Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
The big names in this week's blockbuster trade - Chauncey Billups, Allen Iverson, even Antonio McDyess - probably aren't available on the wire in your league. The other player getting fitted for a new uni this week, Cheikh Samb, might not even merit consideration in a fantasy D-league game.
But that doesn't mean the roster shakeups in Detroit and Denver won't create opportunities for fantasy owners looking for waiver wire bargains.
Billups is a far more traditional point guard than Iverson; his arrival should mean more - and easier - shots for Denver's scorers. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith are probably the biggest beneficiaries, but you're not getting them on the wire. You might have a shot at a guy like Dahntay Jones, who will reportedly slide into Iverson's starting spot (though Smith will get the lion's share of two-guard minutes).
But the departure of McDyess is another matter. With him out of the picture, the Pistons will have minutes to spare for Argentine forward Walter Herrmann. Herrmann languished on the bench after arriving in Detroit via a midseason trade last year, but this season he's been productive in limited minutes, averaging over 10 points per game through three contests. He should get at least 20, and possibly 25, minutes per game after the dust clears.
All stats are through Monday's games unless otherwise noted.
Ramon Sessions (MIL) - It took practically no time - and just one announcement from Scott Skiles - for Sessions to turn from popular sleeper candidate to regular on the "most dropped" lists. It took Luke Ridnour's balky back to reverse that trend. Sessions has started Milwaukee's last two games and put up excellent numbers: 12 points and nine dimes against the Raptors on Saturday, followed by 18-and-8 against the Knicks on Sunday. The only person who might still doubt that Sessions is the best option at the point for the Bucks is Skiles - but even he can't take too long to come around.
Marc Gasol (MEM) - Through four games, Pau's "little" - if you can call 7-1, 270 "little" in any context - brother has been an absolute steal, averaging 13 points, over 10 boards and nearly two blocks a game… and that includes an absolute clunker - three points and five fouls - at Chicago on Saturday night. Expect typical rookie inconsistency, but place a claim if he's available.
Spencer Hawes (SAC) - Brad Miller's five-game suspension has given Hawes more than enough room to prove he's a viable alternative. Through Sacramento's first four games, Hawes has posted a near double-double (12.5 points, 9.3 boards) with over two blocks per game thrown in as a bonus. His minutes and production could dip when Miller gets back into the mix, but Sacramento is clearly looking to build around the younger guys, so don't be surprised if Hawes surpasses the veteran Miller for the starting spot - or if Miller is moved at some point.
Jason Thompson (SAC) - Because he came out of tiny Rider College, people expected that Thompson would be something of a project at the NBA level. But through four games, Thompson has thoroughly outplayed his competition for minutes at the four spot in Sacramento, scoring in double figures in every game and averaging 14 points, seven boards, two assists and just under a block per game.
Quentin Richardson (NYK) - Yeah, we don't think he'll stay healthy either… but Q-Rich is hitting three threes per game so far, and he's a very decent rebounder (five boards per game) for a swingman. He deserves a long look, particularly if you need a short-term injury replacement.
Nate Robinson (NYK) - Robinson is thriving - as expected - in Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo offense, averaging 13 points, 4.7 boards and 4.3 assists through the Knicks first three games. And with Knick management confirming this week that Stephon Marbury will continue to be inactive for the foreseeable future, Robinson is assured of getting sixth-man type minutes at minimum.
Delonte West (CLE) - West seems to be growing into his new job as the Cavs' starting two - his scoring output through Cleveland's first four games: six points, then nine, then 12, then 14. Not a bad streak. If he keeps that up, by January he'll set some sort of record. Most of West's production is coming from beyond the arc - he was 4-of-5 from three in Saturday's game and 3-of-4 on Monday. Don't expect him to keep hitting at that rate, but he should continue to be a good source of threes this year.
Shannon Brown (CHA) - The sample size is, admittedly, tiny… but Brown had an excellent game in the Bobcats' loss to Detroit on Monday, netting 16 points (4-for-8 FG, 1-for-2 3pt, 7-for-8 FT). Ordinarily, we'd dismiss it as a fluke, but Brown - who has an excellent reputation as a defender -- seems like a good fit for what coach Larry Brown is trying to establish in Charlotte, which could mean Monday's game was a sign of things to come.
Article first appeared on 11/5/08