I spent my morning watching Moneyball, which I thought was great, as well as thinking about how to finish things up with the final Waiver Wired of the year. Given the crazy number of guys being shut down (Dwight Howard and possibly Deron Williams, Nicolas Batum, etc.), along with some improbable returns (Gerald Wallace, Nene) I’m going to go team-by-team and look at some of the players who might be able to help you win a championship over the next seven nights.
But first, I wanted to let you know that I’m once again running an NBA fantasy playoff league over at Fantasypostseason.com. This league is a blast and will feature the entire Rotoworld hoops staff and Brian Rosenworcel, the drummer from Guster, who has been in that league since Day 1. We’re drafting next Friday and I hope to post a recap column that night. We’ve used Fantasy Postseason for three or four years now, and it’s the best site I know of to run a playoff fantasy league in. And for future reference, they handle most sports in the playoffs, including football, baseball, hockey, college football and college hoops. Check it out.
Atlanta – Ivan Johnson is your guy. The big man has been playing well and Zaza Pachulia might be done for the Hawks final two games next week. Johnson is averaging 17 points, eight boards, one assist, and more than a steal per game over his last three, but hasn’t blocked a shot. If you need points and boards, as well as a guy who’s nearly guaranteed a ton of playing time, Johnson looks like a good bet.
Boston – Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo are shaky for the Celtics’ two games next week, and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are getting the night off on Friday, making Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass must-own players right now. Greg Stiemsma’s been playing pretty well as the backup center and has been a nice source of steals, blocks and boards, while F/C Sean Williams, who the Celtics just signed, could also end up blocking some shots next week, if he can get some playing time. Sasha Pavlovic, Marquis Daniels, E’Twaun Moore and Keyon Dooling are all going to get heavy minutes on Friday, and possibly next week, too.
Charlotte – Derrick Brown has been getting run and playing well, but suffered a sprained ankle in Wednesday’s game. He played through it and should be OK, and had 14 points, six boards, a steal and a block in that one. Kemba Walker is must-own and Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens should also get plenty of run to finish this thing up. The Bobcats play three times next week, making them even more valuable.
Chicago – Richard Hamilton is healthy again, unlike teammate Derrick Rose, and is worth grabbing in most leagues for Chicago’s final two games next week. If Rose continues to sit, which is a big ‘if,’ C.J. Watson and John Lucas will continue to get heavy minutes. Omer Asik was great on Wednesday, but disappeared on Thursday - I don’t trust him. Taj Gibson is also worth a look if you’re desperate for boards.
Cleveland – Lester Hudson is gone, just as quickly as he exploded on the scene, and Donald Sloan is a little shaky now that Kyrie Irving is back. Irving’s not guaranteed to play in Cleveland’s three games next week, so Sloan still might have some value, but Irving is expected to play solid minutes on Friday. Manny Harris has been starting in place of Alonzo Gee, and is worth a look, while Tristan Thompson still looks like a must-own player. Samardo Samuels had a nice game on Wednesday and is another guy worth a close look for next week. Alonzo Gee has been out with an ankle injury.
Dallas – Delonte West and Vince Carter have both played well recently, and should be solid adds, but keep in mind the Mavs only play one game in the final week (Thursday).
Denver – Kosta Koufos is starting over JaVale McGee and had 12 points, nine boards and two blocks on Wednesday, but he’s another guy I don’t fully trust. Kenneth Faried, Al Harrington and Andre Miller are all worth owning, as the Nuggets finish up with two games next week.
Detroit – Charlie Villanueva has been playing well and Jonas Jerebko has been getting run off the bench. Villanueva had six points, 12 boards and two threes in 23 minutes on Thursday, and is worth a look in most leagues. The Pistons have two games next week.
Golden State – Nate Robinson was a surprise DNP due to a hamstring injury on Wednesday, and no one seems to have a feel for whether he’ll play again this season. If he’s out, it’s going to greatly hurt my chances of winning a championship in my Rock and Roll league – advantage Malkmus. If Nate’s out, Charles Jenkins will be the guy to own, while I still think Klay Thompson, Dorell Wright and Brandon Rush are must-owns. Other Warriors to take a close look at include Jeremy Tyler, Dominic McGuire and Mickell Gladness, who started at center in their last game. The Warriors play on Saturday and Sunday, so see what happens in those two and act accordingly. They finish up with two games next week.
Houston – Chase Budinger and Patrick Patterson both played over 30 minutes off the bench on Thursday and could be good for the Rockets the rest of the way. Just know they only have one game next week (Thursday). Kyle Lowry’s still worth having around, Goran Dragic is must-own, and Marcus Camby is playing well despite a bad back. And Samuel Dalembert didn’t even get off the bench on Thursday.
Indiana – George Hill is the Pacers starting point guard until further notice and should be owned in all leagues, while Leandro Barbosa and Tyler Hansbrough are getting enough minutes for a look in deeper leagues. The Pacers play twice next week.
Clippers – Mo Williams cooled off on Thursday, but has played well enough to be owned in most leagues. Blake Griffin (neck) and Chris Paul (thumb) are banged up, but it sounds like they’ll keep playing. If not, Kenyon Martin and Eric Bledsoe would be the guys to grab, while DeAndre Jordan could blow up if Blake is out.
Lakers – Metta World Peace's run could be ready to come to an end with Kobe Bryant due back on Friday night, but if MWP plays well in that one, he could be worth grabbing. However, both MWP and Kobe are shaky the rest of the way, as the Lakers play Friday, Sunday and Thursday (one-game week) to close out the season.
Memphis – O.J. Mayo might be available in your league and is worth grabbing for his two games next week, while Tony Allen is also worth a look, but has been struggling.