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Wired: NBA's Top Pickups

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Matt Stroup breaks down a fast start for Jeff Green, a slow start for Drummond and an unexpected start …

Games Played for Week 18

4 Games Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Toronto, Washington

3 Games Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Utah

2 Games Boston, Portland

Andrea Bargnani wasn’t moved at the deadline and while there’s still a chance he’ll get things turned around and start contributing in Toronto, he’s simply not playing enough minutes to be held in most leagues right now. If you can keep him stashed without it hurting your team, do it, but if you need a player to drop to pick up a hot free agent, Bargnani fits the bill right now. 

Guys like Jarrett Jack, Bradley Beal, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Amir Johnson, Emeka Okafor, Earl Clark and Gordon Hayward are must-owns in my book, while Antawn Jamison and Derrick Williams are also guys that should be owned in most leagues.

Follow me on Twitter by clicking here, and if you are looking for weekly schedule information, check out last week’s Waiver Wired, which breaks it all down for all 30 teams.

Guards

Nate Robinson Bulls – Robinson may have been dropped when Kirk Hinrich came back last week, and while Lil Him has cooled off, Hinrich will miss another game on Sunday with his bum elbow, and like I’ve been saying forever, has a low chance of staying healthy through the end of the season.  Therefore, hanging onto Robinson still makes sense, even though his numbers have been down over his last three games.  He’ll start again on Sunday and I’m guessing he bounces back with some solid points, assists, steals and 3-pointers.

Tony Allen Grizzlies – Some of my Rotoworld cohorts don’t agree with me on Tony Allen, but I like what he’s doing with his heavy minutes in Memphis.  He’s averaging 11.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.0 blocks over his last five games while shooting an excellent 51 percent.  He won’t hit many 3-pointers, but is playing well enough to be owned in most leagues.  And the Grizz have a good weekly schedule, going 3-3-4-4-4-4-3-2 the rest of the way.

J.J. Redick Bucks – I dropped Redick in one league as soon as he was shipped to the Bucks on Thursday, but I might have jumped the gun.  He went off for 16 points, seven assists and a 3-pointer in 35 minutes on Saturday against the Hawks.  The Bucks played him alongside Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis a lot on Saturday, but keep in mind the Hawks were using Jeff Teague, Devin Harris and Kyle Korver at the same time, so the Bucks could get away with it.  But regardless, Redick’s first game with the Bucks was pretty similar to what he was doing with the Magic, so there’s a chance he’ll be OK going forward.  But only if Jim Boylan is content with going with a small lineup against all of his opponents.  If not, Redick could have some nights where he plays less than 20 minutes.

Rodney Stuckey Pistons – Brandon Knight missed Saturday with a knee injury and while an MRI was negative, he is dealing with swelling and should be iffy for the upcoming week.  Maybe that will be enough to get Stuckey going.  He started on Saturday and had 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting, but also played 33 minutes.  He’s scored 11 or 12 points in each of his last three games, and might be worth a look if you need a guard and Knight’s knee is slow to heal.  Will Bynum also benefits from the loss of Knight, and has scored 15 and 17 points in each of his last two games.

Celtics BackcourtJordan Crawford made his Celtics debut on Friday and had 10 points and two 3-pointers in 17 minutes.  I’m guessing he’ll get between 20-25 minutes on most nights and he’ll have some big games, as well as some duds.  He’s still not a must-own player, but is worth grabbing in deeper leagues if you need threes.  Courtney Lee had just eight points in that one, but did play 30 minutes and scored 20 and 15 points in his previous two.  The addition of Crawford likely means a timeshare, which isn’t great news for either player.  Avery Bradley continues to start at point guard and is averaging 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals over his last five, and is a decent add with Rajon Rondo done for the year.  Jason Terry has hit double digits in scoring in four of his last five, and is another guy to keep an eye on, but none of the Celtics guards are likely to lead fantasy teams to a championship, as the timeshare factor is just too great. Especially when you add Terrence Williams, who is on a 10-day contract, to the mix.

Others to consider: Marcus Thornton, Alan Anderson, Devin Harris, Thabo Sefolosha, C.J. Watson (on nights when Deron Williams sits), E’Twaun Moore (12 points, 6 assists over last two games, Jameer Nelson hurting), Beno Udrih (37 minutes, 10 points, 7 assists in Orlando debut). 

Forwards

Jeff Green Celtics – Green is on fire, scoring 31 points with three 3-pointers, five blocks and two steals on Friday, and is averaging 18.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 2.2 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five.  If you were able to pick him up off waivers in your league, he is a guy who can help you win a championship for the undermanned Celtics.  Remarkably, he’s owned in just 41 percent of Yahoo! Leagues, which is a joke.  Make sure he’s not available in your league, as he's as 'must-own' as they come. The only buzzkill is the two games this week. 

Carlos Delfino/Thomas Robinson Rockets – I was higher on T-Rob the night he was traded than I am now, as Delfino has played well in his three starts at power forward.  I had no idea the 6-6 Delfino could play there, but he’s played between 35 and 42 minutes over his last three games, scoring 12, 22 and 9 points in each, with 13 3-pointers over that stretch.  At this point, Delfino looks like a must-own player to me, as long as he can stay healthy.  T-Rob will see some run once he gets a practice under his belt, but he’ll have to learn a new system and gain the trust of Kevin McHale, which is why I prefer Delfino at this point.  And keep in mind that the Rockets’ weekly schedule stinks, as they finish up 3-3-3-3-3-4-3-2.

Moe Harkless/Andrew Nicholson Magic – Harkless is finally shooting it well, hitting 29-of-59 shots over his last four games (49%) and averaging 16.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers over that stretch.  He’s also getting 35 minutes per game over his last four, and suddenly looks like a must-own player.  Nicholson is starting and also makes for an interesting add, averaging 11.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over his last five games.

Thaddeus Young Sixers – Young is hoping to play on Sunday against the Knicks after missing a few weeks with a hamstring injury and is averaging 14.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals on the season.  It's time to pick him up.

Al-Farouq Aminu Hornets – Aminu’s not a dynamic scorer, but has been productive, averaging 8.6 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks on 53 percent shooting over his last five games.  The Hornets have a better weekly schedule than Brooklyn, and Aminu makes for a better player to own than Gerald Wallace, who is putting up similar numbers.  Aminu’s schedule and consistency make him the better option in my book.

Caron Butler Clippers – Butler has been hot and appears to be healthy, averaging 16.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.3 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting over his last four games.  I don’t fully trust him, but he’s getting 28 minutes per game right now and is hot, making him worth a shot in most leagues.  Just look out for that 2-game week coming up on March 11.

Others to consider: Vince Carter (still hot), Martell Webster (quietly effective), Gerald Wallace, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (coming on), Taj Gibson, Danny Granger, Dorell Wright,

Centers

Jason Thompson Kings – Thompson was already playing very well and the fact Thomas Robinson was traded only helps his cause.  He’s averaging 12.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks on 51 percent shooting over his last five games.  He’s averaging 32 minutes over that stretch, and looks like a very solid add right now, and is only owned in 41 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.

Jason Smith Hornets – Robin Lopez has been terribly inconsistent lately and Smith is coming on a bit, scoring 22, 12, 8 and 13 points in each of his last four games.  He’s also racked up 18 rebounds and five blocks over that stretch, and is shooting 55 percent during the hot streak.  I don’t trust Smith, but he had 22 points, five boards and two blocks in Friday’s loss, and might be a better center to own than Lopez right now.

Carl Landry Warriors – Andrew Bogut now has a back issue that could keep him out indefinitely, clearing the way for Landry to get more run going forward.  Landry has gone for 11 points & 8 rebounds, and 10 & 6 in each of his last two games, and those numbers could go up for as long as Bogut is in street clothes.  Andris Biedrins is starting, but I have no interest in dealing with that headache.

Elton Brand Mavericks – Brand is suddenly coming on and has gone for 13 & 7 and 17 & 5 over his last two games, blocking two shots in each of them.  He’s having a good game as I write this on Sunday and it looks like he might finally be ready to go on a consistent spree for the Mavs. 

Jermaine O’Neal Suns – I really don’t trust O’Neal and he played just 15 minutes on Friday, but the fact remains he’s averaging 10.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks on 51 percent shooting over his last five games, essentially outplaying starter Marcin Gortat.  His daughter is scheduled for heart surgery on March 5, which could cause him to miss some games.  But if you’re desperate at center and the waiver wire is bare, JO is at least worth a look as long as he’s in uniform for the Suns.

Others to consider: Tiago Splitter, JaVale McGee, Jonas Valanciunas

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