As the injuries pile up in 2009, another dynamic young center goes down. Al Jefferson of the Minnesota Timberwolves is out indefinitely with a torn ACL and he is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
This injury is terrible for owners of Jefferson, who many believe was snubbed in the 2009 All-Star selections.
What to do now?
Buy Kevin Love
The fantasy value for Kevin Love has just shot through the roof. Love and Jefferson had been the NBA's best double-double duo before the injury and now there will be more opportunity and need for Love to do his thing.
In the month of February, Love has been averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds per game. He is one of the NBA's best offensive rebounders and—with Jefferson out—Love should exceed his 10 rebound per game average as his minutes boost to over 30 per game.
Love is shooting over 50 percent in 2009 and he has a nice combination of post moves and jumpers. He idolizes his coach, Kevin McHale, and has played especially hard for him since he took over the coaching responsibilities.
Although he is a very skilled offensive player, the offense hasn't been run through Love much, so we haven't seen his passing ability. In a premier role his assists could even jump from 1.2 closer to 3.0 per game.
Love won't get many steals or blocks, but if he averages a low-points double-double for the remainder of the year he is a very solid second-tier fantasy big man who may be on your waiver wire.
The injury to Jefferson is also going to give Craig Smith time to shine. Smith is a bruising player who makes up for his lack of height with hustle and muscle.
If Smith is in a situation where he is logging close to 30 minutes per night, he is worth a roster spot if you are hurting for a post presence.
Ryan Gomes could also rotate down to the four if needed and he should get a slight boost in playing time and production.
Will Mike Miller Shine?
Jefferson's injury leaves the T-Wolves without a number one scorer. Mike Miller has the ability to step-up and fill that role, Miller is also attractive to playoff contenders.
I wouldn't go out of my way to trade for Miller unless it's for cheap, but if he is on the wire pick him up.