NBA Waiver Wire: Heat and Warriors Injury Impact

Rotations have been difficult to follow post All-Star Break thanks to bad teams tanking, good teams resting players, and injuries. Though numerous teams fall into each of these three categories, this week, the two teams this article will focus on are the Heat and Warriors.

Miami Heat

The Heat are dealing with what appear to be several relatively minor injury issues to players in their rotation, the most important of which is Hassan Whiteside now that Josh Richardson has returned. Whiteside has battled injury all season but had been playing fairly well of late, which made it appear as if he was regaining his health. Regardless, while he remains out, Bam Adebayo should be a big beneficiary in terms of minutes, as he has gone from high teens to high twenties in minutes per game with Whiteside out.

However, he has failed to take advantage of those minutes as he has shot just 6-for-25 from the field in Whiteside’s three game absence. Given that he has shot 52% from the field on the season, it’s reasonable to expect his shooting to improve soon. While there hasn’t consistently been a big minutes boost for Kelly Olynyk or James Johnson, they have been the best contributors in Whiteside’s absence. Both have posted well-rounded numbers across several, if not all, fantasy categories. As a result, they should be among the hottest pickups while Whiteside remains out, yet both remain widely available.

Dwyane Wade could remain sidelined longer than Whiteside, though the fantasy impact isn’t as great. Goran Dragic has seen his usage bump up, though that will likely become muted a bit by the return of Josh Richardson. Meanwhile, Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington have benefitted, both seeing their minutes tick up in Wade’s absence. Like Dragic, Ellington could see that usage dry up a bit with the return of Richardson but he still remains a strong three-point streaming option.

Golden State Warriors

The length of severity of injuries is clearer for the Warriors, though who will step into the vacated roles is much murkier. Both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are set to miss multiple weeks with their respective injuries, while Steph Curry will be reevaluated on Tuesday. That opens up a ton of minutes and usage across the roster.

Kevon Looney is an interesting player to target if he gets the minutes as he has shown the ability to stuff the stat sheet when given an opportunity. His per 36 minute numbers this season illustrate that, as he has averaged 10 points, nine boards, two blocks, and a steal. That would make him a strong defensive producer, while also being relatively efficient from the field.

It’s hard to imagine that Andre Iguodala will be pushed to play big minutes, though he could push up into the high 20s minutes and see more usage. There are other wing players that are intriguing with an increased role. Omri Casspi (pending the ankle injury he suffered Friday night against the Kings) illustrated that he is capable of putting up points in bunches on Wednesday against the Lakers, but there are two caveats to that performance. First, he is likely to see more minutes with Durant out, a positive for his fantasy value. Contrarily, he will not continue his 7-for-8 shooting from the field so don’t expect him to score .75 points per minute as he did on Wednesday. Finally, Nick Young will also be a player to watch. We know his main value will come in the form of scoring, and he didn’t disappoint Wednesday against the Lakers, hoisting 13 shots. That came even with Durant still in the lineup, so for those needing a boost in scoring and threes, Young is a player to target.

Quinn Cook also played big minutes on Wednesday and grinded his way to a decent fantasy performance. His per 36 numbers are nothing special, though he will have more opportunity with a lot of usage opening up. Like Iguodala, it’s hard to see Shaun Livingston playing huge minutes, but he too is capable of low-teens scoring with a sprinkling of production across the board in other categories.

 

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Dan Marcus

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Dan recently moved to Columbus, Ohio but is a lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan. Fantasy baseball was and always will be his favorite fantasy sport, but he also enjoys football and basketball as well.