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Waiver Wire: Land of opportunity in Minnesota

Fantasy Writer
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Derrick Williams has been a major disappointment since the Timberwolves selected him with the No. 2 overall pick last year. There really is not any nice way to say it, other than to note he is barely old enough to legally drink alcohol. The 21-year-old is averaging just 8.7 points per game in the first 92 games of his career and has largely been a non-factor on most nights, especially this season. He entered play Wednesday against the Hawks averaging just 17.4 minutes per game.

However, if you've been paying close attention, you can see Williams' play has clearly improved here in his second season. His shooting from the field has only improved from 41.2 percent to 42.1 percent, but he has improved across the board otherwise. Williams has a 52.8 true-shooting percentage, which takes into account free-throw shooting as well as three-pointers being worth more; he posted a 49.9 percent mark as a rookie. He has improved his efficiency while actually playing a larger role while on the floor with a 23.2 percent usage rate, compared to a 20.7 percent rate a year ago.

Williams' scoring is down due to his decreased role, but he has a chance to turn his per-minute-production into real results for Fantasy owners, due to another injury to Kevin Love. Williams largely flopped in his earlier attempts at filling in for Love. He averaged a pretty pedestrian 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in nine starts, while shooting just 35.6 percent from the field. However, this time the Wolves have opted to bring Williams off the bench behind Dante Cunningham, hoping that his success with the second unit can carry over in an increased role.

Williams has been added in 25 percent of all CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues in the last week, due to the news of Love's injury. Cunningham is getting more minutes, initially, than Williams. However, Williams has feasted in Love's absence, scoring 35 points in his first 39 minutes over two games. Williams' talent is clear, and if his jump shot can remain as true as it has been so far this season, he could end up putting up big numbers in Love's absence. I like taking a chance on his potential.

Most added guards

Ben Gordon, Bobcats: The Bobcats' guard rotations have been inconsistent, which is to be expected for a team that stands as the league's third-worst by record so far. Gordon was the victim of a minute squeeze last month, as coach Mike Dunlap has searched for the right combination to turn his team around. Gordon went a stretch of 10 games from Dec. 7 through Dec. 29 averaging just 16.2 minutes per game. The pendulum has shifted the other way again over the last week-plus for Gordon, as he is averaging 26.8 minutes per game over the last three, while scoring in double figures in six consecutive games. Gordon is a contributor of empty, inefficient scoring even at his best, but he has some value when the minutes are there. Unfortunately, his inconsistent role on the team this season should serve as a caution for Fantasy owners who see his gaudy scoring in recent games as a reason to snag him. Be ready to cut Gordon loose if it looks like Dunlap is shying away from him. (45 percent owned; +15 percent)

Vince Carter, Mavericks: Carter found himself in the starting lineup for a few games last week, as the Mavericks also look for an answer to a slide that has seen them lose nine of the last 10 games. Carter has not really been a reason for that slide, as he has scored in double figures in 8 of 10 games, averaging 13.1 per. Carter has transitioned seamlessly into full-time sixth man role for the first time in his career, though he does little besides chip in some points off the bench. Carter has the green light to fire away from three-point range and is averaging 1.7 three-pointers per game (on 5.4 attempts). He is also contributing 1.2 steals per game and is worth an add in category-based Fantasy formats in his current role. (47 percent owned; +11 percent)

Carlos Delfino, Rockets: The Rockets seem intent on setting some sort of NBA land-speed record with their play this season. They average 97.0 possessions per game on the year, the highest mark since the 2009-10 season. They score a lot of points, and they simply love taking three-pointers, with only the Knicks having attempted more; no other team is within 100 attempts of them, otherwise. These tendencies bode particularly well for a player like Delfino, whose best skill remains his three-point shooting; he leads the team in attempts from deep at 6.0 per game, while making 37.7 percent of them. He got off to a slow start to the season -- thanks in part to injury -- but is averaging double figures in scoring since December and is shooting over 40 percent from three-point range in that time. Delfino is another worthy add in category-based formats, though his production is even less consistent than Carter's. (27 percent owned; +9 percent)

Most added forwards

John Henson, Bucks: Just as Henson was starting to earn coach Scott Skiles' trust (and the subsequent minutes that trust leads to), Skiles decided to hit the road. Skiles came to an agreement with the team Monday that he would not finish off the last season of his contract, with assistant Jim Boylan taking over. That decision complicates a Bucks' front court rotation that has been exceedingly difficult to make sense of this season. In Skiles' final three games as the head coach, Henson averaged 12.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. It remains to be seen how interim head coach Boylan will choose to use Henson, but it will likely take more than a few games before we know whether Henson is going to see significant minutes. Henson played just five minutes in the first half of Boylan's first game as head coach, but forced his way onto the floor in the second half, finishing with 19 minutes total. He finished with a double-double in his time, and he was a part of the team's closing lineup. I would take a wait-and-see approach to adding Henson, but it looks like he is going to earn playing time, no matter what his coaches have planned. (42 percent owned; +37 percent)

Dante Cunningham, Timberwolves: Cunningham will be the other part of the Timberwolves' two-headed Kevin Love replacement plan. He earned the start in Love's first two games out and has actually played a larger role than Williams this season, averaging 23.0 minutes per game to Williams' 17.4. However, while coach Rick Adelman might prefer Cunningham's defense-and-energy-first approach to the game, the results on the stat sheet are less than impressive; he is averaging just 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. While Cunningham has been added in slightly more leagues than Williams, I would bet on Williams' upside over Cunningham. (32 percent owned; +28 percent)

Antawn Jamison, Lakers: Here we go again with the Jamison thing; he had a few weeks of decent production before falling completely out of favor with the coaching staff, but a frontline devastated by injury has opened up another chance for Jamison to possibly start. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are out "indefinitely" with various maladies, however it appears as if they could be back within a week. Jamison might see a larger role with them out, but will likely represent just a short-term solution. (32 percent owned; +15 percent)

Most added centers

Tyler Zeller, Cavaliers: This was a very slow week for center additions, but it would not surprise if Zeller ends up being a solid pick up. The Cavaliers indicated Tuesday that center Anderson Varejao might not travel on an upcoming five-game road trip, which should leave Zeller in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future. In 10 games as a starter, Zeller is averaging 10.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He is shooting just 40.4 percent from the field in that span while racking up more field-goal attempts than points, so it is not all positive with him. Still, with the center position being so shallow, I would expect Zeller to be owned in more than 32 percent of leagues while Varejao remains out. (32 percent owned; +5 percent)

Jordan Hill, Lakers: Given the dearth of options at the center position, I'll cheat just a little bit and focus on a player who is a forward primary player who, nonetheless, has center eligibility. Like Jamison, news of Gasol and Howard's injuries led to a little rush to add Hill to rosters, but Hill comes with very different caveats about his Fantasy utility. Hill is dealing with his own injuries that will keep him from taking advantage of the starting big men's absences. Hill has a torn labrum in his hip and is expected to miss at least a week, if not more, due to the injury. The idea of going out to grab him was the right one initially, but a bit of bad luck is going to cost Fantasy owners that roster spot. It seems like Howard and Gasol might end up returning before Hill does. (9 percent owned; +7 percent)

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Player News
Kings F Carl Landry has surgery to repair torn ligament in wrist
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:13 pm ET) The Kings announced on Tuesday that forward Carl Landry underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist. His recovery is expected to take four to five months. 

The procedure was performed by Dr. Michelle Carlson in New York and was considered successful. 

Landry played through some pain during the season and even missed five games due to the injury. As the injury failed to heal, an MRI revealed he needed surgery. 

Landry averaged 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 70 games. 


Warriors G Klay Thompson (concussion) cleared for Game 1
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5:19 pm ET) The Warriors announced that guard Klay Thompson (concussion) has been cleared for Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Cavaliers.

Thompson sustained a concussion in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals when he took a knee from Trevor Ariza to the head. At first he was diagnosed with a lacerated ear before experiencing concussion-like symptoms later. 

Thompson averaged 21.7 points in 77 games this season. 


Warriors F Marreese Speights (calf) available for Game 1
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:26 pm ET) Warriors coach Steve Kerr said forward Marreese Speights will be available for Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Cavaliers, according to the Bay Area News Group. 

Speights is coming off of an injured calf that caused him to miss the entire Western Conference finals. He was injured in the second round against the Grizzlies. Speights will provide some added frontcourt depth for the Warriors.

This season, Speights has averaged 10.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. 


Heat F Chris Bosh has been doing on-court work
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(2:57 pm ET) Heat forward Chris Bosh, who missed the final 30 games of the season, has resumed on-court workouts, according to the Miami Herald

Bosh was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs in February, but is hoping to be ready for the 2015-16 season-opener.

"I’m excited," he said in April. "I haven’t had a chance to work on my game. I’m going to actually get to work on my game. I feel like a young fellow again out there."


Report: Former Jazz F Andrei Kirilenko retires from basketball
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(6/1/2015) Former NBA forward Andrei Kirilenko is retiring from the game of basketball, according to reporter David Pick

Kirilenko spent the majority of his NBA career with the Jazz, playing in Utah from 2001-2011. He also had stints in Minnesota and Brooklyn before being traded to the 76ers. He refused to play for Philadelphia, which was the last the NBA saw of Kirilenko. 

He finished 2015 overseas with CSKA Moscow. 

In his NBA career, Kirilenko averaged 11.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. 


Pistons G/F Cartier Martin exercises option
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(6/1/2015) Guard/forward Cartier Martin filed notice to the Pistons that he is exercising his $1.27 million option, according to RealGM.com. He filed his notice about a week ago. 

Martin only appeared in 23 games during this past season and averaged 1.6 points and 0.9 rebounds.


Warriors SG Klay Thompson practices in full Monday
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(6/1/2015) Shooting guard Klay Thompson, who suffered a concussion during Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, practiced in full with the Warriors on Monday, per the San Jose Mercury News. He has yet to be cleared for Game 1 of the NBA Finals against Cleveland on Thursday. 

Thompson must pass the league's concussion protocol before he can return to the court, but reports have indicated he is not suffering from headaches. Thompson is averaging 19.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in the postseason.


Kerr: Warriors PF Marreese Speights closing in on return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/1/2015) Steve Kerr has declared that Warriors power forward Marreese Speights, who is dealing with a right calf strain, is "not oo far off" from practice participation and contact drills, per the San Jose Mercury News.

Speights hasn't played since May 9.


Mavs F Chandler Parsons recruiting Rockets G Patrick Beverley
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/1/2015) Mavericks foward Chandler Parsons wants former teammate Patrick Beverley to stay in Texas. He is just trying to convince him to move from Houston to Dallas.

Beverley is heading into free agency after a breakout season with the Rockets. He averaged 10.2 points in 31 minutes per game this season and thrived on the defensive end. And Parsons has made no secret to him his desire to make them teammates again.

"I hear from Chandler every day," the point guard told the Houston Chronicle. "It's hard, but I try not to think about it. I can't talk about contracts. It's going to be a fun summer. I have put myself in position to be set for life and that's something that I never thought was possible growing up."

Beverley will be a restricted free agent, which will allow Houston to match any offer made to him. He would like to stay with his current team, but he knows the business aspect of the sport comes into play.

"This is the only team in the league - I am very loyal - that really took a chance on me," he said. "At the end of the day, I understand it's a business."


Cavaliers star LeBron James: Blatt has done 'hell of a job'
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/1/2015) Folks have been waiting all season for Cavaliers superstar LeBron James to give a verbal thumbs-up to the job first-year coach David Blatt has done with the team.

The wait is over.

James told the Northeast Ohio Media Group on Monday that Blatt has done "a hell of a job" in guiding the team into the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers were the most disappointing team in the league when they stumbled to a 19-20 record, prompting rumors that Blatt would be soon be fired. But they are 46-11 since and have a shot at their first-ever championship.

The primary improvement has been on the defensive end, where they have been transformed from one of the worst teams in the NBA into one of the best, particularly in the playoffs. James credited Blatt and his staff for introducing successful new schemes. And he chastised those who criticized him.

"We know that a lot of people were going to say that ... didn't mean much, but that's just what they have to do," James said. "That's what helps sales. ... People love reading the negative things more than the positive things, so I think he's handled his situation unbelievably. ... Being a rookie coach in the NBA, being able to take his team to the Finals, I think he's done a hell of a job."


 
 
 
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