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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
Warriors' Steve Kerr on Thompson: 'All is going well'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(4:30 pm ET) Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson is recovering from his concussion and is expected to be ready for the start of the NBA Finals on June 4, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo.com.

Coach Steve Kerr shed light on Thompson's recovery after practice on Saturday, saying "all is going well" as he tries bounce back from the setback.

Thompson suffered the concussion during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, when he received a flying knee to the side of the head from Rockets forward Trevor Ariza.

Thompson is averaging 19.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists this postseason.


Warriors center Festus Ezeli out sick from practice
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(4:15 pm ET) Warriors backup center Festus Ezeli is sick and was not present at Saturday's practice, per Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group.

Ezeli is averaging 3.2 points and three rebounds per game in 8.9 minutes this postseason.


Rockets PF Terrence Jones wants to become all-around player
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:57 pm ET) Rockets power forward Terrence Jones bulked up during the season and wants to use that added strength as a tool to become a complete player, per the Houston Chronicle.

The muscle he added will surely help him compete and be more physical against other frontcourt players.

“I finally can take my shirt off, go to the beach,” Jones said. “Just being more physical down low, trying to guard guys with my body that were a lot bigger than me and more physical players than me.

“I want to get better all-around, in the post, shooting, just come back a better all-around player for my team.”

Jones averaged 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 33 games last season.



Celtics PG Marcus Smart feels 'snubbed' missing All-Rookie first team
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:47 pm ET) Celtics point guard Marcus Smart played a huge role for his team as they made an unlikely trip to the NBA Playoffs this year.

That's one of the main reasons Smart feels slighted that he didn't make the All-Rookie first team, per The Boston Globe.

“I think I got snubbed," Smart said. "Especially being one of the only rookies that really got major playing time and made the playoffs. I don’t think people took that into consideration.”

Smart averaged 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 67 games for the Celtics last season and was voted to the All-Rookie second team.


Cavs' Kyrie Irving on playing with LeBron: 'I became a fan'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:45 am ET) Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving always knew LeBron James was special, he just didn't know how special he was until they became teammates this season, according to cleveland.com.

"I was just speechless," Irving said. "I became a fan to be honest with you. It's a different feeling when you're on a team with someone you've watched for so long."

In their first season as a duo, Irving and James averaged 47 points per game, and have Cleveland on the brink of its first NBA championship.


Warriors PG Steph Curry practices without protective sleeve
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:42 am ET) Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is feeling healthy as he prepares for the NBA Finals against the Cavaliers, per sfgate.com.

Curry practiced without the protective sleeve on his right shooting elbow on Friday. Curry previously hurt the shoulder after a scary fall during the Western Conference Finals against the Rockets.


Wizards PG John Wall kicked off American Airlines flight
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:31 am ET) Wizards point guard John Wall was kicked off a flight in Las Vegas on Tuesday, per usatoday.com.

Police said on Friday that Wall was with a group of people on an American Airlines flight around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. One of the people in Wall's group got into a verbal altercation with another passenger, who was not with the group, and that's when the airline requested Wall and his group be removed from the plane.

Police said there were no charges or arrests.

Wall averaged 17.6 points, 10 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game this season for the Wizards.


LeBron on how to stop Steph Curry: 'You can't'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Cavaliers forward LeBron James gave Steph Curry the ultimate compliment on Friday. He put the newly-crowned MVP in the same sentence as himself.

James was asked how his team could slow down the Warriors sharpshooter.

"Well, the same way you slow me down. You can't," James said.

James, a four-time league MVP, is preparing his team to face off against Curry in the NBA Finals after they swept the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals earlier this week.


Rockets PF Motiejunas: 'I will be ready for training camp'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Rockets power forward Donatas Motiejunas is confident he will be ready for the start of training camp after undergoing back surgery, per The Houston Chronicle.

"No question about it," Motiejunas said. "I will be ready for training camp."

Motiejunas, who is still in the early stages of his rehab, averaged 12 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season. 


Heat PG Mario Chalmers undergoes knee procedure
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Heat point guard Mario Chalmers underwent an arthroscopic procedure to repair an inflamed plica in his right knee on Friday, the team announced.

Chalmers will begin rehab on his knee immediately and will be ready for the start of training camp. He averaged 10.2 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game last season.


 
 
 
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