NBA Basketball Column: Waiver Wired
Wired: NBA Hot Pickups
Games Played Week 11
4 Games - Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Utah
3 Games – Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Denver, Golden State, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Toronto
2 Games – Detroit, L.A. Clippers, Washington
Due to my Colts having a 1 p.m. game on Sunday, along with the rest of the NFL playoffs this weekend, I decided to knock this thing out on Saturday instead of Sunday. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Kevin Love Update: Of course, the week I put this column out a little early, news breaks on Kevin Love's broken finger shortly thereafter. Dante Cunningham will get the start on Saturday and should be watched very closely in that one. Derrick Williams just hasn't been able to shoot the ball this season, but will also get an opportunity to right the ship with Love expected to miss time (4-6 weeks? No timetable set yet). Neither player qualifies as must-own in my mind at this point, and it should just mean more goodies for guys like Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko, and anyone else on the Wolves who can score, like Alexey Shved and J.J. Barea. If I was picking up one of the forwards tonight, I would go with Cunningham because he's starting, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see Williams get some starts, and it's a flip of the coin as to which one will actually pan out in the long run. Either way, don't expect any miracles from Cunningham or Williams. This is obviously devastating news for Love and his fantasy owners, and I really wish I would have been more scared of his injury coming into the season, instead of thinking he would be good to go after a couple weeks. His shooting was dreadful and it could be terrible all year, and we don't even know when Love will be able to play again at this point. I am going to hold him in my weekly leagues for now, and consider dropping him in my daily league, as I simply won't have time to wait on the guy I took at No. 12 overall in my draft. C'est la vie.
Jason Kidd Knicks - 74% owned in Yahoo! Leagues – Kidd hasn’t exactly been tearing it up lately, but he’s still going to see plenty of opportunities for as long as Raymond Felton is out (another month or so) with his finger injury. Kidd is averaging 10 points, 4.6 boards, 5.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.4 3-pointers over his last five, despite Tuesday’s game, when he failed to score and basically stunk.
J.J. Barea Wolves - 11% owned – JJB had scored in double figures in 13 straight games, including every game in December, before cooling off with a four-point game on Wednesday. He was back at it on Thursday with 17 points, four boards, five assists and two 3-pointers, and if you throw out the bad night on Wednesday, he’s averaging 14 points, 4.25 boards, 4.25 assists and 1.25 3-pointers on 43 percent shooting over his last four games. He’s not going to save your team in assists, but could be a nice addition, especially in points leagues.
Andre Miller Nuggets - 46% owned – While Ty Lawson avoided a potential catastrophe with his Achilles injury, Miller is still going to get plenty of run while Lawson’s disappointing season continues. He’s averaging 8.8 points and 5.7 assists on the season, and 9.4 points and 7.8 over the last five, when Lawson has been bothered by his injury. Miller’s still not a must-own player, but if you’re looking for some point guard help (as well as a quick plug-in for this Saturday and Sunday), Miller works.
Jamaal Tinsley Jazz - 8% owned – Tinsley is the starting point guard with Mo Williams out indefinitely with thumb surgery, but isn’t doing much to make his new owners happy right now. He’s scored three or fewer points in three of his last five games and is averaging just 5.0 points and 5.6 assists over his last five, despite hitting 52 percent of his shots. It’s important to note that it’s a miracle that Tinsley is even still in the NBA after not playing in the league for the 2008-09 and 2010-11 seasons, and he’s almost 35 years old. I still think Tinsley will find a groove and start playing better in the near future, while Earl Watson’s numbers are even worse than Tinsley’s right now. Tinsley’s not a must-start player, but should still be worth owning as long as he’s starting for the Jazz.
Garrett Temple Wizards - 4% owned – I haven’t been a “Temple guy” or picked him up this season, but he caught my eye on Friday when he had eight points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in 47 minutes of a double-overtime loss to the Nets. His shooting has been pretty atrocious lately, as he’s 7-for-30 over his last four games, and he’s scored eight or fewer points in four of his last five games. John Wall might eventually be ready to come back, Randy Wittman could tire of Temple at any time, and Jordan Crawford is still hot, all of which will keep Temple from ever becoming a household name. But if you’re desperate at point guard in your fantasy league, he might be the best thing sitting on your waiver wire. The Wiz only have two games in Week 11.
Bradley Beal Wizards - 56% owned – I somehow was able to pick up Beal on Monday in one league and he’s been very hot lately. Coming off his Rookie of the Month award, he went off for his best game of the season on Friday with 24 points, six boards, four assists, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers on 10-of-19 shooting, although it was a double-OT game. Still, he’s averaging 17 points, 3.6 boards, 3.2 assists, a steal and 1.6 3-pointers on 42 percent shooting over his last five games, and is once again a must-own player. Just beware that he could eventually take a hit if and when John Wall finally shows his face. The only downside with Beal right now is the 2-game week, but the fact he’s owned in only half the leagues out there is a joke.
Gordon Hayward Jazz - 62% owned – Hayward is a guy I’ve been down on all season, as in, I’m really glad I didn’t draft him. However, he still has some fantasy value and has really kicked it up a notch recently, averaging 16 points and 1.5 3-pointers over his last four games, but still isn’t doing much else. I would argue that Marvin Williams and Hayward will continue to struggle to co-exist as long as Marvin is starting and healthy, even though Hayward is also seeing time at shooting guard. Hayward’s upside is limited, especially coming off the bench, so look elsewhere if you’re trying to hit a homerun and not just fill in a hole.
C.J. Miles Cavaliers - 18% owned – Miles is suddenly starting over Dion Waiters for the Cavs and has averaged 15 points and 2.5 3-pointers in his last two games, which were both starts. But even before Byron Scott gave him the job, he was hot, scoring 33 and 10 points with 10 3-pointers in his previous two games off the bench, and all signs are pointing to him sticking in the starting five, at least while he’s hot. He’s played between 29 and 39 minutes in each of his last three games and the Cavs have four games this week. If you need a scorer who can hit threes (as well as a guy who could possibly disappear in a moment’s notice), Miles deserves a serious look.
Vince Carter Mavericks - 47% owned – Do I trust Vince Carter? Nope. But does he suddenly look like a much younger version of himself, throwing down dunks and turning back the clock? Yes, he does. He’s hit double digits in scoring in four straight games and is averaging 14 points, 5.2 boards, 0.8 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five, in 27 minutes per. Keep in mind that Shawn Marion is playing fairly well, Dirk Nowitzki’s minutes and production are on the rise, and O.J. Mayo’s slump appears to finally be over. None of those things are too promising for Carter, but he’s still playing well enough to be given a look in most leagues. Just beware that when Dirk starts on Saturday, it’s probably Carter, and not Marion, who will be coming off the bench, which is going to hurt.
Terrence Ross Raptors - 7% owned – Ross had just three points in 18 minutes on Friday and four points in 24 minutes the previous Friday, but sandwiched a pair of gems in between them. He had 16 points and four treys last Saturday, and 26 points and six 3-pointers on Wednesday. He’s not a must-own player, but the talent is there if he can get minutes from Dwane Casey. Just expect plenty of ups and downs if you take a flier on him. Over the last five he checks in at 12 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 2.4 3-pointers, and the threes may be a mirage based on the two games he was on fire.
Harrison Barnes Warriors - 46% owned – Barnes is heating up, hitting double digits in scoring in five of his last six games and averaging 11.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.2 3-pointers while shooting 49 percent over his last five. He’s started every game for the Warriors this season and is only going to get better. If he’s still available in your leagues, now is the time to pick him up.
John Salmons 16% owned (and Francisco Garcia 2% owned) Kings – Salmons had 20 points, four assists and a 3-pointer on Friday and had 23 points, six boards and four assists last Sunday. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five, and should continue to be a decent option for as long as Tyreke Evans is out with his bum knee, but he’s targeting Monday as a return date. Garcia might be worth a look in very deep leagues now that he’s back in the rotation, and he’s been starting with Evans out. He’s scored six or fewer points in four of his last five, but did play very well on Wednesday with 14 points, six boards, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers. Over his last five he’s averaging 6.6 points, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers, but he’s the most likely candidate to go back to the bench once Evans is back. Salmons could stay hot, even when Evans returns, but Garcia’s run could be ready to come to an end.
Mike Dunleavy Bucks - 43% owned – Looking at Dunleavy’s game log can be a dizzying task, as he tends to be up and down like a see-saw, but he’s playing well again off the bench. After three straight games in single-digit scoring, he’s hit double figures in four of his last five and is averaging 15 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.6 3-pointers over his last five games. Just beware that if Ersan Ilyasova ever finally gets it going, Dunleavy’s consistency will continue to rise and fall like a roller coaster.
Corey Brewer Nuggets - 18% owned – Brewer failed to score last Friday after his 27-point explosion on Wednesday, but has hit double digits in four of his last five. He’s averaging 12 points, 3.6 boards, 1.8 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over that stretch and continues to be an important bench player for the Nuggets. And if you need games played in a daily league to finish out this week, the Nuggets play on Saturday and Sunday to finish out Week 10.
Austin Daye Pistons - 2% owned – Lawrence Frank is finally giving Daye some run and Daye has responded with some nice numbers. He’s scored in double digits in three of his last four, including Friday’s 20-point game, which also included six boards and two 3-pointers on 9-of-11 shooting in 22 minutes. And over his last five, he’s averaging 11.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 3-pointers. There’s no telling how long Frank will stick with him, but Daye is always capable of playing well if he gets minutes, and he’s averaging 23 of them over his last five games. Just don’t be surprised if he disappears at some point once his run is over, and don’t plan on using him this week with just two games.
Ed Davis 30% owned & Amir Johnson 18% owned Raptors – Dwane Casey said recently that it’s going to be tough to bench Davis anytime soon, and Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas don’t appear to be close to returning from their injuries. Davis is averaging 13.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last five games and looks like a very safe power forward to start right now. Amir Johnson is also worth a look, but fizzled in his last game with zero points before fouling out in just nine minutes. Prior to that, he averaged nearly 12 points, seven boards and 1.25 blocks in four games, and he’ll bounce back from Friday’s disaster. But if I had to pick one right now, I’d switch my call up from Johnson to Davis.
Tristan Thompson Cavaliers - 39% owned – Thompson has been hot ever since Anderson Varejao went down with his knee injury and has gained confidence along the way. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 12.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks over his last five games. He’ll likely take a hit once Varejao is back, but he could miss another week, making Thompson a nearly must-start player for Week 11’s four games.
Kevin Seraphin Wizards - 18% owned – I was high on Seraphin and then dumped him when Randy Wittman planted him on the bench, but he’s coming on again. He hit double figures in scoring in four straight before Friday’s six-point game (on 1-of-9 shooting), and is averaging 12.2 points, 5.4 boards and 1.6 blocks over his last five. It looks like the minutes are back and he’s still shooting at 44 percent over his last five, despite the 1-for-9 meltdown on Friday.
Patrick Patterson Rockets - 27% owned – Patterson is back from his foot injury and starting to round into form. He’s averaging 16.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 3-pointers in his last two games, and his minutes should continue to rise. It’s time to pick him up, as he should only get better as his foot injury continues to heal.
John Henson Bucks - 3% owned – Henson exploded for 20 points, nine boards, a steal and block on 10-of-11 shooting on Wednesday, and I kind of blew it off in his blurb, as that was really the first time he had done anything in a month. Add in the fact he plays for Scott Skiles, and it seemed to have “fluke” written all over it. But then he did it again Friday, going for 11 points, 15 boards, two steals and two blocks on 5-of-10 shooting, and he’s averaging 25 minutes over those two games. This is still very much a potential “fluke” situation, as the Bucks are very deep at forward and Henson is unproven, but he’s worth a flier after those two big games. Just don’t cut a player you rely on to take a chance on Skiles’ flavor of the minute.
Andre Drummond Pistons - 31% owned – I love watching Drummond play and he’s averaging 24 minutes per game over his last five, in which he’s averaged 9.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks. The minutes should continue to be a concern going forward, but at some point, Lawrence Frank is going to have to suck it up and start Drummond over Jason Maxiell. When it happens, Drummond should be a beast, and is still worth a shot, even if he continues to come off the bench. I think he should be owned in most leagues, but he only plays two games in Week 11.
Derrick Favors Jazz - 62% owned – Favors would be owned in every league if he didn’t play behind Paul Millsap, but the fact remains that he does. Despite some very inconsistent playing time and lack of a solid role for the Jazz, he’s still averaging 8.6 points, 5.8 boards, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks over his last five games, and is coming off a 32-minute solid line with Enes Kanter out on Friday. Favors remains a player worth holding in all leagues in hopes that he or Millsap gets moved.
Kosta Koufos Nuggets - 25% owned – Koufos isn’t the most exciting center around, but he’s starting over JaVale McGee and averaging 8.8 points, 5.8 boards, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks over his last five games, and 7.7 points, 6.3 boards and 1.7 blocks on the season. He’s been fairly consistent and is a reliable center in deeper leagues.
Emeka Okafor Wizards - 53% owned – Okafor’s scoring is inconsistent but he’s still playing pretty well, with double figures in rebounds in five of his last seven games, and four double-doubles over that stretch. He’s averaging 8.8 points, 11.2 boards and 1.2 blocks over his last five and remains a decent option in two-center leagues.
Zaza Pachulia Hawks - 8% owned – I hear sometimes that the guys I write about are already owned in leagues, but that shouldn’t be the case with Zaza. He’s coming off the bench, but is averaging 24 minutes over his last five games, along with 10 points and eight boards. He’s not blocking many shots or stealing the ball, but if you need a serviceable center in a deep league, he fits the bill right now.
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