My deepest apologies for Waiver Wired being late this week, but better late than never, right? Injuries are ravaging the NBA and fantasy owners right now, as the silly season appears to have started about three weeks early with the shortened season. In any case, here are some hot pickups, as well as some schedule news that you’ll want to pay close attention to.
ESPN weekly leagues count the final two weeks of the season as one big week. That means the Spurs play eight games that week, while the Bobcats, Cavaliers, Warriors, Heat and Sixers all have seven games in those leagues. On the flip side, the Celtics, Mavericks, Lakers, Timberwolves, Nets, Blazers, Kings, Raptors and Jazz only have five games in that final week in ESPN weeklies. If you were to dump Brandon Bass, Jason Kidd and Gerald Green to pick up Kawhi Leonard, Byron Mullens and Kemba Walker for the final week in ESPN leagues, you would net an extra seven games for that final week. Just something to think about.
The Celtics, Bobcats, Cavaliers and Grizzlies all play five games in the upcoming week, while the Hawks, Bulls, Nets and Sixers play just three times.
The Warriors, Rockets, Heat and Spurs all play five games the following week, while the Celtics, Bucks, Nets, Blazers, Kings, Raptors, Jazz and Wizards play three times in that one.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are the potential waiver wire pickups right now.
Jose Juan Barea Timberwolves – Barea has started the last couple games and averaged 12.5 points, 7.5 assists and 2.5 3-pointers with Luke Ridnour out with a severely sprained ankle. It sounds like Ridnour will miss a few more games, making JJB a must-own, must-start player for now. The Wolves finish up the season 4-4-1.
Devin Harris Jazz – Harris returned from a sprained ankle in a big way on Friday, going off for 28 points, five assists and five 3-pointers in a win over the Warriors. That might have been his best game of the season and now that it appears he’s healthy, he’s worth using in most leagues. The Jazz play four games this week and three the following week.
Greivis Vasquez Hornets – Jarrett Jack has missed four of his last six games with swelling in his foot and ankle, and has no timetable on a return. Vasquez has scored 11 or 12 points in four of his last five and has two 10-assists games to his credit in his last three. With Jack showing no signs of a quick return, Vasquez is a nice pick-and-play right now, as the Hornets finish up with a strong 4-4-2 schedule.
Kemba Walker Bobcats – D.J. Augustin is sidelined again with right knee tendinitis, meaning Walker should continue to start for the Bobcats. He’s scored in double figures in four straight games and is averaging 13 points, 6.6 assists, .8 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five. The Bobcats play five times this week, then finish up 4-3, making Walker nearly a must-own player.
Donald Sloan & Lester Hudson Cavs – With Kyrie Irving out indefinitely with his shoulder injury, Sloan and Hudson are ballin’ for the Cavs. Sloan is starting, but averaging just six points, three assists and three rebounds over his last five, while Hudson blew up for 23 points, seven dimes and three steals on Friday. Hudson is averaging 14 points, five assists and 1.6 steals over his last three games, and looks like he might be a better play than Sloan. Both are worth a look with five games this week, and the Cavs finish up 4-3, meaning they get a seven-game week in ESPN leagues to finish the season.
Toney Douglas Knicks – Douglas had 15 points, five rebounds, six assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in Thursday’s win over the Magic, as it’s clear Baron Davis simply isn’t healthy right now, despite starting. I have no idea if Douglas will keep getting 25 minutes per game going forward, but after Thursday’s game, he’s worth a look in all leagues. The Knicks finish up 4-4-2.
Nate Robinson & Charles Jenkins Warriors – Mark Jackson seems to be going with the hot hand between these two, making both of them unreliable. Both are capable of big games at any time, but both will also have off nights when the other gets hot. Jenkins is averaging nine points, six assists and a steal over his last five, while Robinson is at 11 points, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five. Robinson still looks like the safer play between these two.
Patty Mills Spurs – You can’t trust Mills, or any other Spur for now, but Mills has had a couple nice games recently. Mills had 20 points, two dimes and four 3-pointers on Tuesday, got a DNP-CD on Wednesday, and then had 14 points, four assists, two steals and two more threes on Friday. The Spurs go 4-5-3 to finish the season, and as Tony Parker gets rest in preparation for the playoffs, Mills and Gary Neal are going to get minutes. But those random DNPs out of San Antonio are a pain in the neck.
Gilbert Arenas Grizzlies – Arenas is quietly making noise for the Grizzlies, who go 5-4-2 to finish out the season. He’s scored 14, 12, 8 and 10 points in his last four games and hit 10 3-pointers over that stretch. If you’re desperate for games played and 3-pointers, Arenas could be worth a look in deeper leagues.