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Waiver Wire: A Peace of advice

Fantasy Writer
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Lakers forward Metta World Peace is the fifth-most added player in CBSSports.com Fantasy league right now and on the surface that makes sense. Entering Wednesday's play, World Peace has scored in double figures in five games in a row and is averaging 11.8 points per game for the season with 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game as well.

For a player who is still available in 59 percent of all leagues, those are pretty good numbers, but they are also likely a mirage. World Peace is averaging more points per game than he ever has as a member of the Lakers, but he is shooting a putrid 36.5 percent from the field.

The Lakers are playing a very incoherent brand of offensive basketball right now, as they remain between coaches until Mike D'Antoni officially takes over. That is leading to a lot of broken possessions ending with World Peace shooting the ball -- a truly suboptimal result for any team, let alone one with three All Stars on the floor.

Fantasy owners are adding World Peace on the assumption that he seems to have recovered some of his lost offensive capability, but he almost certainly cannot keep this scoring pace up. In a chat earlier in the week, I had a reader ask whether D'Antoni's system would help World Peace's Fantasy value, which might also be playing into some owner's thinking when adding him.

While D'Antoni is well known as an offensive guru, he usually does his best work by having competent shooters and slashers live up to their fullest potential in a system that gets them wide open looks. World Peace's -- er -- strengths on offense certainly do not align with your typical D'Antoni reclamation, and it would make a lot more sense if we saw Jodie Meeks or Devin Ebanks start to take some of those minutes from him.

World Peace's success this season has largely been the result of a larger volume in shots and minutes, and the Lakers' new head coach has to realize that won't be a winning formula for them. He should see his place in the rotation rolled back before long, so Fantasy owners should not be running out to add him.

Most Added Guards

A.J. Price, Wizards (57 percent owned; +40 percent): Price is a great example of what can happen to the perception of a player after a good few days. Price has been thrust into the starting point-guard spot for the Wizards due to John Wall's lingering knee injury and for the most part he has been an afterthought. But he caught everyone's eye last weekend when he posted 24 points, 23 assists and nine rebounds over a two-day span in losses to the Bucks and Pacers. He is posting solid season averages of 10.0 points and 7.7 assists entering play Wednesday, but the raw numbers are misleading; 40 percent of his points and half of his assists on the year came in those two games. He is playing 30-plus minutes per game out of necessity for a terrible Wizards team, but it would not be a surprise if those were the two best games they get out of him. Price is a career 30-percent shooter from the field and has never shown anything resembling this skill level over three previous NBA seasons, so don't expect him to sustain it.

E'Twaun Moore, Magic (54 percent owned; +25 percent): Moore is largely in the same boat as Price as he is also playing due to injury, but his performance seems at least a little bit more sustainable. At the very least, there is more room to grow with Moore, a second-year player who was limited to just 331 minutes of action over 38 games as a rookie with Boston a year ago. Moore was a solid scorer over a four-year career at Purdue, so the fact that he is averaging 13.3 points per game in 36 minutes of action for Orlando does not completely come out of nowhere. Orlando is in the midst of a major rebuilding phase, so they will likely continue to give Moore minutes to see whether he can be a part of their future. While the eventual return of Jameer Nelson could cost him some playing time, first-year Magic coach Jacque Vaughn has shown some flexibility with his lineups, so Moore should still see the floor. Moore might not have a huge ceiling, but his scoring ability should keep him in the rotation.

Shannon Brown, Suns (28 percent owned; +20 percent): Brown had a pretty solid season as the team's sixth-man last season, so he probably should have been owned in more than just eight percent of leagues prior to this week. Still, this jump in his ownership is largely attributable to a string of four out of five games in which he scored at least 18 points. Brown is capable of those kinds of games from time to time and has been a terrific per-minute scorer for his entire career, averaging at least 14.1 points per-36 minutes in every season since he was a rookie. Brown does not seem to be seeing many more minutes, but he has taken on a larger role in the team's offense so far. Brown is using 28.8 percent of his team's offensive possessions while on the floor, up from just 22.8 percent a year ago. As a result, Brown is getting to the free-throw line twice as often as he did last year while posting a career-best 16.1 percent assist rate. The Suns have been in need of an offensive spark, and Brown has proven surprisingly adept at filling that role. Brown is playing some of the best basketball of his career at this point in the season and should probably be owned in more than 28 percent of leagues.

Most Added Forwards

Corey Brewer, Nuggets (30 percent owned; +25 percent): Brewer's confidence shooting the three-pointer so far this season has been one of the biggest surprises in the league. Entering Wednesday's play, Brewer was 10th in the league in three-point field goals attempted, while making a career-best 37.8 percent of those shots. This could obviously be the result of a small-sample size, but this is obviously something that Nuggets coach George Karl has been pressing Brewer to work on. If we extend the sample out to include the six preseason games Brewer played in, he is shooting 39.1 percent on his last 69 three-point attempts. He attempted only 127 three-pointers a year ago, but the Nuggets remain in desperate need of perimeter players willing to fire away from three-point range. More than half of Brewer's points have come as a result of threes, so if his shot reverts to previous levels, we could see a major regression in his Fantasy value. Still, this hot start makes adding him as an upside play a smart decision at this point.

Jason Thompson, Kings (47 percent owned; +17 percent): Thompson saw a bit of a boost to his Fantasy value over the last week, after averaging 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game over a four-game stretch from Nov. 7-13. Those are solid numbers and might have convinced some Fantasy owners that he was carving out a bigger place in the team's plans. He did play 32.7 minutes on average in those games, which would seem to point to that conclusion. Unfortunately, that stretch also largely coincided with the suspension of two of the team's other big men in Thomas Robinson and then DeMarcus Cousins. Thompson has proven to be a solid all-around player, capable of providing around 10 points, six rebounds and a block per game overall. And that is what should be expected of him from most Fantasy owners. Do not be fooled by this solid stretch into thinking that Thompson has emerged from the scrum in Sacramento as a big key. That team is deep in the frontcourt and his minutes will likely return to being closer to 25 per game when they get all of their pieces back.

Al-Farouq Aminu, Hornets (86 percent owned; +14 percent): I'll admit that I have remained skeptical of Aminu's fast start, but at some point we may have to re-configure our expectations for the third-year forward. He seems to be enjoying a breakout campaign, though we are still dealing with a five-game sample. Aminu scored just 6.0 points per game a year ago after a 5.6 average as a rookie, as compared to 12.8 so far. He is taking on a much larger role this season, averaging a career-high 10.4 shots per game, but he has managed to improve his efficiency along the way, which is the big key to his hot start. Aminu is shooting just 7.7 percent on shot attempts from at least 15 feet, but just one-quarter of his shots have come from that distance; in his first two seasons, he attempted 41.8 percent of his shots from at least 15 feet, according to Basketball-Reference.com's play-by-play data. Aminu is taking advantage of his athleticism finally by getting high efficiency shots, and it is paying great dividends so far. This could all change in the span of a week, but Aminu is probably worth owning in all Fantasy formats, given the seemingly huge leaps he has made in his offensive game.

Most Added Centers

Larry Sanders, Bucks (70 percent owned; +40 percent): Sanders is another player that I have been skeptical about, given that his hot start seems to fly in the face of everything we have come to know about him over a pair of brief NBA seasons. Unlike with Aminu, when you dig a bit deeper, you don't see more encouraging signs for him keep up his current level of production. Sanders is shooting 20.8 percent better from the field than his career rate and his rebounding rate has improved from 12.7 percent over his first two seasons to 21.2. Those are obviously significant improvements, but they are so out of the norm that we need to see more before we assume that he can sustain them. The rest of Sanders' numbers don't point to much of an improvement, as he is still fouling at a catastrophic rate (7.3 per-36 minutes) and is turning the ball over on 22.3 percent of his possessions, a laughably bad number for a big man who does little beyond finishing at the rim. Sanders is hyper-athletic and should be able to continue rebounding and scoring close to the basket, but his inability to stay on the floor without fouling ultimately limits how many minutes he can play. Sanders has fouled out of two games so far and has five fouls in half of his games overall.

Omer Asik, Rockets (91 percent owned; +10 percent): Asik's production has been similar to Sanders' this season, as he is averaging 9.9 points and 13.0 rebound through the first seven games of his Rockets' tenure, but there is a lot more to like about him sustaining his production. Asik has emerged as arguably the best all-around rebounder, grabbing 16.0 percent of the team's misses on offense and 27.7 percent of the opponent's misses. Both of those marks rank in the top 10 in the league, a distinction that only Anderson Varejao can match. Asik is shooting 42.1 percent from the field, a major dropoff from his Chicago days, however he has made up for that with a career-best 72.4 percent mark from the free-throw line. He also fouls just 2.5 times per-36 minutes, which is helping him stay on the floor for 32.3 minutes per game. Asik has double-doubles in three of his last four games and there is little reason to think that his role on the team will change. There aren't many leagues left for him to be added in, but it would not be a surprise to see him end up being owned in close to 100 percent of all CBSSports.com leagues before long. Deservedly so.

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Player News
LeBron James dealing with some back soreness after scrimmage
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Cavaliers forward LeBron James is dealing with a bit of back soreness following the team's scrimmage Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Following the scrimmage, head coach David Blatt downplayed the issue. "I think overall [LeBron's] fine," Blatt said. "He’s got a little bit of back soreness and we’ll monitor that carefully." James scored 13 points during the scrimmage. 


Pelicans being 'smart' with Jrue Holiday's practice time
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) The Pelicans are being cautious with point guard Jrue Holiday, limiting his practice time as he returns from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his tibia, The Times-Picayune reports.

"We are trying to be smart with his comeback," coach Monty Williams said. "After about two weeks of this, it's time to ramp it up and get going."

Holiday said he came out of Tuesday's and Wednesday's practices feeling good if a bit sore. "I'm sore," Holiday said. "Again I don't think I have pushed my body this much for a long time. It's good. All of our trainers and Monty had to kick me off the court yesterday because I didn't want to stop. But I am glad he did because I am feeling it today. Again that's a part of me still learning how to take care of my body and come back strong these next days."

Holiday didn't play a game after Jan. 8 last season and ultimately underwent surgery in February. He averaged 14.3 points, 7.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 34 games.


Hornets center Al Jefferson looking to improve defensive presence
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) 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
(10/1/2014) 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
(10/1/2014) 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
(10/1/2014) 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
(10/1/2014) 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
(10/1/2014) 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
(10/1/2014) 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
(10/1/2014) 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."


 
 
 
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