Who will pick up slack for Tyreke Evans?
Tyreke Evans finally succumbed to the plantar fasciitis in his left foot, as news came Tuesday that he will be in a walking boot for the next three weeks. The Kings hope that with rest and treatment, their star will be able to get back on the court soon after that. Considering the nature of the injury, though, it's anything but a safe bet that we'll see him on the hardwood for the final month of the season. With such risk, it'll be tough to trade him at this point. So you'll probably just have to hold onto him and hope for the best.
There are two things we can take away from this for our long-term fantasy games. First, never forget that the only solution for plantar fasciitis is lengthy rest. So the next time your stud has that malady, trade him before you get hosed by an extended absence. Second, don't forget that this has been a problem for Evans all season, which helps explain his dip in production from last season. Don't sleep on him on draft day in the fall, because he should rebound with career-best stats. Remember his rookie campaign, not his sophomore run when determining his value for next season.
As for the rest of the Sacramento Kings, only Samuel Dalembert (18 points, 13 rebounds) did anything special Tuesday night against the Miami Heat. Considering the difference in record between the two teams, that's not a surprise. Going forward without Evans, we should see more from Beno Udrih and DeMarcus Cousins, but we should also keep an eye on Jermaine Taylor. There are rumors that Marcus Thornton is close to being traded from the New Orleans Hornets to the Kings for Carl Landry. Thornton proved last season to be a very productive scorer, so snag him off waivers and hope he gets dealt and earns a lot of touches in Evans' absence.
• The Denver Nuggets played their first game without Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups Tuesday night, but since the players they received in return weren't available to play, we can't read too much into the production of guys like Ty Lawson (21 points, 7 dimes and 6 steals), J.R. Smith (26 points, 6 3s, 2 steals) and Arron Afflalo (21 points, 3 3s, 5 dimes and 5 boards). On the other hand, if those three guys played close to 40 minutes per game like Tuesday and got similar touches, we could expect that kind of production on a regular basis -- that's why all three have made for great investments. However, if the Nugs keep Raymond Felton, Lawson will have trouble maxing his production. The same is true for Smith and Afflalo, who will have to compete with Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler. Once the deadline passes, we'll be able to get a better read on each player's value the rest of this season.
• Remember that guy named O.J. Mayo? At this point of a brutal season for him, he's remembered primarily for living in his coach's doghouse, falling out of the Memphis Grizzlies' starting lineup and being suspended for taking a banned substance. He's certainly not being remembered right now for his statistical production, because he hasn't done anything noteworthy in months. NBA general managers are no different than fantasy GMs in that regard, which is why the Griz gave him nearly 30 minutes of action Tuesday night. He racked up 21 points (8-14 FG), two 3-pointers and a steal in his little showcase, as the Griz do their best to trade him away. He'll have to end up in the right spot to return to last season's value. But since he's likely on your waiver wire, you need to pick him up to see what goes down at the NBA trade deadline.
In that same game, Tony Allen popped off 26 points (8-15 FG, 10-14 FT) and pulled down eight boards. With Rudy Gay out for the foreseeable future, the door is wide open for Allen. However, there are rumors of a swap of Zach Randolph for Brandon Bass and Jason Richardson floating around. J-Rich would put a serious crimp in Allen's production.
• With Corey Brewer out of the picture via trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves started Wes Johnson on Tuesday. He responded with 14 points (5-14 FG), 8 boards, 3 dimes, a 3-pointer and a steal in 37 minutes of action. He could be set up for a strong finish to the season, partly because Brewer's gone, but also because the Wolves limited his action so much in recent months. The upside of limiting a rookie midseason is that he'll be fresh for the stretch run. He's capable of scoring and adding 3s and swipes for your squad.
We should see Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups debut with the New York Knicks on Wednesday night after officially being dealt by the Nugs Tuesday. They will square off against the Milwaukee Bucks. Obviously, it will take a little while to get in synch with their teammates, but both have enough raw talent to rack up fantasy stats from Game 1. Barring any trouble with travel, the Knicks will have them in their starting lineup, and you should, too.
Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.