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Waiver Wire: Early avenues to success

Fantasy Writer
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Even though it is very early in the season, there is nothing wrong with taking stock of your team and trying to make improvements where possible. You want to be patient and let slow starters get their legs under them, but you also need to know when to cut bait or start plugging holes.

The most important thing you want to look for when searching for waiver wire additions are players who will likely have a solid, consistent role in their offense, which makes a backup an odd choice for a player to highlight. But Golden State does not view guard Jarrett Jack as a true backup, despite his spot on the bench at tip off.

Jack has been a major part of the Warriors' crunch time lineups in the early going and he has largely picked up his solid play from where he left off a year ago. Jack splits ball-handling duties with Stephen Curry when both are on the floor, with Klay Thompson moving to the small forward position in most configurations. What that means is Jack is spending important chunks of his time on the floor surrounded by two total dead-eye shooters on the wings.

Jack is averaging 26.5 minutes per game so far this season, though he has topped that in three of four games. He had at least six assists in each of the first three games of the season and is averaging a career-high assist rate on a per-minute basis. Fantasy owners know all too well how valuable assists can be, so Jack could be great as a reserve and occasional starter, especially being owned in just 67 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.

Guards

Add 'Em

E'Twaun Moore, Magic: Admittedly, we did not expect much from Moore, a former second-round pick who averaged just 2.9 points per game for the Celtics a year ago, in his first stint in Orlando. The fact that he opened the season by scoring in double figures in four games in a row probably already qualifies his season as a success. He scored in double figures exactly one time as a rookie. The Magic continue to give Moore minutes with Jameer Nelson dealing with an injury and he has probably earned a role even upon Nelson's return. Moore is a possible breakout candidate given his hot start, and is worth a flier in deeper formats. Owned: 27 percent

Mike Dunleavy, Bucks: Dunleavy had one of his best seasons in a while last season and he has picked right up where he left off. Dunleavy gives the Bucks a sane option in a backcourt that often needs a calming influence. And the fact that he can also switch to the small-forward spot when the team needs it helps him find the floor. He exploded for 29 points on just 12 shots in his second game of the season, a feat he is unlikely to repeat. But he is a proven scorer who sees enough points to be a consistent contributor of about a dozen points per game and is worth owning when he gets hot. Owned: 59 percent

Avoid 'Em

MarShon Brooks, Nets: Brooks is supposed to be an instant-offense option off the bench for Brooklyn, but he has struggled to really find many chances in that role so far. He has actually started the season out hot, but when Gerald Wallace went down with an ankle injury and forced the Nets to play Joe Johnson at small forward, it was Keith Bogans who stepped into the starting lineup and C.J. Watson who saw a bump in minutes. Brooks is simply a volume scorer and it is difficult to get that volume with less than 20 minutes per night. Until his role really changes, it is hard to justify stashing him. Owned: 33 percent

Aaron Brooks, Kings: Brooks has actually seen some of the Kings' crunch time minutes and he is playing the point in some lineups, though the numbers don't seem to indicate that. He is predictably struggling with the transition back to the NBA game after a year off and is averaging just 1.5 assists and 7.5 points per game through the first week of the season. While the Kings may choose to increase his role as he becomes acclimated to the pace of the game again, he is far removed from his 19-points-per-game heyday in Houston. Brooks is not worth your attention at this time. Owned: 26 percent

Forwards

Add 'Em

Brandan Wright, Mavericks: Wright's numbers have been pretty impressive through the first week of the season. He is scoring 12.3 points per game, fueled by an outrageous 78.6 percent shooting mark through four games. There is simply no way he will be able to keep that pace up, but Wright did shoot 61.8 percent from the field a year ago. He sees a big bump in future value for two reasons: he will earn center eligibility Wednesday as he starts his fifth game at that position and he seems to be the only player who can stay healthy in the Dallas frontcourt. He should not see his place in the rotation diminish and could sustain something close to the double-digit scoring we have seen so far. Owned: 34 percent

Corey Brewer, Nuggets: In 59 games a season ago, Brewer made just 33 three-point attempts, which is perfectly in line with his career averages. Brewer is an energy guy who gets by on active off-ball cutting, after all. One of the big shocks of the first week of the NBA season, then, is that Brewer ranks in a tie for 10th place in the league with noted-gunners/sharpshooters like Danny Green and Kobe Bryant in three-pointers made, with nine in four games. He is making them at a 34.6 percent clip and the Nuggets seem to be encouraging this shot selection. He averaged four three-point attempts per game in the preseason. The Nuggets are in need of players who are willing to take threes when they are open and Brewer is accepting the challenge. As a result, he has seen his scoring bump to its highest level since 2009-10, despite playing similar minutes. Consider taking a flier on Brewer, especially in Roto leagues if he keeps firing away. Owned: 4 percent

Avoid 'Em

Harrison Barnes, Warriors: Barnes' talent was enough for him to earn a spot in the lottery in the draft, but it has not guaranteed him a full-time role just yet. He scored in double figures once in the first four games and the Warriors have opted to go with smaller lineups rather than using Barnes late in close games. He is athletic and has a good looking offensive game, but he is still figuring out how to put all of the pieces together. The Warriors are surprisingly deep for a team that picked in the lottery last season, so they are able to move Barnes along slowly. He is worth stashing in deeper leagues, but Fantasy owners who need the roster spot in yearly formats can consider dropping him. Owned: 59 percent

Larry Sanders, Bucks: Entering this season, Sanders had never scored in double figures in back to back games, so this has been one of the more productive weeks of his NBA career. He has scored at least 10 in each of the first three games, while filling the box score up with rebounds, blocks and steals. His performance has been very promising so far, but this is a situation where we have to take a step back and exercise a bit of caution. Maybe Sanders is figuring things out, but we need a bit more than a three-game sample size to say for sure. Sanders' physical ability is impressive, but he hasn't put things together consistently in the past and is not quite worth adding in standard leagues -- yet. Owned: 27 percent

Centers

Add 'Em

Nikola Vucevic, Magic: Vucevic was largely ineffective as a rookie and his first year as the Magic's starting center has featured some hits and misses. He has a pair of double-doubles to go along with two very poor games through the first week of the season, so you probably won't be able to rely on the 22-year-old regularly. Still, he has minutes and a role -- that is more than you can say for most players who are barely owned in half of all leagues. The Magic acquired him in the Dwight Howard deal and seem intent on giving him as many chances as possible to prove himself worthy of that starting job. Vucevic was a first-round pick a year ago, so there's some upside here that makes him worthy of adding. Owned: 57 percent

Robin Lopez, Hornets: Lopez has been an unexpected force through the first few games of the season. He has been starting for the Hornets and is averaging 14.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, with 2.5 blocks as well. The Hornets drafted Anthony Davis and signed Ryan Anderson in addition to acquiring Lopez, but they are still pretty shallow in the frontcourt. Lopez is averaging more than 30 minutes per game and his high-intensity style is a good fit with coach Monty Williams. Lopez has long posted solid per-minute numbers and he is getting a chance to show that he can sustain it in a larger load. He is worth adding as a third center in most Fantasy formats. Owned: 56 percent

Avoid 'Em

Tyler Zeller, Cavaliers: Zeller was well on his way to a breakout performance Monday against the Clippers, as he scored 15 points and had seven rebounds before taking an elbow to the face that forced him out of the game. He was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the left orbital socket, which will probably cause him to miss a few games and will hurt any momentum he might have been gaining. The Cavs' youth movement will resume in earnest once Zeller returns to the floor, but any Fantasy owners who might have seen a big line from him and thought about a waiver-wire claim will want to be patient. Owned: 28 percent

Andray Blatche, Nets: There was a lot of hope entering the season that a re-invigorated Blatche might be able to get back into shape and return to Fantasy relevance in Brooklyn. While it is too early to pull the curtains on his comeback campaign, the early returns are obviously not promising. Blatche is shooting just 33.3 percent from the field for the first week of the season and is struggling to carve out big minutes -- even Reggie Evans is getting comparable minutes. It was not all that long ago that Blatche was a legitimate Fantasy contributor, but that time is not getting any nearer with his recent play. Owned: 15 percent

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Player News
Pistons forward Greg Monroe (knee) to miss Tuesday's game
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:19 pm ET) Pistons forward Greg Monroe continues to be bothered by a knee issue and will miss Tuesday's game against the Hawks, reports Mlive.com.

Tuesday will be the eighth-straight game Monroe has missed because of the knee injury. Forward Anthony Tolliver has been starting in place of Monroe.

The Pistons are 5 1/2-point favorites.


Report: Celtics turned down multiple offers for Avery Bradley
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:09 pm ET) Various teams offered the Celtics a low first-round pick and expiring contracts for Celtics guard Avery Bradley, but the team refused to part with the guard, sources told Grantland.com.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge likes Bradley's ability to defend and hit the 3-point shot and considers him a part of the future.

In 70 games, Bradley is averaging 14.1 points and 3.1 rebounds.


Cavaliers send guard Joe Harris to NBADL
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:58 am ET) The Cavaliers assigned guard Joe Harris to the NBA Development League on Tuesday, the team announced.

Harris has appeared in nine games in the NBADL this season and averages 15.4 points and 5.3 rebounds.


Report: Guard Alexey Shved open to playing for Knicks next season
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:55 am ET) Knicks guard Alexey Shved will become a free agent after the season, but he is willing to re-sign with the team, sources told ESPNNewYork.com.

Shved is averaging 10.3 points and 2.5 assists and sources indicated he enjoys playing for coach Derek Fisher. He is currently sidelined with a cracked rib.


Magic guard Evan Fournier (hip) hoping to return this season
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:44 am ET) Magic guard Evan Fournier is still recovering from his injured hip and is working to make a return this season, reports the team's official website.

Fournier has not played since Feb. 25 because of the hip injury. In 56 games, Fournier is averaging 11.9 points and 2.1 assists.


Thunder F Kevin Durant underwent bone graft surgery Tuesday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:39 am ET) Thunder forward Kevin Durant had bone graft surgery Tuesday to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot, the team announced.

Durant will be sidelined for the rest of the season and is expected to resume basketball activities in four to six months.

In 27 games this season, Durant averaged 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists.


Nets clear Thaddeus Young (knee) to play Tuesday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:19 am ET) Nets forward Thaddeus Young will be available to play in Tuesday's game against the Pacers, reports the New York Daily News.

Young is suffering from a sprained knee, which prevented him from playing in the last two games.

The Nets are 2 1/2-point favorites.


Kings considering more rest for center DeMarcus Cousins
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:31 am ET) Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is banged up as the season winds to a close. Cousins has a calf strain, sore foot and thigh bruise he has dealt with over the last few weeks and coach George Karl is considering adding more rest time to his schedule with the season ending, reports ESPN.com.

"We talked when he commented after one game that his body was beat up," Karl said before the Kings faced the Grizzlies. "I said, 'Instead of thinking about shutting it down, let's try to find some days that you can get your body rested.' We might schedule a piece of our games and (rest Cousins) again."

Karl is planning to use the last few games to determine what roster moves to make this offseason.

"I think Cousins likes to play and I think he's doing it because he wants to play at a higher efficiency," Karl said. "It gives me an opportunity to experiment a little bit. At home, I'd like to go in and (let Cousins play) every game. But on the road, I might experiment a little bit more."


Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph plays through injured elbow Monday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:35 am ET) Grizzlies forwad Zach Randolph suffered an elbow and knee injury near the end of Monday's game against the Kings and was held out as a precaution, reports ESPN.com.

Memphis was in control of the game so Randolph, who scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds, was taken out to get early treatment, according to the report.


Suns forward T.J. Warren scores 13 points in losing effort
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:26 am ET) Suns forward T.J. Warren scored 13 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field in Phoenix's 109-86 loss to the Trail Blazers Monday.

It was Warren's second consecutive game scoring in double figures and the fourth time doing so this month. He added two blocks and one rebound to his totals.


 
 
 
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