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NBA Notes: Horford and Kwame and Shumpert and More

The toughest part of fantasy basketball is dealing with injuries; there's simply no way to adequately replace a first or second-rounder that gets hurt. So yeah, Zaza Pachulia is an obvious add now that Al Horford is out - possibly for the season - it's hard for me to give Horford owners much comfort in this situation.

In a way, though, losing a guy due to injury is almost better than dealing with a first-rounder mired in an awful season. Take Deron Williams, for example. He was a legit top pick, borderline first-rounder. But he's stuck on a team that - thanks to Brook Lopez' foot injury - has very little talent and little chance of acquiring more. He's not hurt. His skills haven't eroded. He's just dealing with a severe case of "my team is absolutely terrible."

With Horford, at least you know what you're up against. Williams is too good to bench but playing too badly to trade for anything approaching equal value... what can you do but ride this out?

Notes and Observations:
  • Now that Mark Jackson has tried - and hopefully abandoned - the "foul opposing center every time he touches the ball" strategy, look for Golden State to bring in another big man. The Warriors were close to signing ex-Utah Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko recently; he may be their top candidate. 
  • To free up a spot for that big-man-to-be-named, the Warriors have reportedly waived backup guard Ishmael Smith. He could catch on somewhere - the Knicks seem to be in desperate need of a true point guard these days.
  • Another waiver rumor that surprised me - Boston is reportedly considering cutting ties with Greg Stiemsma. Rasheed Wallace is mulling a comeback, and the Celtics are interested - but they don't have an opening on their roster currently. Waiving Stiemsma would be the least-expensive way for Boston to free up a roster spot. He'll get picked up in a hurry if that does happen.
  • Derrick Rose is reportedly telling people he's playing tonight, but as our man Jeff Stotts points out, "turf toe" can be very painful. Even if he does play, he could be limited. If you picked up John Lucas, hang on to him a little while longer.
  • I have the same concern about Dwyane Wade, who may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. But that probably doesn't create much of a fantasy opportunity; if Wade can't play, or can't play at his usual level, LeBron James and Chris Bosh are more than capable of picking up the slack.
  • Bill Walker will start in Carmelo Anthony's place on Saturday against the Thunder. Walker has actually played pretty well thus far, but that's a horrible matchup for him.

Discussion Topic:

I live just outside New York City, and around here, we love us our Iman Shumpert. Honestly, the reaction of some Knick fans to Shump's first six games as a pro (and yes, that excludes last night's 5-for-20 debacle in Memphis) is approaching Tebow levels (but without the religious overtones).

In an attempt to be the New Yorker with a measured view of Shumpert's short-to-intermediate term prospects, I wrote a blog post comparing him to Tony Allen. Now, I consider that a compliment, as Allen has been a key guy on one champion and another excellent playoff run and is one of the league's better wing defenders. At least one blogger considered it an affront, and challenged me to a fight.

He was kidding.

I think.

Anyway... would like to get the perspective of some people outside the tri-state. Where do you rank Shumpert among this year's crop of rookies? What sort of player do you see him becoming?

Q&A:

Couple of questions posted on this week's Working the Wire column, which I'll address here:

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