Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Time to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns?

Christmas has come and gone, and hopefully you got some nice fantasy presents in terms of waiver adds or beneficial trades. You still have questions, so I took some from Twitter and Instagram to try and help you make the most of your squad. Let’s get to it.

@Hotbullets Is Karl-Anthony Towns’ knee something to worry about for the rest of the season?

I think there has to be some worry. Towns has missed six games already after injuring his knee against the Clippers on December 13th and could possibly miss Monday’s action (he is questionable at the time of writing).

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Prior to last season, when he missed five games, Towns had never missed an NBA game. That’s because he had never been injured, not because he was some superman who was impervious to the twisting and wrenching of ligaments.

Now, the Wolves are in freefall, winning just one game in December - an awful double-overtime rockfight against the Kings. If their franchise player has a knee injury that gives him problems, they would be foolish not to be cautious.

Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Karl-Anthony Towns has missed several games with a lingering knee issue. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The other risk is if Towns comes back a little too early increasing his risk of either re-injuring his knee, or going too hard and copping a different injury.

When he does return, if he is able to get through the next month without an issue, things should be fine, but knee injuries are never encouraging.

@PositivelyPeli1 Is Brandon Ingram’s free throw shooting legit?

It truly is one of the most remarkable occurrences of the season. Brandon Ingram, a career 66.2% free throw shooter in LA is now knocking in 85.3% of his freebies in New Orleans.

Not only that, but he is doing it on almost a 50% increase on his free throw attempts. When you have a 750 attempt sample size, like Ingram’s at the Lakers and try to compare with 170 attempts in New Orleans, it’s rarely a good idea to go with the small sample size, but this feels different. Ingram also wasn’t a good free-throw shooter in college, hitting only 68% at Duke, so why has this happened?

Well, famously, the Lakers didn’t employ a shooting coach.

The most famous sports franchise in the NBA did not employ a coach to teach shooting for one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the league.

The Pelicans made a definite plan to focus on Ingram and Lonzo Ball’s shooting, and it has paid off. Not only is Ingram improved from the line, but he has also improved from deep and has more confidence in his jumper. So, with all of those things taken into consideration, yes, I believe it is legit.

@TrevBrown2 How do you think an in-season tournament would affect fantasy basketball? 

On the surface, I don’t like the idea of the in-season tournament. I don’t see the need for it, but I’m also not the target the NBA is trying to reach when they introduce this.

I can see the problems and I’m not going to be motivated to watch these games any more than I would a regular-season contest on at the same time. But, the fantasy angle is something different, and I’ve been trying to work out what this may do if it is introduced.

The initial reaction is they just get treated as part of the regular season and the fantasy stats count as usual. But, there are problems with that. If it is indeed a different competition, I’m not sure I would want them included for regular-season fantasy.

First all, teams won’t play an equal amount of games. Some teams may play five games, some may play one. Some teams will rest their starters and play the reserves, some won’t.

There is too much uncertainty with how it will look for it be considered something that should be included in regular fantasy numbers and therefore, I would be excluding it from leagues that I run.

@eldudebrothers Would Marcus Morris getting traded hurt or help his value? Is it time to preemptively cut the cord?

To me, it’s an unambiguous case of a trade hurting his value. Morris currently has a career-high usage of 23.6, playing over 30 minutes a game for only the second time in his career and shooting a blistering 46% from three, also a career-best.

Any team that trades for Morris would be a contender, as the only terrible team that would want him already has him. If he goes to a good team, he won’t be able to play that much, nor hijack the offence as much as currently does. In fact, over the last month, you can see the impact a better team would have.

In those past 12 games, Morris has played only 29 minutes a game, shooting 38% from deep and averaging just 26.72 fantasy points per game. That puts him outside the top 100 and in his last five, with just 26 minutes a game, he has been outside the top 130.

To me, he clearly won’t be a factor in the fantasy playoffs because he will either be traded or the Knicks will rightfully limit his role. Now, if you drop him for no-one, what’s the point? But, if a hot free agent is available, he could be a drop, but he is definitely someone I would look to trade off my fantasy squad.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and keep an eye out for the next mailbag tweet to gather your questions.