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Courtside Seat: Can Bargnani still help you?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We're always concerned with a player of two whenever we set our lineup each week. You know it's easy to start LeBron James, Kevin Love and Deron Williams, but what about those second- and third-tier options? What about guys coming back from injuries?

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The Fantasy playoffs are here in some leagues, and making the wrong decision with your lineup could ruin your season. With that in mind, we've identified 10 players who could make the difference between a Fantasy title and a first-round exit.

The hope is all of these players can be relied upon if you start them, but there is no guarantee they will perform at a high enough level to make your Fantasy roster successful.

Andrea Bargnani, center, Raptors
Key stats for the past five days: 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, four 3-pointers
Start percentage Week 14: 73 percent
Bargnani has played 12 games since being out for the previous 20 with a calf injury, and he is starting to come around. He had 26 points against Denver on Wednesday, which was highest total since his return, and he has at least 17 points in three of his past four outings. He needs to rebound better even though that's not his strong suit, but he should be serviceable as a No. 2 Fantasy center now that he's back at 100 percent.

DeJuan Blair, center, Spurs
Key stats for the past five days: 13.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals
Start percentage Week 14: 22 percent
Blair is a risky starting option in the majority of leagues because you never know when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is going to let Tim Duncan play 30-plus minutes, something that has happened just four times in his past seven games. When Duncan is rested, Blair has the chance to shine. Now, the good thing with Blair is the Spurs will likely rest Duncan as the NBA playoffs approach, but since nothing is guaranteed, that's a gamble for Fantasy owners.

Gordon Hayward, small forward, Jazz
Key stats for the past five days: 15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists
Start percentage Week 14: 33 percent
Hayward is finally starting to look like a solid Fantasy option with his recent production. He has at least 18 points and seven rebounds in three of his past five games, and he has at least five assists in four of his past five outings. The Jazz are counting on Hayward with an average of 38 minutes per game of late, and he is rewarding Fantasy owners. He has the chance to be a quality option in the playoffs as a No. 3 forward or guard depending on his eligibility.

Antawn Jamison, small forward, Cavaliers
Key stats for the past five days: 14.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, five 3-pointers
Start percentage Week 14: 87 percent
Jamison is in a mini-funk since he has no double-doubles or 20-point games in his past four outings. We were concerned about Jamison earlier in the year and considered him a sell-high candidate, and hopefully those of you who stuck with him can still get quality production. He won't completely disappear, but you have to hope he can turn things around as the season comes to a close, especially with the Cavs falling out of playoff contention.

Chandler Parsons, small forward, Rockets
Key stats for the past five days: 15.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 10 3-pointers
Start percentage Week 14: 26 percent
Parsons has continued to improve all season, and he has become one of the best rookie options this year. He has benefited with Kevin Martin (shoulder) out, and he has two double-doubles in his past four outings. The Rockets are giving Parsons plenty of playing time since he is averaging over 40 minutes a game, and he is rewarding Fantasy owners. He should remain active in all leagues as long as he continues to get this much playing time.

Luke Ridnour, point guard, Timberwolves
Key stats for the past five days: 13.2 points, 6.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds
Start percentage Week 14: 67 percent
Ridnour's Fantasy value is tied to Jose Juan Barea. With Barea (thigh) out, Ridnour has done an excellent job as the starter in Minnesota. He had a double-double at Charlotte on Wednesday, and he has scored in double figures in three of his past four games. But when Barea is healthy, Ridnour tends to disappear. Both point guards are trying to replace the injured Ricky Rubio (torn ACL), but Ridnour should only start for Fantasy owners in all leagues if Barea remains out.

Zach Randolph, power forward, Grizzlies
Key stats for the past five days: 11.4 points, 7.6 assists, 1.2 steals
Start percentage Week 14: 66 percent
Randolph has struggled since his return from a torn MCL, and he is still finding his rhythm. He has just one double-double in his past seven games and one game with more than 15 points. He should come around soon, and Fantasy owners should keep him active in the postseason. Once he gets close to 100 percent he is going to start playing at a high level, and we're confident he can get there prior to the end of the season.

Ramon Sessions, point guard, Lakers
Key stats for the past five days: 15.2 points, 6.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds
Start percentage Week 14: 61 percent
Sessions has fit in well with the Lakers. He has four games with double digits in scoring in his past five outings and one double-double over that span. He is averaging 32 minutes per game, and the Lakers needed the type of boost he can provide. Fantasy owners who held onto him are likely reaping the benefits as well, and he should be a starter in most formats for the postseason. He is a good source of points, assists and 3-pointers and should close the season playing well.

Klay Thompson, shooting guard, Warriors
Key stats for the past five days: 18.0 points, 3.4 assists, eight 3-pointers
Start percentage Week 14: 68 percent
Thompson has taken over with Monta Ellis traded to Milwaukee and Stephen Curry (ankle) out. There is a chance Curry could return for the end of the season, but Thompson owners shouldn't panic. He should continue to play at a high level, and he has been able to score at a high level for the Warriors. He is also a good source of 3-pointers, and his value would rise if he could rebound and pass at a higher level. As long as Curry doesn't come back in full force, Thompson should be fine.

Evan Turner, shooting guard, 76ers
Key stats for the past five days: 7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists
Start percentage Week 14: 42 percent
Turner looked like he was headed toward a strong finish, but he has tailed off dramatically of late. Even with Andre Iguodala (knee) banged up, Turner has failed to step up, which would be huge for the 76ers and Fantasy owners. This is one player to shy away from for sure during the Fantasy playoffs based on his inconsistent production. Jrue Holiday, who has been inconsistent himself, looks like a much safer option than Turner to close the season.

Each week we will take a look at a variety of topics around the NBA. We will look at 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.

Knick knacks

The Knicks are fighting for their playoff lives, and they are most likely going to do it without Amar'e Stoudemire (back), who is hopeful to return before the end of the regular season. Jeremy Lin (knee) has also missed the past two games, and that has allowed some of the Knicks reserves to step up, which is a benefit for Fantasy owners.

Here is a look at five players who could be worth a look for Fantasy owners to help Carmelo Anthony (he's obviously a no-brainer) and Tyson Chandler down the stretch.

Landry Fields, shooting guard
Ownership percentage: 52 percent

Baron Davis, point guard
Ownership percentage: 51 percent

J.R. Smith, shooting guard
Ownership percentage: 36 percent

Iman Shumpert, point guard
Ownership percentage: 33 percent

Steve Novak, small forward
Ownership percentage: 16 percent

If you were ranking these players to add with the injuries to Stoudemire and Lin, they would be in this order: Davis, Shumpert, Smith, Novak and Fields. Davis has stepped up with Lin out, and he is a great short-term investment. The same goes for Shumpert, who had 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a blowout victory against Orlando on Wednesday. Novak is a great source of 3-pointers, and he is going to see plenty of playing time, which was his biggest issue earlier in the year. And Smith should be able to help the Knicks with their bench production as a good scorer in reserve. Fields is a good player for the Knicks, but his Fantasy value is limited when he's not scoring at a high level.

Free agent watch

Here are five guys I am looking at in my leagues:

Mike Dunleavy, shooting guard, Bucks
Owned: 52 percent of leagues

Kawhi Leonard, small forward, Spurs
Owned: 38 percent of leagues

J.J. Hickson, power forward, Trail Blazers
Owned: 34 percent of leagues

Carl Landry, power forward, Hornets
Owned: 34 percent of leagues

Gary Forbes, small forward, Raptors
Owned: 4 percent of leagues

Dunleavy has quietly been a solid Fantasy option since the All-Star break. He is averaging 14.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in his past five games with 13 3-pointers over that span. Leonard is benefiting with the Spurs resting players, and he has four games with double digits in scoring in his past five games. Hickson has done a nice job since signing with the Trail Blazers last week, and Landry has stepped up with the Hornets dealing with injuries in their frontcourt. Forbes has taken advantage of injuries to DeMar DeRozan (ankle) and Jerryd Bayless (oblique) in Toronto, and he could be someone to target in deeper leagues.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyNews . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Rockets C Dwight Howard probable for Game 3
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:46 pm ET) Rockets center Dwight Howard has been upgraded to probable for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Saturday in Houston.

That designation indicates that Howard, who has been hampered by a knee problem, came through Game 2 without a setback.

Howard certainly improved his performance Thursday, racking up 19 points and 17 rebounds in 40 minutes against Golden State. He managed just seven points and 13 boards in 26 minutes in the series opener.


Hawks' Bazemore primed to step up if Carroll can't go for Game 2
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:37 pm ET) With Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll ruled a game-time decision for Game 2 against the Cavaliers, Kent Bazemore is preparing to fill in that defensive-oriented role, according to AJC.com.

If Carroll does not play, Bazemore will undoubtedly have the task of defending Cavs forward LeBron James. Bazemore, though, is not shying away from that challenge.

“It’s great,” Bazemore said. “It’s a great platform to show what you can do. They brought me here as a defender and that’s my job. What a great measuring stick to go up against one of the best. … It’s tough but it’s what you sign up for. It’s a challenge I love. I love guarding the best players. I’ve been doing it all my life. This is no different. The tools I have and the preparation up to this point, I think I’ve prepared myself to do a good job.”

Bazemore is averaging 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game during the playoffs.


Lakers GM: Kobe 'has indicated to me that this is it'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:17 pm ET) Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said that the upcoming 2015-16 season will be the last for perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant, per ESPN.com.

"He has indicated to me that this is it," Kupchak said.

Bryant, who will be 37 years old when the season begins, is entering the final year of a two-year, $48.5 million dollar extension with the team.

"I think first and foremost, he's on the last year of a deal," Kupchak said. "There have been no discussions about anything going forward. I don't think there will be."

Kupchak said that if anything changes and Bryant wants to continue playing past his current contract, negotiations can be had. Bryant's last three seasons have been cut short because of injury. Last season, he was limited to 35 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

"A year from now, if there's something different to discuss, then it will be discussed then," Kupchak said. "I talk to him from time to time ... and he is recovering. He's running. He's getting movement and strength in the shoulder. We expect a full recovery, but yeah, he's much closer to the end than to the beginning."


Cavs' Dellavedova: 'I will be ready for whatever' in wake of Irving injury
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:00 pm ET) With Kyrie Irving listed as questionable for Game 2 against the Hawks on Friday, Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova is primed to take on a bigger, more crucial role, per Cleveland.com.

"I will be ready for whatever the team needs," Dellavedova said when asked about the possibility of starting. "It will probably mean a lot more minutes so I might have to adjust my game a little there, but not too much."

Though Irving is the Cavs' second-leading scorer, it was Dellavedova who came up big in the team's closeout win over the Bulls in Game 6 of the previous series. Dellavedova scored a season-high 19 points on 7of 11 shooting, including 3 of 5 from behind the arc.

"Delly has done great work for us all season coming from the bench and he has started other times during the season," Cavs coach David Blatt said. "He's been a consistent rotation guy for us and he's a dependable and high character guy that gives us an awful lot. We believe in him, our guys believe in him and he's ready."

Iman Shumpert is also capable of filling in for Irving during stretches. Shumpert is averaging 9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per games during the playoffs.


Blatt: Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving will decide fate Friday night
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:36 pm ET) David Blatt has indicated that Cavaliers ailing guard Kyrie Irving will make the final decision as to whether he plays in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night in Atlanta, per the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Irving expressed optimism heading into the series that the pain in his left knee and right foot had subsided, but if anything he was more limited than ever in the series opener. He re-aggravated the knee injury during the game and played only three of the last 18 minutes as his team put away the Hawks.

The guard did not attend shootaround Friday. He instead received further treatment and evaluation as an MRI was planned.

"My understanding is like most injuries, it's a combination of pain management and what the physical symptons are," Blatt said.

Irving was not invisible in Game 1, but his struggles trying to finish off drives to the basket were again evident. He did manage 10 points and six assists in 27 minutes.


Wizards F Kris Humphries working to expand his range
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:28 am ET) Wizards veteran Kris Humphries has come to the realization that he might need to re-invent himself as a stretch forward to maximize his potential to remain a viable player in the NBA, according to CSNWashington.com.

And that means expanding his shooting range to beyond the arc.

That would be quite a departure for Humphires, who made two 3-pointers as a rookie and none since.

"I never really worked on shooting threes and stuff," he said. "I started working on it this year. I had a lot of success in the last month (practicing) and I was working on it every day."

Humphries was a forgotten man in the playoffs, playing just five total minutes after averaging 21 minutes a game in the regular season.


Hawks SF DeMarre Carroll wearing knee brace Friday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:12 am ET) Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll, who is questionable for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night against Cleveland, is wearing a knee brace at shootaround, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Carroll sustained what was diagnosed as a knee bruise in the series opener Wednesday. The injury appeared far worse when he writhed in pain and was later helped off the court without putting any pressure on the leg.

His presence would be critical for Atlanta. Carroll is the team's leading scorer in the playoffs and is responsible for guarding Cleveland superstar LeBron James.


Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving questionable for Game 2
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:19 am ET) Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will be listed as questionable for Game 2 against the Hawks on Friday.

Irving did not attend the team's shootaround Friday morning in Atlanta, instead going to receive additional evaluation with the team's head physician. Irving received treatment following Wednesday's win, but the tendinitis in his left knee did not diminish.

Irving scored 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting in 27 minutes in Game 1.


Free agent Knight sees future with Suns alongside Bledsoe
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(9:19 am ET) Suns guard Brandon Knight will be a restricted free agent this offseason, but a shared playmaker role next to Eric Bledsoe has him thinking about the long-term with the organization, per The Arizona Republic.

Knight, who can be signed to an offer sheet by any team in the league starting July 1, relished the opportunity to play alongside Bledsoe.

"I thought it was fine," Knight said. "If Eric was a selfish guy, then I think it wouldn't work but both of us being pretty unselfish guys and really just wanting to win and also being familiar with each other, I think that helps the situation."

Knight averaged 17 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game this season -- the best statistical numbers of his career -- but hopes to continue to increase his role with the Suns.

"I'll continue to do the same things that I did this past year to continue to get better," Knight said. "For me, it's more of a team thing. I really want to try to push the guys on the Suns and this organization to be better, not just myself. I think true leaders make people around them better and that's what it's going to take for us to really take that next step. We've got to have each and every guy get better, not just myself but our entire team has to take steps this summer. It starts right now."


Stephen Curry scores team-high 33, Warriors take 2-0 series lead
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/21/2015) Warriors guard Stephen Curry scored a team-high 33 points on 13 of 21 shooting, including 5 of 11 shooting from 3-point range, in his team's 99-98 win over the Rockets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday.

Curry has stepped up his game even higher in the first two games of the series against the Rockets, scoring over 30 points in each while knocking down timely shots. He did turn the ball over six times on the night while adding six assists, three rebounds and one steal in 37 minutes in the nail-biter.

The Warriors will head to Houston for Game 3 on Saturday.


 
 
 
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