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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
Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum says he tore a tendon in his wrist
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:06 am ET) Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said after Saturday's game he tore a tendon on the outside of his wrist on Dec. 17, according to The Oregonian.

Batum suffered the injury when he fell awkwardly during Portland's game against the Bucks. He has re-aggravated it on and off over the past month, typically when he falls on the court. It is unknown how long this will keep Batum out of the lineup.


Wizards' John Wall flirts with double-double in losing effort Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:59 am ET) Wizards point guard John Wall scored 25 points on 10 of 17 shooting in Washington's 103-96 loss to the Trail Blazers Saturday. Wall also dished out nine assists and grabbed four rebounds. 

It was Wall's first 20-plus point game in his last five outings and first without double digit assists in his last three. He and the Wizards will look to bounce back Sunday against the Nuggets.


Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge nears double-double in return to action
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:57 am ET) Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points on 9 of 22 shooting in Portland's 103-96 win over the Wizards Saturday.

It was Aldridge's first game back on the court since suffering a torn tendon in his thumb earlier in the week. He grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists.

"My idea now is to play the rest of the season," he said before the game. "But if it gets too much where I can't handle it or I'm not playing at a very good level then I'll stop. But hopefully it goes well for us."


Jazz guard Trey Burke impresses coach coming off the bench
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:55 am ET) Jazz point guard Trey Burke may be coming off the bench for Utah, but it's not keeping him from being productive. In 26 minutes, Burke scored 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range, in Utah's 108-73 win over the Nets Saturday.

"I was locked in from the start and I was looking at ways to attack the defense before I even got out there," Burke said.

Coach Quin Snyder said he was able to anchor the defense well Saturday.

"He is one of the guys that's finding a good balance between scoring and playmaking," Snyder said. "The other thing I thought he did is he guarded. When your point guard is at the point of the attack, is tough-minded defensively and willing to talk, that anchors your whole defense."

In two straight games coming off the bench, Burke is averaging 14.5 points 2.5 assists and two rebounds.


Jerami Grant scores career-high 16 points in losing effort Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:27 am ET) 76ers forward Jerami Grant scored a career-high 16 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field in Saturday's 101-83 loss to the Grizzlies.

Grant also shot 2 of 4 from 3-point range and 4 of 8 from the free throw line in 26 minutes. Coach Brett Brown is liking what he is seeing from the rookie.

"(He's) our poster child at the moment. Jerami's work ethic and the fact he's getting minutes is helping him grow as a player," Brown said.


Nets' teammates shocked by news on Mirza Teletovic
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:10 am ET) Nets teammates of Mirza Teletovic couldn't have been more surprised by the news of condition Saturday. Teletovic was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs, which will force him to miss the remainder of the season.

"It was very shocking," Joe Johnson said, "because I’ve honestly never heard of athletes, especially when you are working out and training hard every day, catching blood clots.

"It’s random and just to hear that and then hear some of the things that he said over the course of the past week of so about how he can’t breathe. … It’s kind of scary."

Bojan Bogdanovic, who grew up in the same town as Teltovic in Bosnia and Herzegovina, knew he had some issues, but not to this extent.

"It surprised me a lot because I knew he had some problems, but he told me that he wasn’t in good shape and he told me that’s the problem," Bogdanovic said. "But at the end [of the day], it’s a big problem for him and for us."

Teletovic averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds this season for Brooklyn.


Hornets' Brian Roberts fills in nicely for Kemba Walker
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Hornets backup point guard Brian Roberts scored 17 points on 5 of 9 shooting in Charlotte 76-71 win over the Knicks Saturday. Roberts, starting in place of the injured Kemba Walker, was able to provide Charlotte the spark they needed to pick up the win.

"Just to know I can come in help a team win games, that is something you can't teach," Roberts said. "Just have experience that I was fortunate enough to have last year. And it looks like I'm going to have to do that a little bit here."

Roberts added three rebounds and dished out three assists on the night.

"One of the advantage of bringing him here was that he started so many games last year so he's comfortable in that role," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.


Jazz forward Gordon Hayward stuffs the stat sheet in win Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Jazz forward Gordon Hayward scored 24 points on 10 of 14 shooting from the field in Utah's 108-73 blowout win over the Nets Saturday.

Hayward also did well on the glass, grabbing four rebounds as well as dishing out three assists. He also tallied three steals for Utah. It was his second consecutive game with 24 points after not reaching 20 in his previous two games.


Celtics guard Marcus Smart out Sunday for personal reasons
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Celtics point guard Marcus Smart will miss Sunday's game against the Warriors due to a death in his family, the team announced Saturday.

Smart will rejoin the team Monday in Utah when they take on the Jazz.


Hornets forward Marvin Williams diagnosed with concussion
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Hornets forward Marvin Williams has been diagnosed with a concussion and will have to pass the league protocol before returning to the court, the team announced Saturday.

Williams was elbowed in the head during Saturday's game against the Knicks and had to be helped to the locker room for evaluation.

He had three points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes before leaving the game.


 
 
 
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