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Waiver Wire: Looking for the hot hand?

Fantasy Writer
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One nice thing about the Bobcats this season -- besides the fact that watching them isn't a punishment -- is that they actually have some reasonably useful Fantasy options. A year ago, it was basically just Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker on their historically disastrous roster worth starting.

Now? Walker and Henderson are still there and they have some company. Byron Mullens, Ramon Sessions, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Ben Gordon have all spent time among the ranks of worthy Fantasy starters, which almost creates an embarrassment of riches, if you have a very loose definition of "riches."

Recently, Fantasy owners are betting on Ben Gordon's resurgence, as he is the third-most added player in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues, as of Wednesday night. Gordon slogged through a terrible final season in Detroit, putting up an empty 12.5 points per game. He seems rejuvenated in Charlotte, putting up his best scoring numbers since leaving Chicago in 2008-09.

The Bobcats have played at a very fast pace this season, a style that suits the three-guard lineup they often employ. Gordon has been a big part of those lineups and the Bobcats are letting him fire away whenever he wants. He has scored in double-figures in 11 of 15 games and is averaging 19.8 points per game over the last six contests.

Gordon probably will not keep shooting 49.4 percent from three-point range (that would be the 11th-best mark in NBA history for a full season). However, there is a lot to like about his role in this offense. He doesn't give you much else in the box score besides points in bunches, but let's not get greedy -- we're talking about a waiver-wire pickup. And a solid one at that.

Most Added Guards

Randy Foye, Jazz: Foye's scoring is really the only above-average ability he can bring to the floor, so his value is often dependent on a number of factors outside of his control. Playing time is arguably the biggest one -- something that has been working in his favor recently. Foye is averaging 29.2 minutes per game over the last five games and he has topped the 30-minute mark in three games in a row heading into Wednesday's play. As a result, he has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, while shooting a scorching 52.1 percent from the field. The problem with Foye is that while he is prone to these kinds of hot streaks, he has a tendency of following them with equally cold streaks. He had a five-game stretch earlier in the season in which he shot just 28.1 percent from the field. Foye is the type of player you can ride while he is hot, but Fantasy owners should know by now to cut bait once the shots stop falling. (33 percent owned; +11 percent)

Gary Neal, Spurs: Neal has been on a scoring tear recently, aided by the Spurs' willingness to give extended rest to older players. That is largely the reason why Neal has seen his Fantasy value increase, so owners might want to temper expectations. The Spurs just finished a tough stretch in the schedule that forced them to give the second unit some extended run, but with a bit more forgiving schedule on the way the rotation could change. Additionally, Neal is dealing with a sore Achilles in his left leg, which could limit his ability to make an impact. The Spurs have been hit hard by injuries, but once the team gets healthy, Neal could revert to the role that saw him score in double figures in just three of the first seven games of the season. (16 percent owned; +10 percent)

Jarrett Jack, Warriors: Jack is probably going to be one of those players whose ownership bounces up and down all season long, as he has already gone from a high ownership of 73 percent down to 46 percent before this week. His role on the team lends itself to this kind of pattern, as his numbers are probably going to fluctuate throughout the season. Jack's last seven games have seen him score 17, 18, 18, 1, 18, 5 and 2 points -- a perfect microcosm of his season as a whole. Jack is one of the better backup point guards in the league, which makes him only intermittently useful as long as the players in front of him stay healthy. (54 percent owned; +8 percent)

Most Added Forwards

Antawn Jamison, Lakers: After spending last week's column focusing on the reasons why Jamison was unlikely to live up to his status as one of the most added players in Fantasy, he ripped off his best three-game stretch of the season. Jamison seems to be working well as a stretch-four in Mike D'Antoni's offensive system and he is even starting over the last few games due to Pau Gasol's lingering knee tendinitis. I still think, at some point, Gasol has to re-assert himself as a key part of the Lakers' offense, but Jamison's recent play is difficult to deny. He is averaging 12.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in just 23.9 minutes in eight games since D'Antoni took over, so Fantasy owners should still consider adding the 15-year veteran. (71 percent owned; +30 percent)

Kyle Singler, Pistons: Singler is another player who has found himself as the subject of plenty of virtual ink in our Fantasy coverage, as the former second-round pick has come out of nowhere this season to emerge as a strong floor-spacing scorer for the Pistons. Since entering the starting lineup full time on Nov. 14, a span of 11 games, Singler is averaging 32.2 minutes. He does little besides score, but he has done that extremely well so far, averaging 12.0 points per game as a starter. We have little in the way of an NBA track record on Singler, so it is tough to say whether this is sustainable, however the way he goes about scoring shows promise; Singler attempts 70.2 percent of his shots behind the three-point line or at the rim. These are the most efficient shots in the game, which helps explain his 10.3 points-per-game average on just 7.4 shots. Time will tell if Singler's hot start proves to be a fluke, but he continues to trend in the right direction as the sample size increase. (63 percent owned; +22 percent)

Kevin Seraphin, Wizards: Similarly to Singler, Seraphin is enjoying a surprisingly productive beginning to the season, though the path he has taken to get there is quite different. While Singler has been a model of efficiency, Seraphin is gaining a reputation as a ball stopper. As the Washington Examiner pointed out Wednesday, Seraphin is last among the team's regulars in free-throw attempts per game. This is surprising for a player who has spent 36.4 percent of his offensive possessions bumping and creating contact in post-up situations, according to MySynergySports.com. Seraphin is getting the opportunity to work in the offense, but his role will likely shrink as Nene continues to get healthy. Seraphin's ceiling right now continues to be limited by his inability to make the most of his opportunities, and you have to wonder how long he can keep his current role without improvement. (62 percent owned; +16 percent)

Most Added Centers

Andray Blatche, Nets: This has been quiet a turnaround for Blatche, who has gone from being sent home and ultimately cut by a lottery-bound Wizards team a year ago to starting for a team that will likely be fighting for home-court advantaged by the end of the season. Even if he is only starting for a limited time due to injury, it is still remarkable to see, as Blatche was strongly considering playing in the D-League before the Nets came calling in the offseason. At the shallow center position, his 10.6 points, 6.1 rebounds average lands him squarely in the "worth owning" category for Fantasy owners. His recent production is almost assuredly not going to be sustainable, given Brook Lopez's eventual return from a foot sprain. Still, he has scored in double figures in nine of 17 games this season, and should remain a solid producer even when he returns to the bench. Fantasy owners who have added him can count on him still being worth a roster spot moving forward. (60 percent owned; +38 percent)

Larry Sanders, Bucks: To call Sanders' third year in the league an "up and down campaign" might be an understatement at this point. Sanders, a perpetual disappointment through his first two seasons in the league, got off to a huge start to the season, averaging 12.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, showing a heretofore unseen capability on the offensive side of the court. He cooled down quickly from that point on, averaging just 4.1 points in his next eight contests, but he has begun to turn things on again recently. Sanders has gone insane on defense recently, averaging 7.3 blocks over the past three games, while matching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's franchise record with 10 blocks in a single game. He has been able to stay on the floor by lowering his fouls in this span, the part of the game that has most consistently needed work. I would like to see Sanders put together everything for an extended stretch, but at the very least, he has finally been able to turn his per-minute defensive aptitude into nightly production. (79 percent owned; +33 percent)

Other thoughts: Other highly-added players worth watching: Jason Maxiell, Robin Lopez, Lavoy Allen, Bismack Biyombo ... Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio is on the verge of returning, which will hurt Alexey Shved and Luke Ridnour's value ... Derrick Favors has plantar fasciitis, which should mean more minutes for Paul Millsap, who has disappointed recently ... Steve Blake underwent abdominal surgery and is out for up to two months, but the Lakers don't have anyone worth targeting until Steve Nash returns. Chris Duhon has very limited value.

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Player News
Warriors guard Klay Thompson needs to pass concussion protocol
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:35 pm ET) Former NBA player Mychal Thompson, the father of Warriors guard Klay Thompson, said his son is feeling better Thursday, but he needs to pass the league's concussion protocol before he can play again, reports the Associated Press.

The younger Thompson sustained a knee to his head during the Game 5 win over the Rockets on Wednesday. He suffered concussion-like symptoms after the contest.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for June 4 and Mychal said Klay is on track to play. 


Dwyane Wade's agent on contract talks with Heat: It's early
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:18 pm ET) With the recent report indicating the Heat and Dwyane Wade are significantly apart in contract negotiations, Wade's agent said Thursday that there is still plenty of time to reach an agreement, reports the Sun Sentinel.

"It's relatively early," Wade's agent, Henry Thomas said. "He's had a tremendous career [with the Heat] and we're just trying to see whether or not there's room to continue that."

Wade has until late June to decide on whether to opt out of his contract, which would pay him $16.1 million during the 2015-16 season. He has spent his entire 12-year career with the Heat.


Hawks F Elton Brand undecided on retirement plans
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:39 pm ET) Hawks forward Elton Brand will take his time before deciding whether to return for his 17th NBA season, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I'll see if I have another year of trying to get prepared and what it takes to be on an NBA roster," Brand said Thursday. "There is a lot of work you have to put in… After two or three weeks, I'll know. See if I have that itch. This team I might not and just lay back on the couch. We'll see."

Brand, 36, averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 36 games this season.


Lakers G Wayne Ellington says his shoulder is healed
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:33 pm ET) After missing the last two weeks of the season with a separated shoulder, Lakers guard Wayne Ellington said Thursday the injury has healed, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

Ellington was able to play in 65 games before suffering the season-ending injury. He averaged 10.0 points, 1.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds.


Lakers F Julius Randle cleared for half-court workouts
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5:01 pm ET) Lakers forward Julius Randle has been cleared for full-contact half-court sessions, according to ESPN LA 710

Randle, who broke his leg in the first game of the 2014-15 season, can now participate in half-court sessions of 2-on-2 and 3-on-3. As part of a gradual progression in his recovery, the next step will be for Randle to be approved to take part in 4-on-4 games. 

Randle is hoping to re-join his team for the NBA summer league. Though he broke his leg, Randle still hit the gym and lost 18 pounds during the season. 


Surgery not needed for Hawks F Paul Millsap (shoulder)
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:57 pm ET) Hawks forward Paul Millsap will not need surgery on his injured shoulder, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Injuries took a toll on the Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals as Millsap, Kyle Korver (ankle), Shelvin Mack (shoulder) and DeMarre Carroll (knee, toe) all experienced them. For Millsap, it's a good sign that surgery isn't required as he now has plenty of time to let his shoulder heal on its own. 

Millsap is expected to explore plenty of options in free agency. He finished the year with averages of 16.7 points, 7.8 rebound and 3.1 assists per game. 


Report: Hawks' DeMarre Carroll interested in playing for Knicks
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(10:39 am ET) Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll has interest in joining the Knicks this offseason, according to a report from the New York Post

Carroll used to work out with Knicks coach Derek Fisher in Southern California, which is the reason for the interest. Carroll, in a contract year, had the best NBA season of his career, posting averages of 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. 

He also built a reputation has being a strong defender. Carroll is coming off knee and turf toe injuries that he played through during this past NBA Eastern Conference finals. 


Rockets' James Harden sets playoff record with 13 turnovers
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Rockets guard James Harden committed an NBA playoffs record 13 turnovers in Wednesday night's 104-90 loss to the Warriors in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. 

The loss eliminated the Rockets from the postseason and advanced the Warriors to the NBA finals. 

"Unacceptable," Harden said, via NBA.com.

Harden, who was brilliant in a 45-point effort in Game 4, struggled throughout Wednesday's elimination game. He scored 14 points but only went 2-of-11 shooting from the field. He made 10 of 11 free throws and missed all three of his three-point attempts. 


Warriors' Thompson develops postgame concussion-like symptoms
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:27 am ET) The Warriors announced that guard Klay Thompson developed concussion-like symptoms after the team's Game 5 win over the Rockets, CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger reports.

Thompson "began to not feel well" after the game. The team also said that the guard was evaluated for a concussion after taking a knee to the head but did not exhibit concussion-like symptoms at the time. Thompson will have to pass concussion testing before being cleared for action in the NBA Finals.

Thompson scored 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting in his team's series-clinching win over the Rockets on Wednesday. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for June 4.


Warriors F Harrison Barnes scores 24 in Game 5 win over Rockets
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:36 am ET) Warriors forward Harrison Barnes played one of his best games of the season in Thursday's 104-90 win over the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. 

Barnes scored 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field, which included going 2 for 5 from behind the arc. He also made both of his free-throw attempts. Barnes got a lot of looks around the rim late in the game, scoring 13 of his points in the fourth quarter. 

This marked the most points Barnes has scored this postseason and the second-highest he's scored all year. His season high is 25, scored against the Hawks in a win on March 18. 


 
 
 
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