San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich has announced that star players Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will not play on Thursday night vs. the Brooklyn Nets. With just two games on the NBA schedule, fantasy basketball owners won’t have many fantastic replacement options on their league’s waiver wire, but there are some players worth considering.
Duncan is coming off a game in which he scored 31 points in 40 minutes — both season highs — so Pop will simply be giving him a day of rest. Parker, who has been hampered by minor ailments all year, will sit after being forced to leave Wednesday’s game vs. the Wizards with lower back tightness.
Tiago Splitter, who has played in just three games since returning from a shoulder injury, will be the main beneficiary of Duncan’s absence. His minutes have increased each game since he’s come back — logging 17 minutes on Saturday, 21 minutes on Monday, and 34 minutes Wednesday night. With Boris Diaw also questionable to play due to a bout of food poisoning, Splitter should get all the minutes he can handle. The 6-foot-11 Brazilian grabbed 12 boards and scored seven points in last night’s double overtime win over Washington. In 58 games a starter in 2012-13, Splitter averaged 10.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks, while shooting 54.4 percent from the field. Splitter is available in 96 percent of ESPN.com fantasy basketball leagues.
News of Parker’s potential benching broke last night, so hopefully you were able to get to your league’s waiver wire in time to snag a replacement. If not, there may still be some viable options out there. Patty Mills will start and is a must-add on a night with so few games. In his lone start this season Mills scored 20 points, while adding five rebounds and three steals. He’s hitting 3.1 threes per 36 minutes this year and should be a main source of offense for the Spurs tonight. The 25-year-old Australian is averaging 12.4 points and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five games. Mills is available in 98 percent of ESPN.com leagues.
Other players to consider are Danny Green — who had 22 points and seven boards last night — and Marco Belinelli — who has scored in double figures in 15 of his last 18 games for the Spurs. Both Green and Belinelli are excellent sources of 3-pointers, averaging 1.6 and 1.5 treys per game, respectively.
Green is available in 59 percent of ESPN.com leagues, while Belinelli can be scooped up in 94 percent of them.