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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
Report: 76ers to to waive center JaVale McGee
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:36 am ET) The 76ers are reportedly set to waive center JaVale McGee and allow him to sign with a team in playoff contention, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.

McGee, who is averaging 4.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 22 games, shot down rumors he was asking for a buyout. If the Sixers were able to beat the March 1 deadline, McGee is eligible to sign with any team and can compete in the postseason.


Pacers' Luis Scola learning to play his role off the bench
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:32 am ET) Pacers forward Luis Scola had a difficult time not being a starter in his first year in Indiana. Now, Scola has learned to deal with his role as a bench player.

"It took me a little while to get used to (playing off the bench)," he said to the team's website. "I obviously would have liked to play better (last season), but I think this year I'm more prepared. I kind of know what's going to happen and I can focus on what I can do on the court instead of focusing on what it would be like if I were to be more on the court.

"When you have a consistent role you get to know what your team is going to do and they know how you play and you know when you're going to get into the game and how many minutes you play. That helps."

Scola is averaging 9.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 57 games this season.

"Him playing the first part of this season as a starter and getting extended minutes with these teammates really helped him find a rhythm that he didn't have last year with new teammates and an unfamiliar system," coach Frank Vogel said.


Knicks' Andrea Bagnani starting to feel stronger back on the court
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:14 am ET) When Knicks forward Andrea Bargnani first signed with the team, he envisioned being able to play in some capacity. Now, the Italian is finally on the court after dealing with injuries for most of the season.

"Just be aggressive, do what I do," Bargnani said to the New York Post.

Bargnani is averaging 15.6 points and 6.1 rebounds in his last six games, including 25 and 19 points playing on a back-to-back.

"I feel good, pretty good. This is the first back-to-back in 13 months for me," said Bargnani. "I'm happy we won both games so that’s pretty good."


Heat point guard Goran Dragic listed as questionable for Monday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Heat point guard Goran Dragic is considered questionable for Monday's game against the Suns after suffering a back injury in Saturday's game, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

"He got hit in the back and that's why he was in the locker room," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He probably shouldn't have played in the second half. He just played through it. I kept on asking him if he was OK and he said he was... He gutted it out."

Dragic is averaging 16.0 points and 4.2 assists in 57 games this year.


Bucks guard Giannis Antetokounmpo looking to find his shot
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Bucks guard Giannis Antetokounmpo has been struggling with his shot as of late. Over his past four games, Antetokounmpo is 12 of 33 from the field and 22 of 61 since the All-Star Break.

"I've got to find a rhythm," Antetokounmpo said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Because of the trade we lost a little bit of rhythm.

"I've just got to try to get everybody involved when I've got the ball. If that doesn't work, I've got to go back to my old move and start attacking the basket more and more and more."


Nuggets' Wil Barton posts double-double in losing effort Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Nuggets guard Will Barton scored 16 points on 7 of 14 shooting from the field in Denver's 99-92 loss to the Pelicans Sunday. Barton also grabbed 10 rebounds to record his first double-double of the season. It was his first double-double since last April.

Barton also added two steals to his totals.


Pelicans' Tyreke Evans stuffs the stat sheet in win Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans scored 22 points on 7 of 14 shooting from the field to lead New Orleans to a 99-91 win over the Nuggets Sunday.

Evans also dished out seven assists and pulled down seven rebounds in the contest. It was his first 20-plus point game in his last nine games. His seven assists also broke his streak of three consecutive games reaching double figures in assists.


Thunder center Enes Kanter doubles up Lakers in win Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Thunder center Enes Kanter scored 18 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the field in Oklahoma City's 108-101 win over the Lakers Sunday.

Kanter also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds, leading to his third double-double in his last five games and 15th overall on the season. He added five assists to his totals.


Lakers guard Jeremy Lin stuffs the stat sheet in Sunday's loss
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin scored a game-high 20 points on 7 of 14 shooting from the field and dished out eight assists in Los Angeles' 108-101 loss to the Thunder Sunday.

It was just Lin's second 20-plus point game in his last 25 games. He added six rebounds and three steals to his totals.


Kings forward Rudy Gay scores 24 points in losing effort Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Kings small forward Rudy Gay scored 24 points on 10 of 22 shooting from the field in Sacramento's 110-99 loss to the Trail Blazers Sunday. It was Gay's third game in his last five scoring at least 20 points. He added eight rebounds and one assist to his totals.

He and the Kings will look to bounce back Tuesday against the Knicks.


 
 
 
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