Wired: Hot NBA Pickups

Steve Alexander
Jonas Nader takes a look at some storylines across the NBA and gets you caught up with all the latest injury news

The Week Ahead

Jonas Nader takes a look at some storylines across the NBA and gets you caught up with all the latest injury news

Games Played for Week 4

5 Games LAC



2 Games LAL, NOP, TOR

The ownership percentages shown are for Yahoo! Leagues.

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Point Guards

Steve Blake Lakers 45% owned

This is not the ideal week to use Blake, as the Lakers only play two games. But if you just look at his last five games, mostly without Steve Nash, he’s averaging 12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.2 3-pointers on 47 percent shooting. And as long as Nash is out with his bad back and old body, Blake should continue to roll. Yes, I expect Kobe Bryant to make his debut this coming Friday and he could wreak havoc on Blake’s numbers, but someone has to run the point for the Lakers and that guy is Blake for now.

Jordan Crawford Celtics 39% owned

Crawford is surprisingly manning the point for the Celtics and even more surprisingly, doing a pretty good job of it. He’s scored in double figures in six straight games and is averaging 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 3-pointers on 43 percent shooting over his last five. And until Rajon Rondo comes back, Crawford looks like a smart play to me.

Nate Wolters Bucks 7% owned

Unlike Crawford, Wolters has NOT scored in double digits in any of his last five games and is averaging just 7.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.0 3-pointers over his last five on 37 percent shooting. But the kid is playing monster minutes and simply doesn’t turn the ball over. Brandon Knight is getting ready to come back and possibly rain on Wolters’ parade, but if your team is having turnover problems, Wolters is a guy that can help, and I suspect he’s getting ready to play better than he has over his last few games, even when Knight is back.

Tony Wroten Sixers 16% owned

Wroten has been killing it with Michael Carter-Williams (foot) sidelined and should continue to do so for at least another game or two. In his last three, Wroten has racked up averages of 20 points, six dimes, four boards and one steal. He hit a couple 3-pointers in his last game and is an excellent daily-league option as long as MCW is out. And if you want to pick him up in a daily league and ride him until MCW’s return, it makes a lot of sense.

Shaun Livingston Nets 6% owned

Livingston is another short-term prospect as Deron Williams is dealing with yet another sprained ankle. Even with Williams healthy for most of it, he’s racked up 11.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and a steal over his last five games, and he had 11 points, five rebounds, five dimes and two steals in Saturday’s start. If Williams is going to miss more time, and he very well may, Livingston is a nice pick-and-play option.

Shooting Guards

Rodney Stuckey Pistons 46% owned

Stuckey hasn’t really started cranking it up yet, but the minutes are there and I suspect the production will follow. He likes to drive to the hole and get to the line, and can help you in free throw percentage and makes, if you need it. Even though he hasn’t fully broken out yet, he has scored between 13 and 17 points in three of his last four games, and is averaging 12.4 points, 2.8 boards, 2.6 assists, 0.8 steals and a 3-pointer on 40 percent shooting over his last five. And as I said, I think this is the week he starts putting up even better numbers.

Avery Bradley Celtics 56% owned

Bradley has been scoring, but isn’t doing much else for his owners. He’s scored 27, 6, 7, 24 and 17 points in each of his last five games, while hitting three 3-pointers, swiping six steals, and hitting 54 percent of his shots over that stretch. But he also has just one assist in those five games, as well as 10 rebounds. If you need a scorer, Bradley might fill a void, at least until Rajon Rondo is back in action.

James Anderson Sixers 16% owned

Blew up for a career-high 36 points with six 3-pointers on Wednesday and has been starting for the Sixers all season long. He’s completely hit or miss from game to game, making him a bit risky in 12-team leagues and smaller. But we’ve seen him go off and the minutes are there, so it could just be a matter of time before he explodes for another big day. Just know that there is just as good of a chance for him to get you six points and no 3-pointers as there is of him going off for 20 points and five threes on any given night.

Gerald Green Suns 20% owned

Green looks a lot better when Goran Dragic is out, but is still getting a lot of run off the bench for the Suns. He’s averaging 13.4 points, 2.4 boards and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five games, but some of his best work came when Dragic was in street clothes. He’s more of a deep-league special for now, and is a little intriguing with the four-game schedule this week.

Lou Williams Hawks 27% owned

Williams made his season debut on Friday, scored seven points and hit a 3-pointer in 16 minutes, and then sat out on Saturday as he works his way back from knee surgery. I’m not as high on him as some other folks are, but he could be a nice player to own a month from now. But guys coming off of knee surgery tend to miss time, and I just don’t trust him yet. But if you’re in a deep league and are hurting for 3-pointers, grabbing Williams makes sense.

Small Forwards

Corey Brewer Timberwolves 41% owned

I just injured a finger while hitting refresh while trying to pick up Brewer when waivers opened at 1 p.m. today, but I got him. The Wolves play four games this week and Brewer is entrenched as their starting small forward. He had just four points in 28 minutes on Saturday, but has been playing much better than that on most nights. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five, and with four games this week, it makes no sense to me why he’s not owned in more leagues.

Martell Webster Wizards 25% owned

Webster has been a real popular pick up recently after Trevor Ariza went down with a hamstring injury, but Ariza isn’t expected to miss a lot of time. However, there are no guarantees he plays this week and Webster could be in line for four good ones. Over his last two, he’s averaging 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.5 3-pointers, and there should be more where that came from as long as Ariza is out.

Khris Middleton Bucks 4% owned

Middleton has gotten some good run with Caron Butler out with a shoulder injury, but like Ariza’s hammy, it’s not thought to be serious. The Bucks are such a banged up mess right now that Middleton could continue to get solid run even when Butler is back, but he’ll be inconsistent when it happens. Over his last three games Middleton is averaging about 15 points, six boards, two assists, 2.3 steals and more than a 3-pointer per game.

DeMarre Carroll Hawks 7% owned

Carroll might be the most unknown starting small forward in the NBA, but he’s had some good games (along with some duds). Over his last five he’s averaging 10.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 3-pointers on 54 percent shooting, and chances are that can help most owners, especially in a four-game week.

Marvin Williams Jazz 1% owned

I don’t trust Marvin at all, but the fact is that he’s played pretty well in two of his four games since returning from an Achilles injury. In his two good games he’s averaging 13 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 3-pointers. In the two bad ones, he’s at four points, three rebounds and one 3-pointer per game. I’m not telling you to run out and pick him up, but he’s gotten about 25 minutes per game in his last three and is worth keeping a close eye on going forward.

Power Forwards (Viva Slam Dunkus)

This seems like an appropriate place to pimp the band ‘Slam Dunk,’ and their killer song Viva Slam Dunkus. They’ve been opening shows for Built To Spill, are great guys and a fun band to see live. Check ‘em out. The number of solid power forwards floating around on waivers is pretty amazing, and it’s clearly one of the deeper positions in fantasy hoops.

Jordan Hill Lakers 41% owned

Hill has been on fire since being moved into the starting lineup and I don’t see him going back to the bench anytime soon. In his last three games Hill is averaging 17 points, 10 boards, 2.3 blocks and 1.0 steals on 58 percent shooting. Again, I have no idea why Hill is available in so many leagues, although the two-game week doesn’t help much for this scoring period.

Josh McRoberts Bobcats 15% owned

My man McBob tied his career high with nine assists on Saturday, but the rest of his line left a lot to be desired. He was 0-for-6 from downtown and 3-of-10 for six points and seven boards. But he’s been playing very well for the Cats and is averaging 11 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.3 3-pointers over his last four games. And if those numbers can’t help your team, I don’t know what else to tell you.

Terrence Jones Rockets 14% owned

Jones might just be my favorite player to pick up right now. Omer Asik has been permanently planted on the bench as the Rockets try to deal him and Greg Smith is injured, leaving most of the power forward minutes to Jones. And he’s responded, averaging 9.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and nearly a 3-pointer per game in 34 minutes. Pick him up right now. 

DeJuan Blair Mavericks 19% owned

Blair has found new life in Dallas and while he’s not scoring a ton, he did have 18 points in his last game. Over his last five he’s checking in at 10.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.0 steals on 61 percent shooting. He’s getting about 24 minutes per game off the bench and could get better as the season progresses.

Nene 66% owned

Nene should be owned in most leagues and had 24 points, seven boards, two assists, two blocks and a steal on 9-of-16 shooting in his last game. Injuries are always a concern with Nene but if you own Anthony Davis in a weekly league and don’t want to play him with just two games, sticking Nene in there with four of them might work out. He’s averaging 15.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks over his last five, which includes a four-point dud.

John Henson Bucks 28% owned

I don’t even know what to think about Henson. Larry Drew refuses to start him, even when he hardly has any other choices, and he’ll take a hit if and when Larry Sanders (thumb) and Ersan Ilyasova (ankle) are back in action. But he’s averaging 10.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over his last five games, meaning he can help you as long as the Bucks big men stay injured.

Jared Sullinger 18% owned

Sullinger’s been hit-and-miss but all signs are pointing to him breaking out sooner than later. It may have already happened, as he had 26 points, eight boards and two 3-pointers on Friday, but then came back on Saturday with just three points and four rebounds. He’s a nice player to own in case the breakout is getting ready to happen, but he’s not a guy you’ll want to trust if you have to play him every day. At least for now.

Jason Thompson Kings 8% owned

Thompson is the new starting PF for the Kings and is averaging 6.5 points and 10 rebounds over his last two games. And those numbers will go up if his shot starts falling, as he’s hit just 6-of-20 in those two games.


Miles Plumlee Suns 64% owned

Plumlee’s not the most exciting player to own, but he has been highly effective, averaging 11.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game over his last five while shooting 50 percent from the floor. With four games this week he should be in a lot of starting lineups.

Andray Blatche 8% owned

Brook Lopez limped badly out of the arena on Saturday leaving his status for the week in some doubt. If he’s out, Blatche is the guy you’ll want to pick up. He had 19 points, eight rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer on Saturday, and there will be more where that came from if Bro-Lo is going to miss time.

Jason Smith Pelicans 25% owned

Smith is quietly averaging 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and a block on 58 percent shooting over his last five for the Pelicans. He scored between eight and 22 in each of those five games, so you can expect some inconsistency in the scoring department.

Zaza Pachulia Bucks 24% owned

Pachulia’s been in and out of the lineup with a foot injury and has really been struggling with his shot, hitting just 5-of-27 over his last two games. But he’s still averaging 4.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals over his last five, despite shooting just .189 from the floor. He won’t shoot it that poorly going forward and Larry Sanders still isn’t close to a return.

Timofey Mozgov Nuggets 6% owned       

J.J. Hickson is starting (and is a nice player to own right now), but that hasn’t stopped TinaFey from going for 13 points, seven boards and 1.5 blocks over his last four games off the bench. I don’t fully trust him, but if you’re looking for a cheap source of points, boards and blocks, Mozzy has a chance to do something in three games this week.

Vitor Faverani Celtics 10% owned

Faverani was left for dead on waiver wires all over the world recently and then continued to play well after being benched in favor of Kelly Olynyk. He actually got a start Saturday against the Timberwolves and went nuts with nine points, 14 rebounds, three steals, four blocks and two 3-pointers. Brad Stevens can’t seem to make up his mind on Faverani, and he’s played 15 or fewer minutes in three of his last five games. But if he can build on Saturday’s performance and get 20 minutes per game out of Stevens, he should at least be worth hanging onto going forward. 

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