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Waiver Wire: Crawford good for a late push

Fantasy Writer
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The All-Star break has come and gone, so it's time for teams to make their push for the playoffs. Fantasy owners are also doing the same and the waiver wire remains a solid way to beef up your roster. With only a few more weeks until the playoffs start in Fantasy, moves now can go a long way to determining who will be playing in the championship game. While some of these players will not be solid options for the remainder of the year their short-term value is looking good.

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This week we look at Jordan Crawford.

After mentioning Crawford as someone to avoid off the waiver wire a couple of weeks ago, he seems to have taken it personally as he is playing his best ball of late. He came into Week 10 (Feb. 27-Mar. 4) averaging 21.2 points with three assists and a steal in his previous five contests and shot 54 percent from the field over that span. That stretch culminated with a season-high 32-point performance against the Kings and he seems primed to make a solid run in the closing months of the season.

It also helps that Nick Young has been struggling while Crawford has taken off. The 23-year-old has seen consistent minutes all season long and that should not change going forward, especially with his recent play. With games against the Warriors, Lakers and Trail Blazers on the schedule for Week 11 (Mar. 5-11), consider Crawford a worthwhile addition in the majority of Fantasy formats.

Guards

Add 'Em

Marco Belinelli, Hornets
Owned: 41 percent
Analysis: Belinelli played well pretty much the entire month of February and Fantasy owners have started to take notice. He has been one of the biggest benefactors of Eric Gordon's injury and also saw some extended run while Jarrett Jack was out. Belinelli entered the All-Star break averaging 16.6 points with 3.2 rebounds and a steal in his last five contests and shot a solid 56 percent from 3-point land over that span. The 25-year-old is having a career campaign in his second season in New Orleans and should be considered a viable option heading into Week 11.

Luke Ridnour, Timberwolves
Owned: 55 percent
Analysis: Ridnour struggled to score on a consistent basis in the beginning of February but has looked better of late and is still putting up some decent secondary stats. He finished the unofficial first half having averaged double-digit scoring with more than five rebounds and four assists in his last five games while shooting 50 percent from the floor over that span. While he went just 1 for 8 (12 percent) from downtown during that stretch he has not been shooting the ball well from 3-point land all season long. Even the terrific play of Ricky Rubio hasn't pushed Ridnour out of the starting lineup and he should be able to keep things going heading into Week 11. The 31-year-old will face off against the Clippers, Trail Blazers, Lakers and Hornets during the upcoming scoring period so consider adding Ridnour in most Fantasy formats.

Avoid 'Em

Baron Davis, Knicks
Owned: 59 percent
Analysis: Davis made his long-awaited season debut during Week 9 but has not done much for owners just yet. He scored a combined four points in his first three contests and went just 1 for 12 (8 percent) during those contests. With the emergence of Jeremy Lin, the Knicks have found a point guard they can rely on and Davis will have to find his role on a squad filled with talent. The 32-year-old should be able to improve his stats as he gets used to the Knicks' offense, so keep an eye on his progress. Davis has proven in the past to be a more-than-viable option in Fantasy-- when he stays healthy-- but owners in larger formats should leave him on waivers.

Anthony Morrow, Nets
Owned: 50 percent
Analysis: Morrow has been pretty disappointing since dropping 42 points on Feb. 3 as he has scored in double digits just four times in 10 games since then. He averaged eight points with 1.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in the five games prior to the All-Star break and shot just 27 percent from the field over that span. Morrow also lost four teeth in a game against the Knicks but luckily he did not miss any time. He continues to see consistent minutes in New Jersey but the return of MarShon Brooks has cut into his production, and forced the former Warrior to the bench. Morrow can be a viable Fantasy option in larger formats when playing well but leave him for deeper leagues until he picks up the pace.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Jason Thompson, Kings
Owned: 47 percent
Analysis: Thompson has picked up his production recently and is starting to look like the player he was his first two years in the NBA. He entered the All-Star break averaging 8.4 points with 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in his previous five contests, despite shooting 41 percent over that span. The 25-year-old has earned himself a regular spot in the starting lineup and is trending up in Fantasy. Thompson could definitely help owners in deeper formats, so consider picking him up heading into Week 11.

Amir Johnson, Raptors
Owned: 54 percent
Analysis: Johnson has seen his role increase in Toronto once again and is starting to put up more points. He scored in double figures five times through 11 games in February, including two double-doubles, and continues to have a career year on the boards. The Raptors have been desperate for production ever since Andrea Bargnani went down and the 24-year-old has been one of the players chipping in. Consistency has been a problem for Johnson but he remains a viable addition off the waiver wire heading into Week 11.

Avoid 'Em

Grant Hill, Suns
Owned: 38 percent
Analysis: Hill picked up his scoring heading into the All-Star break and the 39-year-old appears to have rediscovered his stroke. He averaged 13.6 points with 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his five games before the All-Star break. But owners should not be too quick to grab the veteran off waivers just yet as he has a daunting schedule on tap for Week 11. Phoenix will play Oklahoma City, Dallas and Memphis during the upcoming scoring period. All of those teams have been pretty tough on defense thus far. Hill is no longer the prolific scorer he once was and while the Suns' wide open offense could allow him to put some points together, the seven-time All-Star does not contribute enough in other categories to make a difference in larger Fantasy formats.

Kenyon Martin, Clippers
Owned: 19 percent
Analysis: After missing most of the first half while fulfilling his contract in China, Martin signed on to play with the Clippers for the rest of the season in early February but his numbers have not been that impressive thus far. He put up five points with four rebounds in his first nine games while seeing nearly 22 minutes per contest. While he can supply some decent scoring and rebounding when playing well, the 34-year-old is not the Fantasy option he used to be and is not going to produce more than Chris Paul and Blake Griffin too often. Continue to ignore Martin in the majority of formats heading into Week 11.

Centers

Add 'Em

Bismack Biyombo, Bobcats
Owned: 44 percent
Analysis: Biyombo has been one of the more underrated rookies so far this season and the fact that he plays for a poor team does not help his cause. However, he has been picking up his production of late and is starting to get more looks in Fantasy. He averaged 5.6 points with 8.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in his final five games of the unofficial first half and shot 50 percent from the field over that span. The 19-year-old is starting once again for Charlotte and can definitely give some owners a boost with his rebounding and defensive stats. He will play Orlando, Utah, New Jersey and Oklahoma City during Week 11 so consider adding Biyombo in deeper formats, especially at such a thin position.

DeJuan Blair, Spurs
Owned: 64 percent
Analysis: After struggling for much of the season, Blair was able to put together some decent performances before the All-Star break and could be trending up. He scored a season-high 28 points with 12 rebounds against the Nuggets on Feb. 23, which capped off a five-game stretch in which he averaged 13.8 points with 5.6 boards while shooting 56 percent from the floor. He produced well while Tiago Splitter was out with a calf injury and with his teammate still a little banged up, Blair should be able to continue producing. The 22-year-old has proven himself to be a viable option in Fantasy through his first few years in the NBA, so owners in need of a big man should scoop up Blair.

Avoid 'Em

Kosta Koufos, Nuggets
Owned: 12 percent
Analysis: Koufos was seeing some decent run while the Nuggets were banged up in the frontcourt but the return of some key players in the frontcourt has led to him returning to the bench. With Timofey Mozgov and Nene both on the mend, he will likely see his production take a hit and has already seen his minutes decrease. While he gave owners six points with five rebounds in his final five games of the unofficial first half and is putting up career numbers thus far, the 23-year-old still has a long way to go before being a reliable option in Fantasy. Koufos should be considered a low-end Fantasy center best suited for the deepest of formats while in his diminished role.

Ian Mahinmi, Mavericks
Owned: 5 percent
Analysis: Mahinmi had some productive performances at the beginning of 2012 but has regressed and is not seeing as much time off the bench. He entered the All-Star break averaging 1.8 points with 2.5 rebounds in his previous four games and saw less than nine minutes per contest over that span. With Brendan Haywood playing better of late it doesn't look as though the 25-year-old's role is going to improve anytime soon, which is why we recommend continuing to ignore Mahinmi in the majority of Fantasy formats.

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Player News
Hornets center Al Jefferson looking to improve defensive presence
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:25 pm ET) Hornets center Al Jefferson said he is tired of being a defensive liability and is looking to make sure opposing teams don't target his pick-and-roll defense, according to The Charlotte Observer.

"I refuse to continue getting picked on at the end of games. It’s not fun," Jefferson said. "Last year at the end of games teams always put me in high pick-and-rolls. I got sick of them thinking that was to their advantage, and it was to their advantage."

Coach Steve Clifford said he was happy that Jefferson brought up the subject of his defensive issues and saved the coaches from having to point it out.

"He’s working hard. His attitude is great. I sense more of a hunger than any kind of complacency," Clifford said. "He sees what the possibilities are for the group. He’s competitive and wants to win."


Pistons coach speaks highly of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:14 pm ET) Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy spoke highly Wednesday about second-year guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to the team's official website.

"You always look at players first to their strengths, where can a guy be great," Van Gundy said. "I think he can be an elite defender in this league at the two guard and we’ll look for that every night. I think he is a high-energy guy who can get up and down the floor and attack the basket in transition. Those two things have got to be his foundation."

Caldwell-Pope averaged 24 points per game in the Summer League. However, he's still not at the stage in his career where the Pistons are counting on him to be one of their top scorers.

"On the offensive end, he’s going to have to slow down a little bit, get under control, and like a lot of people it will come down to how many shots he can make, how efficient he can be shooting the ball, how consistent can you be," Van Gundy said. "But I think he’s got a great foundation with the defense and energy that will get him on the floor and give him a chance to develop in those other areas."


Lakers forward Ryan Kelly suffers hamstring strain
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:31 pm ET) Lakers forward Ryan Kelly suffered a moderate left hamstring strain Wednesday. The Lakers will have more information about the severity of his injury Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Pacers forward C.J. Miles not worried about calf strain
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) Pacers forward C.J. Miles has been unable to complete a full practice at the start of training camp due to a calf strain, according to VigilantSports.com. However, Miles is not worried about the injury.

"It’s just a little strain, nothing crazy," he said Wednesday. "I’m pretty much healed. I’m doing everything just monitoring the contact a little bit just because of the wear and tear on it.

"It doesn’t make sense for me to be out with a strain for three weeks now when I could take a couple days just two get it all the way back, finish the month and be ready for the first game of the season. But I’m well past sitting out. Just monitoring it, that’s all."

Miles added he only sits out a portion of practice.

"I do everything throughout the whole practice until like just a little bit of the contact just towards the end," he explained. "Since the first practices are long, they don’t want me go through the wear and tear of the whole practice."


Jonas Jerebko will be part of Pistons' 10-man rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:24 pm ET) Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy indicated Wednesday forward Jonas Jerebko will be part of a 10-man rotation this season.

"We'll play at least nine on a nightly basis but probably 10 a lot, based on the way Jonas has played in September and in camp," Van Gundy said after Wednesday's morning practice, per the team's official website. "I've been really happy (with him). Nobody put more time in here this summer than Jonas did. Because of his play with the national team in years past, he's never really been able to devote as much time to his own development and his own game. He's gotten stronger. He's in tremendous shape.

"I think the key to Jonas -- and we talked about this early on -- is he has to get back to being the guy he was when he first came into the league, that hungry guy playing with incredible energy, trying to make his spot. What we've seen in September, he looks like a guy who is committed to being a high-energy guy."


D.J. Stephens added to Pelicans' training camp roster
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:34 pm ET) The Pelicans added guard/forward D.J. Stephens to the training camp roster, according to The Times-Picayune. Stephens appeared in three games for the Bucks in 2013-14, averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds.

Josh McRoberts expects to be ready by Heat season opener
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:31 pm ET) Heat forward Josh McRoberts will not play in Wednesday's scrimmage due to a toe injury, according to the Sun-Sentinel. McRoberts, who had toe surgery in the offseason, said he has dealt with the issue for years.

"I've needed surgery for a couple years," McRoberts said. "We kind of figured out last year before the season started. I knew right when the playoffs ended, so it was something I had planned for."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat are just being cautious to avoid McRoberts aggravating the injury. However, McRoberts expects to be ready by the season opener in late October.

"I'm just kind of easing back into things," McRoberts said. "It takes time to recover from something like this. I'm just trying not to overdo it."


Heat forward Chris Andersen working on jump shot
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:24 pm ET) Heat forward Chris Andersen is spending extra time after practice during training camp to work on jumpers from the elbow and baseline, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Andersen is putting in the extra work because the Heat feel he can be used in more than just pick-and-roll situations.

"To step out and have that confidence to shoot the 15-footer, a lot of people haven't seen it or don't expect it," Andersen said. "This year, [coach Erik Spoelstra] says he's going to implement it into the game plan. I look forward to getting that opportunity."


Norris Cole looking to become a scoring threat for Heat
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:43 pm ET) Heat guard Norris Cole said he wants to become more of a scoring threat this season, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

"We had so many playmakers [last year] that there were times I deferred to let those guys make the plays," Cole said. "They were great at it…. But I also I saw [plays] where I could have been more aggressive to attack."

The Heat are expected to have more balanced scoring in 2014-15 since LeBron James is no longer on the roster.

"He's gotten better individually for sure," guard Dwayne Wade said. "He had a hell of a summer working out and getting prepared. Defensively, he's a monster. The next wave for him is how to be effective as a point guard and effective as a scoring guard. He's going to have to figure out the perfect way to do that. It's not always easy for guys but if he can figure it out he can be very dangerous for us."


Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge expected to attempt more 3-pointers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:35 pm ET) Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts expects power forward LaMarcus Aldridge to attempt more than the 15 3-pointers he took last season during the 2014-15 campaign, according to The Oregonian. However, it doesn't appear Aldridge will become a 3-point specialist any time soon.

"This summer, I worked on it a lot more, so we'll see this season," he said. "If it's there, I'll take it. I'm not going to force it at all."


 
 
 
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