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Courtside Seat: Rookies not rockin' just yet

Senior Fantasy Writer
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This year's rookie class has been somewhat disappointing for Fantasy owners. There haven't been any standout options as in recent years like Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans or Blake Griffin and John Wall -- at least not yet.

Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall pick in Cleveland, has been solid but unspectacular, and he hasn't gotten much help from his fellow rookies. Derrick Williams has come on of late, but his value appears tied to the health of Michael Beasley (foot). Ricky Rubio has displayed flashes of brilliance, but he has to show more consistency.

Three guards who were expected to shine -- Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette -- have failed to make an impact, with all three coming off the bench for their respective teams. It has left Fantasy owners less than thrilled with this group of rookies.

Iman Shumpert has hit the ground running for the Knicks. (US Presswire)  
Iman Shumpert has hit the ground running for the Knicks. (US Presswire)  
But maybe some of the unheralded members of this class are starting to come around, which should be a benefit to Fantasy owners. Three in particular have emerged to become potential starters in all formats.

By now you're all aware of Iman Shumpert, who has become the starting point guard for the Knicks. In his past four games he is averaging 13.8 points, 4.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals while shooting 50 percent from the field, 83.3 percent from the foul line and hitting six 3-pointers. He was a Top 15 point guard in category-based leagues for Week 2, ranking ahead of Deron Williams, Ty Lawson and Rajon Rondo, among others. His start percentage was at 38 percent for Week 3 on CBSSports.com, but that number should rise as he continues to play at a high level.

In New Jersey, MarShon Brooks has played well with at least 17 points in six of nine games, and he had his first double-double on Monday against Atlanta with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Brooks has been a solid source of 3-pointers with 11, and he is a Top 20 shooting guard in category-based leagues. If Brooks can continue to rebound at a high level like he did against the Hawks then his value should continue to rise.

Markieff Morris has been playing well for the Suns, and his value would improve if he were starting in place of Channing Frye. Morris has played at least 30 minutes in three of the past four games, and he has responded by averaging 12.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in his past five outings. The Suns have a lot of big bodies up front with Morris, Frye, Marcin Gortat and Hakim Warrick, but Morris has displayed plenty of versatility with 10 3-pointers in his past five games. He should begin to warrant more consideration from Fantasy owners since he is owned in just 65 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com and started in only 21 percent in Week 3.

This rookie class might not be as terrible as originally thought, especially if Irving continues to develop and Shumpert, Brooks and Morris keep improving. Now it's only a matter of time before Fantasy owners begin to trust them as must-start options in all leagues.

Each week we will take a look at a variety of topics around the NBA. We will speculate on guys to trade, trade for, add off the waiver wire and also answer some of your social media questions, among other things. It's our CBSSports.com potpourri look at Fantasy Basketball.

Sell high guys

Spencer Hawes, C, 76ers
Hawes is averaging a double-double with 12.5 points and 10.3 rebounds, which are both career highs, and he also is at a career-best 1.8 blocks. Maybe he keeps this up, or maybe he reverts back to the player he was last year at 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. If you can get something significant for him -- and we know centers are hard to come by -- make the deal.

Jose Calderon, PG, Raptors
Calderon has missed 14 games each of the past three years, and the shortened schedule this year might catch up with him, especially since he's playing additional minutes with Jerryd Bayless (ankle) out. Calderon is averaging 12.6 points, which is his best average since 2008, and a career-high 9.0 assists. Once Bayless comes back, he could take away production from Calderon, and there's always that potential injury looming.

Ryan Anderson, PF, Magic
Anderson has taken a huge leap in production from 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in 2010 to 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds this season. He could definitely continue to play at a high level, but if Dwight Howard is traded that would dramatically change the way teams defend Anderson on the perimeter. Anderson has been a great addition off the waiver wire in many leagues, but now is the time to shop him around.

Andrew Bynum, C, Lakers
We always knew Bynum was capable of outstanding production if he could stay healthy, and this year he is averaging 18.8 points and 15.7 rebounds, which is four points and five rebounds better than his previous career highs. But the key with Bynum is health, as he has missed at least 17 games each of the past four seasons. Hopefully he can stay healthy all year, but if the right offer presents itself then you should take it to be safe.

Al Harrington, PF, Nuggets
Harrington is off to a great start at 14.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and he says he's healthy again. But his numbers will likely decline based on his career averages. He's shooting 55.3 percent from the field when his career average is 44.7 percent. At some point age and injuries will likely catch up with Harrington, who is 31 and in his 14th season. You might want to unload him in a package deal if you can.

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Buy low candidates

Dwyane Wade, SG, Heat
Wade has been dealing with a foot injury, and he even mentioned the term plantar fasciitis, which is never good. But he's worth trading for if the Wade owner is getting disgruntled. You always want to swing for the fences with a player of Wade's caliber unless there's overwhelming evidence he will be out for an extended period of time. As of now he's expected to return, and he could be bought for the right price.

Marcin Gortat, C, Suns
The thumb injury that bothered Gortat to start the season appears to be over, and he is playing well of late. In his previous three games he has scored in double figures with 25 rebounds over that span. Gortat finished last season as a No. 1 Fantasy center after being traded to Phoenix, and he was drafted this year with lofty expectations. After a couple of down weeks, he is starting to come around, and you might want to acquire him before the price is too high.

John Wall, PG, Wizards
Wall's stats are down across the board from his rookie season when he averaged 16.4 points and 8.3 assists on 41 percent shooting with 34 3-pointers. This year he is at 14.4 points, 6.8 assists and shooting 35 percent from the field with no 3-pointers. He is also frustrated with the Wizards getting off to a terrible start, but he should rebound to close the year. See if you can trade for him now because his value won't stay down for very long.

Kevin Martin, SG, Rockets
Martin's best attribute is his scoring, and right now he's not doing a good job of that. He has averaged 18.5 points for his career and has five consecutive seasons of 20-plus points. But he is averaging just 16.5 points this year and is not adjusting to Kevin McHale's system. His shooting percentage (43.3) and 3-point percentage (34.8) are down slightly, but Martin should find his rhythm as the year goes on. See if you can acquire him at a low price from an owner who is upset with his early-season struggles.

Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder
There is some thought that Westbrook's playoff struggles from last year have carried over into this year. His scoring is down four points from last year, and his assists are down nearly three per game. But he is too good to be held in check for long, and the Westbrook owner might be getting antsy since he is a first-round pick who has struggled. He should start averaging close to 21-8-5 like he did last year in points, assists and rebounds, and he is someone to target in a trade.

Free agent watch

Here are five guys I am looking at in my leagues:

Marreese Speights, PF, Grizzlies (Owned: 50 percent of leagues)
Matt Barnes, SF, Lakers (Owned: 33 percent of leagues)
Gary Neal, PG, Spurs (Owned: 30 percent of leagues)
Tony Allen, SG, Grizzlies (Owned: 25 percent of leagues)
Chandler Parsons, SF, Rockets (Owned: 4 percent of leagues)

Speights and Allen have benefited with Zach Randolph (knee) out, with Speights a hot pickup now that he should start at power forward. Barnes has done well starting at small forward for the Lakers, and Neal should benefit over the next several weeks with Manu Ginobili (hand) out. And keep an eye on Parsons, who should continue to earn playing time for the Rockets. He could turn into another nice surprise for this rookie class.

Social media corner

@okomodo on Twitter wants to know: Drop Dorell Wright for Shumpert in a Head-to-Head league?

Yes, you should add Shumpert for Wright. We've seen Wright struggle in the new offense for the Warriors, and his shooting percentage is down from last year's career highs. Shumpert is on the rise, and he should do much better than Wright in all Head-to-Head formats.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Heat add Reggie Williams
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(8/16/2014) The Heat signed guard Reggie Williams to a free-agency contract last week, the team announced. Terms of the deal are not known.

Williams appeared in just three games for the Thunder last season, and has played 180 games over parts of five NBA seasons. He averages 8.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, while shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three-point range for his career.  


Isaiah Thomas undergoes wrist surgery
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(8/15/2014) Suns newcomer Isaiah Thomas underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist, the team announced Thursday.

Thomas dealt with a sprained wrist last season but was able to play through it on his way to a career year. An MRI in February revealed no ligament damage, which would indicate this latest procedure is nothing to worry about. The team expects him to be ready for training camp. 


DeMarcus Cousins avoids serious injury at Team USA practice
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(8/15/2014) Kings center DeMarcus Cousins dodged a bullet Thursday when the MRI on his right knee came back negative.

According to Yahoo Sports, Cousins limped off the court during a Team USA training session after Anthony Davis landed on his knee during a scrimmage. Cousins later tweeted that he was "fine," helping to suppress any concerns of a serious injury. 


Pacers shopping Roy Hibbert, call Pistons about Greg Monroe
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) The Pacers are shopping center Roy Hibbert, and they have called the Pistons regarding a potential deal involving restricted free agent Greg Monroe, Detroit Sports 105.1 reports.

There's no word about whether the Pistons would be interested in a Monroe-for-Hibbert spot, but they are pretty well set in the middle with Andre Drummond in the starting lineup. It's a rumor that seemingly has very little chance of coming to fruition.


Rockets sign Kostas Papanikolaou
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) The Rockets have signed small forward Kostas Papanikolaou .

Papanikolaou gets $4.8 million guaranteed in the upcoming season, with a team option of $4.6 million for the following season. He has been playing in Europe since being drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft.


Report: Greg Oden faces felony charge
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) Free agent Greg Oden is facing a felony charge after allegedly attacking his former girlfriend after a night of drinking, the Indianapolis Star reports.

Oden is accused of punching the woman in the face three times and fracturing a bone in her nose, according to court documents. The felony offense carries a penaly of one-to-six years in prison.


Markel Brown out with broken hand
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) Nets guard Markel Brown will be held out of basketball activities for four-to-six weeks after being diagnosed with a nondisplaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his right hand, the team announced Monday.

Brown was selected 44th overall in this year's draft, and the Nets acquired him for cash considerations on the night of the draft. He averaged 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists in his senior season at Oklahoma State.


Report: Wolves to swap Anthony Bennett for Thaddeus Young
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(8/8/2014) Though the trade can't go official until August 23, the deal reportedly struck between the Cavaliers and Timberwolves will lead to another trade between Minnesota and the 76ers.

The Philadelphia Daily News reported early Friday that Minnesota, upon receiving Anthony Bennett from the Cavs as part of the Kevin Love trade, would then trade him for Thaddeus Young. The Timberwolves have been showing interest in Young since Love stated his desire to be traded.

Meanwhile, the 76ers want to move Young because he's entering his prime at age 26 and only has one additional year left on his contract. Acquiring Bennett would complete a core of young talent to develop over the coming years. Young was one of the most productive forwards in the league last year playing in Brett Brown's up-tempo offense, averaging 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Bennett, on the other hand, failed to make any impact what so ever but did show signs of growth during the Summer League. 


Landing in Minnesota should improve Andrew Wiggins' value
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(8/7/2014) The prize of the trade that ultimately sent Kevin Love to Cleveland will likely be the Timberwolves' acquisition of No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins , assuming there are no unexpected changes in the deal the two sides agreed to.

If Wiggins does ultimately land in Minnesota, as expected, this should be a boon to his Fantasy value. Though Wiggins will have substantially less help as he makes the transition to the NBA than he would have in Cleveland, he is also likely to be much more of a featured option than he otherwise might have been.

Wiggins was likely going to be the third or possibly even fourth offensive option for the Cavs, and likely would have been so for some time, given the presence of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on long-term deals. Now, the Timberwolves get to build around Wiggins as their long-term centerpiece, and he should be given plenty of rope as the team tries to navigate their upcoming rebuild.

Wiggins is raw, but still put up 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per game as a freshman at the University of Kansas. There are some questions about how well his game will translate to the NBA, but he will at least have some help, in the form of point guard Ricky Rubio, who knows exactly how to set up teammates for shots they like.

Wiggins is mostly upside right now, but should be considered a second-round pick in all keeper-league Fantasy formats. In yearly re-draft leagues, he is more of a mid-round option at this point, albeit one with tremendous upside. 


Anthony Bennett a bit more intriguing following trade
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(8/7/2014) After a rookie season that can be charitably described as lost, a change of scenery is probably the best outcome Anthony Bennett could have hoped for this offseason. He got that Thursday, with the news that the long-awaited Kevin Love trade has landed him in Minnesota.

Last year's No. 1 overall pick luckily doesn't have to join the Cavaliers with the pressure of replacing Love as the face of the franchise -- this year's No. 1 pick, Andrew Wiggin, will take that on. Bennett gets to join a Timberwolves team that can give him more consistent playing time than last year's Cavaliers afforded him, but which won't ask him to do more than he is capable.

Bennett might end up starting at power forward for the Wolves, though a bench role seems more likely at this point. He had a disastrous rookie season after entering the season out of shape, but appeared to be in better shape while playing with the Cavaliers during the Summer League in Las Vegas. He still shot the ball poorly in Vegas -- 42.6 percent from the field and just 4 of 16 from three-point range -- but Bennett looked much more capable during his time there.

Based on his rookie season, Bennett has a long way to go before he is contributing at a high level. However, Fantasy owners in deeper category-based leagues should consider taking a chance on the 21-year-old in the later rounds, because he will have the chance to earn a large role if he proves worthy. 


 
 
 
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