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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
Report: Rockets shipping Jeremy Lin to Lakers
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(2:58 pm ET) In an effort to clear cap space, the Rockets are working to finalize a deal that would send guard Jeremy Lin to Los Angeles. The Lakers would also receive a future first-round pick and other draft considerations but won't take on any salary in return, Yahoo Sports reports.

Lin averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 assists per game in what was mostly a sixth man role for Houston. He'll likely get to start in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Rockets cleared space in the hopes of adding free agent Chris Bosh on a max deal. 


LeBron James announces return to Cleveland
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:46 pm ET) Free agent forward LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the star announced via Sports Illustrated Friday.

James, who spurned Cleveland for Miami four years ago, opted out of his deal with the Heat following a loss to the Spurs in the NBA Finals. Details of the contract are not known as of now, as James announced his decision in a personal letter on SportsIllustrated.com.

James ended up finishing second in the MVP voting last season after winning the previous two. He joins Cleveland after shooting a career-high 56.7 percent from the field, while averaging 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game in 77 appearances for the Heat in 2013-14. 


Report: Suns, P.J. Tucker agree to three-year deal
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7/10/2014) The Arizona Republic reports that the Suns have reached a three-year, $16.5 million agreement to re-sign forward P.J. Tucker with Phoenix. Tucker, 29, posted averages of 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 38.7 percent from downtown in 81 games last season. 

Steve Blake signs with the Trailblazers
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(7/10/2014) Veteran point guard Steve Blake inked a two-year deal with the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday, according to Yahoo Sports.

The deal is worth 4.2 million over two years and includes a second-year player option. Blake thrived in Mike D'Antoni's Lakers offense early on last year before being traded to Golden State to play a lesser role. He averaged 6.9 points and 5.6 assists per game overall on the season. 


Report: Mavericks reach agreement with RFA Chandler Parsons
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(7/10/2014) The Rockets appear to be on the clock in free agency, as CSN Houston reported late Wednesday that the Mavericks and restricted free agent Chandler Parsons came to an agreement. The offer sheet is good for three years and $45 million according to the report.

Houston now has 72 hours to match the deal or watch Parsons walk away. This could be tricky considering the Rockets are still waiting on bigger fish to decide. They've reportedly offered Chris Bosh a max deal and have also been linked to other free agent forwards such as Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza. 

The gap between Parson's level of play and his meager salary has been perhaps the widest of any player in the league. He averaged 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for Houston over the last two years while making less than $1 million annually. 


Raptors re-sign Greivis Vasquez
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(7/10/2014) Restricted free-agent Greivis Vasquez came off the market late Wednesday when the Raptors chose to re-sign him to a two-year, $13 million deal, according to Yahoo Sports.

Vasquez had maintained that he'd like to return to Toronto, where he was traded last season by the Kings. He averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists backing up Kyle Lowry last year.


Report: Carmelo Anthony returning to New York
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(7/9/2014) Despite taking several meetings with other teams this offseason, Carmelo Anthony is expected to announce that he'll return to the Knicks. The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Anthony told a close friend he "believes in Phil" and plans to announce his intent Thursday.

Anthony was said to be deciding between the Lakers and Knicks over the past few days, but it ultimately appears he'll opt to make more money by staying put while seeing what the new regime under Phil Jackson can do for him in the coming years. 


Mitch McGary playing in summer league
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/9/2014) The Thunder signed forward Mitch McGary to a rookie-scale deal prior to the start of Orlando Summer League, the team announced.

McGary was the No. 21 overall pick in this year's draft, despite playing in just eight games at the University of Michigan last season. McGary dealt with back issues in college, but has already been able to play in the team's first two Summer League games. 


Celtics sign Marcus Smart to rookie deal
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/9/2014) The Celtics have agreed to terms on a rookie-scale deal with guard Marcus Smart , the No.6 overall pick in this year's draft.

Smart was the first of the Celtics' first-round picks this year, after starring at Oklahoma State University for two years. Smart averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in 31 appearances as a sophomore.  


Jordan Adams signs rookie deal with Grizzlies
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/9/2014) The Grizzlies signed their first-round pick to a rookie-scale deal Tuesday, the team announced.

The Grizzlies selected guard Jordan Adams with the 22nd pick in the draft, after he spent two seasons playing at UCLA. He averaged 17.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 30.1 minutes per game as a sophomore. 


 
 
 
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