NBA Basketball Column: Waiver Wired
Wired: Hot NBA Pickups
Games Played Week 10
4 Games: Atlanta, Brooklyn, Denver, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, Miami, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Washington.
3 Games: Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, L.A. Lakers, Minnesota, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Toronto, Utah.
2 Games: Golden State
Crawford missed Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle and has come off the bench in his last two games, but is still averaging 22 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 3pointers over the two games off the pine. He’s built to provide instant offense off the bench and should be owned in all leagues until further notice. Garrett Temple and Shelvin Mack are both getting a lot of guard minutes for the Wizards, but I’m only recommending them in very deep leagues. Temple started his last game and is averaging 10.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals over his last two, but has played in just three games this season. And once Crawford is back, I find it hard to believe that Temple will sustain this kind of production. But either way, he's worth keeping a close eye on over his next few games.
With Raymond Felton out indefinitely with a broken finger, you don’t need to know what Kidd’s stats are. He’s going to play a ton of minutes and rack up solid production, and should be owned in all leagues. In deeper leagues, Pablo Prigioni is worth a look due to his upcoming increase in playing time, but despite getting 17.5 minutes per over his last two games, he’s scored a total of five points to go along with 12 assists.
Isaiah Thomas Kings 49% owned
Thomas finally regained his starting job from Aaron Brooks on Friday and had 11 points, four assists and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes, but the important thing is that he started. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not Keith Smart will continue to keep running him out there with the first unit, but Thomas is worth stashing in all leagues (again) now that he might have his job back. This is a player who averaged 15 points and more than five dimes as a starter last season.
Will Bynum Pistons 9% owned
Sometime over the last week Pistons coach Lawrence Frank woke up and realized he actually has some talent sitting on his bench. Bynum, Charlie Villanueva, Andre Drummond, and even Austin Daye have all been productive over the last couple games and all are worth a look in deeper leagues. As for Bynum, he’s averaging 28 points, 7.0 assists, a steal and 3.5 3-pointers over his last two games. Rodney Stuckey missed one of those and while I don’t fully trust Bynum, he’s worth a shot in deeper leagues as long as he’s this hot.
Nate Robinson Bulls 20% owned
Robinson has scored 7, 27, 9, 11 and 18 points over his last five games, meaning you never know what you’re going to get. His minutes have fluctuated between a low of 14 and a high of 28 over those five games, while Kirk Hinrich continues to sputter along as the starter. Robinson is on this list almost weekly and if you can figure out the right nights to start him, he’s worth owning in many formats. But even if you’re not going to use him right now, the second the banged up Hinrich finally goes down with an injury, Robinson is going to be the hottest pickup off your league’s waiver wire.
Gerald Henderson Bobcats 37% owned
Henderson is back from a foot injury and has recovered from a shin injury that kept him out last Saturday, and is averaging 15.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.5 3-pointers over his last four games. The lack of threes may be misleading and he hit two of them in his most recent game, and has already hit more of them this season (12) than he did all of last year (11). As long as he’s healthy and starting for the Bobcats, he should be owned in your league.
Jarrett Jack Warriors 60% owned
Jack was featured here last week and is still available in 40% of fantasy leagues out there. He’s scored 14 or more points in four straight games and is averaging nearly 17 points, three boards, six assists, a steal and two 3-pointers over his last five games, along with 31 minutes. Pick him up if he’s available in your league.
Alexey Shved Timberwolves 25% owned
Shved is starting at SG for the Wolves and has scored between 12 and 18 points in each of his last four games, and despite a two-point dud in the mix, is averaging 12 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.8 3-pointers in 33 minutes over his last five. I think he’s going to stick in the starting five all season and he should simply be owned in more leagues than he is. Ricky Rubio is taking him time rounding back into form and Brandon Roy might retire, making Shved a relatively safe bet for heavy minutes until further notice.
Shannon Brown Suns 30% owned
Brown broke out of a mini-slump on Saturday with 21 points, six boards and a 3-pointer, and is averaging 13 points, 4.0 boards, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals over his last five games. He’s hit just two 3-pointers over that stretch, but hit eight of them in the three games prior to that timeframe. He’s having a fine season and is starting at shooting guard for the Suns, making him worth a look in all leagues, especially with his upcoming four-game week.
John Salmons Kings 8% owned
Salmons is averaging 13 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five games, and is getting a boost by Tyreke Evans’ knee injury. Evans appears to be nearing a return, but Salmons still looks like a sneaky pickup if you need a G/F in a deep league.
Jared Dudley Suns 72% owned
Dudley is cooking and was featured here as the cover boy last week. He’s still available in 28 percent of the leagues out there, but should be owned in all. He’s averaging 18.4 points, 5.4 boards, 4.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five games and is a great option with four games this week.
Matt Barnes Clippers 42% owned
Barnes has been a sneaky pickup over the last few weeks and posted a pair or back-to-back 20-point games last week. He’s averaging 15 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.2 blocks and 2.8 3-pointers over his last five, and those numbers mean he should be picked up in almost any fantasy league, despite coming off the bench. He cooled off in his last game with just six points, but still managed three boards, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in that one. Go get him.
Kyle Korver Hawks 43% owned
I’ve been high on Korver as long as he’s healthy, and he’s hot for the Hawks right now, averaging 12 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.8 3-pointers over his last five. As long as he’s healthy, he’s worth starting for any owners in need of threes. He’s also had three blocks in two of his last six games, and six steals over his last three.
Hedo Turkoglu Magic 31% owned
Turkoglu finally returned from his broken left (non-shooting) hand and had eight points, five rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes on Saturday. It could take him some time to get hot again, but he’s worth grabbing for the Magic, who desperately need Turk at small forward. Just beware that he is likely going to struggle with his shot, even though he shoots with his right hand.
Corey Brewer Nuggets 17% owned
Brewer has been up and down like a yo-yo lately, scoring 12, 0, 27, 2 and 10 points over his last five games. He’s coming off the Denver bench and is basically the team’s sixth man, averaging 23 minutes over that stretch, along with 10 points, 3.4 boards and 1.2 3-pointers. He’s not a must-own player, but is worth a look in deeper leagues, despite his annoying inconsistency.
Hakim Warrick Bobcats 5% owned
Warrick is now the starting power forward for Charlotte now that Byron Mullens is out indefinitely with a severely sprained ankle. In his three starts for Mullens, Warrick is averaging 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds, which is basically what he should give you every night out. He doesn’t block shots and never will, but should be a nice source of points and boards if you need a big man.
Tristan Thompson Cavaliers 33% owned
Thompson has been very effective with Anderson Varejao out with a knee injury and is averaging 13 points, 12.4 boards and 1.4 blocks over his last five games. Varejao could be back as soon as Jan. 4, which will hurt Thompson’s value, but there’s no doubt Thompson has also gained confidence in Andy’s absence, and will continue to start at power forward even when Varejao is back.
Patrick Patterson Rockets 22% owned
Patterson finally returned from his foot injury on Saturday but missed all five of his shots and scored two points in 10 minutes. He averaged 14 points and five rebounds in November, which should be about where he clocks in at once he’s back to full strength. He’s no longer a must-own player and will split time with Marcus Morris at power forward, but might be worth grabbing if you need a big man in deeper leagues. Just give him a week or so to work his way back into the mix.
Kosta Koufos Nuggets 23% owned
Koufos should qualify at PF and C in most leagues and is currently the starting center in Denver. He’s averaging 11 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over his last five games, and comes in at 7.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on the season. If you’re starting DeAndre Jordan, Koufos could be a nice addition to your team, as Jordan is struggling and inconsistent.
Ersan Ilyasova Bucks 69% owned
Ilyasova is a mess. He’s scored 6, 17, 6, 8 and 5 points over his last five games, meaning he simply can’t be trusted in starting lineups. And yes, we’re approaching the point where he may be a lost cause for the entire season, but the guy is just too talented to completely write off at this point. But if you do pick him up, don’t plan on using him in weekly leagues until he finally gets his head together.
Andre Drummond Pistons 28% owned
If you’ve watched Drummond play this season you have to be thrilled with what you’ve seen. He looks like he’s going to be a dominant big man at some point in the near future and Lawrence Frank seems to also be taking notice, playing Drummond 25 minutes over his last five games. Over that stretch, Drummond is coming in at 9.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks, making him worth owning in nearly any league. He’s a dreadful free throw shooter, but has only shot 15 of them over those five games, making five of them. As usual, I think Drummond is worth stashing in any fantasy league.
I have stated recently, on Twitter and elsewhere, that I’d rather own Amir Johnson over Ed Davis due to Johnson’s ability to block shots. I think I made the right call, as Johnson is averaging 9.0 points, 7.2 boards, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks over his last five games, while Davis (the starter) checks in with 11.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.2 blocks over the same stretch. As you can see they’re pretty evenly matched, and both players are worth a look for as long as Andrea Bargnani (elbow) and Jonas Valanciunas (hand) are out. Davis played very well on Saturday with 18 points, seven boards and a block, while Johnson was quiet, which helped make the numbers a lot closer than they were prior to that game.
Emeka Okafor Wizards 49% owned (Nene)
I picked up Okafor in a few leagues recently and he hasn’t cooled off, averaging 10.4 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks over his last five. He had 11 points, 18 boards and two blocks on Saturday against the Bulls, and is now a must-own player until further notice. Nene is also cooking for the Wizards, averaging nearly 15 points, 8.5 boards and 0.5 blocks over his last four games, all of which he started at power forward.
Tyler Zeller Cavaliers 5% owned
Zeller has been filling in nicely for Varejao, averaging 10.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and a block over his last five games. His value will crumble once Andy is back from his knee injury, which could happen as soon as Jan. 4. But for as long as Varejao remains out, Zeller is worth a close look by any owner in need of a center.
Spencer Hawes Sixers 48% owned
Hawes is coming off the bench and you might get dizzy if you stare at his game log for too long, as he’s scored 10, 2, 20, 5 and 12 points over his last five games. He’s averaging 9.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over that stretch, and he would enter must-own territory if Doug Collins would ever give him a starting gig. But as it stands, Hawes is playing well enough on most nights to warrant a close look in most leagues.
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