Since each team has only played one or two games since the last Waiver Wired column, there’s not a lot of new information out there. Here’s the link to the most recent Wired, which is basically the same column I would write today. And due to an ice storm that almost kept me from being able to post at all today, I'm taking what I can get. Enjoy.
One exception might be Spencer Hawes, who has supposedly been filling in for Blake Griffin. However, if you’re just looking at box scores, it’s hard to even tell he’s been playing, let alone filling in for a superstar. Like most of the folks who picked him up, I’ve come close to running out of patience on Hawes. However, I’m not giving up just yet. The Clippers play on Thursday and Saturday this week, and if he’s not getting it done by then, I’m moving on. And if he does play well in those two games, hopefully he can keep it going for the next few weeks until Griffin is back.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $200,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Thursday's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $20,000. Starts at 8pm ET on Thursday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Games Played Week 17
3 Games: DAL, OKC
2 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, NOP, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, SAN, TOR, WAS
1 Game: BRK, MEM, MIN, UTA
Fantasy MVP: Stephen Curry
Anthony Davis is the popular pick here, but I’m going with Curry, who hasn’t missed a single game this season. To me, health is basically another fantasy category, even though I’ve never seen it actually used in a league (although I’m sure it exists in some hardcore leagues, and I’m guessing I’ll hear from a few of you). Davis, on the other hand, has missed seven games and played just seven minutes in another one. Curry and the Warriors (and Celtics) also have more games remaining on their schedule (42 after this week) than any other team. If the artist formerly and affectionately known in these parts as ‘Dorito Ankles’ stays healthy, look out.
Fantasy Bust: Lance Stephenson
Sure, Melo’s shutdown is a huge buzzkill, but we can call that one an injury, and Sanders’ meltdown has been pretty epic. But as far as a guy with high upside and a new team goes, Stephenson has been the pits. I doubt I hear much of an argument from his owners, although the owners of the honorable mentions here all probably have an argument for their guy. Maybe Stephenson will get his wish and go to Brooklyn, which could potentially turn his season around over the final two months.
Steal of the Draft: Draymond Green
Mad props to Rotoworld’s Mike Gallagher, who went all-in on Green this year. He gets it done in almost every category and didn’t even blink at David Lee’s return. Yeah, Dray’s disappeared on some nights, but he’s returned second-round fantasy value and has generally been a beast all season long. Not bad for a guy you got off the wire, or at the end of your drafts.
Waiver Wire Pickup: Hassan Whiteside
Whiteside’s run has been swift and punishing for those of you facing him in fantasy. He’s been a monster since the New Year started, racking up nine double-doubles and swatting three or more blocks in eight games since Dec. 31, including a 12-block game on Jan. 25. I have no idea how long he’ll keep it going, but I also don’t see any reason he won’t keep it going.
Breakout Star: Giannis Antetokounmpo
I really thought the chances of him breaking out in Milwaukee this season were kind of slim, but he’s done it. The Greek Freak is averaging 12.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.0 blocks on 51 percent shooting this season, and has really been coming on of late. He’s also not hurting you from the free throw line, hitting 71.4 percent of his shots. He’s only going to get better from here.
Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins
I’m not even going to list any other rookies here. It’s Wiggins’ world.
Fantasy Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer
Coach Bud is not only the real coach of the year, but he also is getting it done for his fantasy owners by using a set rotation and playing the guys we want him to play on a nightly basis, with consistent minutes. It’s really all fantasy owners could ask for.
Worst Fantasy Coach of the Year: Brian Shaw
The Nuggets are a mess and Shaw, to put it bluntly, has lost his team. He’s mishandled Kenneth Faried and can’t really seem to decide on a rotation. He just seems like one of those guys who is in over his head and he never does fantasy owners any favors. Just like the rest of the guys on the Honorable Mentions list.
News & Notes
The Knicks have officially cut ties with Amare Stoudemire and we’ll have to see whether or not he clears waivers. If he does, look for the Mavs to go after STAT, along with the Clippers and Suns. Additionally, if you listen to talk radio in Atlanta, many of the Hawks’ faithful would like to see him land in the ATL. Personally, I’m leery of adding any type of alpha dog mentality to the ATL roster, which includes Amare and Ray Allen. Gary Neal looks like the best fit for the Hawks from where I sit, but it’s hard to argue that the Hawks don’t need a big man for insurance in case Al Horford or Paul Millsap suffer an injury. But as a Hawks fan, I’m fully prepared to roll with who is currently on the roster and let the chips fall where they may. This version of Amare is not the one we grew accustomed to in Phoenix.
The Nuggets might be ready to blow the team up and center Jusuf Nurkic is the only untouchable player on the roster. I tend to think that Ty Lawson should also not be touched, but what do I know? This is just another reason to hold Nurkic going forward.
Chris Bosh has a rib injury, but doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy of missing games.
In the least surprising news of the day, Goran Dragic is tired of sharing the ball with Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas in Phoenix. He’d loved to be traded out of the desert, but a deal isn’t close and my guess is he’ll finish out the season as a Sun.
Larry Sanders and the Bucks are on the verge of a buyout, which is pretty disturbing to think about after the massive contract he got from them a couple years ago. He’s been a disaster and clearly is in over his head. There have been reports that he doesn’t even want to play basketball anymore and if you’ve watched him in his rare court appearances this season, it’s not that far-fetched of an idea. Which is sad.
Hang in there basketball fans. Thursday is inching closer and closer for us. This entire week off at the All-Star break is for the birds, as far as I’m concerned.