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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
Heat add Reggie Williams
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(8/16/2014) The Heat signed guard Reggie Williams to a free-agency contract last week, the team announced. Terms of the deal are not known.

Williams appeared in just three games for the Thunder last season, and has played 180 games over parts of five NBA seasons. He averages 8.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, while shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three-point range for his career.  


Isaiah Thomas undergoes wrist surgery
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(8/15/2014) Suns newcomer Isaiah Thomas underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist, the team announced Thursday.

Thomas dealt with a sprained wrist last season but was able to play through it on his way to a career year. An MRI in February revealed no ligament damage, which would indicate this latest procedure is nothing to worry about. The team expects him to be ready for training camp. 


DeMarcus Cousins avoids serious injury at Team USA practice
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(8/15/2014) Kings center DeMarcus Cousins dodged a bullet Thursday when the MRI on his right knee came back negative.

According to Yahoo Sports, Cousins limped off the court during a Team USA training session after Anthony Davis landed on his knee during a scrimmage. Cousins later tweeted that he was "fine," helping to suppress any concerns of a serious injury. 


Pacers shopping Roy Hibbert, call Pistons about Greg Monroe
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) The Pacers are shopping center Roy Hibbert, and they have called the Pistons regarding a potential deal involving restricted free agent Greg Monroe, Detroit Sports 105.1 reports.

There's no word about whether the Pistons would be interested in a Monroe-for-Hibbert spot, but they are pretty well set in the middle with Andre Drummond in the starting lineup. It's a rumor that seemingly has very little chance of coming to fruition.


Rockets sign Kostas Papanikolaou
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) The Rockets have signed small forward Kostas Papanikolaou .

Papanikolaou gets $4.8 million guaranteed in the upcoming season, with a team option of $4.6 million for the following season. He has been playing in Europe since being drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft.


Report: Greg Oden faces felony charge
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) Free agent Greg Oden is facing a felony charge after allegedly attacking his former girlfriend after a night of drinking, the Indianapolis Star reports.

Oden is accused of punching the woman in the face three times and fracturing a bone in her nose, according to court documents. The felony offense carries a penaly of one-to-six years in prison.


Markel Brown out with broken hand
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) Nets guard Markel Brown will be held out of basketball activities for four-to-six weeks after being diagnosed with a nondisplaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his right hand, the team announced Monday.

Brown was selected 44th overall in this year's draft, and the Nets acquired him for cash considerations on the night of the draft. He averaged 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists in his senior season at Oklahoma State.


Report: Wolves to swap Anthony Bennett for Thaddeus Young
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(8/8/2014) Though the trade can't go official until August 23, the deal reportedly struck between the Cavaliers and Timberwolves will lead to another trade between Minnesota and the 76ers.

The Philadelphia Daily News reported early Friday that Minnesota, upon receiving Anthony Bennett from the Cavs as part of the Kevin Love trade, would then trade him for Thaddeus Young. The Timberwolves have been showing interest in Young since Love stated his desire to be traded.

Meanwhile, the 76ers want to move Young because he's entering his prime at age 26 and only has one additional year left on his contract. Acquiring Bennett would complete a core of young talent to develop over the coming years. Young was one of the most productive forwards in the league last year playing in Brett Brown's up-tempo offense, averaging 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Bennett, on the other hand, failed to make any impact what so ever but did show signs of growth during the Summer League. 


Landing in Minnesota should improve Andrew Wiggins' value
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(8/7/2014) The prize of the trade that ultimately sent Kevin Love to Cleveland will likely be the Timberwolves' acquisition of No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins , assuming there are no unexpected changes in the deal the two sides agreed to.

If Wiggins does ultimately land in Minnesota, as expected, this should be a boon to his Fantasy value. Though Wiggins will have substantially less help as he makes the transition to the NBA than he would have in Cleveland, he is also likely to be much more of a featured option than he otherwise might have been.

Wiggins was likely going to be the third or possibly even fourth offensive option for the Cavs, and likely would have been so for some time, given the presence of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on long-term deals. Now, the Timberwolves get to build around Wiggins as their long-term centerpiece, and he should be given plenty of rope as the team tries to navigate their upcoming rebuild.

Wiggins is raw, but still put up 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per game as a freshman at the University of Kansas. There are some questions about how well his game will translate to the NBA, but he will at least have some help, in the form of point guard Ricky Rubio, who knows exactly how to set up teammates for shots they like.

Wiggins is mostly upside right now, but should be considered a second-round pick in all keeper-league Fantasy formats. In yearly re-draft leagues, he is more of a mid-round option at this point, albeit one with tremendous upside. 


Anthony Bennett a bit more intriguing following trade
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(8/7/2014) After a rookie season that can be charitably described as lost, a change of scenery is probably the best outcome Anthony Bennett could have hoped for this offseason. He got that Thursday, with the news that the long-awaited Kevin Love trade has landed him in Minnesota.

Last year's No. 1 overall pick luckily doesn't have to join the Cavaliers with the pressure of replacing Love as the face of the franchise -- this year's No. 1 pick, Andrew Wiggin, will take that on. Bennett gets to join a Timberwolves team that can give him more consistent playing time than last year's Cavaliers afforded him, but which won't ask him to do more than he is capable.

Bennett might end up starting at power forward for the Wolves, though a bench role seems more likely at this point. He had a disastrous rookie season after entering the season out of shape, but appeared to be in better shape while playing with the Cavaliers during the Summer League in Las Vegas. He still shot the ball poorly in Vegas -- 42.6 percent from the field and just 4 of 16 from three-point range -- but Bennett looked much more capable during his time there.

Based on his rookie season, Bennett has a long way to go before he is contributing at a high level. However, Fantasy owners in deeper category-based leagues should consider taking a chance on the 21-year-old in the later rounds, because he will have the chance to earn a large role if he proves worthy. 


 
 
 
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