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Waiver Wire: Start making some sense

Fantasy Writer
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The convoluted nature of the Lakers' offense this season has been the source of much Fantasy intrigue. From Metta World Peace's improbable re-emergence as a factor to the surprisingly lackluster play of formerly elite big man Pau Gasol, they have been incredibly hard to peg.

Arguably the most difficult player to make sense of has been veteran forward Antawn Jamison, whose Fantasy star seems to be improving thanks to a small bit of improved play over the last few games. Jamison, who was expected to provide his typically unconventional brand of scoring off the bench for the Lakers, was owned in the majority of Fantasy leagues after Draft Day. His ownership cratered to 13 percent a week ago, but has been building back up over the last week.

Jamison is now owned in 42 percent of all leagues, making him the third-most added player heading into Fantasy Week 6 (Dec. 3-9). The question is, what can Fantasy owners expect from him moving forward? The 36-year-old has scored 83 points total through the first 15 games over the season, with 35 of them coming over the course of back-to-back nights against Memphis and Dallas last week. Add in a double-double effort and 25-plus minutes in a crowded frontcourt over those two games, and it is easy to see why Fantasy owners would expect a bounce back from one of the more consistent scorers in the league over the past decade moving forward.

The assumption seems to be that Jamison is a more natural fit for Lakers' coach Mike D'Antoni's offensive system than Gasol, who seems lost at times in the offense. That seems logical on the surface, but there is little evidence that it is true. The Lakers have played four games with D'Antoni as the head coach, and Jamison has scored in double figures twice. He has three points combined in the other two.

Fantasy owners can hardly be blamed for taking the chance on a guy who scored 17.2 points per game as recently as last season, but it is unlikely that this waiver-wire move proves particularly fruitful. It seems like we should still expect Jamison to be a non-factor more often than not.

Most Added Guards

Jeremy Pargo, Cavaliers: It is entirely unsurprising to see Pargo near the top of the list of most-added players, as he is averaging 15.2 points per game since taking over as Cleveland's starting point guard in the wake of Kyrie Irving's finger injury. Pargo is also averaging 4.0 assists while playing 33.7 minutes per game in that span. His track record is largely non-existent, as the 26-year-old spent time after college playing in Europe before coming stateside to a minor role last season with Memphis. Pargo has built his solid run on a reliable jump shot, as he is shooting at least 40 from every shot distance tracked by Basketball-Reference.com. It seems like the Cavs are going to give him solid minutes moving forward, which means he remains worth adding in most leagues where he is still available. (60 percent owned; +40 percent)

Aaron Brooks, Kings: Brooks is another bit player who has been thrust into a bigger role over the last week-plus, and he at least has more of an NBA track record than Pargo. The Kings have started him in their last five games at the point guard position, and he has responded by scoring 10.8 points per game. Don't be fooled by his solid mark, as he is shooting a wholly unsustainable 63.6 percent on 6.6 shots per game. There simply are not many shots available in a Kings offense with plenty of options and little in the way of opportunity, and he is unlikely to continue averaging double figures given this role. Brooks is a 41.3 percent shooter from the field in his career, so once the shots stop falling, his Fantasy value should plummet with it. (41 percent owned; + 20 percent)

Jamaal Tinsley, Jazz: It has been an awfully long time since Tinsley was a viable Fantasy option. He last averaged double figures in scoring back in 2007-08, when he spent 39 games as the Pacers' starting point guard. He has been asked to bear a surprisingly large role for the Jazz in his age-34 season, and he has responded with arguably his most productive stretch in years. Over the last four games, he is averaging 9.0 assists and 8.5 points per game, while reaching double-figures in each category at least twice. His role has increased as a result of a lingering foot injury that has cost Mo Williams three games in a row. Before Wednesday's game against New Orleans, Williams told reporters he is close to getting back, so Tinsley is likely just a few days returning to Fantasy irrelevance. This is probably the peak of Tinsley's Fantasy value. (16 percent owned; + 14 percent)

Most Added Forwards

Markieff Morris, Suns: Both of the second-year Morris twins have surprisingly jumped into Fantasy relevance after mediocre rookie seasons, but it is the elder -- by seven minutes -- Markieff, who is on Fantasy owners' minds as he entered the starting lineup for the Suns. Morris scored in double figures in three games in a row last week, and has now started four games in a row for a Phoenix team that at times seems unsure as to how they would like their front court rotation to look. Morris was a lottery pick a year ago, so the talent to be a productive player is there. After seeing unpredictable playing time last year, he is averaging 15.2 points per-36 minutes this season. I would not recommend relying on Morris as a starter at this point, as Suns' coach Alvin Gentry seems to be changing his rotation on a whim recently. That being said, his place in the team's plans makes this waiver-wire flier a smart decision by most owners. (63 percent owned; + 45 percent)

Patrick Patterson, Rockets: Of anyone on this list, Patterson's recent play has been the most impressive, which makes it difficult to understand why he is just the fourth-most added player and only just broke through to being owned in a majority of leagues. Patterson has scored in double-digits in seven games in a row, including three 20-point efforts in his last four games. He plays for the fastest-paced team in the league, and has played fewer than 20 minutes in just one of his 14 games. After a 27-point game during which he was arguably Houston's most impressive player against the Thunder, it would not surprise me if Patterson's ownership shot up sharply yet again -- deservedly so. Patterson is the only regular for the Rockets that is shooting better than 50 percent from the field, largely because he takes 45% of his shots from within nine feet of the rim and shoots 63.8 percent on those attempts. Patterson has avoided bad shots, and has even added a somewhat reliable three-point shot to his arsenal, making 12 in 15 games. Patterson continues to impress this season, and is worth adding in all Fantasy leagues. 57 percent owned; + 23 percent

Kyle Singler, Pistons: Singler turned a high-profile four-year career with the illustrious Duke Blue Devils into a second-round draft selection and a ticket to Europe last season, as no NBA teams seemed all that interested in his services. Just a month into his rookie season, Singler has managed to make the Pistons look good for investing a guaranteed contract in him this offseason, as he has provided a big spark to an offense that often seemed moribund before his role increased. In eight games since inserting him into the starting lineup, Detroit has gone 5-3, with Singler providing 12.0 points per game. He probably won't continue shooting better than 50.0 percent from the field, but Singler seems to be a truly above average shooter, something that is in short supply in Detroit. Singler has been very smart about his shot selection, taking 81 of his 114 shots from either within three feet of the rim or from three-point range; and has scored 129 of his 159 points this season on these shots. There seems to be little reason to expect Detroit to scale back his minutes, so go ahead and add him. (40 percent owned; + 23 percent)

Most Added Centers

Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors: It took a while for Valanciunas earn the trust of his coach, Dwane Casey, as he played 30-plus minutes just once in his first 11 NBA games. He has topped that mark in four of the last five games, and he just missed it in the fifth, playing 28 minutes Wednesday against the Grizzlies. He has shown more of a comfort level on offense than we expected initially, reaching double figures in scoring in seven of 16 games, averaging 9.3 per game. Given how shallow the position is, Valanciunas ranks 28th among Centers in scoring. The Raptors are probably going to lean on the 20-year-old even more heavily as the season goes on, so Fantasy owners should expect him to be worth starting as a low-end option before long. Keep snatching him up. 70 percent owned; + 15 percent

Jermaine O'Neal, Suns: O'Neal was forced to leave Wednesday's game against the Pistons due to an undisclosed injury. Given O'Neal's recent injury history, the fact that he was able to return to the game should probably confirm the Suns' medical staff's league-wide reputation as miracle workers. The fact that O'Neal has even been an effective player for Phoenix also leads me to believe that the Fountain of Youth may be located somewhere deep within the bowels of US Airways Center. O'Neal looked completely washed up over two injury-shortened seasons in Boston, scoring in double figures just six times total over the course of 49 games. He has reached double-digits in points in five of the last seven games, while playing an unexpectedly large role in Phoenix's offense. The Suns seem to have soured on Marcin Gortat and his inconsistent effort this season, which has opened a door for O'Neal. The Suns have more talented – and younger – options in the frontcourt, so it would be a legitimate surprise if O'Neal keeps seeing extended run through the season. Despite an unexpectedly competent start, I wouldn't risk relying on the 34-year-old at this point. 14 percent owned; + 12 percent

Other thoughts: Most dropped players -- Alexey Shved, Derrick Williams, Isaiah Thomas, Dorell Wright, E'Twaun Moore, Spencer Hawes, A.J. Price ... Most traded players -- Jeremy Lin, Dwyane Wade, Josh Smith, Pau Gasol, Greivis Vasquez, O.J. Mayo ... Ricky Rubio was cleared for practice and should be able to make his debut in two weeks. He is already owned in 94 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and should be a worthy starting guard, especially in category-based Fantasy formats, once he gets up to speed.

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Player News
Thunder's Russell Westbrook has facial surgery, out for Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4:35 pm ET) Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had surgery after getting kneed in the head, late in Friday night's game, the team announced. 

The surgical procedure corrected a fracture to the zygomatic arch bone in Westbrook's cheek. 

He will be out for the Thunder's game at the Lakers on Sunday. He'll be reevaluated later in the week. 

Westbrook is averaging 26.5 points, 8.1 assists and 6.8 rebounds this season. In February, he averaged 31.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists, becoming the first player since Oscar Robertson to average that level of production for a month. 


Jusuf Nurkic out 'for awhile' for Nuggets
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:57 pm ET) Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic will miss Sunday's game against the Pelicans with a sprained ankle, and the injury may keep him out longer. 

Nurkic will miss his second straight game with the injury, and coach Brian Shaw said the ankle will keep him out "for awhile". 

Nurkic is averaging 7.2 points and 6.7 rebounds this season. 


Solomon Hill questionable for Pacers on Sunday with illness
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:43 pm ET) Pacers SF Solomon Hill is questionable for Sunday's game with the 76ers. 

The team announced that Hill is suffering from an illness. 

Hill is averaging 9.5 points, 2.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds this season. 


Swelling in knee will keep Nick Young out for Lakers on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:37 pm ET) Nick Young will miss the Lakers' game against the Thunder on Sunday. It will be the third straight game Young has missed with an injured left knee.

Coach Byron Scott told the media that there's still some swelling in Young's knee. 


Rockets' Kostas Papanikolaou won't play on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:33 pm ET) Rockets SF Kostas Papanikolaou won't play in Sunday's game against Cleveland, the team announced.

It will be the fourth straight game Papanikolaou has missed after spraining his ankle during warmups. 

Papanikolaou is averaging 4.4 points, 2.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds this season. 


Warriors want to rest Andrew Bogut on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:08 pm ET) Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he'd like to rest Andrew Bogut for Sunday's game at the Celtics. The fight during Friday night's game is complicating Kerr's plans, however.

Festus Ezeli and the Raptors' Tyler Hansbrough were both ejected for their mid-game skirmish. Kerr will wait to find out if Ezeli gets suspended by the league before deciding on Bogut's playing status. 


Tibodeau: Pau Gasol 'will be fine' for Bulls on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:46 pm ET) Pau Gasol missed Friday's game for the Bulls, suffering from an illness. Coach Tom Thibodeau said he was hopeful that Gasol would be able to play on Sunday, against the Clippers. 

Thibodeau added that he believed Gasol "would be fine" on Sunday. 

Gasol is averaging 18.4 points and 12.1 rebounds this year. 


Taj Gibson doubtful for Bulls on Sunday after ankle injury
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:43 pm ET) Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said that PF Taj Gibson was doubtful for Sunday's game with the Clippers. Gibson sprained his left ankle during the Bulls game on Friday night. 

Gibson is averaging 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds for the Bulls this year. 


Derrick Rose starts knee rehab for Bulls
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:39 pm ET) Derrick Rose started rehab from his knee surgery on Saturday, according to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

Thibodeau reported that Rose is in good spirits, and the entire rehab schedule has been mapped out for him.  

"It's just the initial steps," Thibodeau said. "But we're cautiously optimistic, he's in good spirits. He's on it, so it's good. ... "It's mapped out with the medical people. The one thing about Derrick is he's been through a few of them. He'll follow the plan and hopefully everything goes fine."

Rose had a meniscectomy on Friday and is expected back in four-to-six weeks. 


Bojan Bogdanovic upgraded to probable for Nets on Saturday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(1:50 pm ET) Nets SG Bojan Bogdanovic has missed three straight games with a sprained left ankle, but the team has upgraded him to probable for Saturday's game at the Mavericks. 

Bogdanovic was originally listed as questionable for the contest. 

The Nets are 8.5-point underdogs on the road. 


 
 
 
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