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Wired: NBA Top Pickups Week 9

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Wired: NBA Top Pickups Week 9
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Waiver Wired for Week 9 covers replacement plans for Kobe Bryant and Brook Lopez, while Brandon Knight …

Games Played for Week 9

5 Games HOU

4 Games ATL, BRK, CLE, GSW, LAL, MIA, NYK, SAS

3 Games CHA, DAL, DEN, DET, LAC, MEM, MIL, NOP, OKC, ORL, PHX, SAC, TOR, UTA

2 Games CHI, IND, MIN, PHI, POR, WAS

1 Game BOS


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Point Guards

Aaron Brooks Rockets

Brooks hasn’t exactly killed it this season, but with Patrick Beverley out for the next month or two with a broken hand, and Jeremy Lin still banged up with a sore back, Brooks could end up being a must-own player. And when you consider the Rockets play five times this week, he pretty much is for now.

Brandon Knight Bucks

After an injury-filled and ridiculously slow start to the season, Knight is suddenly a beast for one of the worst teams in the league. He’s averaging 20.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, a steal and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five games, which includes a 36-point gem with nine rebounds and six 3-pointers against the Knicks last Wednesday.

Jordan Farmar Lakers

Farmar is hoping to play on Christmas after missing time with a hamstring injury and should immediately take over at point guard, where Kobe Bryant was filling in until his knee injury shut him down. Xavier Henry is out of position and running the point right now and while Farmar isn’t great, he should be very good until Steve Blake or Steve Nash ever come back to play. It doesn’t sound like he’ll play on Monday, so his four-game week should really be treated like a three-game week, and only then if he suits up for Christmas Day against the Heat.

D.J. Augustin Bulls

I remember getting a few questions about D.J. Augustin when he landed with the Bulls, but I just didn’t see him doing much. And I was wrong. With Kirk Hinrich dealing with back pain, DJA is easily the best point guard on the Bulls and could continue as such even when Hinrich is healthy. He’s averaging 12.0 points, 7.6 assists and 2.4 3-pointers over his last five games, and 16.5 points, 7.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 3.5 3-pointers over his last two. The only problem is the Bulls play just twice this week, but then again, so do several teams.

Lou Williams Hawks

I still don’t really trust Williams, as his surgically repaired knee will probably cause him problems at some point down the line, and he’s had some really bad games mixed in with a few good ones. Maybe his nickname should be ‘Inconsistent Lou,’ as he’s scored 25, 2, 5, 27, 5, 8, 13, 3 and 10 points in each of his December games. But as his knee gets stronger, he should start scoring with more consistency going forward. He has hit six 3-pointers in two of his last four games, so he should be able to help you there if you’re in need of treys.  

Shooting Guards

Xavier Henry Lakers

Henry has been playing point guard since Kobe went down and is averaging 17.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals over his last two games, while playing 36 and 42 minutes in those. He could be heading to the bench once Jordan Farmar is healthy and starting at point guard, but it’s not guaranteed to happen. Either way, Henry looks like a strong player to add right now, especially with a four-game week on tap.

Lance Stephenson, Danny Granger Pacers

Stephenson is hot, averaging 16.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.2 3-pointers over his last five games, shooting lights-out at 56 percent over that stretch. Granger hit 1-of-7 shots for five points in 22 minutes on Friday, and while he’ll eventually cut slightly into Stephenson’s mojo, I think Stephenson is still a must-own player, even with Granger back. And as for Granger, own him if you want, but I just don’t see him making a big impact for one of the league’s best teams. And the chances of him being able to stay healthy going forward seem slim, at best.

Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi Rockets

With five games this week, both players are worth a close look, especially with Sunday morning’s news that James Harden could miss more time with his ankle injury. If you own Harden, I still think you play him this week in hopes that he’ll give you at least three games, but it doesn’t sound all that likely that he will play in all five games. Casspi had 13 points, six rebounds, seven assists and a 3-pointer when Harden sat out on Saturday, while Garcia chipped in with 16 points, five boards, four assists, a block and four 3-pointers in the start. And if Harden misses more games, both players should produce in five games this week.

Tony Allen Grizzlies

Allen is playing well with Tayshaun Prince out with a knee injury, averaging 18.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals on 21-of-43 shooting over his last three games. We don’t know when Prince will return, but as long as he’s out, Allen looks like a decent start for three games this week.

Gerald Green Suns

I have no idea what has gotten into Green over his last two games, but he’s hot. He’s played 28 minutes in each of his last two games, scoring 22 and 19 points with a total of 10 3-pointers. He’s also averaging 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in those two games, making him worth a look right now. He could easily disappear again at any time, or this could be the start of another hot run, as the Suns may be growing tired of P.J. Tucker’s inconsistency as the starting small forward.

Small Forwards

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Caron Butler, Khris Middleton Bucks

The trio all went off on Saturday against the Sixers. Middleton started and hit 11-of-15 shots for 27 points, five boards, four assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer for his best game of the season. Caron Butler finally returned from his injury and looked great, going for 22 points, 11 boards, four assists, a block and two 3-pointers in 40 minutes, and Antetokounmpo also started, posting 12 points, seven boards, three assists and two blocks. As long as these three are starting for the Bucks, they deserve consideration in fantasyland. John Henson missed that game with a knee injury, which helped all three of the aforementioned players. The Bucks are a mess and it’s hard to full trust anyone wearing their uniform, but all three of these guys could be in line for a solid three games this week. As far as how much I trust them right now, I’d rank them Antetokounmpo, Butler and Middleton going forward.

Paul Pierce, Alan Anderson Nets

Pierce is apparently starting to get comfortable in his new role of coming off the bench and is averaging 17.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.8 3-pointers over his last five games. And over his last two, he’s scored 24 and 27 points with a total of 16 rebounds, eight assists and seven 3-pointers. Anderson is still starting and had 26 points, five 3-pointers and a full stat line on Friday, but failed to score in his previous game (Wednesday). Pierce once again looks like a must-own player, while Anderson is worth a watchful eye as long as he’s starting.

Jodie Meeks Lakers

Meeks is starting to play better and with Kobe Bryant out indefinitely, should be a lock for the Lakers starting five until further notice. He has scored 13, 17 and 13 points in each of his last three games, and is averaging 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.7 3-pointers over that stretch.

Matt Barnes Clippers

Barnes returned from an eye injury on Saturday and went off, racking up 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, three blocks and three 3-pointers in just 22 minutes. He’ll likely do more to hurt the potential value of Jared Dudley than provide a ton of production of his own, but if he can play anything like he did on Saturday in Week 9, he should be in line for three interesting games.

James Johnson Grizzlies

This is for very deep leagues only, but Johnson has been starting for Tayshaun Prince (knee) and is averaging 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.0 3-pointers in his last two games. He’ll disappear once Prince is back, but until that happens, he could be a sneaky deep-league play.

Power Forwards

Mirza Teletovic Nets

With Brook Lopez done for the season with a broken foot, Teletovic could start in his place the rest of the way. He had 18 points, four rebounds, two assists, a block and six 3-pointers on 6-of-13 shooting in 33 minutes on Friday, and has also had games of 17 and 11 points recently. I picked him up where I could, and am guessing he’ll be fun to own the rest of the way. Start him with four games this week and hope for the best.

Channing Frye Suns

Frye had a three-point dud on Friday against Denver, but has been rolling again, scoring 20, 22 and 18 points in three of his last four games. And if you throw out that Friday disaster, he’s averaging 20.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 3-pointers in three of his last four. He also hit 21-of-37 shots over that run and will hopefully keep it going this week. The Suns play three times this week.

Jon Leuer Grizzlies

Leuer inexplicably disappeared on Saturday against the Knicks, scoring just two points in 17 minutes. Prior to that, he had scored in double figures in seven straight games with plenty of rebounds and 3-pointers to boot. Hopefully Saturday’s disappearance was a fluke and he’ll get back on track Monday. But once Marc Gasol is back from his knee injury, all bets are off on Leuer.

Markieff Morris Suns

Morris scored 12 points with six rebounds, a steal and two blocks on Wednesday and then had 25 points, six boards, three steals, three blocks and two 3-pointers on Friday against Denver (who are terrible against opposing power forwards). He fell back to earth on Saturday with nine points and six boards against the Mavericks, and will likely mix in good games with bad ones going forward. But big men who can hit 3-pointers aren’t all that easy to find, so holding Morris, despite the inconsistency, makes sense. You can probably find a safer bet for three games this week.

Anthony Tolliver Bobcats

With Jeff Taylor and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out indefinitely with their injuries, Tolliver is now the starter at small forward in Charlotte. He has played 26.5 minutes over his last two games, but scored a total of five points, with eight rebounds, a block and a 3-pointer in them. He’s only worth a look in deeper leagues, but if he continues to start for Charlotte, he should have some good games in his future.

Centers

Andray Blatche Nets

Blatche is having a fine season and it should get even better now that Brook Lopez is out for the year. He had just six points on 3-of-10 shooting on Friday night, but Lopez played 44 minutes in that one. Despite that dud, he’s averaging 15.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks and 0.4 3-pointers on 51 percent shooting over his last five. Blatche is a must-own player going forward.

Brandan Wright Mavericks

Wright went nuts in his season debut with 19 points and six rebounds on 9-of-10 shooting, but then disappeared with four points, two rebounds and three blocks in his next one. I was ready to write him off, but he then bounced back with 13 points, six boards and two blocks in his next one, and 19 points, six boards and four blocks on Saturday. When you add it all together, he’s averaging 13.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks on 71 percent shooting in four games this season, meaning he is worth owning by anyone looking for a center.

Jordan Hill Lakers

Hill has been a model of inconsistency lately, scoring 14, 4, 2, 21 and 15 points in each of his last five games. He’s averaging 11.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.4 blocks over that stretch, but is also averaging just 20.2 minutes. Mike D’Antoni is impossible to get a read on, but Hill simply has to play for a team lacking healthy big men. Chris Kaman came out of nowhere for 10 points and 17 rebounds on Saturday, which isn’t going to help Hill’s cause. With four games this week Hill is worth owning, but owners will have to weigh options carefully before plugging him into a lineup.

Chris Kaman Lakers

Kaman started in place of Pau Gasol (illness) on Saturday and went off for 10 points, a season-high 17 rebounds, and three blocks in 25 minutes. He’s been complaining about his playing and D’Antoni went to him, which paid off. Kaman had six points on Friday, but didn’t even play in the three games prior to that one, and had appeared in just one game in the Lakers’ previous 12 before Friday. If D’Antoni is going to start using Kaman again, he’ll at least be worth some attention in deeper leagues going forward.

Enes Kanter Jazz

Kanter’s minutes still aren’t good enough for him to be relied upon (19 over last five games), but he’s showing signs of life. He’s averaging 8.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks on 40 percent shooting over his last five. Kanter is probably worth holding, as I assume he will eventually be out of the dog house and back in the starting lineup at some point, but I don’t think you can plug him into most lineups right now. 

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