Kyle Korver, G/F Cleveland Cavaliers: 3-pointers
Korver could have a roster spot on the 2016-17 All-Frustrating Fantasy Basketball Team, but he was able to salvage his stock through circumstance with a move to Cleveland and an unexpected role with the Cavs. Without J.R. Smith available, a really inconsistent Iman Shumpert and sans Kevin Love, Korver has stepped up and recently looked like the player that made him such an attractive fantasy asset just a short time ago.
Over his last three games—one before the All-Star Break and two since—the 3-point machine has been an assassin from behind the line by averaging 18.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and a ridiculous 5.3 (!) 3PM on an elite 20-of-32 (62.5%) from the field, including a sizzling 16-of-25 (64%) from distance. Bottom Line: Despite the ups and downs, Korver has to be deployed while he’s this red-hot.
Austin Rivers, G/F Los Angeles Clippers: Points
Chris Paul’s return is the end of the line for Raymond Felton’s fantasy relevance, but the same simply can’t be said of Rivers, a credit to the player he’s turned himself into and a reflection of his importance to this Clippers team.
Los Angeles still needs what Rivers brings from a scoring perspective, and a role that has him playing 25-30 minutes regularly should be expected without issue. He’s enjoyed a solid month in February after an exceptional January, and the first two games out of the All-Star Break have seen Rivers average 21.0 points, 2.5 dimes, a steal and 3.0 treys on 50% shooting.
Rivers should probably be rostered in more than just 39% of Yahoo leagues, especially because he’s eligible at point guard, shooting guard and small forward. That’s an added boost Rivers gets to improve his fantasy appeal.
Nikola Mirotic, F Chicago Bulls: 3-pointers
I can’t bring myself to do it, but I understand those who are dealing with the temptation to dive off the Mirotic high dive again.
After a string of disappointing performances and a DNP-CD prior to the All-Star Break, Mirotic has come back and looked like a functional player. Circumstances have certainly changed with Taj Gibson’s departure and the Bulls looking to evaluate their uncertain future, and with Mirotic heading toward restricted free agency and unlikely to be in the Bulls’ future plans, one has to believe that the front office will follow through on the idea of getting a good look at Bobby Portis in what is left of this season.
That being said, ThreeKola has shown some flashes with averages of 17.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, a steal and 3.0 3-pointers in 33 minutes nightly in his last two contests, so taking a flier on him in deeper and/or more competitive formats to see if he can keep it going isn’t the worst idea. Just keep in mind that Mirotic is an extremely streaky player, can post a dud as fast as he can a gem and is unlikely to see 30-plus minutes nightly over the last six weeks of the regular season.
Patrick Beverley, G Houston Rockets: Steals
There was some mild concern that Houston’s trade for Lou Williams could make for a crowded backcourt, but Beverley has found a way to keep producing since the veteran’s arrival. Beverley’s biggest roadblock to sustainable value down the stretch may be his own health vs. competition from his teammates—he is still currently dealing with the lingering effects of a groin injury—but everything is going decently for now and we can’t worry about the potential for injury while a player is producing.
Since coming out of the All-Star Break, Beverley has averaged 8.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.5 triples. And most importantly, he’s seen an average of 29.5 minutes over that stretch and should be able to hover around that number so long as he remains on the court.
T.J. McConnell, PG Philadelphia 76ers: Steals, Assists
If you’re fortunate enough to have a comfortable cushion in steals and assists, McConnell has marginal utility to your team. But if your squad finds itself outside of that classification, McConnell can act like a magic grow capsule in the right situation. Despite the fact that the undrafted point guard is really just a two-category contributor, he sticks to his role well and embraces the player that he is. That’s one way to create a lengthy, successful NBA career, especially when the odds were previously stacked against you.
T.J. has now got a 27-game sample size as the starter under his belt, and he’s averaged 9.0 points, 8.0 assists, 1.7 steals and just 2.0 turnovers on 50.2% shooting during that time. To say that he’s been one of the better waiver wire pickups to date would be an understatement, even if—as usual—he doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves.