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Waiver Wire: Week 1 speculations

by | Fantasy Writer
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With the preseason over and the regular season yet to begin, we find ourselves in limbo as far as free agency goes — caught somewhere between devaluing preseason stats and overreacting to injury concerns. Still, there are moves to be made if you need to replace one of your injured draft picks or to want speculate on someone stepping into a new role.

The results from Week 1 should answer a lot of your lineup questions, but until then, why not try and get ahead of the trends? We'll have a more in-depth waiver column next week, but in the meantime, here are a few free agents whose value could see a boost as the regular season gets under way.

Will Bynum, PG, Pistons (5 percent): Between Detroit trading for Brandon Jennings, drafting Peyton Siva and signing Chauncey Billups, it seemed like Will Bynum would fade into irrelevance. Heck, he wasn't very relevant to begin with. But inspired play this preseason should have Fantasy owners paying closer attention to the lesser-known veteran. Bynum finished second in preseason in assists per game (trailing Chris Paul by just 0.1), and capped it off with a 17-point, nine-assist performance in Detroit's final exhibition. On one hand, it's difficult to take preseason stats seriously. On the other hand, with Brandon Jennings projected to miss four games and Chauncey Billups expected to receive ample rest, the Pistons could decide to ride the hot hand this first week. Bynum also showed a knack for feeding Andre Drummond down low, which should help his chances of playing time going forward. Jennings owners especially should consider picking up Bynum as a potential handcuff.

Jamaal Tinsley, PG, Jazz (1 percent): You might have just looked up at the top of the page to make sure you weren't reading a column from 2006, but rest assured this is indeed up to date. Utah reached an agreement with 10-year veteran Jamaal Tinsley out of necessity, with rookie point guard Trey Burke sidelined for two to three months. At 35 years old, Tinsley isn't an exciting long-term prospect, but he could be useful in the early going -- especially if you drafted Trey Burke, Russell Westbrook or any other injured point guard. He'll likely start out backing up John Lucas, but even off the bench Tinsley could end up running the Jazz offense -- similar to how Andre Miller orchestrates for the Nuggets. Utah's young lineup provides the perfect situation for Tinsley's pass-first skillset, and he should be able to get close to his career average of 8.3 assists per 36 minutes.

Miles Plumlee, PF, Suns (27 percent): We knew Phoenix would likely deal Marcin Gortat at some point, but the Suns went ahead and got it over with before the season even began, leaving them with a starting job to fill at center. Because first round pick Alex Len isn't quite healthy enough to log big minutes, Phoenix will turn to a player who most regarded as a throw-in from the Luis Scola trade. Miles Plumlee only logged 55 total minutes in his rookie season, but he'll begin the year as the de facto starting center in a hollowed out Suns frontcourt. You'd have to go back to his senior year at Duke to see Plumlee logging anything close to significant minutes, but he did look competent enough in summer league play -- capable of scoring, rebounding and blocking shots with the sound fundamentals typical of a former Blue Devil. Until Len and Channing Frye get up to speed, consider Plumlee a low-end pickup for the foreseeable future. Those who drafted Kevin Seraphin might consider dropping him for Plumlee, as Gortat's arrival will force Seraphin back onto Washington's bench.

Jeremy Lamb, SG, Thunder (36 percent): If you want to speculate on a bench player's upside, you probably can't do much better than Jeremy Lamb. The Thunder had enough confidence in his offensive abilities to let last year's sixth man, Kevin Martin, walk away in free agency, so Lamb will at least get the opportunity to prove he can carry the offense when Durant needs a break. He's only owned in 32 percent of leagues -- probably because he didn't exactly dazzle in the preseason, averaging 11.6 points in 31.9 minutes per game. But if Lamb can find his footing and shoot a higher percentage this week, his ownership should see a sizable increase. Critics of the Thunder's personnel decisions will have no choice but to compare Lamb's production to James Harden's, but Fantasy owners can be more realistic with their expectations of a 21-year-old about to play his first meaningful NBA minutes. Lamb will have the green light to fire away, so consider him a low-risk, high-reward pickup this week.

Lance Stephenson, SG, Pacers (23 percent): Danny Granger owners shouldn't hit the panic button just yet, but those who were looking to start him this week might be in the market for a short-term plugin -- as it looks like Granger will miss about three weeks with a calf injury he sustained in the preseason. Lance Stephenson showed what he can do as a starter in last year's playoffs, making him a useful Granger replacement for the time being. Attempting to win back the role he played in last year's playoffs, Stephenson reached double-figure scoring in three out of six preseason games. One night when he only scored six, he still contributed with eight assists and zero turnovers in a win over Atlanta. He's the kind of player whose hustle alone is enough to keep him on the court, so if that motor translates into stats of any kind, Stephenson could become a regular contributor or even land a starting role ahead of Granger.

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Player News
Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio goes for a double-double
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:48 pm ET) Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio posted a double-double on Saturday against the Grizzlies.

Rubio had a poor shooting night, going just 3-12 from the field. He hit one of his four three-pointers and sunk six of eight free throw attempts. Rubio finished with 13 points. Rubio made up for his poor shooting by getting his teammates more involved. He dished out 11 assists during the contest. Rubio also added seven rebounds and four steals. 


Grizzlies' Marc Gasol posts a double-double on Saturday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:43 pm ET) Grizzlies center Marc Gasol posted a double-double on Saturday against the Timberwolves.

Gasol shot 11-14 from the field, though he missed his only three point attempt. He managed to sink five of his nine free throws, finishing with 27 points. Gasol was active on the boards, pulling down 11 rebounds. He added four assists and two blocks during the contest. 


Suns PG Brandon Knight (hip) will not return vs. Spurs
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:36 pm ET) Suns point guard Brandon Knight will not return to Saturday's game against the Spurs due to a hip pointer, the team announced.

Knight endured a shooting slump that affected most of the team Saturday, as the Suns found themselves down 51-24 at halftime. He scored just one point on 0 for 6 shooting from the field while dishing out two assists in 17 minutes before being ruled out. The Suns' next game comes Monday in Miami.


Knicks' Tim Hardaway Jr. scores team-high 22 vs. Raptors
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:17 pm ET) Knicks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. scored a team-high 22 points on 8 of 15 shooting, including 2 of 5 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 103-98 win over the Raptors Saturday.

The 22 points marked Hardaway's highest scoring total in 11 games this month and allowed the Knicks to close out February the same way they started the month -- with a win. He also racked up seven rebounds and one assist in 35 minutes.

The Knicks are set to square off with the Kings at home Tuesday.


Raptors' Lou Williams scores team-high 22 points vs. Knicks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:13 pm ET) Raptors shooting guard Lou Williams scored a team-high 22 points on 6 of 16 shooting, including 2 of 10 shooting from behind the arc, in his team's 103-98 loss to the Knicks Saturday.

Williams attempted at least 10 three-pointers for the fifth time this season, and his 20 percent success rate was his worst in those high-volume games. He also chipped in three assists, two rebounds and one block in 33 minutes off the bench.

The Raptors bring a five-game losing streak into Monday's matchup with the 76ers in Philadelphia.


Heat center Hassan Whiteside pulls down 24 rebounds
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:09 pm ET) Heat center Hassan Whiteside pulled down 24 rebounds against the Hawks on Saturday.

Whiteside was an absolute monster on the boards. He pulled down 16 of his rebounds on the defensive end, and added eight on the offensive side. He was no slouch shooting, either. Whiteside shot 6-8 from the field, and hit both his free throws. He finished with 14 points, and notched a double-double.


Hawks' Paul Millsap puts up 22 points on Saturday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:07 pm ET) Hawks forward Paul Millsap led the way with 22 points on Saturday against the Heat.

Millsap shot 8-15 from the field, including 2-4 from beyond the arc. He sunk four of his five free throws to lead the team with 22 points. Millsap also added five rebounds and four assists during the contest. 


Wizards C Marcin Gortat posts 16-17 line in win vs. Pistons
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:38 pm ET) Wizards center Marcin Gortat scored 16 points on 7 of 12 shooting while hauling in a season-high 17 rebounds in his team's 99-95 win over the Pistons Saturday.

Up against rebounding machine Andre Drummond, Gortant was able to control the glass during the outstanding performance. It was his fifth straight game with double-digit rebounds, though in the first time in three games he's scored at least 10 points. Gortat also kicked in three steals, two assists and one block in the win, which brought the Wizards' six-game losing streak to an end.

Gortat will square off with the Bulls Tuesday in Chicago.


Timberwolves' Kevin Garnett gets ejected on Saturday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:37 pm ET) Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett was ejected from Saturday's game against the Grizzlies after earning his second technical foul.

Garnett lasted until the third quarter before he was sent to the locker room early. He earned his second technical after slamming the ball down after a play, and was immediately ejected from the game. Garnett played 15 minutes, scoring six points on 3-4 shooting from the field. He added three rebounds, three steals and two assists during the contest. 


Pistons' Spencer Dinwiddie scores 20 in 21 minutes Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:33 pm ET) Pistons point guard Spencer Dinwiddie scored a season-high 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting in just 21 minutes in Saturday's 99-95 loss to the Wizards.

Outside of filling in for coach Stan Van Gundy after the trade deadline when the team was managing with a depleted roster, Dinwiddie has seen sparse action this season. However, starting point guard Reggie Jackson struggled for a second consecutive night, allowing Dinwiddie to play more than 20 minutes for just the second time this season.

Dinwiddie also chipped in seven assists, four rebounds and one steal in the loss, the team's third straight. They'll look to put an end to the losing streak Wednesday in New Orleans.


 
 
 
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