Clippers C DeAndre Jordan hasn't missed a game since March 2011, but he'll sit out tonight. The league's perennial "iron man" has pneumonia and has been downgraded from questionable to out for tonight's contest against the Miami Heat.
Cole Aldrich told the media at STAPLES Center that he'd be starting in Jordan's place, and it's safe to assume that Aldrich will play a lot of minutes tonight, unless he's sidelined by foul trouble. Miami's starting center, Hassan Whiteside, is also questionable for tonight's game, leaving the big man situation in Los Angeles a bit of a question mark. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that if Whiteside plays, he's likely going to be limited to 20 minutes of playing time.
Here's what's for sure: Cole Aldrich will play a lot of minutes, and Wes Johnson will get more court time than normal, playing a lot of minutes at PF. Other players are dicier--Luc Richard Mbah a Moute could see some minutes at center if Doc Rivers goes totally small, or the benched Josh Smith could get an opportunity. Smith certainly makes the most sense on paper, but Doc's been reluctant to insert him into the lineup lately, rolling with Mbah a Moute at center and Lance Stephenson at power forward, leaving Smith on the bench.
The Clippers might be able to get away with Mbah a Moute at center in lineups where Miami plays Chris Bosh as their center--Luc has been trusted with assignments such as Anthony Davis recently, and figures to be the go-to assignment for Bosh regardless of injuries.
For fantasy purposes, it's wise to go away form Jordan and Whiteside tonight. Since Whiteside could play limited minutes, the impact of someone like Chris Andersen as a sleeper is marginalized, but Cole Aldrich could be a solid play in Jordan's absence. Wesley Johnson also figures to be a safe play to get a lot of minutes and shots tonight, as does Chris Bosh, who will have a much heavier load without Goran Dragic and Whiteside in the lineup. Tyler Johnson should replace Dragic and get a lot of action at PG for the Heat, making Chris Paul's hot streak a solid bet to continue. I'd go with him as a starter tonight.
To get started with FanDuel daily fantasy sports, you can play this FREE game--there's no entry fee and a cash prize for the winners, starting nightly at 7 PM ET.