The Houston Rockets will be without All-Star center Dwight Howard for Saturday night’s game vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, which mean fantasy basketball owners won’t benefit from his services either.
Howard has been dealing with an ankle issue for much of the past 10 days, which included having to get a cyst removed and the fluid drained.
While the team is likely on board with the decision, Rockets’ beat writer Jonathan Feigen reported that the center himself declared he’d be out tonight. It was pretty apparent he was serious about that statement when he showed up to the team’s shootaround on Saturday wearing slippers. I guess it’ll just be a lazy cartoon-watching day for the Rockets’ big man:
Dwight Howard.is out. First clue: attended shootaround in slippers. Second: he said so.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) March 29, 2014
The Rockets are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race and can ill-afford to make things worse for their star player, so having him sit may be the best thing for the team in the long run. Of course, fantasy owners can’t be happy with that.
Dwight Howard is averaging 18.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks this season.
His top replacement in fantasy leagues will be Omer Asik.
Between injuries and lack of playing time, Asik (33.2 percent owned) has been a big disappointment this season, but last week he showed why the Rockets are paying him $25 million over three years.
In the three games Howard sat out, Asik averaged 11.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. He will have his hands full with the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and should have no problem getting 28+ minutes in a battle of true centers.
The way Dwight’s ankle has been acting up, fantasy owners with room on their bench would serve themselves well to keep Asik rostered for the remainder of the fantasy basketball playoffs.
Donatas Motiejunas (100 percent available) is another player worth your consideration in deeper leagues. Motiejunas averaged 12.7 points, 5.7 boards, 1.3 steals, and 0.6 3-pointers in the same three games Howard missed last week.