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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
LeBron on how to stop Steph Curry: 'You can't'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5:36 pm ET) Cavaliers forward LeBron James gave Steph Curry the ultimate compliment on Friday. He put the newly-crowned MVP in the same sentence as himself.

James was asked how his team could slow down the Warriors sharpshooter.

"Well, the same way you slow me down. You can't," James said.

James, a four-time league MVP, is preparing his team to face off against Curry in the NBA Finals after they swept the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals earlier this week.


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(5:22 pm ET) Rockets power forward Donatas Motiejunas is confident he will be ready for the start of training camp after undergoing back surgery, per The Houston Chronicle.

"No question about it," Motiejunas said. "I will be ready for training camp."

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Chalmers will begin rehab on his knee immediately and will be ready for the start of training camp. He averaged 10.2 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game last season.


Warriors have no timetable for Klay Thompson's return
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:03 pm ET) Warriors guard Klay Thompson is day to day after being diagnosed with a concussion, the team announced Friday. Thompson sustained the injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday after he was accidentally kneed in the head by Rockets forward Trevor Ariza in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors also said Friday that Thompson will not return to the court until he is symptom-free and cleared under the NBA's concussion protocol guidelines. He will be evaluated daily, but there is no timetable for his return.

The first game of the NBA Finals will be Thursday. The Warriors are hosting the Cavs in the series opener.


Rockets' Dwight Howard suspended one game for flagrant foul
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:14 am ET) Rockets center Dwight Howard will be suspended for the first game of the 2015-16 season after the NBA upgraded a common foul in the fifth game of the Western Conference Finals to a Flagrant 1. The league said Howard made unnecessary contact with his forearm to the neck area of Warriors guard Andre Iguodala.

The foul happened in the fourth quarter with 3:35 remaining in Wednesday's game. The Rockets lost the game, 104-90, and were eliminated from the playoffs.

The NBA also announced Friday that Howard and Golden State center Andrew Bogut had technical fouls from Game 5 rescinded. The technicals were handed out with 3:19 left in the second quarter.


Warriors guard Klay Thompson needs to pass concussion protocol
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5/28/2015) Former NBA player Mychal Thompson, the father of Warriors guard Klay Thompson, said his son is feeling better Thursday, but he needs to pass the league's concussion protocol before he can play again, reports the Associated Press.

The younger Thompson sustained a knee to his head during the Game 5 win over the Rockets on Wednesday. He suffered concussion-like symptoms after the contest.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for June 4 and Mychal said Klay is on track to play. 


Dwyane Wade's agent on contract talks with Heat: It's early
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5/28/2015) With the recent report indicating the Heat and Dwyane Wade are significantly apart in contract negotiations, Wade's agent said Thursday that there is still plenty of time to reach an agreement, reports the Sun Sentinel.

"It's relatively early," Wade's agent, Henry Thomas said. "He's had a tremendous career [with the Heat] and we're just trying to see whether or not there's room to continue that."

Wade has until late June to decide on whether to opt out of his contract, which would pay him $16.1 million during the 2015-16 season. He has spent his entire 12-year career with the Heat.


Hawks F Elton Brand undecided on retirement plans
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5/28/2015) Hawks forward Elton Brand will take his time before deciding whether to return for his 17th NBA season, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I'll see if I have another year of trying to get prepared and what it takes to be on an NBA roster," Brand said Thursday. "There is a lot of work you have to put in… After two or three weeks, I'll know. See if I have that itch. This team I might not and just lay back on the couch. We'll see."

Brand, 36, averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 36 games this season.


Lakers G Wayne Ellington says his shoulder is healed
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(5/28/2015) After missing the last two weeks of the season with a separated shoulder, Lakers guard Wayne Ellington said Thursday the injury has healed, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

Ellington was able to play in 65 games before suffering the season-ending injury. He averaged 10.0 points, 1.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds.


Lakers F Julius Randle cleared for half-court workouts
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/28/2015) Lakers forward Julius Randle has been cleared for full-contact half-court sessions, according to ESPN LA 710

Randle, who broke his leg in the first game of the 2014-15 season, can now participate in half-court sessions of 2-on-2 and 3-on-3. As part of a gradual progression in his recovery, the next step will be for Randle to be approved to take part in 4-on-4 games. 

Randle is hoping to re-join his team for the NBA summer league. Though he broke his leg, Randle still hit the gym and lost 18 pounds during the season. 


 
 
 
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