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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 SF Danny Granger sees limited action Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:17 pm ET) Heat small forward Danny Granger saw limited action Friday, playing less than a minute and failing to record a shot in his team's 105-103 loss to the Wizards.

Granger missed the last two games with an illness. He'll have Saturday off before potentially seeing a larger role Sunday against the Celtics.


Heat SG Dwyane Wade scores team-high 28 vs. Wizards
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:15 pm ET) Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade scored a team-high 28 points on 12 of 26 shooting in his team's 105-103 loss to the Wizards Friday.

Wade made two of his four three-point attempts, with one coming at the final buzzer with his team down five. He also racked up eight assists, four rebounds and one steal in 37 minutes while turning the ball over five teams. Wade has averaged 32.7 points in his last three games. He'll square off with the Celtics Sunday.


Wizards PF Nene scores 20 points vs. Heat
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:12 pm ET) Wizards power forward Nene shared the team scoring lead Friday with 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting in his team's 105-103 win over the Heat.

Nene's excellent performance marked his second-best scoring production of the season behind a 22-point game on Nov. 1. He also picked up six rebounds, two assists and one steal in 26 minutes of action Friday. The Wizards will square off with the Suns Sunday.


Wizards PG John Wall posts 20-10 line vs. Heat Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:09 pm ET) Wizards point guard John Wall scored 20 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the field and 8 of 10 shooting from the free-throw line while dishing out 10 assists in his team's 105-103 win over the Heat in Miami Friday.

Wall has delivered eight double-doubles in 10 December games, failing to reach double digits in assists once and in points one other time. His 10 free throws attempted Friday marked his highest total since Nov. 12. Wall played 38 minutes in the win, his team's sixth straight, while also chipping in one rebounds. He'll square off with the Suns Sunday.


Cavaliers G Miller more than doubles season scoring output
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:06 pm ET) Cavaliers guard Mike Miller certainly made the most of his opportunity to start Friday against the Nets. He drained 7 of 8 from 3-point range to help his team eke out a victory.

Those makes represented all his points as he finished with 21. He had not scored more than six in any game this year. He had tallied just 19 points all season heading into the game.


Cavaliers PF Kevin Love hits just one shot in victory
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:01 pm ET) Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love scored a season-low six points in the Friday night defeat of Brooklyn. He hit just 1 of 10 from the field and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. He did yank down a game-high 14 rebounds.

It was the fewest field goals Love has made in one game since he went 0 for 5 against Denver to conclude the 2011-12 season.


Pistons PG Brandon Jennings scores team-high 22 vs. Raptors
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:59 pm ET) Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings scored a team-high 22 points on 8 of 18 shooting, including 2 of 6 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 110-100 loss to the Raptors Friday.

Jennings hadn't come anywhere near 22 points in his first nine December games, entering play Friday with a 6.2-point scoring average for the month. He also racked up eight assists, four rebounds, one block and one steal in 31 minutes Friday. The Pistons take a three-game losing streak into Sunday's matchup with the Nets.


Raptors C Jonas Valanciunas scores team-high 17 vs. Pistons
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:55 pm ET) Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas scored a team-high 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field and 5 of 10 shooting from the free-throw line in his team's 110-100 win over the Pistons Friday.

Valanciunas was one of six Raptors to reach double digits in scoring in the win, but his 50 percent success rate from the free-throw line falls well short of his 81.7 percent mark for the season. He added seven rebounds and two blocks in the win, the Raptors' fifth straight. They'll look to keep rolling Sunday against the Knicks.


Celtics C Kelly Olynyk scores 21 in Friday win
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:55 pm ET) Celtics center Kelly Olynyk is receiving plenty of playing time off the bench and is scoring plenty of points. He tallied a team-high 21 in 25 minutes Friday night against visiting Minnesota.

Olynyk, who nailed 8 of 13 from the field, is averaging 17.5 points over the last six games. He added eight rebounds in the defeat of the Timberwolves.


Thunder C Kendrick Perkins (knee) out Friday vs. Lakers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:52 pm ET) Thunder center Kendrick Perkins will not play in Friday's game against the Lakers due to a left knee contusion, The Oklahoman reports.

The injury is considered minor and Perkins is day-to-day, which means he may end up missing just one game before returning Sunday against the Pelicans. He has averaged 4.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 26 games.

The Thunder are a 5 1/2-point favorite in Friday's game against the Lakers in Los Angeles.


 
 
 
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