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Waiver Wire: Magic's moves making some sense

Fantasy Writer
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Lottery-bound teams might not be much fun to watch, but the Magic have become something of an exception lately -- especially for Fantasy owners. General manager Rob Hennigan has done a great job starting out the post-Dwight Howard era, snagging a handful of young, promising players in a slew of moves, both big and small, that has the future looking bright even as they hurtle toward the bottom of the standings.

A big reason why the Magic have actually been watchable since the trade deadline has been the emergence of newly acquired forward Tobias Harris, a 20-year-old tweener who is starting to tap into his considerable upside. Harris is averaging 16.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in six contests since the trade. He ranks second on the team in scoring in that span, despite coming in fourth in minutes played. Some in Orlando are already calling for the Magic to insert Harris into the starting lineup.

It is little surprise, then, that Harris has been the most-added player in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues over the last week. He has gone from a Fantasy non-entity to the most highly coveted player around, and we have to figure out whether he can sustain that. To do that, we have to look at how Harris has been coming into his success.

Harris' success has been built on extremely efficient scoring, and it is easy to see that the foundation for that has been built on scoring near the basket. According to Stats.NBA.com, Harris' 59.4 percent shooting mark from the field is buoyed by an 87.0 percent mark within the restricted area; he is shooting a rather more pedestrian 45.6 percent from beyond three feet.

Harris is an impressive athlete, registering a 37.5-inch vertical leap at the 2011 combine, but it still might be too much to expect him to sustain that type of mark. After all, LeBron James is shooting 10 percent lower in the restricted area than Harris during his streak.

Even if we assume that Harris is due for some regression in his hot shooting, however, there is still a valuable player there, and one that is likely to remain a central part of the Magic's plans. He is still getting most of his shots from close to the basket as well, so there is little reason to think Harris is due for a dramatic drop-off. Fantasy owners might not be able to expect 17 points per game from Harris moving forward, but something close to 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game seems reasonable.

Most Added Guards

Marcus Thornton, Kings Thornton was one of the biggest busts around for the first three-fifths of the Fantasy season, making my All-Disappointment team at the All-Star break. Thornton, who led the Kings in scoring a year ago at 18.7 points per game, was averaging just 11.5 points per game at the break. He has been the player we expected since then, as his role has grown along with his comfort level in the offense. Thornton is shooting a blistering 53.6 percent from the field since the break, a mark that the career 43.8 percent shooter almost certainly will not keep up. So, don't expect him to flirt with 20 points per game once his shot levels off. Still, Thornton might be worth hanging on to anyways, as he is averaging almost four more minutes and two field-goal attempts per game over the last seven. (77 percent owned; +26 percent)

E'Twaun Moore, Magic: Moore enjoyed a nice six-game stretch as the team's starting point guard over the last few weeks, averaging 31.7 minutes per game with 11.3 points and 7.3 assists per game. That run of Fantasy relevance came to a crashing halt Monday, and it not coincidentally coincided with Jameer Nelson's return to the starting lineup. In 16 games as a starter, Moore is averaging 12.1 points and 5.5 assists per game; he averages just 7.3 points and 2.1 assists per game otherwise. As long as Nelson is healthy, there is little reason to roster Moore. (33 percent owned; +15 percent)

Wilson Chandler, Nuggets: Chandler is listed as a shooting guard in CBSSports.com's system since that is the position he most recently started at, but he has become a front-court play for the Nuggets. According to 82games.com, Chandler is playing the majority of his minutes at power forward this season, with the rest mostly coming at small forward. He is benefiting from matchups with big men who can't possibly keep up with him on the perimeter, averaging 15.9 points per game since the All-Star break, while shooting a blistering 46.2 percent on three-pointers. The Nuggets are a perfect fit for Chandler, and he is taking advantage of his role on the team now that he has put his hip issues behind him. As long as Chandler is getting close to 30 minutes per game, Fantasy owners have to consider him worth grabbing off the wires. (55 percent owned; +26 percent)

Most Added Forwards

Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets: Motiejunas has had plenty written on him recently, due to his ascension to the starting lineup of one of the league's most explosive offenses. Motiejunas has started three games so far, and is averaging 12.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 three-pointers made in those games. He is a perfect fit for the Rockets' offense, as a stretch-four in a team offensive philosophy that emphasizes floor spacing. I remain a bit concerned about his conditioning and subsequent ability to play a large minute load, but teammate Omer Asik put similar concerns to rest this season already. I love Motiejunas' skill set in the Rockets' offense, both as a floor-spacer off the ball as well as in the pick and roll, and think he is worth snagging in most deeper Fantasy formats. (40 percent owned; +32 percent)

John Salmons, Kings: As with teammate Thornton, Salmons has seen his production improved since the All-Star break, leading to a boost in ownership. Unlike Thornton, Salmons' role on the team has mostly remained the same, as he is averaging just 1.6 minutes per game since the break. Salmons is averaging 13.3 points per game over the last seven games, a 4.4 point increase, despite the similar role. The reason for this boost has been a wholly unsustainable shooting mark from three-point range, with Salmons shooting an unimaginable 61.8 percent on long-range attempts in that span. Salmon is a pretty good long-range bomber, but there is no way he keeps this up. I doubt those Fantasy owners who picked him up will hang on to him for too long. (26 percent owned; +15 percent)

Thomas Robinson, Rockets: A week ago, Robinson was the most-added player, garnering a full write up wherein I expressed my doubts about his abilities to live up to expectations. Robinson is still a work in progress as a player, and the Rockets have been notoriously patient with their young players in recent years, and especially big men. Robinson has played just 34 minutes over three games since the trade, however he did put up 10 points and eight rebounds in his most recent game against the Mavericks. Robinson can give the Rockets a sorely-needed rebounding presence, but I just don't he currently fits what they want to do as much as Motiejunas, and should be owned in far fewer Fantasy leagues. (33 percent owned; -15 percent)

Most Added Centers

Jermaine O'Neal, Suns: From a personal standpoint, O'Neal has had a tough go of it this season, which makes his recent performance all the more impressive. Unfortunately, things keep cropping up for him off the court, and O'Neal is expected to miss at least a week of action, and possibly more, with his daughter set to undergo heart surgery in the next few days. Obviously family is going to be O'Neal's first priority, and you cannot be upset about him feeling that way. Fantasy owners might be frustrated by their new piece's absence, because O'Neal has been terrific recently while playing a much bigger role in the Suns' plans. I would still say he is worth stashing, given the lack of other viable center options. (55 percent owned; +26 percent)

Enes Kanter, Jazz: Kanter has absolutely feasted over the last two games without Al Jefferson, totaling 41 points and 32 rebounds. His and Derrick Favors' play when given the chance continues to underscore how shortsighted the Jazz were at the trade deadline by standing pat. Kanter could be a starting caliber Fantasy center with the minutes, as he is averaging 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per-36 minutes on the season. Unfortunately, his value remains inextricably tied to the status of Jefferson's balky ankle. Jefferson is being considered day to day, but is already out for Wednesday's game. As long as Jefferson remains out, Kanter looks like a good play for Fantasy owners. Enjoy the boost while it lasts, however, as he will likely not prove to be a worthy long-term option on your roster. Be ready to cut Kanter loose when Jefferson is available to return. (34 percent owned; +20 percent)

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Player News
Thunder SG Andre Roberson doubles up vs. Warriors
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:23 am ET) Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson scored a career-high 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting while racking up a career-high 12 rebounds in his team's 114-109 loss to the Warriors Thursday.

Roberson played 34 minutes Thursday, his highest amount of playing time since missing two weeks in November with a foot injury. He managed to deliver his first career double-double Thursday despite not coming into the game with any double-digit performances in points or rebounds. He also managed three assists and one steal in the loss, which ended the team's seven-game winning streak. The Thunder will move on to face the Lakers Friday.


Thunder PG Russell Westbrook scores team-high 33 vs. Warriors
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:17 am ET) Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook scored a team-high 33 points on 11 of 30 shooting, including 3 of 10 shooting from behind the arc, in his team's 114-109 loss to the Warriors Thursday.

Westbrook was tasked with filling the role of top scorer after Kevin Durant went down with an ankle injury in the first half. He responded by setting a season high in field-goal attempts while posting his third 30-point performance in the last four games. The point guard also tallied eight assists, three rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes but turned the ball over six times. The Thunder will square off with the Lakers Friday.


Warriors PG Stephen Curry scores team-high 34 vs. Thunder
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:14 am ET) Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scored a team-high 34 points on 14 of 24 shooting, including 5 of 12 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 114-109 win over the Thunder Thursday.

The Warriors saw their 16-game winning streak come to an end Tuesday but bounced right back in a tough matchup against the Thunder. Curry racked up nine assists, seven rebounds, four steals and one block in 42 minutes. He'll square off with the Kings Monday.


Report: Warriors' Harrison Barnes to have nose procedure Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes will undergo a minor procedure to restraighten his broken nose Friday, Yahoo! Sports reports.

The Warriors are off until Monday after winning Thursday's game against the Thunder, leaving Barnes with the entire weekend to heal up for his team's next game. He scored 12 points on 5 of 11 shooting, including 2 of 4 shooting from three-point range, Thursday against the Thunder, adding seven rebounds, two steals and one assist in 34 minutes.


Kings SF Rudy Gay scores 20 points vs. Bucks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:43 am ET) Kings small forward Rudy Gay scored 20 points on 9 of 15 shooting in his team's 108-107 loss to the Bucks Thursday.

Gay was listed as probable to play Thursday due to Achilles tendinitis and logged 39 minutes in the game, just missing a double-double while picking up nine rebounds, six assists and one steal in the loss. The Kings are riding five straight losses into Sunday's matchup with the Lakers.


Kings C DeMarcus Cousins posts 27-11 line in return Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Kings center DeMarcus Cousins scored a team-high 27 points on 8 of 12 shooting from the field and 11 of 13 shooting from the free-throw line while racking up 11 rebounds in his team's 108-107 loss to the Bucks Thursday.

Cousins was playing in his first game since Nov. 26 after dealing with a case of viral meningitis and looked none the worse for wear, posting his ninth straight double-double. He also chipped in five assists and one steal in 33 minutes. Cousins will match up with the Lakers Sunday.


Bucks PG Jerryd Bayless scores 17 points vs. Kings
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:35 am ET) Bucks point guard Jerryd Bayless scored 17 points on 6 of 12 shooting, including 3 of 4 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 108-107 win over the Kings Thursday.

Bayless managed at least 10 points for the fifth straight game while putting up his second-highest scoring total of the season Thursday. He also racked up five assists, four rebounds and one block, and his 29 minutes of action matched a season high. The Bucks will square off with the Clippers Saturday.


Bucks SF Jared Dudley scores season-high 19 vs. Kings
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:32 am ET) Bucks small forward Jared Dudley scored a season-high 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including 2 of 3 shooting from behind the arc, in his team's 108-107 win over the Kings Thursday.

Dudley managed just two double-digit scoring performances before Thursday's game but played a season-high 33 minutes off the bench. He also kicked in five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 33 minutes. The Bucks are set to face the Clippers Saturday.


Thunder SF Kevin Durant diagnosed with mild ankle sprain
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Thunder small forward Kevin Durant has been diagnosed with a mild sprain of his right ankle and will not return to Thursday's game against the Warriors, the team announced.

Durant had X-rays on the injured ankle as a precautionary measure, but the tests came back negative. He appeared to roll the ankle late in the first half. Durant finishes the game with 30 points on 10 of 13 shooting, including 5 of 6 shooting from three-point range, with the 30 points representing a career scoring high for one half.

The Thunder have a quick turnaround to face the Lakers Friday. Coach Scott Brooks said after the game he was unsure whether Durant would be available Friday, Yahoo! Sports reports. Durant added that he doesn't think the injury is serious and that he had to be convinced not to return to action in the second half.


Thunder SF Kevin Durant suffers apparent foot injury Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:11 am ET) Thunder small forward Kevin Durant suffered an apparent injury to his right foot late in the first half of his team's game against the Warriors Thursday and did not join the team on the floor to start the second half.

Durant scored 30 points in the first half before the injury, shooting 10 of 13 from the field and 5 of 6 from three-point range (the 30 points represented a career high for one half). The apparent injury was to the same foot that suffered a Jones fracture earlier this season. The team has yet to give an update on his status.


 
 
 
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