Waiver Wire: Land of opportunity in Minnesota
Derrick Williams gets another shot to shine with Kevin Love on the shelf again. Our Chris Towers helps you navigate the waiver wire heading into the weekend.
Derrick Williams has been a major disappointment since the Timberwolves selected him with the No. 2 overall pick last year. There really is not any nice way to say it, other than to note he is barely old enough to legally drink alcohol. The 21-year-old is averaging just 8.7 points per game in the first 92 games of his career and has largely been a non-factor on most nights, especially this season. He entered play Wednesday against the Hawks averaging just 17.4 minutes per game.
However, if you've been paying close attention, you can see Williams' play has clearly improved here in his second season. His shooting from the field has only improved from 41.2 percent to 42.1 percent, but he has improved across the board otherwise. Williams has a 52.8 true-shooting percentage, which takes into account free-throw shooting as well as three-pointers being worth more; he posted a 49.9 percent mark as a rookie. He has improved his efficiency while actually playing a larger role while on the floor with a 23.2 percent usage rate, compared to a 20.7 percent rate a year ago.
Williams' scoring is down due to his decreased role, but he has a chance to turn his per-minute-production into real results for Fantasy owners, due to another injury to Kevin Love. Williams largely flopped in his earlier attempts at filling in for Love. He averaged a pretty pedestrian 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in nine starts, while shooting just 35.6 percent from the field. However, this time the Wolves have opted to bring Williams off the bench behind Dante Cunningham, hoping that his success with the second unit can carry over in an increased role.
Williams has been added in 25 percent of all CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues in the last week, due to the news of Love's injury. Cunningham is getting more minutes, initially, than Williams. However, Williams has feasted in Love's absence, scoring 35 points in his first 39 minutes over two games. Williams' talent is clear, and if his jump shot can remain as true as it has been so far this season, he could end up putting up big numbers in Love's absence. I like taking a chance on his potential.
Most added guards
Ben Gordon, Bobcats: The Bobcats' guard rotations have been inconsistent, which is to be expected for a team that stands as the league's third-worst by record so far. Gordon was the victim of a minute squeeze last month, as coach Mike Dunlap has searched for the right combination to turn his team around. Gordon went a stretch of 10 games from Dec. 7 through Dec. 29 averaging just 16.2 minutes per game. The pendulum has shifted the other way again over the last week-plus for Gordon, as he is averaging 26.8 minutes per game over the last three, while scoring in double figures in six consecutive games. Gordon is a contributor of empty, inefficient scoring even at his best, but he has some value when the minutes are there. Unfortunately, his inconsistent role on the team this season should serve as a caution for Fantasy owners who see his gaudy scoring in recent games as a reason to snag him. Be ready to cut Gordon loose if it looks like Dunlap is shying away from him. (45 percent owned; +15 percent)
Vince Carter, Mavericks: Carter found himself in the starting lineup for a few games last week, as the Mavericks also look for an answer to a slide that has seen them lose nine of the last 10 games. Carter has not really been a reason for that slide, as he has scored in double figures in 8 of 10 games, averaging 13.1 per. Carter has transitioned seamlessly into full-time sixth man role for the first time in his career, though he does little besides chip in some points off the bench. Carter has the green light to fire away from three-point range and is averaging 1.7 three-pointers per game (on 5.4 attempts). He is also contributing 1.2 steals per game and is worth an add in category-based Fantasy formats in his current role. (47 percent owned; +11 percent)
Carlos Delfino, Rockets: The Rockets seem intent on setting some sort of NBA land-speed record with their play this season. They average 97.0 possessions per game on the year, the highest mark since the 2009-10 season. They score a lot of points, and they simply love taking three-pointers, with only the Knicks having attempted more; no other team is within 100 attempts of them, otherwise. These tendencies bode particularly well for a player like Delfino, whose best skill remains his three-point shooting; he leads the team in attempts from deep at 6.0 per game, while making 37.7 percent of them. He got off to a slow start to the season -- thanks in part to injury -- but is averaging double figures in scoring since December and is shooting over 40 percent from three-point range in that time. Delfino is another worthy add in category-based formats, though his production is even less consistent than Carter's. (27 percent owned; +9 percent)
Most added forwards
John Henson, Bucks: Just as Henson was starting to earn coach Scott Skiles' trust (and the subsequent minutes that trust leads to), Skiles decided to hit the road. Skiles came to an agreement with the team Monday that he would not finish off the last season of his contract, with assistant Jim Boylan taking over. That decision complicates a Bucks' front court rotation that has been exceedingly difficult to make sense of this season. In Skiles' final three games as the head coach, Henson averaged 12.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. It remains to be seen how interim head coach Boylan will choose to use Henson, but it will likely take more than a few games before we know whether Henson is going to see significant minutes. Henson played just five minutes in the first half of Boylan's first game as head coach, but forced his way onto the floor in the second half, finishing with 19 minutes total. He finished with a double-double in his time, and he was a part of the team's closing lineup. I would take a wait-and-see approach to adding Henson, but it looks like he is going to earn playing time, no matter what his coaches have planned. (42 percent owned; +37 percent)
Dante Cunningham, Timberwolves: Cunningham will be the other part of the Timberwolves' two-headed Kevin Love replacement plan. He earned the start in Love's first two games out and has actually played a larger role than Williams this season, averaging 23.0 minutes per game to Williams' 17.4. However, while coach Rick Adelman might prefer Cunningham's defense-and-energy-first approach to the game, the results on the stat sheet are less than impressive; he is averaging just 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. While Cunningham has been added in slightly more leagues than Williams, I would bet on Williams' upside over Cunningham. (32 percent owned; +28 percent)
Antawn Jamison, Lakers: Here we go again with the Jamison thing; he had a few weeks of decent production before falling completely out of favor with the coaching staff, but a frontline devastated by injury has opened up another chance for Jamison to possibly start. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are out "indefinitely" with various maladies, however it appears as if they could be back within a week. Jamison might see a larger role with them out, but will likely represent just a short-term solution. (32 percent owned; +15 percent)
Most added centers
Tyler Zeller, Cavaliers: This was a very slow week for center additions, but it would not surprise if Zeller ends up being a solid pick up. The Cavaliers indicated Tuesday that center Anderson Varejao might not travel on an upcoming five-game road trip, which should leave Zeller in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future. In 10 games as a starter, Zeller is averaging 10.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He is shooting just 40.4 percent from the field in that span while racking up more field-goal attempts than points, so it is not all positive with him. Still, with the center position being so shallow, I would expect Zeller to be owned in more than 32 percent of leagues while Varejao remains out. (32 percent owned; +5 percent)
Jordan Hill, Lakers: Given the dearth of options at the center position, I'll cheat just a little bit and focus on a player who is a forward primary player who, nonetheless, has center eligibility. Like Jamison, news of Gasol and Howard's injuries led to a little rush to add Hill to rosters, but Hill comes with very different caveats about his Fantasy utility. Hill is dealing with his own injuries that will keep him from taking advantage of the starting big men's absences. Hill has a torn labrum in his hip and is expected to miss at least a week, if not more, due to the injury. The idea of going out to grab him was the right one initially, but a bit of bad luck is going to cost Fantasy owners that roster spot. It seems like Howard and Gasol might end up returning before Hill does. (9 percent owned; +7 percent)
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