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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
Danny Granger limited to three points in playoff opener
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/19/2014) Clippers forward Danny Granger was eased back into action on Saturday, and did little with his 12 minutes off the bench in his team's 109-105 Game 1 loss to the Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs.

Granger scored just three points on 1 of 6 from the field, including 0 of 2 from downtown, and 1 of 1 from the free throw line. He also chipped in with two rebounds and one assist in his first game back from a hamstring strain.

Andre Iguodala does little in return to starting lineup
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/19/2014) Warriors guard Andre Iguodala (knee) got the start in his team's 109-105 victory over the Clippers in Game 1 of the first round of the playoff on Saturday.

Iguodala was the only Golden State starter held under 10 points, finishing with just eight on 3 of 6 from the floor, including 0 of 1 from 3-point land, and 2 of 2 from the free throw line. He also chipped in with three assists and one rebound while logging 20 minutes of game action.

Nets trio proves healthy as postseason opens
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/19/2014) The Nets rested a slew of starters late in the regular season, and they were healthy enough to play in Saturday's postseason opener against the Raptors Saturday as a result.

Guards Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston were all in the starting lineup and playing their usual roles Saturday, after getting time off to rest their various maladies. Johnson led the trio with 45 minutes played, but Williams logged 39 and Livingston played 29 minutes of his own in the 94-87 win.

Williams and Johnson tied for the team lead with 24 points scored, though Johnson was more efficient, shooting 8 of 13 from the field compared to Williams' 8-for-20 mark. Livingston brought up the rear with 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting as well.

With extra time off, the Nets should be able to keep their sometimes fragile roster healthy in the postseason. Johnson led the team with 79 games played this season, while Livingston appeared in 75 games and Williams play 64. 


Nick Calathes hit with 20-game suspension prior to postseason
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/18/2014) Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes will begin serving a 20-game suspension when the team's first-round playoff series begins against the Thunder Saturday, reports Yahoo.com.

Calathes was hit with the suspension for violating the league's Anti-Drug policy, though his failed test reportedly si not due to testosterone or PED use. According to the report, Calathes tested positive for Tamoxifen, part of an over-the-counter athletic supplement Calathes was using.

Calathes appeared in 71 games for the Grizzlies, and his loss will be felt, as he was the team's primary reserve at point guard. He finished his rookie season averaging 4.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 16.5 minutes per game.  


Victor Oladipo will see time in summer league
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Magic guard Victor Oladipo maybe be one of the frontrunners for Rookie of the Year, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have room to improve. Magic general manager Rob Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel in Thursday's exit interview Oladipo will take part in the summer league yet again, but may not be used in every game this time around.

Oladipo ended up playing in 80 games for the Magic, and finished in the top-five in most major categories among rookies. He averaged 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He also played the most minutes total among rookies. 


Danny Granger expects to play in first postseason game
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Clippers forward Danny Granger took part in practice Thursday and plans to be available for the start of the team's first round playoff matchup against the Warriors Saturday.

Granger missed the final nine games of the regular season with a hamstring strain, and ended up playing just 41 regular season games. He averaged 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for the Clippers.  

 


Tyreke Evans could push Eric Gordon to bench
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans closed his season out strong after a slow start, and the impetus was a move to the starting lineup March. After he found success as a starter, the team might make the move permanent next season.

From March 1 on, he averaged 20.0 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game, while starting 21 of the team's final 22 games. His success could lead the team to consider a full-time switch next season, and coach Monty Williams told the team's official website that is something they will consider, especially with incumbent shooting guard Eric Gordon's inability to stay healthy yet again.

Evans ended up finishing fifth on the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game, while adding 4.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists, and appearing in the third-most games. 


Steve Nash plans to get healthy in offseason
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Lakers guard Steve Nash was rarely healthy while appearing in just 15 games this season, but he told reporters in exit interviews Thursday he is in better shape than he was at this point a year ago.

Nash said he could be fully healthy in three-to-four weeks, after it took him five months last offseason. Despite this, he isn't sure if he will be able to maintain his health by the start of training camp. He plans to be at training camp, but will need to evaluate his health before the start of next season, after being extremely limited by ongoing nerve issues.

Nash finished the season averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 assists per game in his 15 appearances, but has maintained he is not planning to retire. He is under contract for one more season, and will be paid $9.7 million next year. 


Andre Drummond puts finishing touches on one-of-a-kind season
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Pistons center Andre Drummond is a unique talent; anyone can see that. He finished one of the most unique seasons in modern league history Wednesday in typical fashion, as he snared his 57th double-double in a loss to the Thunder.

Drummond finished the game with 22 points and 13 rebounds, including eight offensive rebounds to push his league-leading total to 440. That represents the eighth-highest total since 1979-80, and it isn't the only place where Drummond's season stands out.

Though he shot 62.3 percent from the field, Drummond remained the league's worst free-throw shooter. He became just the third play since 1979-80 to play 2500 total minutes while shooting below 42.0 percent from the free-throw line, as his 4-for-8 performance Wednesday raised his average to 41.8 percent.

Drummond improved his production across the board in his second season, averaging 13.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game while appearing in 81 games.  


Andrew Bynum out for first round
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Pacers center Andrew Bynum has not played since the middle of March, and even a month off has not given him enough time to recover from knee troubles. Pacers.com reports Thursday Bynum has already been ruled out for the first round of the playoffs against the Hawks.

Bynum ended up appearing in just two games for the Pacers and 26 games overall this season, averaging 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. 


 
 
 
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