Perhaps the hardest part about making moves on the wire early in the season isn’t figuring out whom you should pick up, but instead trying to decide whom to cut. Each team, roster, league, scoring system and owner is different, making it tough to put a blanket “cut list” in a column like this. Here is a general list of guys I would recommend hanging onto in most cases, as well as a list of guys I could see dropping for some of the free agents listed later in the column.
Serge Ibaka, Kenneth Faried, DeAndre Jordan, Nikola Pekovic, Steve Nash, Elton Brand, Ersan Ilyasova, Arron Afflalo, Evan Turner, Jared Dudley, Jose Calderon, Bradley Beal, Byron Mullens.
Hedo Turkoglu, Ricky Rubio, Derrick Rose, Amare Stoudemire, MarShon Brooks, Andray Blatche, Bismack Biyombo, Brendan Haywood, Jeff Green, Marco Belinelli, Tyler Zeller, Jonas Jerebko, Lamar Odom, Austin Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, Jimmer Fredette, Francisco Garcia, Terrence Ross, Enes Kanter, DeJuan Blair.
If you have to, drop in desperation:
Danny Granger, Eric Gordon, Nene, JaVale McGee, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Terry, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Andrew Bogut, Samuel Dalembert, Chase Budinger, Luke Ridnour, Manu Ginobili, Stephen Jackson, Tiago Splitter, Emeka Okafor.
Just because a player is listed above doesn’t mean they should automatically be dropped for a player in below.
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The Knicks and Hornets play just two times next week, so keep that in mind when setting lineups and picking up players.
Jarrett Jack G Warriors - Jack is averaging 10 points and seven assists in three games, but also posted 16 points, six boards and seven assists on Saturday, the first game the Warriors played without Brandon Rush (out for season, knee). Klay Thompson can slide over to small forward and Jack could then be in line for a ton of minutes at shooting guard. And when you add in Stephen Curry’s Dorito ankle, Jack could also end up starting at point guard for the Warriors. Jack looks like a must-own player to me.
Randy Foye G Jazz - Foye is averaging 25 minutes along with 13 points and two 3-pointers after three games. Foye will spend time at both guard spots for the Jazz and while he’s not a must-own player, I think he’s a guy you can plug into your lineup without having to worry about him too much.
Jose Juan Barea G Timberwolves – JJB had 21 points, four rebounds, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in Game 1 and Ricky Rubio’s not coming back anytime soon. Luke Ridnour will likely remain the starting point guard until then, but his back isn’t healthy and he’s another year older. If I owned Ridnour I’d consider dropping him for JJB, but keep in mind we’re only dealing with a one-game sample.
C.J. Watson G Nets - Watson had 15 points, a steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes on Saturday. Deron Williams is going to run the point but also has a dinged up ankle, while Watson will also see time at shooting guard. Watson is worth keeping an eye on for now, but I’d like to see him do this in a couple more games before dropping someone good for him.
Devin Harris G Hawks - Harris had nine points in 22 minutes in the opener and is starting at shooting guard for Atlanta. He’s injury prone and his first game wasn’t a bonanza, but he’s another guy worth a close look as we go forward.
Nate Robinson PG Bulls - Robinson is averaging 13 points, five rebounds, five assists 1.3 steals and 1.3 3-pointers in three games and looks more like a point guard than he ever has. I’m not going to cut Kirk Hinrich to pick him up, but if I can own both Chicago point guards, I’m going to do so until we see how this goes.
Lance Stephenson G Pacers - Stephenson is somehow averaging 10 points, four rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 3-pointers in three games off the Pacers’ bench. He’s rendered D.J. Augustin useless and is another guy to keep an eye on in deep leagues.
Greivis Vasquez PG Hornets - Vasquez is averaging 13 points, five boards and 10 assists in three games, which means he shouldn’t be available in any leagues. I’m listing him here “just in case.”