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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: Hawks recall Adreian Payne from NBADL
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:41 pm ET) The Hawks recalled forward Adreian Payne from the NBA Development League on Monday, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Payne has not appeared in a game for the Hawks this season.


Wizards guard Martell Webster is nearing return
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:19 pm ET) After practicing in most of Monday’s practice, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said guard Martell Webster is inching closer to his return.

Webster has yet to play this season after suffering a back injury. Webster averaged 9.7 points for the Wizards last season. The Wizards next play Tuesday against the Bulls.


Report: Rockets appear to be leader for Josh Smith
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:09 pm ET) Sources indicated the Houston Rockets are the front-runners to land forward Josh Smith, reports Yahoo Sports.

Smith was waived by the Pistons on Monday and is expected to clear waivers on Wendesday. If he clears waivers, Smith would be free to sign with any team.

The Rockets tried to lure Smith to the team when he was a free agent in 2013. Smith is also reportedly good friends with Rockets center Dwight Howard.

In addition to the Rockets, the Heat, Mavericks, Kings and Clippers have expressed interest in signing Smith.


Bucks unsure if Ersan Ilyasova will play Tuesday
by Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer
(3:01 pm ET) After practicing Monday, Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova is nearing his return and is hoping to play Tuesday against the Hornets, reports Fox Sports Wisconsin.

Ilyasova has missed the last nine games with a broken nose. In 19 games, Illyasova is averaging 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds.

With forward Jabari Parker out for the season, Ilyasova could see an increased role upon his return.


Wizards forward Paul Pierce expects to play Tuesday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:48 pm ET) Despite missing practice Monday, Wizards forward Paul Pierce told the media he plans to play Tuesday against the Bulls, reports The Washington Post.

Pierce missed Tuesday’s game against the Timberwolves with a toe injury, but was able to play in the next two games.

The Wizards are 3 1/2-point favorites.


Thunder forward Kevin Durant will be game-time decision Tuesday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:38 pm ET) Thunder coach Scott Brooks told reporters Monday forward Kevin Durant will be a game-time decision for Tuesday’s game against the Trail Blazers, reports ESPN.com.

Durant has missed the last two games after suffering a sprained ankle during Thursday’s loss to the Warriors and was not able to practice Monday.

Forward Perry Jones has replaced Durant in the starting lineup the last two games and averaged 6.0 points in those two starts.

The Thunder are 1 1/2–point favorites.


NBA fines Knicks' Samuel Dalembert $10,000 for elbow
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:26 pm ET) The NBA fined Knicks center Samuel Dalembert $10,000 for elbowing Rapotrs center Jonas Valanciunas during Sunday’s loss to the Raptors, reports the New York Post.

Dalembert was assessed a flagrant 2 foul and was ejected from the game. He did not receive a suspension for the foul.


Clippers C Spencer Hawes remains out Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:50 pm ET) Clippers center Spencer Hawes will not be available to play Monday at San Antonio, reports the Los Angeles Times.

It will be the sixth straight game Hawes has missed while dealing with a knee injury. He is averaging 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds over 17.0 minutes. His next opportunity to play will be Tuesday at Atlanta.


Hawks' Jeff Teague doubtful to play Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:40 pm ET) Hawks guard Jeff Teague is doubtful to play Monday against the Mavericks, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Teague has missed the last two games while dealing with a hamstring injury. Guard Dennis Schroder has been starting in Teague’s place. Schroder scored eight points and dished out six assists during Saturday’s victory over the Rockets.

The Hawks are 4 1/2-point underdogs.


Spurs upgrade Tony Parker to questionable Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:30 pm ET) The Spurs announced guard Tony Parker has been upgraded to questionable for Monday’s game against the Clippers.

Parker has missed the last five games while dealing with a hamstring injury. Guard Cory Joseph has been starting in Parker’s absence. Joseph is averaging 12.1 points over the last six games.

The Spurs are 1 1/2-point underdogs.


 
 
 
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