Feb 4, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Jodie Meeks (20) leaves the game in the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Basketball: Steve Nash returns, but Lakers lose Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill

steve nash

Tuesday was supposed to be a night of returns for the Los Angeles Lakers, but just as they were welcoming back point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake, they lost Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill to injuries.  With the Lakers playing again on Wednesday, fantasy basketball owners will need to scramble to the waiver-wire to ensure they have a full lineup.

The good news for the Lakers — and for fantasy owners — was that for the first time in 39 games, Nash was back running the point for the purple and gold.  He was supposed to be on a strict 10-16 minute limit, but ended up playing 25 minutes because of all the injuries.  The two-time MVP racked up nine assists and scored seven points (3-6 FG, 1-2 3PT), to go along with one rebound and one steal.

Overall, Nash contributed far more to the box score than anyone could’ve imagined, but owners shouldn’t expect that kind of production on a night-to-night basis.  Coach Mike D’Antoni is fickle when it comes to his rotations, and he’s already stated that it’s unlikely Nash will play in the second game of back-to-back sets.  Consider that, plus the fact that he hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and it makes sense to watch Nash from a close distance — for now.

It was nice getting Nash and Blake back (who also had a scary injury moment of his own), but losing Meeks will prove to be costly if he has to miss an extended period of time.  Other than Pau Gasol, and maybe Kendall Marshall, Meeks has been arguably the best player for the Lakers over the past month.  The fifth-year pro out of Kentucky is having his most productive season as a pro, but his owners will be without his services for for at least the next few games.

It’s a tough blow for fantasy owners.  In the month of January, Meeks averaged 18.9 points, 1.9 steals and 2.6 three-pointers, making him the 29th-ranked player on Basketball Monster.com during that time period.  His injury occurred just 1 minute 26 seconds into Tuesday’s game, when he landed awkwardly on the foot of Timberwolves’ forward Corey Brewer.

In a tweet issued Tuesday night, Lakers’ beat writer Mike Bresnahan confirmed everyone’s suspicions —  that Meeks indeed suffered a sprained ankle and that he would miss the rest of the Lakers’ road trip, which includes games on Wednesday in Cleveland and Friday in Philadelphia:

Conceivably, Kendall Marshall would pick up some minutes in Meeks’ absence, but D’Antoni would never do something that logical.  Marshall played just 21 minutes on Tuesday, scoring five points and handing out three assists.  With Nash possibly sitting out on Wednesday, Marshall could find himself back in the starting lineup next to Steve Blake, who somehow deemed himself okay after rupturing an eardrum during Tuesday’s game.  Had Manny Harris‘ 10-day contract been renewed, he may have been a decent waiver-wire add after his 19-point outburst vs. the Wolves.

The Lakers can’t catch a break right now with their backcourt, and it now seems to be rubbing off on their big men.  Jordan Hill was expected to garner most of Gasol’s minutes while he is sidelined with a groin injury, but he too was injured in Tuesday’s game — and by friendly fire, no less.  Apparently Chris Kaman elbowed Hill in the head, causing a cervical strain and a headache, which is pretty much the Lakers’ season in a nutshell.

Robert Sacre (100 percent available in ESPN.com leagues) had a nice game as the de facto big man for the Lakers, racking up 14 points and four boards in 31 minutes.  Sacre is worth a look in deeper leagues, as the Lakers play the Cavs and Sixers in their next two games.  Cleveland and Philly are 26th and 29th in fantasy basketball vs. opposing centers over the last month.

Tags: Fantasy Basketball Jodie Meeks Los Angeles Lakers Steve Nash

  • hookedonnews

    Thought the shot at D’Antoni was uncalled for. Those of us on the outside looking in don’t have a clue why coaches make the decisions they make about personnel. D’Antoni went into the game tonight with 8 players and ended the game with 4 eligible players and Sacre (who had fouled out) left on the court with Nick Young going out with a knee injury, Kaman fouling out, and Farmar having to leave the game twice with cramps because he was having to play extended minutes on his first night back. This team has been competitive most nights with 5 of their best players out and the rest of the roster not being exactly All-Star caliber players. They usually run out of gas in the second half because they’re undermanned. I think MDA deserves a lot of credit because they have played hard under difficult circumstances.

    • Seth Klein

      The “shot” at D’Antoni was made after Tuesday’s game, not last night’s. The Lakers are NOT keeping games close, like you say. They are 25th out of 30 teams in point differential (-5.3) and 29th in ppg allowed (106.2). Injuries have a lot to do with it, but in a lost season, there’s absolutely no reason to play Nash over Marshall. It’s known that MDA is a Nash apologist since they go way back to their days in Phoenix. A lot has to do with money — Nash is signed through next season, while Marshall is not. But even so, it makes sense to see what the kid’s got. He’s played outstanding basketball since becoming a starter and it would serve the Lakers well to try to retain, being that he’ll probably command a very cheap salary, which will be good for a team trying to make a splash in other areas during this summer’s free agency period. I can’t know everything that goes on behind closed doors or in MDA’s head, but I live in LA, so I think I have a little bit of closeness to the situation. MDA has screwed with the rotation all year and has gotten under the skin of many players, including Pau Gasol. His method of coaching/offense is not conducive to winning in this era of basketball. It’s not a terrible thing to bring Marshall off the bench — it could add a youthful spark to the second unit — but only if the minutes remained consistent, which they don’t. Take Jordan Hill for example. Hill is one of the young, hustle guys on the Lakers. He deserves 30+ minutes a game. He has per 36 numbers of 15.2 points and 13.3 rebounds, yet D’Antoni plays him 19.4 minutes per game. He’d rather start Kaman after giving him 5 straight DNPs, which is another mistake. Kaman could be a very useful part of the team if he was played consistently. If it was guaranteed that Marshall would see 30+ minutes, whether coming off the bench or not, I’d be fine with that, but knowing MDA, there’s not way to know. Marshall averaged 38.5 minutes and 11.5 assists in January and the first game Nash came back he played just 21 minutes — even with Meeks getting hurt only 2 minutes in. I just dont see any logic in that. I think D’Antoni knows this is his last year in LA and he could care less what people think or if they condone is coaching style or not. He’s gonna go out on his terms and really doesn’t care about Marshall’s future or not. He wants his buddies Nash and Kobe to get all the limelight in their waning years.

      • hookedonnews

        I see that my original reply to this comment has disappeared. I’ll just say this–I don’t believe MDA thinks he’s going to be fired. There’s been no indication of that. Steve Nash started rather than Marshall because he’s Steve Nash. He’s the better player, and that’s not even debatable. I don’t believe any coach in the league would have started KM over Nash any more than they would start Meeks over Kobe. I think you can see by these last 2 games that Marshall is going to get plenty of minutes. I don’t believe MDA is a Steve Nash apologist because I don’t think he needs an apologist. Coaches don’t normally change their style of coaching because fans & pundits criticize them. The majority of the teams in the league use some form of D’Antoni’s system. Eric Spoelstra recently commented on that. D’Antoni is a bright coach who is well-liked by his players. Yes Gasol has had his issues, but he has played well lately and proved he can play within the system. D’Antoni wants to win games, not promote Nash & Kobe (who don’t need anyone doing that anyway). Kaman hasn’t been used because there are too many options at his position and (according to MDA) he doesn’t want to play limited minutes. He also doesn’t fit the system as well as a player like Sacre or Kelly. He’s injury prone and has been complaining since he hit town. That could be a factor. Hill doesn’t start because he gets too tired when playing extended minutes and plays better (according to numbers I saw recently) when coming off the bench. We have a really good bench group. No reason to disrupt that when Gasol will be back in a couple of weeks. Sacre played well with Nash & Blake and has impressed D’Antoni with his work ethic. No one is going to get consistent minutes until the injury issues are resolved. At the beginning of the season before all the injuries hit, things were more stable and no one was playing extended minutes because they had an 11-man rotation. I don’t don’t how you can expect consistency when a new player goes out practically every day, and this team came into the season with like 7 new players. Under the circumstances not sure what you could expect.