Ricky Rubio's ACL: Plan B for Your Fantasy Basketball Team
In the worst news possible for both the Minnesota Timberwolves and fantasy owners of Ricky Rubio alike, the young superstar's season came to an abrupt end when his knee buckled after he collided with Kobe Bryant on Friday, March 9th, tearing his ACL.
Just how valuable has Rubio been? As NBA.com's Steve Aschburner notes, Rubio "ranked fifth in assists (8.5) and third in steals (2.22), and was among the league leaders in charges drawn and in alley-oop assists."
Minnesota will have their work cut out for them finding a capable replacement and keeping their playoff hopes alive, as will every fantasy basketball owner that was counting on Rubio down the stretch run.
If you haven't already picked up Luke Ridnour—Rubio's direct backup on the T-Wolves—here's a look at other Plan B options that might be floating around on the waiver wire at this moment.
Baron Davis, New York Knicks
CBSSports: 59% owned
Baron Davis has posted seven or more assists in four of the last five games, and in three of those games he has played 15, 21 and 22 minutes, respectively.
Originally signed to take over as the starting PG in Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo offense, his return to fantasy value has been postponed by his own back issues, and the emergence of one—Jeremy Lin. However, D'Antoni has begun experimenting with both PGs on the floor at once, and Baron's production could be on an immediate uptick.
If you know that Baron is available in your league, open up a new tab on your browser, go to your league and pick him up. Then come back and read the rest of the list!
JJ Barea, Minnesota Timberwolves
CBSSports: 20% owned
Aside from games missed due to injuries, Jose Juan Barea is giving the Timberwolves the same production that he gave the Dallas Mavericks last year—about nine ppg, three assists and two rebounds over 20 minutes per game.
With Rubio's 34 minutes per game suddenly vacated, Barea has a real chance to emerge as a fantasy option for your team.
Keep in mind that Minnesota often played both Rubio and Ridnour at the same time, so Barea could see time at both PG and SG.
Roddy Beaubois, Dallas Mavericks
CBSSports: 33% owned
Beaubois is a less attractive option than either Baron or Barea, as Roddy will need a break or two to gain more minutes.
His current production is almost identical to Barea, and he also plays 20 minutes per game. He can provide explosive scoring while contributing in the assists and rebounds categories if given closer to 30 minutes a night.
However, he will need to wrestle those additional minutes away from Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Jason Terry to realize his potential.
Beaubois is more of a speculative add because of his high upside.
Leandro Barbosa, Toronto Raptors
CBSSports: 21% owned
In his best season with the Phoenix Suns (2006-2007), Barbosa posted 18.1 ppg, 4.0 assists and 2.7 rebounds while also shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc, in 33 minutes per game.
In the current season with the Raptors, he is playing roughly 22 minutes per game, but has shown that when given the minutes he can score in the high teens to mid-20s, while adding 4-5 rebounds and an assist or two.
Barbosa's situation might soon change for the better if Jose Calderon is traded by the March 15 deadline.
If you have someone on your roster that you can cut (Rubio, if you are not in a keeper league), Barbosa is someone you can add and play a little wait-and-see with until the deadline passes.
Jerryd Bayless, Toronto Raptors
CBSSports: 34% owned
I previously spoke about Bayless' value here, but the injury to Rubio makes him even more interesting.
He is in the same position as his teammate, Leandro Barbosa, as a trade of Jose Calderon could greatly improve his value.
While there is no one out there who can completely replace what Ricky Rubio gave you this season, one of these players has the potential to at least ease some of the pain.
Best of luck to you and, if it makes you feel any better, I share your pain: Rubio was a regular starter for me, too.