Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
Then something unexpected happens. The baby starts crying. Your internet connection goes down. Aliens land in the backyard and subject you to a quick but disturbingly thorough examination...
And by the time you get back to your computer, there he is.
The unfortunate auto-pick.
It happened to me last week. (Not the alien abduction part.) I was pulled away from my computer at a crucial moment… apparently my 18-month-old daughter wasn't aware that "Oakley's Car Wash" was in the middle of a draft… and when I got back, my roster was littered with the likes of Chris Wilcox, Bobby Simmons and Luke Ridnour.
To the waiver wire!
In the weeks ahead, we'll use this space to point out players who seem not to be getting the love they deserve in NBA.com's Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner and other popular leagues. But to kick things off this week, we're looking for players that might have been overlooked on draft night.
Travis Outlaw (POR) - After weeks of speculation that Nate McMillan would use 19-year-old rookie Nicolas Batum as his starting three, the coach reversed course and announced that Outlaw would get the nod. All the confusion over his role probably led to Outlaw getting passed over in a lot of drafts - but he's a must-claim free agent if he's on the wire in your league - he led Portland in scoring in their season-opening loss to the Lakers.
Rudy Fernandez (POR) - Even after all the hype associated with Fernandez' performance in the Olympics, he's only owned in about half of all leagues. After his opening-night performance (16 points, three threes), we're expecting that number to increase in a hurry.
Joel Przybilla (POR) - Greg Oden's NBA debut was inauspicious - no points, one X-Ray. The extent of his injury isn't yet known, but it seems clear that Przybilla - and possibly Channing Frye - should get extra minutes in the short term.
Luc-Richard Mbah a Moute (MIL) - Mbah a Moute - drafted mainly as a defensive specialist - got more minutes than any other bench player for Scott Skiles' Bucks in their opener against Chicago (26). His modest stats in that game - two boards, one assist, two steals, one block - indicate the sort of contribution he'll make to fantasy teams as the season goes on; watch to see if he emerges as this year's Jamario Moon.
Mario Chalmers (MIA) - Chalmers had a strong finish to the preseason and appears to be Erik Spoelstra's choice as starting point guard for now. With Dwyane Wade handling the ball so often, Chalmers probably won't bowl you over with assist numbers - same goes for any Miami point guard, really - but he projects as a good source of outside shooting and possibly steals.
Tony Allen (BOS) - Although it was just one game, Allen seems well-prepared to take over the sixth man role vacated by James Posey. He scored 11 off the bench for the champs in their opener against Cleveland.
Josh Boone (NJN) - The rapid heartbeat problem that Boone was having last week shouldn't scare you off - the Nets used Boone with the first team in their final practices of the preseason, which seems to indicate that he'll get the starting nod when New Jersey opens the year.
Wilson Chandler (NYK) - Chandler seems to be over the knee problem that slowed him late in the preseason, and is expected to be the first forward off the bench for the Knicks. With Eddy Curry completely out of the rotation, that could mean significant minutes at both forward spots.
Kareem Rush (PHI) - It doesn't look like he'll get the starting nod, which hurts his value. But we still love the potential of a guy who shoots threes as well as Rush on the same team with Elton Brand. Rush should be on the receiving end of a lot of kick-outs from the low post this season.
Article first appeared on 10/29/08