Steve Alexander

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Wired: Hot NBA Pickups

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Small Forwards


Jared Dudley Suns 72% owned


Dudley is cooking and was featured here as the cover boy last week.  He’s still available in 28 percent of the leagues out there, but should be owned in all.  He’s averaging 18.4 points, 5.4 boards, 4.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five games and is a great option with four games this week.


Matt Barnes Clippers 42% owned


Barnes has been a sneaky pickup over the last few weeks and posted a pair or back-to-back 20-point games last week.  He’s averaging 15 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.2 blocks and 2.8 3-pointers over his last five, and those numbers mean he should be picked up in almost any fantasy league, despite coming off the bench.  He cooled off in his last game with just six points, but still managed three boards, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in that one.  Go get him.


Kyle Korver Hawks 43% owned


I’ve been high on Korver as long as he’s healthy, and he’s hot for the Hawks right now, averaging 12 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.8 3-pointers over his last five.  As long as he’s healthy, he’s worth starting for any owners in need of threes.  He’s also had three blocks in two of his last six games, and six steals over his last three. 


Hedo Turkoglu Magic 31% owned


Turkoglu finally returned from his broken left (non-shooting) hand and had eight points, five rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes on Saturday.  It could take him some time to get hot again, but he’s worth grabbing for the Magic, who desperately need Turk at small forward.  Just beware that he is likely going to struggle with his shot, even though he shoots with his right hand. 


Corey Brewer Nuggets 17% owned


Brewer has been up and down like a yo-yo lately, scoring 12, 0, 27, 2 and 10 points over his last five games.  He’s coming off the Denver bench and is basically the team’s sixth man, averaging 23 minutes over that stretch, along with 10 points, 3.4 boards and 1.2 3-pointers.  He’s not a must-own player, but is worth a look in deeper leagues, despite his annoying inconsistency.


Power Forwards


Hakim Warrick Bobcats 5% owned


Warrick is now the starting power forward for Charlotte now that Byron Mullens is out indefinitely with a severely sprained ankle.  In his three starts for Mullens, Warrick is averaging 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds, which is basically what he should give you every night out.  He doesn’t block shots and never will, but should be a nice source of points and boards if you need a big man.


Tristan Thompson Cavaliers 33% owned


Thompson has been very effective with Anderson Varejao out with a knee injury and is averaging 13 points, 12.4 boards and 1.4 blocks over his last five games.  Varejao could be back as soon as Jan. 4, which will hurt Thompson’s value, but there’s no doubt Thompson has also gained confidence in Andy’s absence, and will continue to start at power forward even when Varejao is back.


Patrick Patterson Rockets 22% owned


Patterson finally returned from his foot injury on Saturday but missed all five of his shots and scored two points in 10 minutes.  He averaged 14 points and five rebounds in November, which should be about where he clocks in at once he’s back to full strength.  He’s no longer a must-own player and will split time with Marcus Morris at power forward, but might be worth grabbing if you need a big man in deeper leagues.  Just give him a week or so to work his way back into the mix.


Kosta Koufos Nuggets 23% owned


Koufos should qualify at PF and C in most leagues and is currently the starting center in Denver.  He’s averaging 11 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over his last five games, and comes in at 7.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on the season.  If you’re starting DeAndre Jordan, Koufos could be a nice addition to your team, as Jordan is struggling and inconsistent.


Ersan Ilyasova Bucks 69% owned


Ilyasova is a mess.  He’s scored 6, 17, 6, 8 and 5 points over his last five games, meaning he simply can’t be trusted in starting lineups.  And yes, we’re approaching the point where he may be a lost cause for the entire season, but the guy is just too talented to completely write off at this point.  But if you do pick him up, don’t plan on using him in weekly leagues until he finally gets his head together.




Andre Drummond Pistons 28% owned


If you’ve watched Drummond play this season you have to be thrilled with what you’ve seen.  He looks like he’s going to be a dominant big man at some point in the near future and Lawrence Frank seems to also be taking notice, playing Drummond 25 minutes over his last five games.  Over that stretch, Drummond is coming in at 9.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks, making him worth owning in nearly any league.  He’s a dreadful free throw shooter, but has only shot 15 of them over those five games, making five of them.  As usual, I think Drummond is worth stashing in any fantasy league.


Amir Johnson Raptors 19% owned (Ed Davis)


I have stated recently, on Twitter and elsewhere, that I’d rather own Amir Johnson over Ed Davis due to Johnson’s ability to block shots.  I think I made the right call, as Johnson is averaging 9.0 points, 7.2 boards, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks over his last five games, while Davis (the starter) checks in with 11.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.2 blocks over the same stretch.  As you can see they’re pretty evenly matched, and both players are worth a look for as long as Andrea Bargnani (elbow) and Jonas Valanciunas (hand) are out.  Davis played very well on Saturday with 18 points, seven boards and a block, while Johnson was quiet, which helped make the numbers a lot closer than they were prior to that game.


Emeka Okafor Wizards 49% owned (Nene)


I picked up Okafor in a few leagues recently and he hasn’t cooled off, averaging 10.4 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks over his last five.  He had 11 points, 18 boards and two blocks on Saturday against the Bulls, and is now a must-own player until further notice.  Nene is also cooking for the Wizards, averaging nearly 15 points, 8.5 boards and 0.5 blocks over his last four games, all of which he started at power forward.


Tyler Zeller Cavaliers 5% owned


Zeller has been filling in nicely for Varejao, averaging 10.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and a block over his last five games.  His value will crumble once Andy is back from his knee injury, which could happen as soon as Jan. 4.  But for as long as Varejao remains out, Zeller is worth a close look by any owner in need of a center.


Spencer Hawes Sixers 48% owned


Hawes is coming off the bench and you might get dizzy if you stare at his game log for too long, as he’s scored 10, 2, 20, 5 and 12 points over his last five games.  He’s averaging 9.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over that stretch, and he would enter must-own territory if Doug Collins would ever give him a starting gig.  But as it stands, Hawes is playing well enough on most nights to warrant a close look in most leagues. 

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for and a contributor to The 2014-15 NBA season marks his 13th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
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