Jarret Allen’s finger injury is one with wide implications for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. Described as the anchor of their team’s defense, the Cavs have to figure out how to make up for his loss. While Kevin Love will be reliable for Cleveland as always, the player that needs to take the biggest leap, and could be very valuable the rest of the 2021-22 Fantasy Basketball season, is Lauri Markkanen.
Despite making the transition to small forward this season, the injury to Allen means that Love and rookie phenom Evan Mobley will be tasked with handling primary duties at the center position. But what does that mean for Markkanen?
2021-22 Fantasy Basketball: Lauri Markkanen
The Finnish big man is one of the NBA’s least consistent seven-footers in the NBA. Sometimes, he’s been one of the best tall shooters in the game. In others, he’s been largely disappointing.
In his second season in the league, he averaged 18.7 points and 2.3 three-pointers per contest. But with each ensuing season, his numbers dropped.
This season is his worst in terms of three-point percentage. He averages 11.5 attempts per game, which is on par for most of his career.
While the numbers make him look pretty bad, it’s time for Markkanen to step up. With Allen hurt, his 9.7 attempts per game will be distributed among the frontcourt. And The Markksman will have every opportunity to get into a hot streak, as he’s been known to do.
In two games with Allen injured, Markkanen has averaged 21.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks. Look for him to continue to put up strong numbers as long as Allen is out.
In games this season (before March 8) where he’s played over 30 minutes, Markkanen averages 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.4 three-pointers per game. Contrasted with 12.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.5 three-pointers per game, it’s easy to see why this Jarrett Allen injury might be just what Markkanen needs to get his game on track.
Will anything get in his way?
The Cavaliers seem set on giving Dean Wade all the opportunities he can get. It’s possible he takes away some of the space left behind by Allen. The same goes for Love, who has been up-and-down over the last month or so.
What if Lauri Markkanen is taken in my league?
If you’re looking for points, rebounds, and three-pointers during the playoffs, join the club. Points are constantly the most difficult category to find on the waiver wire. But due to some recent injuries, there are a few options.
Each of the players below might be options and are listed with their stats over the last 15 days.
Marvin Bagley ~ 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 56.3% FG, 0.5 three-pointers
With the injury to Isaiah Stewart, Bagley should soak up minutes. He’ll have plenty of playing time in a frontcourt that doesn’t have much to offer
Jalen Smith ~ 14.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 54.5% FG, 1.7 three-pointers
The Maryland Terrapin alum is finally getting his shot with big minutes, and a foul-prone Isaiah Jackson ahead of him will make it easy for him to keep getting minutes consistently.
Dorian Finney-Smith ~ 15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 58.3% FG, 3.2 three-pointers
DFS has always struggled with consistency, but when he’s hot, he’s a very valuable fantasy asset.