Gordon Hayward Fantasy Injury Replacements
By Rocco Minsk The first unfortunate injury struck just six minutes into the new NBA season and it is a heartbreaker for the Boston Celtics, who took a meat cleaver to their team depth to sign Gordon Hayward and acquire Kyrie Irving. Here, I will take a brief look at the players who will have receive a bump in value to Hayward’s long likely absence and then point out two other possible waiver wire pickups to try to replace Hayward.
The most obvious impact is on the Celtics and there are two players who stand to benefit the most from additional opportunity. I have seen early speculation that Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier could be beneficiaries, but the obvious bump comes for the two frontcourt players. Jaylen Brown has the closest skillset to Hayward’s and he was called on to play 40 minutes in Hayward’s absence. Obviously, that cannot occur every night, but Brown will be the first player that people will and should run to pick up. The second, less obvious target should be Marcus Morris. People are forgetting about him because he is out for the first three games of the season, but he has the most proven track record of success among Celtics forwards and can be the third option behind Horford and Kyrie Irving. I am still not buying Jayson Tatum as I have concerns with his efficiency or lack thereof.
There are three other targets to consider should you need help at the small forward position:
Justin Holiday – The Bulls are even more injury devastated than they were after today’s senseless loss of Mirotic and Bobby’s Portis’ likely long suspension. Look for Holliday to spend time at the 3 and play on the floor with Jerian Grant and Denzel Valentine. Holiday had a decent preseason going for 28 points and 11 rebounds in his penultimate preseason game and Bulls starters will log huge minutes until the team can bring in some additional depth.
Denzel Valentine – He also is eligible at the 3 and will log big minutes at least until Zach Lavine comes back. His shooting is a concern, but it improved somewhat in preseason and Valentine can be a multi category contributor. Obviously, he cannot replace Hayward’s numbers, but he can help your team somewhat.
Jonathan Simmons – Simmons has eligibility at the 3 and will likely back up both the 2 and the 3. His defense will earn him minutes as Simmons is one of the best defensive players in the NBA which may help him pilfer some minutes from Terrence Ross. Simmons outplayed Ross in the preseason and stands to gain playing time if this continues into the regular season.