Here are some hot pickups as we head into the All-Star break. I lifted this nearly straight from the Thursday Pickup of the Day column that appears daily in Season Pass, as the information is relevant, and it didn’t make sense to re-write it. After the hot pickups, I give out some midseason fantasy awards. Enjoy.
I will also be Tweeting my All-Star Weekend experience live from Orlando, as well as (hopefully) turning in a couple columns this weekend, so please join me for the adventure. It’s going to be crazy. The last All-Star Weekend I attended was in Indy in 1985, when I bought a dunk contest ticket for $5 and watched Dominique Wilkins win it from unbelievable seats, and then sat next to Herb Williams and Granville Waiters at the All-Star Game with tickets courtesy of my buddy (and dunker) Terence Stansbury. This weekend will be a little different, as I’ll be an adult, as well as have full credentials to work with, and my goal is simply to not do anything too stupid.
Bismack Biyombo C Bobcats - Biyombo blew up for nine points, 10 boards and six blocks on Wednesday and the Bobcats simply have to give him as much run as he can handle the rest of the way. Coach Paul Silas is a fan and Biyombo is worth a pickup by any owner in need of a center. The Bobcats don't have the greatest schedule going forward, but do have a 5-game week for Week 16, and he could be a very good center by then.
Isaiah Thomas PG Kings - Last call. After a quiet first half Thomas got hot and finished with 18 points, six dimes and a steal, but missed all four of his 3-pointers on Wednesday. He's been outstanding in five straight games and is a must-add in all leagues, despite being taken with the last pick of last summer's draft.
Jordan Crawford SG Wizards - Crawford had 32 points and three 3-pointers on 12-of-19 shooting Wednesday and is averaging 21 points, three boards, three assists, a steal and nearly two 3-pointers over his last five games. He'll cool off at some point, but looks like a great add in all leagues right now.
Josh Howard SF Jazz - Howard made another start for injured Raja Bell on Wednesday night and had a season-high 19 points, with six boards, a steal and a three. If he takes over the job full time, and he should, he's going to be a must-add. The question is, can he stay healthy?
Gustavo Ayon PF Hornets - Ayon went off for nine points, a career-high 17 boards, four assists, two steals and a block on Wednesday after struggling on Tuesday. I'm a little worried about what happens to him when Emeka Okafor and Jason Smith return just after the break, but there's a decent chance he'll keep the starting PF job going forward.
Nikola Vucevic C Sixers - Vucevic came off the bench for a career-high 18 points to go along with eight boards, a steal and three blocks on Wednesday. Lavoy Allen started, but played just 17 minutes, and after saying last night that it looked like Allen might be the guy to own until Spencer Hawes returns, I am changing my tune. Vucevic had just 2 & 8 points in his previous two games, but it now looks like Doug Collins is going to roll with Vucevic until Hawes is ready. Allen could continue to start and the two will share time, but Vucevic answered some questions with last night's performance.
Tristan Thompson PF/C Cavaliers - Thompson had 10 points, 10 boards and a steal in just 16 minutes off the bench on Wednesday. He's not likely to start anytime soon, but Thompson has double-doubled in two of his last three, and he has a lot more upside than starter Semih Erden. Hopefully the minutes are coming soon.
Kenneth Faried PF Nuggets - Faried had 12 points, nine boards, two steals and a block on Wednesday and is averaging 10 points, eight boards and more than a steal and block over his last five. If George Karl could find it in his heart to leave Faried as the starting PF and put Nene at center once he's back, Faried could be a solid fantasy option the rest of the way.
Jason Thompson F/C Kings - Thompson had nine points, 11 boards and a block in his last game after going for 16 & 10 on Tuesday. He's inconsistent, but is turning it on, averaging around eight points, eight boards and a block over his last five.
Devin Harris PG Jazz - Harris had 10 points, eight assists and two steals Wednesday night and is averaging 10 points, five dimes a steal and a 3-pointer over his last five. He's still not great, but could help if you need a point guard.
Ekpe Udoh C Warriors - Udoh is battling a very sore knee right now, but is battling through it. After a career night of 19 points, eight boards and two blocks in his previous game, he had just four boards, a block and no points in his finale before the break. But he could easily start over Andris Biedrins the rest of the way, assuming his knee problem isn't serious, and is worth a look if you need a center and miss out on Biyombo.
Grant Hill G/F Suns - Hill had a full stat line on Wednesday and is averaging 14 points, three boards, three dimes, and a steal over his last five, and has hit double digits in scoring in four of those.
Jose Juan Barea G Timberwolves - Barea had a season-high 22 with five 3-pointers on Wednesday and while he'll share time with Luke Ridnour the rest of the way, is at least worth a close look in deeper leagues.
Steve Novak F Knicks - Novak had five 3-pointers and 17 points in Wednesday's blowout win over the Hawks, and while he's inconsistent, he's hit 15 3-pointers over his last five games. If you need threes in a Roto league, grab him.