Fantasy Impact of the Jeremy Lin Injury
By Rocco Minsk The unfortunate parade of injuries in the early part of the NBA season continued last night as Jeremy Lin ruptured a tendon in his knee. My heart certainly goes out to Lin and this is an absolute devastation for him. He has lost nearly all of the last two seasons playing in a system that would have taken his game to the next level and if he can recover from this serious injury, he will be 30 at the start of next season. Now you start to think about Linsanity and wonder what could have been.
In the interim, there is opportunity to be had in the wake of Lin’s injury (he usual disclaimers of not wanting to sound crass). Brooklyn is a breakneck system that led the league in possessions per game in 2016-2017 with 104.9 and fantasy players don’t get dinged for bad defense. As I have previously bemoaned, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson does not settle on playing rotations and he did not give any player more than 30 MPG last season. So any bump up should be muted because players don’t play often enough in Brooklyn to be top fantasy assets.
But in any event, here is our guess as to how this will shake out in playing time and there are two players to target:
Alan Crabbe – This is a player who the Nets have had eyes for for a long time, having signed him to a gargantuan offer sheet before Portland matched and unloaded his salary on the Nets. Brooklyn is very clearly invested in Crabbe and will give him every opportunity to succeed. The fantasy knock on Crabbe in the past has been inefficiency, Crabbe scores and shoots 3s and does little to nothing else. Last night, Crabbe added seven boards to go with his 12 points and has shown in limited preseason that he is capable of the occasional block and steal. Crabbe is still getting healthy after preseason injuries, but this is a team that believes in him and will now give him larger minutes.
Caris Levert – This is the player that others have mentioned as the prime beneficiary, but the Nets have shown a reluctance to really turn Levert loose so far. I question the consistency of his outside shot becoming effective enough to allow him to be a consistent presence on the wing (assuming that primary ball handling responsibilities go to DeAngelo Russell). Levert shot 31.9% from three last season and his outside shot has shown no signs of improving this season. While his shooting can use improvement, there is no question that the Nets are a better team with Levert on the court than off it (-3.4 points per 100 possessons with Levert on vs minus 8.2 with him off). The question can do with 26-27 MPG and the answer is probably not enough to warrant a pickup.
Spencer Dinwiddie – Don’t even think about it – even with Lin out for a large part of last season, Dinwiddie did not make the most of his opportunity. He simply cannot create his own shot well enough and with the ball in Russell’s hands, will not get the assists to compensate.
The player you should out there putting in a claim for is Alan Crabbe