NBA Basketball Column: Waiver Wired
Wired: Hot NBA Pickups
I decided to take a break from talking about Ersan Ilyasova this week, but he’s averaging 13 points, eight rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five games, and is worth holding in most leagues.
Games played for Week 8
4 Games - Hawks, Bobcats, Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Pistons, Warriors, Pacers, Clippers, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Bucks, Hornets, Knicks, Magic, Sixers, Suns, Spurs, Kings, Jazz, Wizards.
3 Games - Celtics, Nets, Nuggets, Rockets, Heat, Thunder, Blazers, Raptors.
2 Games - Lakers
Ricky Rubio Timberwolves – Owned in 78 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Rubio finally debuted from knee surgery on Saturday night and hit 1-of-4 shots to finish with eight points, four rebounds, nine assists and three steals in just 18 minutes. It’s going to take him time to get back to 100 percent, and he is expected to sit out in some back-to-back situations, but Rubio should be owned in all leagues going forward.
John Wall Wizards – Owned in 79 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
We finally got a decent report on Wall over the weekend and it sounds like there’s a chance he could finally be ready to return shortly after Christmas. Then again, he might not be back until the All-Star break, and could also have trouble staying healthy once he does finally make an appearance. But if he is able to return on Jan. 1 and can stay healthy, holding him for the next couple weeks will seem like a blip on the radar in hindsight.
Jason Kidd Knicks – Owned in 69 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Kidd’s scoring has fallen off a bit over the last two games, especially when he hit just 3-of-14 shots and 3-of-13 3-pointers in Saturday’s win over the Cavaliers. But the fact Kidd has the green light to shoot 13 3-pointers in a game is exciting. He still averaged seven points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers over those two games, and is at 11 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists, a steal and 3.0 3-pointers over his last five games. Iman Shumpert is due back in January from knee surgery, but it’s going to take him some time to get back into shape, while Kidd is also locked into minutes at point guard, as well as the current starting shooting guard for the Knicks. He should be owned until the wheels fall off.
Jarrett Jack Warriors – Owned in 34 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Jack has scored in double figures in four straight games and is averaging 12 points, five rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.8 3-pointers over his last five games. Those numbers are happening with Stephen Curry fully healthy and playing well, and Jack’s production would take a big leap if Curry were to go down. But even with Jack coming off the bench, he’s getting 30 minutes a night and is playing very well for the Warriors right now.
Nate Robinson Bulls – Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Kirk Hinrich has missed two straight games due to a knee injury and is banged up, meaning he could be day-to-day for a while. Robinson hasn’t exactly gone off in his absence, but is averaging 10 points, 4.5 assists and a 3-pointer in his last two starts for Hinrich, and should be better if he continues to play heavy minutes with Hinrich so banged up. If Hinrich is playing, Robinson is probably best served on fantasy benches, but when he goes down, Robinson quickly becomes a must-start fantasy point guard.
Jordan Crawford Wizards – Owned in 61 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Crawford had just five points on 2-of-12 shooting in Saturday’s loss to the Heat, but is still averaging 16 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five games. Yes, the return of Wall would hurt Crawford, but JC should still see plenty of minutes at shooting guard, and Wall’s return, or ability to stay healthy, are still far from guaranteed.
Marco Belinelli Bulls – Owned in 23 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Belinelli has scored between 16 and 22 points in each of his last five games while starting for Rip Hamilton, and Hamilton isn’t due back for a couple more weeks. Even when he returns, Belinelli has earned more minutes, and possibly a starting job going forward. He’s at 18 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.6 3-pointers over his last five and remains an excellent option off waivers, and should be available in a ton of leagues.
Alexey Shved Timberwolves – Owners in 16 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Shved is now starting at shooting guard for the Wolves and could stick there for the remainder of the season. He had 18 points, six assists, two steals and three 3-pointers on Saturday, and is averaging 11.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five. But in the two starts over his last two games he’s at 15.5 points, 7.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 3.0 3-pointers, while playing 35 and 44 minutes in those two games. He should be available in your league and is a must-own player in my opinion, as long as he’s starting at shooting guard.
Austin Rivers Hornets – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Rivers has made three straight starts at shooting guard for the Hornets and blew up for a career-high 27 points and five 3-pointers on Friday. He’s hit double digits in scoring in four of his last five games, averaging 14 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over that stretch, but those numbers improve to 16 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two 3-pointers in the three starts. He’s coming on and Eric Gordon still isn’t near a return, meaning it’s time to grab Rivers in many leagues.
Gary Neal Spurs – Owned in 14 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Neal has been inconsistent while starting at shooting guard for the Spurs, but is averaging 13 points and 2.8 3-pointers over his last five games. He scored 20 points with three 3-pointers on Saturday, and had 29 points and seven 3-pointers on Monday against Houston. Unfortunately, he scored just six or fewer points in the other three games. Manu Ginobili is iffy for upcoming games due to a bruised left thigh, which will help Neal’s cause, while he’ll also have to deal with the return of Kawhi Leonard at some point. Leonard should hurt Danny Green more than Neal, and while Neal has been hit or miss, he can really help your team if you have him in the lineup on the right night.
Jared Dudley Suns – Owned in 55 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Dudley has started in four straight games in place of Michael Beasley and is averaging 14 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five. As long as he continues to start he should be a relatively safe fantasy starter. He had a season-high 22 points, four boards, five assists, three steals and two 3-pointers on Friday, and the Suns play four times in Week 8.
Gordon Hayward Jazz – Owned in 65 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Hayward is finally starting to play better, sparked by Marvin Williams’ recent absence due to a concussion. Williams is back and starting, but it’s Hayward who is playing well off the bench, averaging nearly 13 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five, and has scored in double figures in eight of his last 10 games. I’d like him a lot more if he was starting over Williams, but he’s starting to come on, despite coming off the bench. Give him a look if he was dropped in your league.
C.J. Miles Cavaliers – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Miles entered the starting lineup for an injured Dion Waiters four games ago and has scored 17 or 28 points in each of those four games, and has scored in double figures in seven straight. He’s averaging 21 points, 4.2 rebounds, a steal and 3.6 3-pointers over his last five, and while Waiters will possibly return on Tuesday to hurt Miles, he looks like a must-own player for now. Especially if he holds the starting job once Waiters is back.
Matt Barnes Clippers – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Barnes is averaging 25.6 minutes over his last five games along with 15 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers while shooting nearly 61 percent from the field. He’s also shooting it well from the free throw line, and while he’ll have some off nights, is doing enough in most categories to warrant owning in most leagues right now.
Corey Brewer Nuggets – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Brewer saw his streak of scoring in double figures stopped at six games when he scored just nine points on Friday against the Grizzlies. He’s averaging nearly 15 points and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five, although he’s not doing a lot more than scoring and hitting threes. Wilson Chandler looks like he’s headed for a lost season and Brewer should continue to see solid minutes off the bench for the Nuggets.
Linas Kleiza Raptors – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Kleiza missed a couple games recently with a knee injury but blew up for 20 points, five rebounds and five 3-pointers in 30 minutes of Friday’s win over the Mavericks. He also had 17 points, five 3-pointers, a steal and a block on Sunday, before missing a couple games with the knee injury. This means he’s averaging 18.5 points and five 3-pointers in 30 minutes over his last two games, and while he’s not the most reliable fantasy option while coming off the bench, he should see enough minutes to make a difference as long as he can stay healthy.
Ed Davis Raptors – Owned in 31 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Davis made a quick splash in his first start for injured Andrea Bargnani on Wednesday, going off for 24 points, 12 rebounds and three steals on 11-of-13 shooting in 45 minutes. However, he split minutes with Amir Johnson and Linas Kleiza on Friday, finishing with six points and eight rebounds in just 23 minutes. He should continue to start for Bargnani and I expect him to fall somewhere in between those two lines over the next several weeks, while Kleiza won’t be as hot as he was on Friday going forward. Johnson is also worth a look, but I’d rather own Davis.
Derrick Favors Jazz – Owned in 62 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Favors is back from a battle with plantar fasciitis but hasn’t exactly been killing it in his three games since returning to action. He’s averaging just seven points, 4.7 rebounds, a steal and 0.7 blocks, but should continue to get better as he plays through his feet problems. Favors is not a must-start player right now, but is still worth owning in most leagues.
Jason Maxiell Pistons – Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Maxiell’s recent tear came to an end on Saturday when he failed to score or block a shot in 25 minutes, but he was hot prior to that one. He was averaging eight points, six boards and more than two blocks per game in his previous four games, highlighted by 18 points, six rebounds and six blocks on Tuesday against the Nuggets. His scoring will be an issue, while Andre Drummond seeing an increase in minutes going forward is also a concern. But Maxiell appears to be focused on rebounding and blocking shots, and is worth a close look for as long as he’s starting for the Pistons.
Andray Blatche Nets – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Blatche was very fun to own while Brook Lopez was out with his foot injury, but has now come off the bench in two straight games behind Reggie Evans. Blatche has averaged 12.5 points, four rebounds, 2.5 steals and a block in 23 minutes over those two games. As long as he continues to get more than 20 minutes a night, he’ll be worth a look in deeper leagues, even off the bench.
Andrew Nicholson Magic – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Nicholson is quietly heating up, averaging nearly 13 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in 23 minutes over his last five games. He played just 16 minutes on Saturday after getting in some foul trouble, but is worth keeping a close eye on in deep leagues.
J.J. Hickson Blazers – Owned in 70 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Hickson is averaging 11.4 points and 10.2 rebounds on the season and has double-doubled in four straight games for the Blazers. I still don’t understand why he’s available in 30 percent of fantasy leagues, and he should be picked up if he’s available in yours.
Nikola Pekovic Wolves – Owned in 70 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Pekovic is turning it on lately, scoring between 21 and 31 points (career high) over his last three games, and averaging 24 points and eight rebounds over that stretch for the Wolves. He’s hit 31-of-49 shots over that stretch and should be owned in all leagues until further notice. He’s got some foot and ankle issues, but they don’t look like a problem right now.
Larry Sanders Bucks – Owned in 64 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Sanders has cooled off a bit and missed Wednesday’s game with the flu, and is averaging seven points, seven boards, 0.8 steals and 3.3 blocks over his last four. His next shot-blocking explosion should be right around the corner, but Scott Skiles played him just 17 minutes in Saturday’s loss to the Clippers. I still don’t trust Skiles, but Sanders should be owned in all leagues until he completely falls out of the rotation, which could happen under the hand of Skiles at any time.
Bismack Biyombo Bobcats – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Biyombo has been starting for the Bobcats and is averaging 6.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over his last five games. He played 40 minutes on Saturday, when he had eight points, nine boards and three blocks against the Magic, so he is trending up for now. Just don’t expect him to score a lot of points, or rack up many double-doubles in Charlotte.
Andre Drummond Pistons – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Drummond’s season of inconsistency continues, but he’s coming off a loss to the Pacers when he hit 5-of-7 shots for 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, and is averaging seven points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 2.0 blocks over his last five games. I still contend that Lawrence Frank will have to give in and turn him loose at some point, and sitting on him now could pay big dividends down the road.
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