The Milwaukee Bucks went into the All-Star break with the NBA’s worst record (9-43), and the news got worse on Friday with center Larry Sanders expected to miss at least six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone. It’s a distinct possibility he will miss the rest of the season with the Bucks playing for nothing more than lottery ping pong balls, which makes Sanders droppable for most fantasy basketball owners, but is there an obvious replacement on Milwaukee’s roster?
Zaza Pachulia missed close to two months with a fractured right foot, but after being eased back into action (12 minutes) in his first game back earlier this month he is averaging 11.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game over the last five games (two starts).
The loss of Sanders leaves the Bucks even shorter on big men than they were, with John Henson (foot) and Ekpe Udoh (knee) also banged up, though the All-Star break may allow Henson and Udoh to suit up again fairly soon. But Pachulia is presumably in line for 30-plus minutes per game as Milwaukee’s starting center, and it’s hard to envision him losing much playing time as long as he can stay healthy.
Pachulia does not block shots (just five so far this season; 0.2 per game), and with a poor field goal percentage (39 percent) to this point in the season his fantasy value is centered on his ability to accumulate points, rebounds and assists. He has solid potential over the rest of the season as a three-category producer, as long as an injury doesn’t keep him from sustaining a prominent role, and even with a recent spike in his ownership percentage Pachulia is still available in 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues.