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Waiver Wire: Will Robinson get his chance?

Fantasy Writer
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The trade deadline passed without nearly as many rotation-shaking deals as we expected, but Fantasy owners seem to betting on Thomas Robinson to be one of the bigger beneficiaries given his move to Houston. Robinson is set to debut with his new team Wednesday (Feb. 27), so we have not yet gotten a glimpse of how he fits in with his new team.

Despite that, Robinson is the most-added player in CBSSports.com over the last week, with his ownership jumping from 14 to 48 percent since the trade. This could turn out to be a fantastically lucrative move for the Fantasy owners who have jumped on his bandwagon so early. There are signs that it is a very risky move, however, as Robinson is not guaranteed to see big minutes in Houston.

Robinson has tons of upside in the Rockets' fast-paced offense, as he fills a niche the team does not currently have. He is already a strong rebounder, averaging 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes and his athleticism could fit in extremely well for a team that likes to run and spread the floor as much as the Rockets. He shot just 42.4 percent from the field with the Kings, but the Rockets actually have a functioning offense, so I would expect him to improve drastically from that standpoint. If given the minutes, I think Robinson could approach a nightly double-double status if everything clicked.

Unfortunately, the Rockets are painfully patient when it comes to developing their young players, as talented young big men like Marcus Morris and Terrence Jones can attest. Robinson might make sense as a piece for the Rockets' playoff push, but the organization likely views him as a long-term building block, one they will move as slowly as everyone else.

The Rockets and coach Kevin McHale have embraced the spread pick and roll offense this season, so a lineup featuring both Robinson and starting center Omer Asik may be too cramped for their liking, at least while Robinson continues his development. He is shooting just 30.1 percent on jump shots this season, so the team might be hesitant to rely on him too heavily. They have already announced that Donatas Motiejunas will move into the starting lineup in the short term and it is not yet clear whether Robinson will be able to work his way into the starting lineup.

The Rockets are savvy enough to know Robinson's long-term development is more important than their push toward the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race, so they will not push him to take on a bigger role than he needs. Robinson's upside makes him worth a speculative look, but if he ends up buried like so many young big men in Houston have been in recent years, I would not hold on too long.

Most Added Guards

Carlos Delfino, Rockets: Delfino has been the short-term winner following the Rockets' trade of two rotation big men, as the team has switched to a much smaller starting lineup that spaces the floor incredibly well. Delfino made 13 three-pointers in three games in the starting lineup, but will return to the bench beginning Wednesday, with Motiejunas' ascension. That news kind of throws Delfino's status for the future up in the air, but I would expect the team to continue giving him solid minutes even off the bench. Delfino is an inconsistent player on a nightly basis who nonetheless has been pretty useful category-based formats this season. Unfortunately, I would not expect much improvement down the stretch, with him likely settling into the same 25-minutes-per-game role he has been in.(53 percent owned; +22 percent)

Beno Udrih, Magic: One possible winner of the trade deadline is Udrih, who goes from a crowded backcourt in Milwaukee to one that might actually require his services. The Magic are hurtling headfirst toward the lottery, so it is probably a stretch to say they "require" a 30-year-old, but they certainly might put him to use anyway. He has little upside long-term, but the Magic are currently dealing with an injury to starting point guard Jameer Nelson that could put Udrih to use with his new team. In his first two games with the Magic, Udrih put up 16 points and 16 assists total, while coming off the bench behind E'Twaun Moore. If Nelson continues to sit out, I could see Udrih being useful in deeper Fantasy formats. (19 percent owned; +16 percent)

Isaiah Thomas, Kings: So often, players see a spike in ownership thanks to little more than a random hot streak, and that could certainly be the case with Thomas. He is averaging 18.8 points per game in February, far higher than his season total, so this could just be a fluke that regresses quickly. I don't have much confidence in saying that, though, as Thomas emerged as an unlikely playmaker late last season and has consistently improved as his second season has gone on. Thomas has fought off all intended usurpers to his starting spot and has averaged at least 12.3 points per game in the last three months. The Kings are such a mess offensively (not to mention organizationally) that it might take a while for the players to settle into their roles. Thomas is averaging 33.3 minutes per game in February, and I would consider adding him in all remaining formats moving forward. (84 percent owned; +11 percent)

Most Added Forwards

Maurice Harkless, Magic: In Harkless and Andrew Nicholson, the Magic have created a real headache for Fantasy owners. Ever since Glen Davis went down with an injury, the two have both flirted with Fantasy relevance, with neither really holding on to their opportunities. Harkless has recently emerged as the more productive option of the two and he is getting minutes a bit more consistently. Unfortunately, the Magic complicated matters by adding Tobias Harris to the fold at the trade deadline, a 20-year-old who totaled 30 points in his first two games with the team. So far, Harris has taken more of Nicholson's minutes than Harkless', who has topped the 30-minute mark in both games since the trade. Harkless is averaging 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in the month of February and looks to have solidified his role. He is probably the best bet still available on your waiver wire. (63 percent owned; +29 percent)

Jeff Green, Celtics: Good luck making sense of Green, who followed up a career-best 31-point game against the Suns with a pair of stinkers on back-to-back nights earlier this week. Green has been playing a huge role for the Celtics recently, averaging 15.3 points per game in the last 10 games, so a pair of bad games should not scare you off too much. Green's ownership has been steadily increasing recently, but I would have expected the pace to quicken given how well he is playing. Fantasy owners might be waiting for the other shoe to drop with Green, who was a consistent disappointment to begin the season, but I think he is here to stay as a useful Fantasy option. Green has quit relying as much on inefficient mid-range shots during his hot streak, which indicates it might not be just a random hot streak. He is shooting 49.5 percent from the field over the last 10 games, scoring 153 points on just 105 shots with 65.7 percent of his shots coming from within five feet of the rim or beyond three-point range. His role has increased, but he is also doing more with each shot. If he can keep that up, I see little reason why Green should still be available on any waiver wires. (79 percent owned; +20 percent)

Michael Beasley, Suns: For a little while, at least, it seemed like Beasley was earning the trust of interim Suns' head coach Lindsey Hunter. And then this happened. Actually, Beasley's role was already fading before earning that response from his coach, but the look Hunter shoots him during that clip neatly sums up why Beasley is averaging just 12.2 minutes per game over the last five. The former No. 2 overall pick in the draft might look like an All-Star in workouts and pre-game warm-ups, but when the lights come on and the time for actual winning basketball comes around, it is not difficult to see why coaches have soured on him at every stop in his career. Beasley has been the most dropped player in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues, and for good reason. You cannot get off this sinking ship fast enough; even much-maligned Wesley Johnson is seeing more minutes than him now. (57 percent owned; -18 percent)

Most Added Centers

Jermaine O'Neal, Suns: Fantasy owners have been understandably slow to pick O'Neal up, despite his consistently solid production during the month of February. It is a small sample size still, but O'Neal is now averaging 11.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in 11 February contests, while pulling close to even with starter Marcin Gortat in playing time. O'Neal has played a total of 237 minutes in 11 February games, while Gortat has played 294 in that same span. O'Neal's recent track record is very spotty, but if I was in need of held at the notoriously shallow center position, O'Neal would be at the top of my list while he is playing this well. (20 percent owned; +11 percent)

Samuel Dalembert, Bucks: Eight days. That is how long Dalembert's re-emergence as a useful Fantasy option lasted. From his career-high 35-point game on Feb. 5 to his 17-point effort Feb. 13 against the 76ers, Dalembert was a moderately useful Fantasy option for all of four games. He has been pushed back to his spot on the end of the bench since, and he was suspended by the team for failing to show up to a function on time. According to reports, the Bucks are not looking to buy out the remainder of Dalembert's contract after failing to find a suitor for him at the trade deadline, which just about closes the book on Dalembert's Fantasy season. Barring another injury to Larry Sanders, Fantasy owners in the remaining 40 percent of leagues that still have Dalembert can go ahead and cut him loose. (40 percent owned; -22 percent)

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Player News
Pelicans being 'smart' with Jrue Holiday's practice time
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:46 pm ET) The Pelicans are being cautious with point guard Jrue Holiday, limiting his practice time as he returns from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his tibia, The Times-Picayune reports.

"We are trying to be smart with his comeback," coach Monty Williams said. "After about two weeks of this, it's time to ramp it up and get going."

Holiday said he came out of Tuesday's and Wednesday's practices feeling good if a bit sore. "I'm sore," Holiday said. "Again I don't think I have pushed my body this much for a long time. It's good. All of our trainers and Monty had to kick me off the court yesterday because I didn't want to stop. But I am glad he did because I am feeling it today. Again that's a part of me still learning how to take care of my body and come back strong these next days."

Holiday didn't play a game after Jan. 8 last season and ultimately underwent surgery in February. He averaged 14.3 points, 7.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 34 games.


Hornets center Al Jefferson looking to improve defensive presence
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:25 pm ET) Hornets center Al Jefferson said he is tired of being a defensive liability and is looking to make sure opposing teams don't target his pick-and-roll defense, according to The Charlotte Observer.

"I refuse to continue getting picked on at the end of games. It’s not fun," Jefferson said. "Last year at the end of games teams always put me in high pick-and-rolls. I got sick of them thinking that was to their advantage, and it was to their advantage."

Coach Steve Clifford said he was happy that Jefferson brought up the subject of his defensive issues and saved the coaches from having to point it out.

"He’s working hard. His attitude is great. I sense more of a hunger than any kind of complacency," Clifford said. "He sees what the possibilities are for the group. He’s competitive and wants to win."


Pistons coach speaks highly of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:14 pm ET) Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy spoke highly Wednesday about second-year guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to the team's official website.

"You always look at players first to their strengths, where can a guy be great," Van Gundy said. "I think he can be an elite defender in this league at the two guard and we’ll look for that every night. I think he is a high-energy guy who can get up and down the floor and attack the basket in transition. Those two things have got to be his foundation."

Caldwell-Pope averaged 24 points per game in the Summer League. However, he's still not at the stage in his career where the Pistons are counting on him to be one of their top scorers.

"On the offensive end, he’s going to have to slow down a little bit, get under control, and like a lot of people it will come down to how many shots he can make, how efficient he can be shooting the ball, how consistent can you be," Van Gundy said. "But I think he’s got a great foundation with the defense and energy that will get him on the floor and give him a chance to develop in those other areas."


Lakers forward Ryan Kelly suffers hamstring strain
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:31 pm ET) Lakers forward Ryan Kelly suffered a moderate left hamstring strain Wednesday. The Lakers will have more information about the severity of his injury Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Pacers forward C.J. Miles not worried about calf strain
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) Pacers forward C.J. Miles has been unable to complete a full practice at the start of training camp due to a calf strain, according to VigilantSports.com. However, Miles is not worried about the injury.

"It’s just a little strain, nothing crazy," he said Wednesday. "I’m pretty much healed. I’m doing everything just monitoring the contact a little bit just because of the wear and tear on it.

"It doesn’t make sense for me to be out with a strain for three weeks now when I could take a couple days just two get it all the way back, finish the month and be ready for the first game of the season. But I’m well past sitting out. Just monitoring it, that’s all."

Miles added he only sits out a portion of practice.

"I do everything throughout the whole practice until like just a little bit of the contact just towards the end," he explained. "Since the first practices are long, they don’t want me go through the wear and tear of the whole practice."


Jonas Jerebko will be part of Pistons' 10-man rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:24 pm ET) Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy indicated Wednesday forward Jonas Jerebko will be part of a 10-man rotation this season.

"We'll play at least nine on a nightly basis but probably 10 a lot, based on the way Jonas has played in September and in camp," Van Gundy said after Wednesday's morning practice, per the team's official website. "I've been really happy (with him). Nobody put more time in here this summer than Jonas did. Because of his play with the national team in years past, he's never really been able to devote as much time to his own development and his own game. He's gotten stronger. He's in tremendous shape.

"I think the key to Jonas -- and we talked about this early on -- is he has to get back to being the guy he was when he first came into the league, that hungry guy playing with incredible energy, trying to make his spot. What we've seen in September, he looks like a guy who is committed to being a high-energy guy."


D.J. Stephens added to Pelicans' training camp roster
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:34 pm ET) The Pelicans added guard/forward D.J. Stephens to the training camp roster, according to The Times-Picayune. Stephens appeared in three games for the Bucks in 2013-14, averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds.

Josh McRoberts expects to be ready by Heat season opener
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:31 pm ET) Heat forward Josh McRoberts will not play in Wednesday's scrimmage due to a toe injury, according to the Sun-Sentinel. McRoberts, who had toe surgery in the offseason, said he has dealt with the issue for years.

"I've needed surgery for a couple years," McRoberts said. "We kind of figured out last year before the season started. I knew right when the playoffs ended, so it was something I had planned for."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat are just being cautious to avoid McRoberts aggravating the injury. However, McRoberts expects to be ready by the season opener in late October.

"I'm just kind of easing back into things," McRoberts said. "It takes time to recover from something like this. I'm just trying not to overdo it."


Heat forward Chris Andersen working on jump shot
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:24 pm ET) Heat forward Chris Andersen is spending extra time after practice during training camp to work on jumpers from the elbow and baseline, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Andersen is putting in the extra work because the Heat feel he can be used in more than just pick-and-roll situations.

"To step out and have that confidence to shoot the 15-footer, a lot of people haven't seen it or don't expect it," Andersen said. "This year, [coach Erik Spoelstra] says he's going to implement it into the game plan. I look forward to getting that opportunity."


Norris Cole looking to become a scoring threat for Heat
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:43 pm ET) Heat guard Norris Cole said he wants to become more of a scoring threat this season, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

"We had so many playmakers [last year] that there were times I deferred to let those guys make the plays," Cole said. "They were great at it…. But I also I saw [plays] where I could have been more aggressive to attack."

The Heat are expected to have more balanced scoring in 2014-15 since LeBron James is no longer on the roster.

"He's gotten better individually for sure," guard Dwayne Wade said. "He had a hell of a summer working out and getting prepared. Defensively, he's a monster. The next wave for him is how to be effective as a point guard and effective as a scoring guard. He's going to have to figure out the perfect way to do that. It's not always easy for guys but if he can figure it out he can be very dangerous for us."


 
 
 
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