Fantasy

Fantasy Basketball 2020-21: Injuries that will impact your fantasy draft

The 2020-21 NBA season is right around the corner with Opening Night set for Dec. 22.

With preseason hoops already under way, it's just about time for fantasy basketball drafts to take place.

To prepare you for your upcoming fantasy draft, we already have you covered with a mock draft, top 200 rankings and the biggest sleepers.

Now, we're here to fill you in with the most recent injury updates of fantasy stars that you may consider selecting.

Kemba Walker - Left knee injury

Walker is still recovering from the knee injury that held him out of games in the 2019-20 regular season.

Ahead of training camp, the Celtics announced that Walker will not resume on-court basketball activities until "early December," with a further update regarding his game availability to be provided during "the first week of January."

"There's no rush," Walker recently said. "There's no rush on my end. I'm coming back when I need to come back and when I'm feeling good to play."

"I want to be at my best. The last time in the playoffs, I wasn't at my best, and that sucked. I don't want to be that way no more."

An update in the first week of January means Walker will miss the first five games of the season at a minimum. Time will tell if he'll be ready to return at that point or if he'll need even more time to recover.

Fantasy analysis: In the grand scheme of things, having Walker in your IR spot for the first month and a half of your fantasy season isn't the worst situation to be in if you select him at the right time. While he's no longer an option in the first three-or-so rounds of your fantasy draft, you should feel confident in drafting Walker any time after the fifth round and beyond.

Kristaps Porzingis - Torn right meniscus

Porzingis suffered a torn meniscus in the 2020 NBA Playoffs and will miss the start of the 2020-21 season as he continues to get back to full strength.

According to team president Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks have targeted a Jan. 1 date that Porzingis would be cleared to resume on-court activity.

"We're going to make sure that that's 100 percent before we put him out there, so that's going to be into the season before we are able to have him join us," Nelson told 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas.

Like mentioned with Walker above, Porzingis resuming on-court activities in January means he'll likely miss the team's first four games of the season. If he is still a ways away after that, he would be in danger of missing the first portion of the first half of the season.

Fantasy analysis: Again, like Walker, having Porzingis hold down an IR spot for the first month or so until he returns to the floor isn't a terrible option. As a fantasy monster who tallies points, rebounds and blocks, he could be exactly what you need to give your team a boost in the middle and end of the season. If he's still available in or after the fifth round, you should feel comfortable taking Porzingis.

Jaren Jackson Jr. - Torn left meniscus

Jackson Jr. also suffered a torn meniscus during the 2020 NBA restart and will not be ready for the start of the 2020-21 season.

According to Zach Kleiman, the team's Vice President of Basketball Operations, Jackson "is still going to be out a minute" and declined to give a timetable for when the promising young forward could return.

Fantasy analysis: Because of the uncertainty surrounding when Jackson could return, it's best to let him fall a bit in your fantasy drafts. If it gets to the later rounds and no one has taken that swing on him yet, go for it, because he will be an asset when he returns to the court. But unlike Walker or Porzingis, the question mark on Jackson's timetable for return means you shouldn't take a flier on him until the last three or so rounds of your draft.

Other impactful injuries

Justise Winslow, Memphis Grizzlies, SF - Winslow (hip) will also miss the start of the season with an injury suffered in the bubble. According to Kleiman, he may not be ready for "Day 1" but will return "early in the season."

Zach Collins, Portland Trail Blazers, PF/C - Collins (ankle) also suffered his injury in the bubble, which eventually required surgery. He has resumed light basketball activities and the team is reportedly hoping for his return "some time in mid-to-late January."

Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic, SF/PF - Isaac (torn ACL) was one of the breakout stars of last year's fantasy season as a player that racked up steals and blocks. His injury suffered in the bubble will keep him out for the entire 2020-21 season.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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