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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
Melo considered doubtful to play Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:32 pm ET) The Knicks announced Thursday forward Carmelo Anthony is doubtful to play Friday against the Thunder due to back spasms. If sidelined, it will be the second straight game Anthony misses.

Kemba Walker joins list of injured Hornets players
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:21 pm ET) Although Hornets guard Kemba Walker was able to play through injury Wednesday against the Trail Blazers, it doesn't appear he will be active Friday against the Warriors. The Hornets announced Thursday that Walker is doubtful to play Friday because of a right thigh contusion.

The Hornets also listed guard P.J. Hairston as questionable due to a sprained right thumb, guard Gary Neal as doubtful due to a left shoulder sprain, forward Marvin Williams as doubtful with a left shoulder strain and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as out due to a stress reaction in his right foot.


Bulls' Rose, Noah practice Thursday, but Friday status is still TBD
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:09 pm ET) Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said guard Derrick Rose (hamstring) and center Joakim Noah (eye, knee) practiced in full Thursday. However, Thibodeau said he will see how they feel Friday before determing their availability for Friday's game at Boston.

Rose said he "wants" to play Friday, but he will see how his injured hamstring reacts, according to The Boston Globe. He said he will play, if he feels ready.


Williams: Pelicans need to get Davis at least 20 shots per game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:01 pm ET) Pelicans coach Monty Williams gathered his team Wednesday to express his frustration following a 99-89 loss Tuesday against the Kings, in which center Anthony Davis attempted just 12 shots and totaled a season-low 14 points.

Williams expressed Davis needs to be more involved on offense on a nightly basis to give New Orleans the best chance to win.

"Anthony (Davis) cannot be in a game and not touch the ball," Williams said after his meeting with players, per NOLA.com. "We have to have an effort to get him at least 20 shots every night. And that’s on me too. As much as I draw up plays for him, run the offense through him, the guys on the floor has to know it. When they don’t do it, I’ve got to make sure they get him the ball. Because he’s not a selfish player, he’s going to make the right plays. And our guys know that."

Davis is averaging 25.4 points per game, which trails only Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who is averaging 26.4 points per game. Davis leads the NBA with 3.4 blocks per game.


Spurs' Splitter (calf) out, Joseph (ankle) questionable for Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:53 pm ET) The Spurs announced Thursday forward Tiago Splitter (calf) has been ruled out for Friday's game vs. Sacramento. It will be the 12th straight game Splitter will miss.

Gaurd Cory Joseph is listed as questionable for Friday's game due to a sprained left ankle. Joseph has missed the last two games.


Clifford: Stephenson 'not a star,' but has 'talent to become a star'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:49 am ET) Hornets guard Lance Stephenson was benched for the fourth quarter for a second straight game during Wednesday's 105-97 loss against Portland, which extended the team's losing streak to seven games. 

After the loss, coach Steve Clifford said Stephenson's issues adjusting to his first season with the Hornets is partly due to him trying to live up to expectations.

"To be fair, one of the things that's made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar," Clifford said Wednesday, per ESPN. "He's not a star. He's a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years."

Stephenson has struggled to find a consistent rhythm and role in Clifford's offense. Stephenson is fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.7 points per game, which is a significant drop after averaing 13.8 points per game in 2013-14 for Indiana.

He is also shooting just 36.8 percent from the field after shooting 49.1 percent last season. Although, it's not all bad for Stephenson, who is averaging career highs in rebounding (8.1 rpg) and assists (5.4 apg).

"I've been around Kobe [Bryant] and [Tracy] McGrady. They were superstars. I was also around Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell. They were two-, three-year All-Stars," Clifford said. "[Stephenson has] got a lot of work to get to that level. Everybody proclaimed him as this guy, and if you remember the first time we got him, I said he's got to develop into that."


Celtics guard Marcus Smart will not be back Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:49 am ET) Although Celtics rookie guard Marcus Smart returned to practice Wednesday, he will not return to action Friday against the Bulls, the team announced Thursday. It will be the eighth straight game Smart is sidelined.

Melo doesn't anticipate he will be out 'too long'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who missed his first game this season Wednesday against the Mavs due to back spasms, won't put a timetable on his return, he told the New York Post. However, he indicated he doesn't expect to miss too much time.

"I could barely walk or do anything yesterday so I’m doing a little better," Anthony said Wednesday. "I’m walking. They said these things are hard to gauge. I just don’t know how long I’ll be out.

"I don’t think it will be too long. I think the spasms will go away. But I’m not going to play with spasms."

Anthony likely will undergo tests once the team returns to New York. Coach Derek Fisher said the team doesn't have a clear diagnosis on Anthony and won't until his back starts to improve.

"I’ve never felt this way before," Anthony said. "Nothing happened that I can remember [in the Houston game]. I really tried to play through it, but then I just couldn’t move."


Tyson Chandler pulls down 25 rebounds vs. former team
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:28 am ET) Mavericks center Tyson Chandler set season highs with 17 points and 25 rebounds during a 109-102 win Wednesday against the Knicks, who he played for over the previous three seasons.

"At the beginning of the year, you always look at the calendar and mark it," said Chandler, who finished three rebounds shy of the career high he had with the Knicks exactly two years earlier against Brooklyn, per The Associated Press. "But honestly once you get caught up in the season, it's not as big as it's made out to be."

Chandler is averaging 10.8 points and 11.7 rebounds in 14 November games. He's surpassed double digits in rebounds nine times in November. Wednesday was the first time this season he totaled more than 20 rebounds.


Lakers SG Kobe Bryant scores team-high 22 vs. Grizzlies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant scored a team-high 22 points on 5 of 15 shooting, including 2 of 5 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 99-93 loss to the Grizzlies Wednesday.

Bryant sank all 10 of his free throws to help boost his scoring total on a night where he struggled with a low shooting percentage for the second time in three games. He only managed to pick up four rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes in the loss, the team's third straight. The Lakers will look to get back on track Friday against the Timberwolves.


 
 
 
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