NBA Basketball Column: Waiver Wired
Week 12's Hot Pickups
Games Played for Week 12
4 Games – Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Sacramento, Toronto, Washington.
3 Games – Brooklyn, Cleveland, Golden State, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio.
2 Games – Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Utah.
1 Game – New York
Kyle Lowry played just 17 minutes for the Raptors on Sunday and has been a disaster ever since returning from his ankle injury. He’s in the doghouse, lost his starting job and has been stripped of his confidence. I find it hard to believe he’ll be this bad for much longer, so I would be very hesitant to cut him. However, I would also be very hesitant to put him into a starting lineup right now, so just bench him until further notice.
And be aware of New York’s ridiculous one-game week, along with two games for the Pistons, Sixers, Suns and Jazz.
Isaiah Thomas Kings 56% owned in Yahoo! Leagues – I was out with some friends on Saturday night and saw the scroll roll by announcing that Thomas had 34 points and five assists in a loss to the Heat. No one else around really cared, but I had trouble containing my excitement. He had 18 points in his previous game and is finally averaging 16.8 points, 4.2 assists and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five games. I still don’t fully trust IT2, but if there was ever a time to pick him up, it’s right now.
Alexey Shved Wolves 31% owned – Shved has scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 games and is averaging 12.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers over his last five games. His turnovers are high (3.8 over his last five) and he isn’t a great shooter (39.5% on season), but I still don’t understand why he’s not owned in more leagues.
Nate Robinson Bulls 21% owned – Yes, Derrick Rose is inching his way back from knee surgery, and Kirk Hinrich is relatively healthy (for the time being), which hurts Robinson. He’s been pretty quiet over his last couple games and his minutes are all over the board from night to night, usually dependent on the health of Hinrich. He’s averaging 11.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.8 3-pointers over his last five games, and is a must-start player any time Hinrich is out of the Bulls lineup.
Devin Harris Hawks 16% owned – Harris blew up in his first game back from an ankle injury on Friday, hitting 7-of-8 shots and four 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals. He cooled off against Washington on Saturday, but still played 22 minutes and had eight points and five assists. I don’t trust Harris and he’ll do more to hurt the value of Lou William and Jeff Teague than anything else, but if you need a guard in a deep league, Harris should get some decent run as long as he can stay healthy.
Beno Udrih Bucks 2% owned – I keep seeing Udrih’s lines and have been ignoring him nightly, until now. I still don’t own him anywhere, and doubt that he’ll be of much use in most leagues, but the numbers don’t lie. He’s averaging 9.6 points and 4.2 assists over his last five games, and had seven dimes on Sunday. There’s no reason to own Udrih in standard leagues, but for those of you in 20-teamers, etc., Udrih might be worth grabbing right now.
Ben Gordon Bobcats 27% owned – Gordon has been hot, hitting double figures in eight straight games since returning from a sore knee that cost him three games. Gordon is averaging 19.6 points, 1.2 steals and 1.4 3-pointers while shooting over 50% from the floor in his five January games, and the fact he’s only owned in 27% of leagues right now is a joke.
Landry Fields Raptors 6% owned – Fields is back in the starting lineup for the Raptors and had played very well in two straight games entering Sunday’s contest, averaging 9.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals over those two. He averaged 38 minutes in each one of those and as long as the Raptors keep giving him that kind of run, the numbers will follow. He won’t rebound it this well for much longer, but should be a five-tool player as long as he’s getting 30-plus minutes a night. He had an off day on Sunday with three points on 1-of-5 shooting, but played 29 minutes. He should bounce back.
Carlos Delfino Rockets 18% owned – Along with Ersan Ilyasova, Delfino might be the most inconsistent player in the league. His game log alternates between strong double-digit scoring lines with a ton of threes, to awful single-digit games where he can’t hit the broad side of a barn. At least his minutes have been a very consistent 25.6 over his last five games, and he’s averaging 11.6 points, 3.0 boards, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.8 3-pointers over that stretch. Just learn to take the good with the bad if you pick him up.
Randy Foye Jazz 35% owned – Mo Williams is hurt, Jamaal Tinsley is old and somewhat ineffective, and Earl Watson is not a starting point guard. This means that Foye is getting a lot of minutes at both guard spots for the Jazz, averaging 33 minutes over his last five games. Over his last two, he’s averaging 21 points, 2.0 steals and 4.5 3-pointers, but he’s only averaging 2.0 assists over his last five games. If you need threes and points, Foye should continue to roll for the Jazz until Mo-Will eventually returns.
Iman Shumpert Knicks 5% owned – Shumpert is expected to make his season debut on Thursday after offseason knee surgery. Eventually, my guess is he’ll replace Ronnie Brewer in the starting lineup, but we could be several weeks away from that happening, if it happens at all. Shumpert is not a fantasy savior and averaged just 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game last season, but might be worth a look in very deep leagues.
Ersan Ilyasova Bucks 75% owned – New coach, new hype and unfortunately, same old Ersan. At least the minutes have been consistent, as he has seen 26 or 27 of them in his last four games. He’s averaging 10.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers over his last five, and while those numbers are certainly not ideal, he still appears to be on the verge of figuring things out.
Matt Barnes Clippers 48% owned – I had to let Barnes go in a daily league last week, as the Clips played just two times, and it hurt me to do it. Especially since I’m probably going to lose this week anyway, and because Barnes is still ballin’. He’s averaging 13.4 points, 6.6 boards, 2.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.2 blocks and 2.4 3-pointers over his last five, and has been on a tear for over a month. In short, Barnes should be owned in all leagues, and no, I’m not worried about Grant Hill’s return.
Al-Farouq Aminu Hornets 19% owned – Aminu is out of the doghouse and is averaging 31.6 minutes, 6.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last five games. Yeah, the scoring is a buzzkill, as he’s hit double figures in just two of those games, but the boards, steals, blocks and minutes are all strong enough for him to be owned in most leagues.
Harrison Barnes Warriors 46% owned – Barnes has hit double digits in five of his last six games and is averaging 11 points, 5.3 boards, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 3-pointers over his last five. He’s not a must-own player, but is only going to get better, and could be setting up for a strong second half. Now is a good time to grab him.
Mike Dunleavy Bucks 40% owned – Dunleavy’s scoring fluctuates drastically from game to game, but he had 15 points, five assists and three 3-pointers on Sunday. He’s averaging 10.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five games, and if you can handle some the inconsistency, which isn’t going to go away, the overall numbers are serviceable.
Ed Davis Raptors 29% owned – Davis went off on Sunday for 20 points and 12 boards, and is now averaging 12.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game over his last five. As long as Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas are out, Davis is worth starting in fantasy leagues.
Glen Davis Magic 59% owned – Davis is due back sometime this month and was rocking for 16 points, eight boards and 0.7 blocks before going down with a shoulder injury. If you want to own Davis for the second half, this may be last call.
Derrick Williams Timberwolves 22% owned – Williams is still coming off the bench behind Dante Cunningham, but is playing well in his 22 minutes per game over his last five, averaging 13.2 points, 5.0 boards, 0.8 steals and 1.0 3-pointers per game over that stretch. He’s not going to block many shots and has been inconsistent with his rebounding, but is a decent three-game option this week, and going forward with Kevin Love out indefinitely.
Jared Sullinger Celtics 14% owned – Sullinger is hot over his last three games, hitting double figures in scoring in all of them, and posting a pair of double-doubles in each of his last two. He’s averaging 12.0 points and 10.6 rebounds in his last three, along with 26.8 minutes over his last five games. He’s a rookie and has to deal with Brandon Bass, but the minutes are right and he should be a very hot pickup right now. Let’s just hope that Doc Rivers keeps feeding him.
Kevin Seraphin Wizards 18% owned – Seraphin is averaging 30 minutes per game over his last five, along with 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks, but is shooting just 40 percent from the floor in those games. Part of that is due to a 1-of-9 shooting performance last Friday, but he hasn’t hit half his shots in four straight games. His shot will come around and the minutes are where they need to be for Seraphin to be used in most fantasy leagues right now.
Keep an eye on…
Keep an eye on Milwaukee’s John Henson, who blew up for 19 points, six rebounds and two blocks on Sunday. He was really struggling for production and minutes coming into this one, so it might have been a fluke, but he has certainly proven he can play if the minutes are there. Chris Copeland started and had 22 points and four rebounds on 9-of-15 shots for the Knicks, and could suddenly become a hot commodity if he can find a way to stick in the starting lineup for New York.
Amir Johnson Raptors 30% owned – Johnson stayed hot on Sunday, finishing with 22 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, despite tweaking his right ankle, and dealing with an already sore left ankle. He looked fantastic and checks in with 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.6 blocks over his last five games. He’s a must-own player, in my opinion.
Andre Drummond Pistons 31% owned – Drummond is averaging just 8.0 points over his last five, but he’s also gone for 8.4 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 2.6 blocks during that stretch. He’s averaging 21.4 minutes during that streak, and the minutes should continue to increase over the second half. I get a lot of questions about second-half sleepers, and Drummond is near the top of that list.
Emeka Okafor Wizards 53% owned – Okafor has some very bad scoring nights occasionally, but is also playing well in his 27 minutes a night, averaging nearly nine points, 9.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks over his last five. He’s averaging 1.3 blocks on the season, so I expect that number to be better going forward. He has only blocked two shots in his last four games, and both of those came on the same night. But as long as he’s getting minutes for the Wizards, he should flirt with a double-double nightly and block at least a shot per game.
Andray Blatche Nets 31% owned – Blatche is playing more minutes than Kris Humphries and has been strong off the bench, despite his legal problems. He’s averaging 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks over his last five games, along with 22 minutes. As long as the minutes stay above 20 per game, he should continue to roll, and I expect him to block more shots going forward.
Tiago Splitter Spurs 20% owned – Playing for Gregg Popovich makes it tough to trust Splitter, but he’s averaging 10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.4 blocks in 29.4 minutes over his last five. If you need a center, the minutes have been great and he’s been playing consistently well lately. Hopefully he can keep it going.
Guster played a pair of back-to-back acoustic shows in Atlanta this weekend and the shows were a blast. Brian spent some time in my home town of Dahlonega, and you can read about his escapades here. They also just released a live, acoustic record, which I highly recommend.
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