Fantasy Mailbag: Managing the injured Kevin Durant's NBA return

Josh Lloyd
·4-min read
Kevin Durant has missed the last month of NBA action after injuring his hamstring.
Kevin Durant has missed a month of NBA action after injuring his hamstring, and could be a fantasy trade target with the Brooklyn Nets not rushing him back into the lineup. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

We are heading into the home stretch for fantasy basketball now that the All-Star Game is in the rearview mirror. So, let’s fine-tune our squads and make a push for the title. I took questions from Discord and Instagram to see what problems are vexing the community.

What to do with Kevin Durant? Is he ever coming back? - @ocalvo12

Kevin Durant has missed a month with his hamstring injury. He is going to miss more time, most likely as he has another scan this week.

When he does come back, which he will, he will be limited as they get his conditioning up. At this stage, you can’t value Durant as a top 20 fantasy player, barely a top 40 guy given the low minutes and missed games.

WHACK: Ben Simmons fires back at NBA announcer's 'disturbing' comments

'I FEEL LUCKY': Hope as first NBA team gets COVID-19 vaccine

But can you even get that sort of player back in a deal? I would explore it, although It brings me to a more significant point about evaluating the injury history of players.

I avoided Durant and John Wall (and Dwight Powell and Rodney Hood) in drafts because they were returning from Achilles injuries. Doing so looked dumb to begin the season, as both Wall and Durant enjoyed strong starts.

But look at where we are now - Wall can’t shoot, and assists are way down, not to mention the knocks and soreness, which keeps limiting his playing time and while Durant started great and the Nets are making it clear that hamstring isn’t related to the Achilles, it is related to the Achilles.

So despite Durant looking awesome when he plays, avoiding players coming off these injuries is still going to be something I adhere to in the future.

Looking at my fantasy play-offs schedule, the Pistons have a great run. With Mason Plumlee starting to share minutes with Isaiah Stewart, is it worth selling him now while his value is okay? - @Rickittz (Discord)

Stewart is trending up quickly. He is averaging 28 fantasy points in his last two games and is a top 140 player in the previous four games. 

The Pistons will keep giving him solid minutes and probably increasing them, and by April, I can see him starting over Plumlee. 

Plumlee has been great this year, but it’s now or never if you are going to trade him.

Is Kevin Porter Jr. going to be anywhere close to this production when Christian Wood and John Wall come back? If not, how many points do you see him averaging? - @dababy (Discord)

Kevin Porter’s first two games for Houston have been excellent. He’s averaging 45 fantasy points so far. 

But, as ‘dababy’ points out, Christian Wood hasn’t played and John Wall hasn’t played. 

Victor Oladipo missed one of those games, Eric Gordon missed 1.5 of them, and Danuel House Jr. has been out. 

Gordon has been ruled out for the next 4-6 weeks, Wall and Oladipo seem like they will consistently be in and out of the lineup, but that’s not to say that Porter won’t drop off from here because he will. 

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

You will see the argument that Wood coming back will help Porter. To a degree, I can see why, but there are only so many shots to go around. 

It may increase Porter’s assists, but Wall will control the ball a lot as well, and Wood will take more shots than Justin Patton, hurting Porter’s usage. 

The trade deadline could change this a lot, given Oladipo could be on his way out, but I think 30 fantasy points is a realistic base to expect for Porter, with 35 a nice realistic value.

Is Coby White a drop? - @andrew5mclean (IG)

Coby White is being moved to the bench for Monday’s Bulls game, with Tomáš Satoranský starting at point guard ahead of him. 

To be honest, it’s the right move. White isn’t a starting point. He is a combo, sixth-man type guard, and the Bulls would be wise to develop him in that role. But that doesn’t mean he can’t have fantasy value there. 

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Look at Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford in the past. So, let’s watch White’s role over the next few games and then make a judgment, but he is a hold for now.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.