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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
Lakers' Kobe Bryant to meet with doctor on Monday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:25 am ET) Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will meet with a doctor on Monday, according to ESPN.

Bryant will meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache in order to discuss the severity of the injury. Bryant has already been diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff, and this meeting will give Bryant a second opinion. If ElAttrache confirms the initial diagnosis, the team could announce Bryant's season-ending surgery soon after the meeting. 

Bryant averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 35 games.


Report: Mavericks confident they'll sign Jermaine O'Neal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:13 am ET) The Mavericks are confident they'll sign Jermaine O'Neal, according to ESPN.

The 36-year-old O'Neal is planning a comeback, and is hoping to sign with a club around the All-Star break. O'Neal has told teams he doesn't want to sign until he's back in game shape. He spent the early part of the year with family, but started working out soon after. O'Neal spent last season with Golden State. He averaged 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 44 games. 


Lakers' Tarik Black able to return late on Sunday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:10 am ET) Lakers center Tarik Black was able to return to action late on Sunday.

Black is dealing with an ankle issue, but was active for the contest. He managed to log seven minutes, scoring three points. Black also logged five rebounds. It's unclear if Black will need to be eased back into action as he comes back from the injury.


Lakers' Nick Young plays just eight minutes on Sunday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:07 am ET) Lakers guard Nick Young played just eight minutes on Sunday against the Rockets.

Young was benched because he looked like he "didn't want to be" there, according to coach Byron Scott. Young missed both of his shots from the field. He did manage to add three rebounds before leaving the contest. 


Lakers' Carlos Boozer doubles up on the Rockets
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Lakers forward Carlos Boozer posted a double-double against the Rockets on Sunday.

Boozer shot 9-13  from the field, finishing with 18 points. He was active on the boards, pulling down 11 rebounds during the contest. Boozer also dished out two assists and had one block.


Rockets' James Harden goes for 37 points on Sunday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Rockets guard James Harden scored 37 points on Sunday against the Lakers.

Harden shot 12-20 from the field, including 4-11 from beyond the arc. He hit nine of his 10 free throw attempts during the contest. Harden contributed in other areas, pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out five assists. It's the 21st time this season Harden has scored at least 30 points in a game. It's also his fourth straight game with at least 30 points. 


Celtics' Avery Bradley spotted with heavily wrapped left thumb
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Celtics guard Avery Bradley was seen after Sunday's game with a heavily wrapped left thumb, reports The Boston Globe. Bradley told reported he jammed his thumb during the game.

Bradley scored 15 points on 5 of 16 from the field, including 3 of 9 from 3-point range, in Sunday's 114-111 loss to the Warriors.


Wizards guard John Wall posts double-double in win Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Wizards point guard John Wall scored 19 points on 8 of 16 shooting from the field in Washington's 117-115 overtime win over the Nuggets Sunday. Wall also dished out a game-high 16 assists, the most he's had in a game since Dec. 17.

It was Wall's 24th double-double of the season and third in his last four games. Wall added three rebounds and one steal to his totals.


Nuggets guard Ty Lawson doubles up Wizards in losing effort
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson returned from his one-game absence Sunday to deliver 31 points on 10 of 20 shooting from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, in the 117-115 overtime loss to the Wizards.

Lawson also distributed the ball well, dishing out 12 assists on the night. It was Lawson's 20th double-double of the season and first in his last five games. Lawson added three rebounds and three steals on the night.


Warriors' Klay Thompson continues strong shooting in win Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Warriors guard Klay Thompson scored 31 points on 11 of 19 shooting, including 3 of 7 from 3-point range, in Golden State's 114-111 win over the Celtics Sunday.

It was Thompson's sixth straight game with at least 20 points scored. In those six games, Thompson is averaging 31.8 points, well above his 22.6 points per game for the season.


 
 
 
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