13-21 FG), 18 rebounds against the Raptors.
Rashard Lewis, Magic: 23 points (8-13 FG), 8 rebounds, 2 3-pointers versus the Celtics.
Jason Terry, Mavericks: 21 points (8-15 FG), 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks against the Suns.
LOWLIGHTS
Andrea Bargnani, Raptors: 2 points (1-9 FG), 3 rebounds, 3 blocks in 30 minutes against the Knicks.
Vince Carter, Magic: 6 points (2-13 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists in 29 minutes versus the Celtics.
Robin Lopez, Suns: 4 points, 6 rebounds, no blocks against the Mavericks.
The Toronto Raptors pulled out a tough road win against the New York Knicks, and even though Jose Calderon played well (12 points and seven assists, with a plus-17 and just one turnover), Jarrett Jack will continue to get a lot of credit for the Raptors' winning ways. They are 15-9 when Jack starts. A whopping 95.8 percent of fantasy leaguers are still holding on to Calderon, so the question begs to be asked: What are you waiting for? Cut him loose. Barring an injury, the days of 30-plus minutes per game seem to be a pipe dream. … Believe me, you don't want to own Kevin Garnett. When he's good he leaves you wanting more, and when he's bad, well, you get a line like Thursday night: 6 points (2-of-8 shooting), 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Not the worst line you'll ever see, but that kind of low upside comes with the territory with Garnett, and he certainly looked slow as Rashard Lewis blew past him to seal the game with a last-second layup. For Lewis owners, however, there was more good news: The former All-Star is averaging 15.3 field goal attempts and 20.0 points in his past three games, including 23 points Thursday, and it will be interesting to see whether Lewis' complaints about not getting the ball enough lead to more big games from the underachieving forward. … An eyebrow must always be raised when rumors come out that someone is dogging it, and Amare Stoudemire did little to stifle such talk. While he scored 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting versus the Mavericks, he had just one rebound. One! He now has just 21 rebounds in his past five games, and sure, the Suns did win, but with effort questions plaguing S.T.A.T., you have to wonder just how much bite there is to the various trade rumors surrounding him.

Looking Ahead

Keep a close eye on Ginobili on Friday night versus the Memphis Grizzlies to see whether he can respond to a larger offensive load at this point in his career. The 32-year-old guard is at his lowest point production in five seasons, and it's worth seeing whether he can come alive in the wake of Parker's injury or if we are really witnessing the beginning of the end. … Beware the Bobcats: Not only do they allow fewer free throw attempts than any other team in the NBA (hear that, Corey Maggette?), but they also hold opponents to just 33.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc, meaning you shouldn't be in any rush to play Kevin Martin (3-for-23 in his past three games) when the Sacramento Kings host the 'Cats on Saturday. … Mike Miller has finally entered the starting lineup for the Washington Wizards, and he logged a healthy 36 minutes versus the Los Angeles Lakers, but don't be surprised if his shooting from long range is off the mark this weekend. The Knicks, shockingly enough, have the second-lowest opponents' 3-point field goal percentage in the NBA.

Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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