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Waiver wire: Look to rookies for extra punch

Fantasy Writer
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With the unofficial first half of the season at its end, it is time to think about strengthening your roster for the stretch run. Players that missed some time before the All-Star break due to injury appear to be getting healthier and some teams are playing their best ball at this point. With the way the condensed scheduled has handicapped some teams -- especially those with a ton of veterans -- we'll likely see the pace pick up in the second half, which should do wonders for their value in Fantasy.

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Also, rookies that did not see a ton of playing time earlier in the year are starting to get some run as their respective clubs fall out of contention.

This week we are looking at Tristan Thompson.

Thompson has looked more comfortable since returning from an ankle injury and is seeing some more run with Anderson Varejao out. He ended Week 8 (Feb. 13-19) by scoring in double digits in back-to-back games, including recording his first career double-double against the Kings on Feb. 19. He leads all rookies with 5.5 rebounds per game and is blocking 1.3 shots and scoring 7.1 points per game through 23 contests. Thompson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 draft, has opened coach Byron Scott's eyes and should see his minutes increase in the second half with Cleveland not playing for much. While his free-throw shooting has not been that impressive, Thompson is definitely worth a look in deeper Fantasy formats heading into Week 10 (Feb. 27-Mar. 4), as well as some larger leagues.

Guards

Add 'Em

Isaiah Thomas, Kings
Owned: 64 percent
Analysis: Thomas has been one of the hottest adds off the waiver wire over the last week or so and with good reason. He scored a season-high 24 points against a tough Heat defense to begin Week 9, which capped off a five-game stretch in which he averaged 16.6 points with 5.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds. He also shot nearly 53 percent over that span, including a solid 52 percent from downtown. The rookie will likely continue to start for the Kings as long as he is playing well and he has a pretty favorable schedule on tap for Week 10. With the Jazz, Clippers, Lakers and Suns due up, consider Thomas a worthy addition in most Fantasy leagues.

Tony Allen, Grizzlies
Owned: 47 percent
Analysis: Allen has looked good since returning from injuries to both his hip and knee and is proving to be more than just a defensive presence in Memphis. He averaged 12.8 points with four rebounds and 2.5 steals during a six-game stretch that ended on Feb. 20, and shot 51 percent from the field over that span. The 30-year-old has always been known for his ability to fill up the stat sheet but usually does not post points like this, so owners should take advantage as long he is putting up double-digit scoring. Fantasy owners in deeper formats should definitely consider grabbing Allen off waivers.

Avoid 'Em

C.J. Watson, Bulls
Owned: 18 percent
Analysis: Watson filled in admirably while Derrick Rose was out but now that the reigning MVP has returned, his production is expected to take a big hit. His days of seeing nearly 30 minutes per game are likely over as he returns to the bench in Chicago. Watson averaged 12 points with 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals during the five-game stretch Rose was sidelined. And while he has been shooting the ball better this season -- especially from beyond the arc -- owners should not expect the same type of production. The 27-year-old remains a decent handcuff option in deeper formats but owners would be wise to avoid Watson heading into Week 10.

Jimmer Fredette, Kings
Owned: 34 percent
Analysis: After being taken 10th overall in the 2011 draft, Fredette has struggled to adjust to the NBA and has not done much for owners of late. While he was able to do some scoring when Marcus Thornton was banged up, fellow rookie Thomas has been stealing his minutes recently, leaving Fredette with minimal playing time. He did not see the court in Sacramento's first game of Week 9 and is averaging just 6.3 points through seven games in February. The 22-year-old remains a viable handcuff option but owners in deeper formats should not be looking to add Fredette at this point.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Gustavo Ayon, Hornets
Owned: 52 percent
Analysis: Due to a rash of injuries in the frontcourt for the Hornets, Ayon has made the most of his playing time and is starting to gain some momentum in Fantasy. He posted back-to-back double-doubles to end Week 8 and continues to see significant minutes. He also has done a decent job with his defensive numbers. The rookie can be sporadic with his scoring at times but his ability to rebound and redirect shots should continue to play well alongside Chris Kaman. Keep in mind that his role might will likely change once Emeka Okafor, Jason Smith and Carl Landry return from injury but in the meantime, consider Ayon a viable pickup in Fantasy.

Ekpe Udoh, Warriors
Owned: 17 percent
Analysis: Udoh received his first start of the season to open up Week 9 and excelled with a season-high 19 points. He also hauled in eight rebounds and blocked two shots while playing 38 minutes. While he suffered a minor knee injury in the closing minutes of the contest, he impressed with his performance and could see a larger role going forward. Coach Mark Jackson is considering moving the 24-year-old into the starting lineup on a regular basis, which would do wonders for Udoh's Fantasy value. With the way Andris Biedrins has struggled all season it looks as though Udoh is about to see a boost, so owners in deeper formats should consider grabbing him with Indiana, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Toronto on the schedule for Week 10.

Avoid 'Em

C.J. Miles, Jazz
Owned: 18 percent
Analysis: After a nice little run, Miles has not produced much for owners of late, reulting in a loss in Fantasy value. He opened Week 9 with a 13-point performance against the Spurs but it was his first time scoring in double figures since Feb. 7, and just his third time doing so in 12 February games. Many thought he would be able to take his game to the next level this season -- after averaging a career-high 12.8 points a season ago -- but shooting just 27 percent from downtown has hindered his effectiveness. Until he shows the ability to be more consistent, leave Miles on waivers in the majority of Fantasy formats.

Chase Budinger, Rockets
Owned: 16 percent
Analysis: Budinger has seen his role all but dry up in Houston as he sat out for the second time in the previous three contests to begin Week 9. Since scoring a season-high 22 points on Feb. 8, he has averaged just 5.8 points with 3.2 rebounds in the last five games and is not seeing many minutes off the bench. He had played well after being removed from the starting lineup initially but his recent production suggests he has a long way to go before becoming a viable option in Fantasy again. While things could always change in the second half, leave Budinger on waivers in most formats at this point.

Centers

Add 'Em

Semih Erden, Cavaliers
Owned 10 percent
Analysis: Erden opened some eyes with an 18-and-8 performance against the Pacers on Feb. 15 and has moved to the starting lineup since Varejao went down. He has not been nearly as impressive since then, with a wrist injury hindering him a bit, but the potential is there. The 25-year-old has the skill set to put up some decent scoring and rebounding in the short term and with center being a weak position in Fantasy, Erden is definitely worth a look. Consider grabbing the seven-footer off waivers with Boston, New York, Chicago and Washington on the schedule for Week 10.

Matt Bonner, Spurs
Owned: 18 percent
Analysis: We suggested picking up Bonner a couple of weeks ago and his performance since then has made him even more attractive in Fantasy. He began Week 9 with a 20-point performance -- setting a season high -- and marked the fourth straight game he scored in double figures. He shot 72 percent from 3-point land during that stretch and averaged three rebounds. While he does not hit the boards the way a typical center would, he shoots the ball from downtown more often than your average big man and the injury to Tiago Splitter should earn Bonner some decent playing time going forward. Owners in deeper and category-based formats should consider the 31-year-old worth a look heading into Week 10.

Avoid 'Em

Andris Biedrins, Warriors
Owned: 7 percent
Analysis: Biedrins continues to have the worst campaign of his career and it looks as though he could be losing his starting job to Udoh in the near future. Udoh performed very well when he started for him on Monday and could push the 25-year-old to the bench. He's averaging 17 minutes per contest thus far and putting up 2.4 points with 4.6 rebounds, which has not been a huge help to owners anyway. Even if he retains his spot in the starting lineup, leave Biedrins on waivers in the majority of Fantasy leagues.

Greg Oden, Trail Blazers
Owned: 7 percent
Analysis: Oden's injury-plagued career continues as he underwent yet another surgery on his knee and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. He has played just 82 games since being taken No. 1 overall in the 2007 draft and has not played in a single game since the 2009-10 campaign. Owners who had been holding onto him in hopes that he would return at some point this season should cut ties with the 24-year-old as his fifth knee surgery could put an end to Oden's career.

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Player News
Kyrie Irving practices for Cavaliers, still a game-time decision
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:06 pm ET) Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving participated in practice on Monday, per the Associated Press.

Irving is hampered by a knee injury that kept him out of Game 3. 

Coach David Blatt said that Irving is still a game-time decision for Wednesday's Game 4. Blatt said that the team's medical staff wants to see Irving have several good days of work in a row. 


LeBron James gets treatment on leg at Cavaliers' practice
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:59 pm ET) Cavaliers forward LeBron James got some type of treatment on his leg on Monday, per the Associated Press.

James had a wrap on his right leg and appeared "physically drained" after receiving some type of treatment on the leg. James wouldn't give any details on the issue or the treatment, however. 


Hawks G Dennis Schroder plays playoff-low three minutes Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:42 am ET) Mike Budenholzer has apparently lost confidence in Dennis Schroder, at least if the playoff-low three minutes he gave the Hawks guard Sunday night is any indication.

Schroder played at least 11 minutes in every postseason game. But a need for outside shooting in the absence of Kyle Korver had Budenholzer opting for Shelvin Mack in the taut overtime loss in Cleveland.

Mack performed well, but his two misses on the last possession clinched defeat.

Schroder has hit on just 19 of his last 60 shots in the postseason.


Bird: 'Huge gap' could keep Pacers from signing PF Luis Scola
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:31 am ET) Steady Pacers veteran power forward Luis Scola would like to return next year. And general manager Larry Bird would like to have him back. But financial reality could prove to be problematic.

"[There's] this huge gap that we've got to fill," Bird told VigilantSports.com. "We'll see how it goes."

Scola was the model of consistency this season. He averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game while shooting nearly 47 percent from the field.


Hawks guard Jeff Teague scores 30 points in losing effort
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Hawks guard Jeff Teague scored 30 points on 9 of 23 shooting from the field, including 3 of 8 from 3-point range, in Atlanta's 114-111 loss to the Cavaliers in overtime in Game 3.

Teague also dished out seven assists and pulled down six rebounds in the contest. His 30 points was a playoff career-high for Teague, who was a perfect 9 for 9 from the free throw line. He and the Hawks will look to stave off elimination on Tuesday against the Cavaliers.


Cavaliers' LeBron James posts highest triple-double in playoff history
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Cavaliers forward LeBron James scored 37 points on 14 of 37 shooting from the field, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range in Cleveland's 114-111 win over the Hawks in overtime in Game 3.

James also pulled down 18 rebounds and dished out 13 assists, recording his first triple-double in the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season. James is also recorded the highest totals for a triple-double in NBA playoff history with his performance. It was his 12th career triple-double.

James, who was noticeably banged up throughout the game, said after there was no chance at all of him missing Game 4. He and the Cavaliers will look to advance to the NBA Finals in Game 4 on Tuesday. 


Hawks F Al Horford ejected after Flagrant 2 foul
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(5/24/2015) Hawks forward Al Horford was ejected in the second quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday after committing a Flagrant 2 foul against the Cavaliers' Matthew Dellavedova

Horford, who was leading the Hawks with 14 points and four rebounds, was entangled with Dellavedova when he delivered an elbow to the Cleveland guard's head with 34.3 seconds remaining in the half. 

After the officials reviewed the foul, with Cleveland fans chanting Dellavedova's name, they decided to assess a Flagrant 2 to Horford, which results in an automatic ejection, and a technical foul to Dellavedova. 

A Flagrant 2 foul also warrants a one-game suspension, which could be huge for a Hawks team on the ropes and without guard Kyle Korver. 


Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving officially out for Game 3
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will not play in Game 3 against the Hawks on Sunday, the team announced.

Irving was considered a game-time decision for the contest while battling a foot injury. He was able to go through a pregame warm up and was hoping to give it a go. Irving also missed Game 2 because of the injury and is averaging 18.9 points and 3.6 assists per game in the playoffs this season.

The Cavaliers are currently 9-point favorites against Atlanta on Sunday.


Report: Cavs G Kyrie Irving not expected to play in Game 3
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is unlikely to suit up for Sunday night's Game 3 matchup against the Hawks. 

According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, Irving has been working out prior to the game but is not expected to play. Irving has a knee injury that has sidelined him. 

With the Cavaliers up 2-0 over the Hawks, Irving could very well sit as a precaution. Matthew Delavedova has played well of late in Irving's absence, which gives the Cavs the option of being careful with their star point guard. 


Hawks F DeMarre Carroll: Basketball is 'bigger than money'
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll is expected to play again in Game 3 against the Cavs despite having a severely sprained knee that isn't close to 100 percent. 

Carroll is hitting the free-agent market after this season and could be in line for a big contract. However, if he re-injures the knee, Carroll could see his pricetag drop this offseason. 

However, given that the Hawks are in the Eastern Conference finals, Carroll would rather fight the pain and go for a championship than worry about his contract championship. 

“I’ve been getting a million calls and emails about me, why am I there, this might be the biggest contract of my life," Carroll said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jeff Schultz. "But at the end of the day this game isn’t promised to you. So whenever you’ve got an opportunity to play basketball, a lot of people say it’s bigger than money and it feels like that to me. I cherish this game and I want to be out there fighting, and if I have to fight on one leg, I’m gonna fight on one leg. I can’t let this opportunity pass me by. Eastern Conference finals, playing against LeBron James. I don’t care if I have to do it on one leg, I’ll hobble out there.”

The Hawks trail the Cavs in the series 0-2. 


 
 
 
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