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Waiver Wire: Don't be so Cavalier

Fantasy Writer
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When news of Kyrie Irving's broken left index finger came out, Fantasy owners rushed to pick up his projected backup, Daniel Gibson. Gibson was owned in just 3 percent of all CBSSports.com leagues last week, a number that spiked to 22 percent before game-time Wednesday, making him the fifth-most added player in all formats.

It came as some surprise, then, that the Cavaliers turned to Jeremy Pargo to start Wednesday's game against the 76ers, the first without Irving. Gibson was dealing with a sore elbow and sat out the game, which gave Pargo the opportunity to run the offense. He took full advantage of that, scoring 28 points on just 19 shots to lead Cleveland to surprising win over Philadelphia.

That game leaves the owners who snatched Gibson in a strange position, as he is still the most accomplished and likely option to lead the Cavs' offense with Irving gone. However, Pargo has the hot hand right now, and may have earned a multi-game tryout; the Cavaliers treated the late season emergences of Donald Sloan and Lester Hudson a year ago in the same way.

Gibson has been a double-digit scorer in this league before, so Fantasy owners have to think he will eventually end up being the Cavalier's primary option at point guard. They may just have to wait until Pargo's star burns out; considering the 26-year-old has just 50 games of NBA experience to his name that might not take long. Pargo's emergence definitely puts a damper on Gibson's prospects, so Fantasy owners will not want to run out and grab him en masse until it becomes clear the Cavaliers intend to start him.

Most Added Guards

Alexey Shved, Timberwolves (55 percent owned; +37 percent): I wrote about Shved in my last Start/Sit column, calling him a worthy start for the current scoring format. Fantasy owners seem to agree, as the rookie from Russia is the most-added player in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues. With the way injuries have obliterated the Timberwolves this season, the fact that they are 22nd in the league in offensive rating should not come as much of a surprise. Shved has helped them steady the ship, and it looks like he will have to run the offense for extended periods of time, while shifting between both guard spots. If Shved can improve his three-point shooting moving forward, his ceiling this season can be even higher, and he will be able to hang on to a major role even when the rest of the Wolves get healthy. A year ago, Shved shot 43.8 percent from three-point range in 43 games for CSKA Moscow. If he can even split the difference between that and the 24.3 percent he is currently shooting, Shved could increase his scoring and create even more room to operate on the pick and roll. For now, 10.4 points and 4.2 assists per game off the waiver wires is a nice reward for owners who have scooped the 24-year-old up.

Kyle Korver, Hawks (38 percent owned; +29 percent): It is no surprise that Korver can shoot the three ball well. That has been his calling card since he entered the league 10 seasons ago, and is has held steady no matter what role he has filled. So Korver's resurgence as a Fantasy option right now is tied entirely to an increased role as a starter for the Hawks. After starting 10 out of 426 possible games over the last six seasons, Korver has been the starter for the Hawks in each game he has appeared in this year. As a result, he is scoring 10.2 points per game, his best total since 2006-07 with Philadelphia. Korver is not doing anything different for Fantasy owners to take notice; he is just getting more of an opportunity to be the player he has always been.

Jason Richardson, 76ers (75 percent owned; +17 percent): Richardson is no longer the dynamic, athletic scorer of years past, however his first few weeks in Philadelphia are showing that he is better than the shell we saw over a year-plus in Orlando. Richardson has been successful, despite barely shooting more often than he did in Orlando and doing little in the way of play-making, for himself or others. The former dunk contest winner is attempting fewer than three shots in the restricted area per game this season and he is shooting just 42.0 percent on those attempts, while his 9.0 percent assist rate is his lowest since leaving Phoenix. Despite those factors, Richardson has seen his Fantasy relevance increase, thanks to an increase in steals to 1.7 per game, while shooting a career-best 44.2 percent from three-point range. He might struggle to continue hitting threes at this rate, but the 76ers do a good job of spreading the floor and giving shooters space, so he could remain an asset.

Most Added Forwards

Harrison Barnes, Warriors (83 percent owned; +30 percent): Barnes is really starting to round into form, with a pair of double-doubles over the course of his last four games heading into Wednesday's action. He is averaging 11.5 point and 4.7 rebounds per game, while posting a solid triple-slash shooting line of 48.5/38.5/70.4. When you dig into his numbers a bit, you see why he is enjoying such success; Barnes simply avoids doing things he is not good at. Barnes is attempting just 40.6 percent of his shots between three feet of the rim and the three-point line, generally considered the least-efficient parts of the floor. He is shooting just 31.7 percent on those attempts, but is making up for that by shooting the three-point shot and getting to the rim at high rates. According to the stat-tracking site MySynergySports.com, 60.4 percent of Barnes' attempts have been either in transition, as a spot-up shooter or in the post. These are all shots designed to get him clean looks on jump shots or in the area immediately surrounding the rim. Barnes landed in a good spot on a Warriors team that can use him as a secondary offensive option, and they are putting him into spots where he can succeed. His performance might not be a fluke.

Metta World Peace, Lakers (68 percent owned; +27 percent): Like a B-horror movie villain, World Peace's Fantasy value just will not die. A year ago, he ranked 70th among all forward-eligible players in Fantasy scoring, contributing a paltry 16.0 Fantasy points per game in 64 contests. He had a broken shot, was an unwilling passer and had an anemic rebounding rate for one of the physically strongest players in the league. Undeterred by years of being an offensive black hole, the Lakers continue to feature World Peace in the offense, and so far he has held up his end of the bargain. He ranks 38th in Fantasy scoring among forwards, at 22.5 per game, while upping his rebounding and three-point shooting to respectable levels; in fact, only Nicolas Batum has made more threes than World Peace this season among forwards. I have been and remain outspoken in my skepticism of World Peace's ability to sustain this kind of offensive resurgence, but the evidence is starting to mount that he is back to respectability, at the very least.

Jason Maxiell, Pistons (32 percent owned; +17 percent): At the age of 29, with eight years of NBA experience under his belt, we know what Jason Maxiell is. He is averaging a career-best 9.8 points per game on a career-high 7.4 shot attempts per game, mostly because he is seeing more of the floor than ever. As a full-time starter, Maxiell is averaging 26.4 minutes per game; his per-36 minutes production remains well within the margins of what he has done in the past. Maxiell can sustain something close to this level of production if he continues to receive 25-plus minutes per night, but Fantasy owners should temper expectations; younger, more talented options loom in the background for a Pistons team that will likely turn an eye towards the future sooner rather than later.

Most Added Centers

Nikola Vucevic, Magic (79 percent owned; +11 percent): The Magic remain committed to their big men in this rebuilding season, with Vucevic and Glen Davis attempting 26.2 field goals per game between them. The results are not always pretty, as the team has the second-least-efficient offense in the league through 10 games, but it is leading to some surprising valuable Fantasy performances for the duo. Vucevic, in particular, is surprisingly being used as more of a centerpiece than we expected; the second-year big man is fourth on the team in minutes played and shot attempts. He has a double-double in five of 10 games, and has reached double figures in scoring in seven contests. There is little reason to think the Magic will turn away from his development in a season that they have to know is already lost.

Byron Mullens, Bobcats (89 percent owned; +8 percent): Mullens is putting up one of the strangest lines in the league through the first month of the season, as he ranks 20th in the league in rebounds per game and 16th in three-pointers attempted per game. His shooting percentages from the field and three-point range are laughably bad for the volume he is shooting, but the Bobcats seem committed to using him as a floor-stretching big. He is starting to reach the point where he is owned in nearly every league, and the production has been hard to argue with, even if it is difficult to understand. Mullens has emerged as a kind of poor-man's Ryan Anderson, and his center eligibility makes him well-worth owning.

Others notes: Other highly added players: Jason Thompson, Jordan Crawford, Marcus Morris, John Henson, Markieff Morris … Some sell-high candidates: Jamal Crawford, Metta World Peace, Kyle Korver, Anderson Varejao, A.J. Price, Larry Sanders, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chandler Parsons, Andrei Kirilenko, Glen Davis, Shannon Brown… Buy-low candidates: Tyreke Evans, Jodie Meeks, Klay Thompson, Ersan Ilyasova, Ty Lawson, Marcin Gortat.

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Player News
Nick Calathes hit with 20-game suspension prior to postseason
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/18/2014) Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes will begin serving a 20-game suspension when the team's first-round playoff series begins against the Thunder Saturday, reports Yahoo.com.

Calathes was hit with the suspension for violating the league's Anti-Drug policy, though his failed test reportedly si not due to testosterone or PED use. According to the report, Calathes tested positive for Tamoxifen, part of an over-the-counter athletic supplement Calathes was using.

Calathes appeared in 71 games for the Grizzlies, and his loss will be felt, as he was the team's primary reserve at point guard. He finished his rookie season averaging 4.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 16.5 minutes per game.  


Victor Oladipo will see time in summer league
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Magic guard Victor Oladipo maybe be one of the frontrunners for Rookie of the Year, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have room to improve. Magic general manager Rob Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel in Thursday's exit interview Oladipo will take part in the summer league yet again, but may not be used in every game this time around.

Oladipo ended up playing in 80 games for the Magic, and finished in the top-five in most major categories among rookies. He averaged 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He also played the most minutes total among rookies. 


Danny Granger expects to play in first postseason game
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Clippers forward Danny Granger took part in practice Thursday and plans to be available for the start of the team's first round playoff matchup against the Warriors Saturday.

Granger missed the final nine games of the regular season with a hamstring strain, and ended up playing just 41 regular season games. He averaged 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for the Clippers.  

 


Tyreke Evans could push Eric Gordon to bench
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans closed his season out strong after a slow start, and the impetus was a move to the starting lineup March. After he found success as a starter, the team might make the move permanent next season.

From March 1 on, he averaged 20.0 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game, while starting 21 of the team's final 22 games. His success could lead the team to consider a full-time switch next season, and coach Monty Williams told the team's official website that is something they will consider, especially with incumbent shooting guard Eric Gordon's inability to stay healthy yet again.

Evans ended up finishing fifth on the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game, while adding 4.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists, and appearing in the third-most games. 


Steve Nash plans to get healthy in offseason
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Lakers guard Steve Nash was rarely healthy while appearing in just 15 games this season, but he told reporters in exit interviews Thursday he is in better shape than he was at this point a year ago.

Nash said he could be fully healthy in three-to-four weeks, after it took him five months last offseason. Despite this, he isn't sure if he will be able to maintain his health by the start of training camp. He plans to be at training camp, but will need to evaluate his health before the start of next season, after being extremely limited by ongoing nerve issues.

Nash finished the season averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 assists per game in his 15 appearances, but has maintained he is not planning to retire. He is under contract for one more season, and will be paid $9.7 million next year. 


Andre Drummond puts finishing touches on one-of-a-kind season
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Pistons center Andre Drummond is a unique talent; anyone can see that. He finished one of the most unique seasons in modern league history Wednesday in typical fashion, as he snared his 57th double-double in a loss to the Thunder.

Drummond finished the game with 22 points and 13 rebounds, including eight offensive rebounds to push his league-leading total to 440. That represents the eighth-highest total since 1979-80, and it isn't the only place where Drummond's season stands out.

Though he shot 62.3 percent from the field, Drummond remained the league's worst free-throw shooter. He became just the third play since 1979-80 to play 2500 total minutes while shooting below 42.0 percent from the free-throw line, as his 4-for-8 performance Wednesday raised his average to 41.8 percent.

Drummond improved his production across the board in his second season, averaging 13.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game while appearing in 81 games.  


Andrew Bynum out for first round
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Pacers center Andrew Bynum has not played since the middle of March, and even a month off has not given him enough time to recover from knee troubles. Pacers.com reports Thursday Bynum has already been ruled out for the first round of the playoffs against the Hawks.

Bynum ended up appearing in just two games for the Pacers and 26 games overall this season, averaging 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. 


Danilo Gallinari will be ready for training camp
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari was with the team over the last few games of the season, and he has reportedly made great strides in his recovery from ACL surgery.

Gallinari told the Denver Post he has already progressed to running and jumping as part of his recovery from January surgery. He has progressed so quickly he even dunked for the first time Tuesday, and said he will be fully recovered by the start of training camp.

Gallinari did not play all season after attempting to return from a partially torn ACL, which ultimately required surgery. 


Joel Freeland passes postseason test
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Trail Blazers forward Joel Freeland proved himself ready for the playoffs Wednesday, as he returned from a two-month absence due to a knee injury. Freeland played 18 minutes in the game, scoring six points and adding seven rebounds and two assists in the 110-104 win.

After the game, coach Terry Stotts told NBA.SI.com he has no reservations about relying on Freeland in the team's upcoming playoff series against the Rockets, though he will have to play with a knee brace.

Freeland finished the regular season averaging 3.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 52 games, appearing in one more contest than his rookie season. 


Mike Conley closes out regular season with overtime win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Grizzlies guard Mike Conley did not appear limited at all by a hamstring injury Wednesday, as he played 42 minutes in the last game of the regular season against the Mavericks.

Playing for playoff seeding, the Grizzlies held nothing back in a 106-105 overtime win. Conley scored 22 points on 8 of 16 shooting and added four rebounds, five assists and a steal, while turning the ball over three times in the win.

Conley ended up missing 10 games this season, his highest total since he was a rookie, but he played well when healthy. He averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting, while adding 2.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.5 steals in 33.4 minutes per game. 


 
 
 
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