The Brooklyn Nets, and fantasy basketball owners, woke up to some bad news Saturday morning with a report that center Brook Lopez may miss the rest of the season with a broken right foot. Lopez returned to action this week after missing time earlier this month with a left ankle issue, and he had a nice game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night (22 points, seven rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot). So this news is fairly surprising, and may leave a lot of fantasy owners scrambling for a potential replacement.
Andray Blatche is now likely to take over as the Nets’ starting center, but is he a solid fantasy option?
Blatche has a streak of six straight games scoring in double figures snapped on Friday night, but he is still averaging 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game this season while playing just under 23 minutes per game. Most importantly perhaps, he has played all 26 games (five starts) to this point in the season.
Reggie Evans, Mirza Telotovic and Mason Plumlee may all also see more minutes in Lopez’s absence, but until further notice that trio should not register on the radar of most fantasy owners. Blatche is the most likely to carry reliable fantasy value game-to-game, and his contribution in points in rebounds should improve some with more playing time. His shooting percentages do not stand out one way or another (47.4 percent from the floor and just over 72 percent from the line so far this season), though it’s fair to think Blatche’s field goal percentage should be higher for a player who takes most of his shots close the basket (6-for-19 from three-point range this season; 0.4 three-point attempts per game for his career).
Blatche’s ownership percentage is likely to rise as further confirmation of Lopez’s status surfaces, but he is currently available in 73 percent of Yahoo! leagues and is well-worth adding in deeper leagues.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.