This week in poise or panic we go over some high-profile players that have battled significant injuries. Should you find a trade partner for these players? Or should you show some poise and be patient? We tell you how to proceed if one of these guys is on your squad below!
Week 8 Poise or Panic
Rudy Gobert – Minnesota Timberwolves (C)
The Stifle Tower is averaging his lowest scoring (13.2 points) and rebounding (11.4 rebs) numbers since the 2017 season. He’s also dipped in blocks (1.3 blocks) and double-doubles despite usually being among the league leaders. He had his worst rebounding game of the season with only 1 rebound in last week’s game against Memphis.
He’s always been a liability on offense and without KAT for the next few weeks to balance things his outlook doesn’t look good. Chris Finch always keeps at least one of the two on the floor at all times. When they’re playing together Gobert clogs the lane which takes away KAT and Anthony Edwards’ driving lanes. The big-to-big connection on offense isn’t working as at times KAT will try to feed Gobert in the post, but Gobert looks lost. Gobert’s play has been inconsistent thus far and when you take a look at the Wolves’ offensive and defensive numbers as a whole they’re similar to last season.
Although we’re only a quarter way into the season I’m in panic mode as the fit has not worked out at all. It’s gotten so bad that Wolves fans have been booing him at games and he’s gone on Twitter to complain about them. The Wolves’ front office gave up 5 players and 5 draft picks for Gobert. He’s locked in for 5 years and his contract is worth $205 million. Did they make a mistake by trading so much of their future away for Gobert?
Michael Porter Jr. – Denver Nuggets (SF/PF)
My poise or panic for this week is another player we advised to avoid drafting this offseason – Denver Nuggets’ declining star: Michael Porter Jr. During the summer in our ‘players to avoid’ special, we warned fantasy managers to refrain from picking MPJ within the first 9 rounds of the draft; well do not look now, however, MPJ is posting fantasy value outside of the top 100.
Tuesday will mark the seventh-straight game that Porter Jr. has missed due to a heel injury, which unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a return for him on the horizon. The once highly recruited wing scorer has been plagued with injuries to start his young NBA career, to say the least, however, there are growing concerns that this heel injury has stemmed from his most recent back surgery (which has caused the loss of feeling in his heel). Reports have been limited in providing updates regarding Porter Jr’s health status, which has fantasy managers holding their breath. Outside of injuries what worries me even more regarding MPJ’s fantasy value is how streaky he has been to start this year – only averaging 16.4 PPG while playing almost 30 minutes. Given his troublesome injury history, it’s hard to have much faith in Porter staying healthy, but at such a young age and showing flashes of raw talent, MPJ still has potential upside – however, I am going full panic mode on Porter Jr.
Kawhi Leonard – Los Angeles Clippers (SF)
When healthy Kawhi is one of the most efficient players in the league. He is a career 86 percent free-throw shooter that hits just south of 40% from beyond the arc. Leonard also adds 1.8 steals per game while rarely battling foul trouble. But the key word is “when”. Coming off an ACL season-ending surgery last July the Clippers continue to take things slow with Leonard who has only played 5 games this regular season. Also, outside of lowered minutes and veteran days off, another question to ask would be what version of Kawhi will we get? Pre-ACL injury, Kawhi loved to attack the rim and get that contact, playing aggressively on a post-up. In the limited action this year, we are yet to see this same version of the Klaw.
A mixture of age and rehabbing a significant injury doesn’t give me the confidence to invest in Kawhi for this season, however a healthy Kawhi come fantasy playoffs can help win you a league. But I am trending with extreme caution here and pressing the panic button 2 months into the season.
I’m also in panic mode when it comes to the Klaw. As we mentioned in our players to avoid drafting episode before the season, it’s hard to trust how many games he will play. The fact he’s already missed a majority of the season should be a huge red flag to fantasy owners. It’s extremely frustrating that the Clippers are never clear on his timeline to return and I expect his status to be questionable more often than not. If you have Kawhi on your team I would try to trade him if he has consecutive good outings.