“Rule number five: Show no love; love will get you killed.” A memorable quote from the Get Rich or Die Tryin’ movie seven years ago, and one that applies perfectly to 2012-13 NBA season.
Minnesota Timberwolves PF/C Kevin Love suffered a broken hand on Jan. 3, and underwent surgery on Jan. 15. His timetable was set at 8-10 weeks, and T’Wolves GM David Kahn has said that Love is still on that same timetable as of Jan. 19.
From a fantasy basketball perspective, the timetable for Love’s return brings him back between Week 20 at the earliest, or Week 22 at the latest. As we remember, Love missed the first nine games of the season with–wait for it–a broken right hand. Not only was it his ever-valuable shooting hand, but it was also the same hand that is currently injured. Initial reports coming into the season had Love out for the first four to seven weeks of the season, but he missed only nine games and many reporters thought perhaps he came back too soon.
With Love’s injury history for the season noted above, I’m sitting here begging you the reader for answers. Why am I looking at Love still being owned in 78% of fantasy leagues? If you’re still keen on Love for your playoff push, I invite you to think about the following as well.
First off, Love will certainly be held back until he is unquestionably 100% healthy, which likely will not be until Week 21-22 of the fantasy season.
Second, if/when he returns to the floor, keep in mind that he’s coming off his second injury of the season on his shooting hand, so it will obviously affect his FGAs, FGMs, PTS and FG%.
Third, and possibly the most telling attribute to Love’s value down the stretch, is that Minnesota is currently sitting at a 17-22 record. This leaves them 10th in the Western Conference, and 1 ½ games behind the Houston Rockets for the West’s eight seed.
Minnesota’s current injury situation is also quite overwhelming. Alexey Shved, Brandon Roy, Malcolm Lee, Nikola Pekovic, and Chase Buddinger are all going to be sidelined for considerable time, while J.J. Barea is still playing through a lingering thigh bruise. With all these injuries, it would be a tough road to make the playoffs even if the Wolves were playing a rotation of only the Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings for the remainder of the season.
Unfortunately, that won’t be their schedule. With 37 games left in the standard fantasy league, Minnesota plays 18 of those remaining games against current playoff teams. The remaining 19 games are against current non-playoff teams will include two games against the ninth place Portland Trailblazers, and three games against the Los Angeles Lakers. All of this considered, the Timberwolves will not be in playoff contention, with or without Love playing at any point in March.
With the Wolves not having a shot at the playoffs, and their franchise player trying to return from his second broken hand, there will be absolutely no incentive for the Timberwolves to rush Love back into the lineup. Depending on how things turn out over the next month and a half, I wouldn’t be surprised if Love sits out the remainder of the year, to come back fully healthy for 2013-14.
Love will not be a factor for the remainder of the 2012-2013 fantasy season. If you are one of the 78% of owners that have him, cut him now for anyone with a pulse, because Love will get you killed.
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