NBA Basketball Column: Waiver Wired
Week 13 Top NBA Pickups
Games Played for Week 13
5 Games – L.A. Clippers
4 Games – Atlanta, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Washington.
3 Games – Charlotte, Cleveland, Indiana, Miami, Milwaukee, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto, Utah.
2 Games – Dallas, Denver.
Before we get to the position breakdowns, here are a few oddballs that deserve to be talked about. And if you're not following me on Twitter for pre-game updates on who is in and who is out, along with a lot of other stuff, you probably should be. Click here to make it happen.
Kawhi Leonard Spurs 49% owned in Yahoo! Leagues – Leonard gets a boost with Manu Ginobili out for another week or so, and has filled the stat sheet in two of his last three games. He also had a major letdown on Friday night with zero points, five boards, one assist and zero steals, blocks or 3-pointers. He’s averaging 8.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists. 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers, and is shooting 52 percent over his last five. Maybe he’s ready to get it going, but because he plays for Gregg Popovich and the Spurs, he’s still going to be up and down, especially when Manu is back.
Jarrett Jack Warriors 55% - Stephen Curry was surprisingly back in action on Saturday, but Jack went off with 25 points, 12 assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, and should continue to see plenty of run at both guard spots as Curry continues to try to play on his ankle, which I’m pretty sure is made of Cool Ranch Doritos.
Tiago Splitter Spurs 26% - Splitter has hit double digits in scoring in six straight games, averaging 13.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks over his last five. He’s starting and getting 29 minutes per night, making him worth owning in almost all formats going forward.
Isaiah Thomas Kings 57% - After blowing up for 34 points and six 3-pointers last Saturday, Thomas struggled, scoring 9, 2 and 6 points in his next three games. He righted the ship on Saturday night with 15 points, five boards, seven assists and two steals. He’s averaging 13 points, 5.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 3-pointers on 42 percent shooting over his last five games, and while he’s far too inconsistent to be considered a must-start fantasy player, there is still too much potential for him not to be owned in all leagues. Especially with teammate Aaron Brooks playing just 18, 7 and 8 minutes in each of his last three games.
Mario Chalmers Heat 43% - Chalmers has been all over the place over his last five games, scoring 4, 15, 12, 34 and 2 points in each of them. The 34-point performance included a ridiculous 10 3-pointers, and he’s averaging 13.4 points, 3.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 3.2 3-pointers over his last five. He’s at least worth a look in all leagues right now.
Devin Harris and Kyle Korver Hawks 25% - Harris suffered a sprained ankle on Saturday, which was the same day it was announced that Lou Williams is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Harris still had 13 points and two 3-pointers off the bench on Saturday, and is averaging 16 points, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.3 3-pointers over his last three, and as long as he’s healthy, he should continue start at SG for the Hawks the rest of the way, as long as they don’t go with a big lineup on most nights, like they did Saturday against the Spurs. As long as Harris is healthy, I think he should be owned in all leagues. And with four games this week, Atlanta's Kyle Korver also looks like an excellent pickup. He's averaging 11 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five, and also gets a boost with Williams done for the year.
Eric Bledsoe Clippers 18% - Chris Paul was back on Saturday, which obviously hurts the value of Bledsoe greatly. But with a five-game week and CP3’s knee still a bit of a concern, I’d recommend holding onto Bledsoe if you can. But even with five games, he’s a risky fantasy start as long as Paul is playing. He had 19 points, seven boards, five dimes and two steals in Tuesday’s start, but won’t be able to do much off the bench. However, he still managed 11 points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer in just 18 minutes of action. It will be tough for him to do that going forward in just 18 minutes, but it just goes to show how much talent the kid has.
Beno Udrih Bucks 2% - Udrih had six points, two rebounds and four assists in just 13 minutes on Saturday after failing to score in 20 minutes on Thursday. Despite coming off the bench and playing behind both Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, Udrih is still somehow averaging 8.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 20 minutes over his last five games, and might be worth a look if you’re hurting for dimes.
Jared Dudley Suns 72% - Dudley won’t be available in many leagues, but he is still sitting out there in some. He had 13 points, six boards, four assists, three steals and two 3-pointers in his return from a right wrist injury on Thursday, and is averaging 15 points, 7.0 boards, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.3 3-pointers over his last three. If he’s available in your league, he shouldn’t be after you read this.
Gerald Henderson Bobcats 31% - Henderson is back in the starting lineup for the Bobcats and despite dealing with a bulging disc in his back, has hit double digits in scoring in five straight games, averaging nearly 14 points, 2.4 boards, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals during that stretch. After a hot start from downtown this season, he has just one 3-pointer in his last eight games, so don’t look for too much help there.
Carlos Delfino Rockets 22% - Delfino is so up and down it’s crazy, but when he’s on, he’s a great source of points and 3-pointers, along with some other stats. He’s been more consistent lately, scoring between 15 and 17 points in four of his last five games, averaging nearly 14 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.8 3-pointers while shooting 47% from the floor over that stretch. And with four games this week, he should be good for at least two, if not three solid stat lines this week.
Shannon Brown Suns 19% - Brown is playing for a new coach in Phoenix and has been hot for over his last four games, averaging 17 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 0.6 3-pointers while shooting 47 percent off the bench over that stretch. I’d like him more if he were starting, but it’s hard to argue with how well he’s been playing lately.
Alan Anderson Raptors 14% - Landry Fields, who was getting ridiculous minutes coming into the week, fell off a cliff, playing just 13 and 18 minutes in his last two games, and failing to reach double figures in scoring in any of his last five games. Anderson, on the other hand, is coming off the bench and playing well, racking up 13.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five games. That streak includes a nine-minute, two-point letdown on Tuesday, but he scored a season-high 27 on Wednesday and 18 more points on Friday. He’s hit six 3-pointers over his last two games, and while Fields will continue to start, Anderson looks like a much better player to own for now.
Derrick Williams Timberwolves 20% - Dante Cunningham was out on Saturday with the flu, while Williams has now started in two straight games. And given how banged up the Wolves are, Williams is simply going to have to play. I like the fact that he’s starting for now, and he’s averaging 27 minutes per game over his last five, along with 9.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 steals while shooting just 36 percent. If his shot starts falling, and it will, Williams could be fun to own going forward.
Ersan Ilyasova Bucks 72% - Ilyasova had scored nine or fewer points in four straight games before blowing up on Sunday with 27 points, 14 boards, four assists, a block and three 3-pointers on 10-of-14 shooting. Look, I’m not going to pretend to be able to predict when Ilyasova is going to figure things out or play well on any given night, but his stat line on Saturday was a monster, and shows what he’s capable of doing in the 24 minutes he gets every night. Despite all the bad games this season, he still checks in at nearly 11 points, 7.4 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 1.0 blocks and nearly a 3-pointer per game over his last five, and he is still worth hanging onto in case he ever gets this thing figured out.
Al-Farouq Aminu Hornets 24% - Aminu is relevant again and playing well, hitting double digits in scoring in three of his last five games with a pair of double-doubles during that stretch. He’s averaging 10.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals and is shooting 60 percent from the floor and 83 percent from the line in his last five. He hit 12-of-13 free throws on Wednesday and is averaging 28 minutes per game over that stretch. In my opinion, he’s worth picking up in almost any league.
John Salmons Kings 13% - Salmons has cooled off over his last two games, scoring just 4 and 6 points in each of them, despite playing 26 and 31 minutes. He’s still averaging 11 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.25 assists, 1.25 steals, 1.0 blocks and 0.75 3-pointers in 33 minutes over his last five. With Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton back for the Kings, things could continue to be dicey for Salmons, but he’s worth a look as long as he continues to start.
Harrison Barnes Warriors 50% - Barnes simply disappeared in Saturday’s win when he had two points and four turnovers in 18 minutes, and didn’t do much on Friday, when he had four points and eight rebounds despite playing a whopping 38 minutes. He’s averaging 9.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five games, and despite his recent struggles, is still worth a look in all leagues. Especially since he continues to start and is averaging 28 minutes per game over his last five, despite Saturday’s 18-minute dud.
Ed Davis Raptors 36% - Davis has scored in double figures in six straight games and has posted double-doubles in two of his last four. He’s averaging 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 blocks while shooting 53 percent from the floor and 60 percent from the line over his last five games. He should eventually take a hit once Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas are back from their injuries, but as coach Dwane Casey said recently, it’s going to be tough to keep Davis on the bench when it happens. Why he’s owned in so few leagues is beyond me.
Elton Brand Mavericks 55% - Grandpa Brand has double-doubled in two straight games and is averaging 12.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game over his last four, seeing 27 minutes in those games. There’s no telling how long his body will hold up, or how long he’ll continue to play this well, but Brand should officially be owned in all leagues at this point. The bad news is the Mavs have just two games this week.
Kevin Seraphin Wizards 20% - Seraphin is not a great rebounder and disappeared on Saturday with four points and three boards in just 20 minutes, but had scored between 16 and 18 points in his previous three coming into that one. When you add it all up, he’s averaging nearly 13 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last five games, while shooting 48 percent from the floor in 27 minutes. Don’t be scared off by Saturday’s dud, as he should bounce back in the next one.
Jared Sullinger Celtics 15% - Sullinger has been a bit up and down as he continues to struggle with foul trouble every time he hits the floor, but is still averaging 9.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 0.6 blocks on 63 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s also averaging 28 minutes and 5.0 personal fouls per game over that stretch, or I imagine his numbers and minutes would look even better. If you recently picked him up, it looks like he’ll be worth hanging onto until further notice.
Lamar Odom Clippers 7% - Odom has scored a pathetic eight points over his last three games, but has also racked up 33 boards in them, going for 10, 12 and 11 in each. Over his last five, he’s averaging a paltry 4.0 points, but also 9.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, a steal and a block, on 39 percent shooting. He’s playing 26 minutes a game over that stretch, and only attempted more than five shots in one of those games. He’s going to be a pain to own for his lack of offense, but he looks better physically, is seeing more minutes and could be ready to turn his career around any day now. And with five games this week, he looks like a nice roll of the dice in weekly leagues.
Emeka Okafor Wizards 55% - Okafor is still playing well for the Wizards, averaging 10.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on 56 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s only hitting 54% from the line over that stretch, but shouldn’t do too much damage as he has only attempted 13 free throws in those five games. Okafor looks like a must-own center until further notice.
Amir Johnson Raptors 45% - Johnson has cooled off in his last couple games, despite playing 44 minutes or more in both of them, with a total of 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting. But over his last five, he’s still clocking in at 12.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.2 blocks on 54 percent shooting. Like teammate Ed Davis, Johnson has to take some kind of hit once Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas are back, but is worth starting in all leagues until it happens.
Kosta Koufos Nuggets 28% - Koufos isn’t an offensive powerhouse, but is playing very well right now, shooting a ridiculous 68 percent from the floor (and 75 percent from the line) and averaging 12.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and a steal over his last five games. He hasn’t been blocking shots, swatting just one over his last five games, but is still checking in with 1.5 per game on the season, so more should be coming soon. He’s getting 26 minutes per game and is worth a look in any fantasy league. But the outlook isn’t too great this week, as the Nuggets play just two games. Plan accordingly.
Tyler Zeller Cavaliers 13% - Zeller is finally shooting it better over his last three games, hitting 12-of-26 shots and averaging more than 12 points, nearly 10 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game of that stretch. And over his last five games, which included a two-game stretch where he hit just 2-of-13 shots, he’s still averaging 9.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. Anderson Varejao isn’t going to show his face anytime soon, making Zeller an excellent pick up right now. The only downside is that the Cavs play three times this week, while several other teams go four times.
Greg Stiemsma Timberwolves 1% - With Nikola Pekovic out for a week or so for the Wolves, Stiemsma should start at center for the Wolves. He did so on Saturday and had five boards and two blocks, but didn’t score. He’s never going to score a lot of points, but if you’re desperate at center and need a short-term fill in, he’s at least worth a look in deeper leagues. He’s averaging 4.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks over his last five games, but those numbers should go up as long as Pek is out.
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