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Waiver Wire: Trades making an impact

Fantasy Writer
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This was one of the busiest weeks of the year for player movement so far, as no fewer than 27 separate players were either added or dropped in 10 percent or more of CBSSports.com Fantasy Basketball leagues. We lost a handful of major players across the league to injury, while a six-player, three-team trade last Wednesday shook up a few rotations in a big way.

The biggest gainer and loser came from the same team, as Magic rookie forward Maurice Harkless was added in 42 percent of leagues, the same number that dropped Glen Davis in the same time. Davis suffered a broken foot that required surgery and will likely cost him most, if not all, of the remainder of the season. Another Magic forward, Andrew Nicholson, also saw his ownership jump from 7 percent to 17 percent, so we need to see which of these two rookies is going to see the biggest jump from Davis' absence.

The early returns suggest it will be Harkless who sees the lion's share of the minutes with Davis out, as he was already working his way into the starting lineup prior to Davis' injury. In the four games since Davis went down, Harkless is averaging 10.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while shooting just 36.3 percent from the field.

Nicholson has also recently joined the starting lineup with Harkless, and he has shown flashes of possibly being a better option at this time. In three starts, Nicholson is averaging 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 56.0 percent from the field. He has been more efficient and effective than Harkless, however he has been unable to take on quite as heavy a load, averaging just 23.7 minutes per game to Harkless' 37.8 per game.

Nicholson was selected four spots after Harkless, and is four years older, so the Magic may be faced with a conundrum moving forward -- Harkless' development is more important for the long-term future of the franchise, while Nicholson may be able to provide more immediate value, based on the small-sample size data.

I would guess Harkless is going to see more consistent playing time than Nicholson, despite Nicholson looking more capable of making an impact right now. On the season, Nicholson is averaging 3.5 minutes per game fewer than Harkless, but is contributing more points (7.4 to 4.7) and only slightly fewer rebounds (3.3 to 3.7). Both players are going to see bigger roles moving forward, but Harkless' upside makes him worth hanging on to. He could end up putting up solid numbers on a bad team over the second half of the season.

Most Added Guards

Nate Robinson, Bulls: Robinson and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau have made an odd pairing all year long, with Thibodeau's intense, defense-first style seemingly at odds with Robinson's shoot-first (and if that doesn't work, shoot-always) approach. And yet, necessity has brought the two together and has produced some rather impressive results recently. "Nate has always been a shot-maker, and that was a need," Thibodeau told Grantland.com Tuesday. "I think he's capable of playing good defense when he's focused. He's older now. He's gained some experience." Robinson is on fire recently and Thibodeau has been relying on him heavily, to prop up an offense that has struggled at times. The diminutive 28-year-old has now scored in double-figures in each of the last 11 games, while averaging 28.1 minutes per game. One thing to keep in mind with Robinson is that this ride is almost certainly going to come to an end before long, as the Bulls expect Derrick Rose to return from knee surgery soon, possibly in the next few weeks. That will almost certainly lead to Robinson's return to Fantasy irrelevance, which explains why so many Fantasy owners are hesitant to use a roster spot on him. I think he is worth snagging in all available leagues right now; handle Rose's return when it comes. (66 percent owned; +35 percent)

Jerryd Bayless, Grizzlies: Somewhat surprisingly, Bayless has been the biggest beneficiary of the Rudy Gay trade, as the Grizzlies have left him in the starting lineup since losing their starting small forward. Bayless got hot with Mike Conley dealing with an injury, and coach Lionel Hollins has opted to keep him in their smaller starting lineup even with Conley back. Bayless got off to a disappointing start to the season, and it has taken him a long time to actually get going. He averaged less than 7.5 points per game in each of the first three months of the season, though he has been showing plenty of life recently. Bayless is averaging 10.1 points per game over the last 10 games, and 19.6 over the last five, as his resurgence has come very recently. Bayless is not particularly efficient as a scorer, and he does not always do well when asked to create for others, but the Grizzlies are sill badly in need of some offensive help. Bayless should continue to see solid minute, as the Grizzlies' 18th-ranked offense needs off-the-dribble creation whenever possible. Don't expect 20-plus points consistently, but I would continue to suggest grabbing Bayless. (57 percent owned; +25 percent)

Eric Bledsoe, Clippers: Chris Paul has missed eight of the last nine games, and while this has been a boon for Bledsoe's Fantasy value, it has brought the Clippers' rise to prominence to a screeching halt. Los Angeles has lost seven of the last nine games, despite Bledsoe stepping his game up and averaging 12.8 points and 5.9 assists over that span. Bledsoe's increased role, and the improved numbers that have come with it, have led to an increase in Fantasy value, but owners need to be aware that it is an improvement that is unlikely to be sustained. ESPN.com reported Tuesday that Paul expects to be back by the weekend, which will move Bledsoe back to the bench. Bledsoe averages just 8.4 points and 2.6 assists per game when coming off the bench, so be prepared to drop him one Paul returns. (73 percent owned; +16 percent)

Most Added Forwards

Taj Gibson, Bulls: In the span of one week, Gibson has gone from a Fantasy non-entity to one of the hottest commodities around, as injuries have decimated the Bulls' frontcourt. Forward Carlos Boozer was forced to miss three of the last four games with a hamstring injury, while center Joakim Noah was forced out of the last three due to a plantar fasciitis issue. Those injuries have left the Bulls stretch, and coach Thibodeau has relied heavily on Gibson as a result. Gibson has played at least 40 minutes in each of the three games since Noah was sidelined, and he is averaging 15.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. As with all players who see a big boost due to injury, Fantasy owners will obviously need to keep an eye on the Bulls' injury report. Clearly, all Gibson needs to be a Fantasy contributor is a chance; unfortunately, his chance depends on other players getting hurt. As long as Noah remains out, Gibson is worth keeping on the roster. (47 percent owned; +42 percent)

Michael Beasley, Suns: I expected a breakout season from Beasley, on a rebuilding Suns team that seemed likely to need an offensive boost. While Phoenix's 24th-ranked offense has certainly needed help this season, Beasley has very rarely provided the sort of lift we thought was coming when he signed a three-year deal this offseason. Lately, however, there have been signs that Beasley is finding his comfort zone as a scorer, as the former No. 2 overall pick has reached double-figures in seven of the last 11 games, including four 20-point efforts. Many Fantasy owners have hung on to Beasley, but there has still been enough room for movement for him to have been the sixth-most added player this week. Beasley is still maddeningly inconsistent, scoring in single-digits in four of the last 10 games, despite averaging 15.8 per game. The Suns seem to have developed a policy wherein they ride Beasley when he is hot, and give him a quick yank otherwise; he has played fewer than 28 minutes in each of his single-digit scoring games. Fantasy owners will not like the day-to-day production Beasley is providing, but his overall production is starting to push him back into low-end starting territory, despite being unpredictable. (82 percent owned; +24 percent)

Jimmy Butler, Bulls: Like his teammate Gibson, Butler emerged as a Fantasy option due to injuries in the Bulls' rotation. Unlike Gibson, Butler has been able to prove his worth even with the team healthy, as he is still seeing upwards of 30 minutes per night with Luol Deng back. Butler first made his name a few weeks ago by stepping up in Deng's absence, but he has slid in nicely at the shooting guard spot next two Deng, while also showing the ability to guard three positions. He is still developing as a shooter, but it looks like he has worked his way safely into coach Thibodeau's circle of trust. Butler should be good for a dozen points and five-to-six rebounds per game moving forward, so continue to add the 23-year-old. (62 percent owned; +23 percent)

Most Added Centers

Aaron Gray, Raptors:Gray exploded with a 22-point game last Monday, and has been on Fantasy owners minds since. He is averaging 28.8 minutes per game in the last four games, and seems to be cemented in as the team's starting center in the aftermath of the Ed Davis trade. Gray has 21 total points in the three games since Davis was moved, however he has grabbed 35 rebounds in that same span. Fantasy owners snagging him are surely hoping that he can fill in as a low-end option in the shallow center position, but I would not do more than pencil him into the lineup. At 28, we pretty much know who Aaron Gray is, and there is little to indicate that he will be worth keeping on the roster for long. Don't rush out to grab him, despite his entrance into the starting five. (17 percent owned; +16 percent)

Byron Mullens, Bobcats:Mullens was one of the more unique players in Fantasy prior to his injury, as he was averaging 7.9 rebounds per game while attempting more than one-third of his shots from three-point range. That combination led to some ugly efficiency numbers for a center, but it also gave you a rare combination of three-point shooting and rebounding that proved useful in category-based Fantasy formats. He is back from a 19-game absence, and was inserted right back into the rotation Monday, playing 28 minutes in a loss to the Heat. Mullens can be an incredibly frustrating Fantasy option, as there are plenty of nights where he struggles to get his shots to fall. Still, this was a center who scored in double figures in 17 of 27 games prior to the injury, and is worth picking up in most Fantasy formats. (75 percent owned; +5 percent)

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Player News
Andre Drummond puts finishing touches on one-of-a-kind season
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:47 pm ET) Pistons center Andre Drummond is a unique talent; anyone can see that. He finished one of the most unique seasons in modern league history Wednesday in typical fashion, as he snared his 57th double-double in a loss to the Thunder.

Drummond finished the game with 22 points and 13 rebounds, including eight offensive rebounds to push his league-leading total to 440. That represents the eighth-highest total since 1979-80, and it isn't the only place where Drummond's season stands out.

Though he shot 62.3 percent from the field, Drummond remained the league's worst free-throw shooter. He became just the third play since 1979-80 to play 2500 total minutes while shooting below 42.0 percent from the free-throw line, as his 4-for-8 performance Wednesday raised his average to 41.8 percent.

Drummond improved his production across the board in his second season, averaging 13.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game while appearing in 81 games.  


Andrew Bynum out for first round
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:36 pm ET) Pacers center Andrew Bynum has not played since the middle of March, and even a month off has not given him enough time to recover from knee troubles. Pacers.com reports Thursday Bynum has already been ruled out for the first round of the playoffs against the Hawks.

Bynum ended up appearing in just two games for the Pacers and 26 games overall this season, averaging 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. 


Danilo Gallinari will be ready for training camp
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:19 am ET) Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari was with the team over the last few games of the season, and he has reportedly made great strides in his recovery from ACL surgery.

Gallinari told the Denver Post he has already progressed to running and jumping as part of his recovery from January surgery. He has progressed so quickly he even dunked for the first time Tuesday, and said he will be fully recovered by the start of training camp.

Gallinari did not play all season after attempting to return from a partially torn ACL, which ultimately required surgery. 


Joel Freeland passes postseason test
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:57 am ET) Trail Blazers forward Joel Freeland proved himself ready for the playoffs Wednesday, as he returned from a two-month absence due to a knee injury. Freeland played 18 minutes in the game, scoring six points and adding seven rebounds and two assists in the 110-104 win.

After the game, coach Terry Stotts told NBA.SI.com he has no reservations about relying on Freeland in the team's upcoming playoff series against the Rockets, though he will have to play with a knee brace.

Freeland finished the regular season averaging 3.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 52 games, appearing in one more contest than his rookie season. 


Mike Conley closes out regular season with overtime win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:29 am ET) Grizzlies guard Mike Conley did not appear limited at all by a hamstring injury Wednesday, as he played 42 minutes in the last game of the regular season against the Mavericks.

Playing for playoff seeding, the Grizzlies held nothing back in a 106-105 overtime win. Conley scored 22 points on 8 of 16 shooting and added four rebounds, five assists and a steal, while turning the ball over three times in the win.

Conley ended up missing 10 games this season, his highest total since he was a rookie, but he played well when healthy. He averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting, while adding 2.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.5 steals in 33.4 minutes per game. 


Anthony Bennett returns off bench in finale
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:25 am ET) Cavaliers forward Anthony Bennett was back in action after missing more than a month with a knee injury Wednesday, and played well in the team's final win over the Nets, 114-85.

Bennett was limited to 15 minutes off the bench but shot the ball well, scoring seven points on 3 of 6 shooting. He added seven rebounds and turned the ball over just once in the win.

Bennett's rookie season was an unqualified disaster, as he showed little more than brief flashes of competence in 52 appearances. The No. 1 overall pick struggled with injuries and conditioning, and finished averaging 4.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, while shooting just 35.2 percent from the field and 24.5 percent from three-point range.  


Carrick Felix scores 10 in return from knee injury
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:22 am ET) Cavaliers guard Carrick Felix closed out his rookie season with a fine performance against the Nets Wednesday, in his first appearance in 38 games after overcoming a knee injury.

Felix played 12 minutes off the bench, scoring 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting, with a pair of 3-pointers made. He added two rebounds and three assists, while turning the ball over just once in the 114-85 win.

Felix was limited to just seven games as a rookie, as a result of a fractured knee. The No. 33 overall pick averaged just 2.7 points per game, but could see an increased role in his second season.   


Greg Oden scores two points in return
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:18 am ET) Heat forward Greg Oden tried to knock off the cobwebs in his final tuneup game before the playoffs Wednesday against the 76ers, as he returned from an 11-game absence due to back spasms.  

Oden played 14 minutes in the game, scoring just two points on 0 of 2 shooting. He added five rebounds while picking up three personal fouls in the 100-87 loss.

Playing for the first time in four seasons after overcoming a slew of debilitating knee injuries, Oden gave the Heat more than they expected this season. He appeared in 23 games, the second-highest total of his career, averaging 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds per game in just 9.2 minutes per game. 


Alan Anderson available, not needed in tuneup
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:15 am ET) Nets guard Alan Anderson was in uniform and available to return from an abdominal injury for Wednesday's game against the Cavaliers, but he was never needed in a 114-85 loss.

Anderson ended up missing the final four games of the regular season due to the injury, but appears healthy enough to contribute for the postseason. He finishes the regular season averaging 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in 78 games. 


Ronny Turiaf able to play in final game
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:09 am ET) Timberwolves center Ronny Turiaf was able to play through a knee injury in Wednesday's game against the Jazz, after missing the team's previous game.

Turiaf played 16 minutes off the bench in the double-overtime loss, scoring 12 points and adding eight rebounds and three blocked shots as the Timberwolves fell, 136-130.

Knee and elbow injuries limited Turiaf to just 31 games for the Timberwolves this season, though he was productive when healthy enough to play. He averaged 4.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, the latter of which represents a career high. 


 
 
 
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