Fantasy Impact of the Gruesome Paul George Injury
The injury Paul George suffered was horrific, painful, and feel so bad for him and the Pacers. If you haven’t seen the injury by now, then you’re one of the lucky ones that didn’t see his leg snap in half. The chances of George playing this season are very slim and he may never return to the type of player he was before the injury. There are major fantasy implications whenever a serious injury occurs, especially one of this caliber. So how is this going to affect Paul George’s dynasty value and what can we expect from the rest of the Pacers roster this season?
Owners in redraft leagues should ignore Pauli G., but what should they do in dynasty leagues, where a player can be kept for multiple seasons or an entire career? As a Paul George owner in a dynasty league, I’m on the fence of whether I want to keep him and try to trade him before the season starts or just abandon him completely by not keeping him. Expecting him to return and be productive in fantasy this season is ludicrous and his value for this season is practically nothing. Also, this was an extremely bad injury and there’s a chance he never fully recovers or never returns to the Paul George we all know and love. If I was a rebuilding owner in a dynasty league and was planning towards the future, then I would keep him. However, I have a hard time keeping him if I was planning on competing this season, which would also mean I would have to drop a player that would be productive this season and beyond. Also, there is no guarantee that George will return and play like his former self. Therefore, I would drop him in dynasty leagues if I was trying to win this season, but would hold onto him if I was building for the future.
The Pacers roster looks like a barren wasteland at the shooting guard/small forward positions with Rodney Stuckey as their primary shooting guard and C.J. Miles as their primary small forward. That is a really bad group of starters, even in the weak Eastern conference. Stuckey is a seven year veteran (shocking, right?) that has been mediocre throughout his career (29.1 minutes, 13.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, with a 42.2 FG%/ 82.8 FT% career per game average), but will get plenty of minutes with the Pacers this season. Stuckey’s best season came in 2009-10 (his third NBA season) when he played a career high 34.2 minutes per game and averaged 16.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 40.5 percent from the field (15.2 FGA per game). He’s a terrible three point shooter by averaging 0.4 made per game and shooting only 28.6 percent during his career. Expect Stuckey to put up similar numbers this season that he did in the 2009-10 season, because he will play well over 30 minutes per game. Stuckey will be a great sleeper pick in fantasy leagues, but will be better in total points leagues, where a low field goal percentage won’t hurt his value.
The biggest beneficiary of the Paul George injury is C.J. Miles, who went from a role a player to a starter at the snap of a leg…I mean finger(too soon?). Miles has never averaged more than 25.2 minutes played per game in a season and has averaged double figure points per game in only two of his nine seasons in the league. He only contributes in points scored and has really improved his three point shot by averaging 1.9 made threes on five attempts ( 38.4%) in 2012-13 and 1.6 made threes on 4.1 attempts (39.3 %) this past season. Believe he will play close to 30 minutes per game, while scoring close to 14 points and two made three pointers per game this season. His value is higher in rotisserie leagues because he’ll sink some three pointers and score some points. Draft him at the backend of drafts as player that will get starting minutes and produce in a couple of categories, that has a solid chance to have a career year.
The only backup shooting guards/small forwards currently on the Pacers roster are Donald Sloan (who plays point guard as well), Chris Copeland, and Solomon Hill. Those last two players are complete garbage and won’t produce valuable fantasy numbers, even if they do get quality playing time. That is why the Pacers are really hurting after the Paul George injury. Roy Hibbert and David West will be asked to do more and will each receive a few more shots per game than they did last season. Hibbert was an abomination during the last 30ish games of last season, but should return to the All-Star caliber type of player this season. George Hill was major disappointment last season and will not be that good this season, even though he will get a few more shots per game. The Pacers are really going to struggle to score points and close out games without their super star.
There are major rumblings about Kevin Love getting traded and I will dissect the entire trade from a fantasy perspective in my next article. Also, don’t forget to pick up the amazing Fantasy Alarm Football Draft Guide. Always down to talk fantasy sports, so feel free to holler at me on twitter @DaTrueGuru.