Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
It’s fantasy playoff time and at this juncture, you need to use any little advantage you can get to advance to glory. With the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook suffering a knee strain on Friday against the Toronto Raptors, Reggie Jackson becomes a must-own player.
In today’s edition of “All Wired Up”, I’ll delve into the fantasy strengths of potential waiver wire gold like Jackson and the Brooklyn Nets’ Mason Plumlee.
» Reggie Jackson, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder (60.3 percent owned on ESPN.com)
25 points (7-15 FG, 10-10 FT), 1 three-pointer, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers vs Raptors.
Thankfully for Thunder fans, and NBA fans in general, Russell Westbrook’s knee injury has been announced as only a sprain, so there’s no major structural damage. But the injury is to his right knee, on which he’s had three surgeries within the last 12 months, so there is every reason to be concerned.
The Thunder were already being conservative with Westbrook, sitting him one game of back-to-back sets down the stretch. Now that he has this strain, I project them to be extremely conservative and wouldn’t be surprised if Westbrook didn’t play at all in the following week. Westbrook did say after the game he won’t miss ant time, but that remains to be seen.
All this means for fantasy owners is that you must add Reggie Jackson. NOW.
Even when Westbrook was playing, Jackson was having decent value as the sixth man as evidenced by his rank of 70 on Basketball Monster over the past two weeks. In that time, he’s averaging 13.3 points, 1.3 three-pointers, 6.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists shooting 95.2 percent from the line.
Those sort of numbers are hard to ignore in a vacuum, but when you consider that Westbrook may miss time as a result of his knee strain, his value and playing time could easily increase. In his last 10 starts replacing Westbrook, Jackson has scored at least 12 points and there’s no reason he can’t continue being a vital cog for the Thunder.
Don’t ignore what Jackson is capable of doing — he’s going to have the chance to really shine yet again. Make sure he’s doing that while he’s on your fantasy team.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
» Mason Plumlee, C, Brooklyn Nets (0.2 percent owned)
18 points (6-7 FG, 6-6 FT), 0 three-pointers, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers vs Celtics.
Does anyone really miss Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn? Sure, Garnett is an NBA legend and future first ballot Hall of Famer. But his form this year has been patchy, to be generous.
Over the last month, while Plumlee has been starting for the injured Garnet, Plumlee has a ranking of 145 on Basketball Monster.com while Garnett is ranked only 168th for the season.
If we look at the last two weeks of Plumlee’s play though, the numbers are much better. Looking at that two week period is more beneficial, because it’s within that time frame that Jason Kid has demonstrated more trust in Plumlee and begun playing him more than 20 minutes a game. In those two weeks, Plumlee is averaging 9.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks per game while shooting 68.4 percent from the field.
He’s also topped double digits in scoring in the last three games as well as notching six steals in those contests.
Garnett has already been ruled out of the Nets’ upcoming three game road trip, so the earliest he could be expected to return would be next Friday against the Bobcats and even then, that is a bit of a stretch considering how the Nets’ have treated him this year.
Plumlee is by no means a must-add player in all leagues, but in 12 team leagues, you could do a lot worse than by adding him while he is starting for the surging Nets.