A shoulder injury may cost Anthony Davis much more than the final 13 games of the regular season.
With New Orleans essentially eliminated from post season contention, the team decided to have Davis undergo a pair of surgeries — one on his left knee and another to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, an injury Davis revealed he has played with for three seasons — ending his season prematurely.
The shutdown marks the third time in the four-year career of Davis that he failed to play through the end of the regular season.
The 21 games he will miss this year represents a career-high. Since being selected with the first overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by the Pelicans, Davis has missed 21.8 percent of the teams’ regular season games due to a variety of injuries.
The loss of Davis for the final four weeks of the regular season could have extended ramifications for the franchise.
If the standings were indicative of the NBA Draft order, New Orleans would select sixth overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, adding a first round player to its roster for the first time since selecting Davis.
Since the lottery is weighted, the Pelicans have a 6.3 percent chance of obtaining the top selection.
Adding a promising piece alongside the 23-year-old center is imperative, as the team has mortgaged its future by dealing away draft picks for players that haven’t thrived alongside Davis.
This season, Davis led the team in scoring (24.3 points), rebounds (10.3), blocks (2.0) and ranked second in steals (1.3) per game.
By shutting Davis down for the remainder of the season, the Pelicans may have inadvertently provided themselves with salary cap relief.
On the first day of free agency last summer, New Orleans signed Davis to a five-year, $145 million contract, the richest in NBA history.
The figure has yet to be determined, because the max contract he received is guaranteed to be 25 percent of the teams’ total salary, but if he reaches the incentives of the Derrick Rose Rule, he could command 30 percent of the total salary.
To qualify for the salary increase, a player would either have to win an MVP award, be voted as an All-Star game starter twice in their first four seasons or be selected to any level of the All-NBA Team twice in their first four years.
Davis was an All-Star starter for the Western Conference in 2015, but missed out on a guaranteed pay raise, in his case about $24 million, this year as Kobe Bryant replaced him in the starting lineup.
The only way for him to qualify for the incentive is to be named to an All-NBA Team, after he was a First Team selection a year ago.
The only problem is with so many games missed, more than 25 percent of the regular season, voters may be hesitant to anoint him one of the 15 best players in the league.
Nagging injuries have robbed Davis plenty of time on the court, the latest one could be an eight figure setback.
Salah Mejri– Dallas Mavericks
Available in 99% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues
The Mavericks have limited the minutes of starting center Zaza Pachulia, playing him less than 20 minutes in each of his last five games, opening a place in the rotation for Mejri. The 7-foot-1 center out of Tunisia responded with a huge game against Portland Sunday night. Mejri played a total of 33 minutes, starting the second half in place of Pachulia, tallying 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, 14 rebounds, six blocks, an assist and a steal. Additional minutes may have become available with Chandler Parsons being listed as day-to-day with a knee injury.
Darrell Arthur– Denver Nuggets
Available in 90% of Yahoo! leagues
Arthur stuffed the stat sheet in his last outing in Charlotte. In 35 minutes, the 6-foot-9 forward knocked down 5-of-10 attempts from the field, part of a 13 point, eight rebound, three assist, two steal and a two block effort in 35 minutes. Denver has even played Arthur at center, allowing him to showcase his post moves. A back injury may limit Kenneth Faried for the next few games, enabling Arthur to start in his place and his wide array of skills could land him plenty of minutes.
Hollis Thompson– Philadelphia 76ers
Available in 87% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues
The 76ers are desperate for consistent scoring and Thompson has emerged as a viable long range threat for the team. The 6-foot-8 forward out of Georgetown has knocked down a 3-pointer in each of his last 10 games, while connecting at least twice in his past four contests. Sunday against the Celtics, Thompson poured in 18 points, his third highest scoring effort of the season, as he converted 7-of-11 attempts from the field and 3-of-4 attempts form beyond the arc.
Josh Richardson– Miami Heat
Available in 70% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues
The rookie out of Tennessee is on a shooting binge too hot to ignore. Over his last eight games, Ricahrdson is converting 73.3 percent of his attempts from 3-point range while posting 13.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.9 blocks and 2.8 conversions from 3-point range in 28.5 minutes. Richardson has made at least one shot from beyond the arc in each of his last 10 games and is providing plenty of help defensively, matching a career-high with three blocks Monday against Denver.
Brandon Jennings– Orlando Magic
Available in 72% of Yahoo! leagues
The return of Elfrid Payton from an elbow injury wasn’t enough to supplant Jennings in the starting lineup for the Magic. Since being acquired at the trade deadline, Jennings has been an excellent playmaker for Orlando, dishing out seven or more assists in three of his last four games, and racking up 66 assists in 16 appearances with his new team. The Magic may return Payton into the starting lineup, but Jennings should still see plenty of time on the court, even in a reserve role.