Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
Take a trip to the mall this time of year and here's what you'll see: the same stuff that was there when you were in a shopping frenzy on Christmas Eve… just a little dustier and a whole lot cheaper.
Things are similar here at Wire HQ, where we keep seeing the same names on the ol' available list – particularly for shallow leagues. Here's a recap of some players we've covered in the past and still like, who are available in a lot of leagues on NBA.com and, most likely, elsewhere. The number in parentheses is each player's "percent owned" in Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner, as of January 22.
Here they are, Working the Wire's greatest hits…
Mike Conley – MEM [PG,SG]: Damon Stoudamire hasn't played a minute in 2008, and could be cashing a buyout check by the time this article is published. Conley is officially the man in Memphis now. (48.2%)
Wally Szczerbiak – SEA [SF]: The veteran Szczerbiak has emerged as Seattle's most consistent scorer, posting double-figures in 20 of Seattle's last 24 games. (28.9%)
Juan Carlos Navarro – MEM [PG,SG]: Navarro has proven to be an effective scorer as a starter (generally when Mike Miller has been unavailable) or off the bench, topping the 20-point mark in four of his last six games. (20.5%)
Jamario Moon – TOR [SF]: There will always be a place in fantasy for what my friend the professor calls garbage men; guys who fill up the entire stat sheet without doing any one thing phenomenally well. Moon is emerging as one of the game's better trash collectors, averaging double-figure scoring, nearly seven boards, 1.8 blocks, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals this month. (24.1%)
Anderson Varejao – CLE [PF,C]: It took a while for the energetic Brazilian to get back to form, but he's posting regular double-doubles now and netting around three blocks/steals combined per game. (18.1%)
Ryan Gomes – MIN [SF,PF]: I don't really trust Minnesota's rotations either, as they seem to change at random. But Gomes has been solid for the better part of the month, averaging over 14 points per game and with a career-high 35 on Monday. (12.0%)
Linas Kleiza – DEN [SG,SF]: His role increased due to injuries all over Denver's front line, Kleiza made a splash with a 41-point outing last Thursday, then followed it up with nine points on Saturday. What should you expect? Something in between – but it shouldn't shock anyone of Kleiza becomes a mid-to-high teens scorer, especially when Nene, Kenyon Martin, Eduardo Najera and now Carmelo Anthony are all battling injuries. (7.2%)
Josh Boone – NJN [PF,C]: Boone hasn't been tremendously consistent, but he's showing flashes. He posted 18 points and 12 boards on January 16 against the Knicks, then followed up that performance with 17-and-16 against the Clippers on the 19th. And his abysmal free throw shooting is showing signs of improvement since Nets executive Kiki Vanderweghe started with him. (15.7%)
Nate Robinson – NYK [PG,SG]: Robinson continues to thrive as New York's first guard off the bench, scoring in double figures in 16 of his last 17 games, and in his last five has added six assists and a steal on average. (16.9%)
We're all about recycling - but we can't go an entire column without adding some new suggestions to the mix.
Sebastian Telfair – MIN [PG]: 'Bassy's suspect shot is showing signs of improvement. He's hit over 50 percent of his attempts from the floor over the course of his last three games, which includes an impressive 15-point, seven-assist outing in Minnesota's surprising road win over Golden State on Monday. Telfair is available in just over 85 percent of all Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner Leagues.
Jordan Farmar – LAL [PG,SG]: Farmar appears to have the most to gain from Trevor Ariza's injury. In the Lakers' first game without Ariza, Farmar played 23 minutes, scoring 19 points with two dimes. Farmar is there for the taking in 95 percent of all Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues.
Thaddeus Young – PHI [SF,PF]: Young seems to be moving ahead of Reggie Evans in Philly's rotation, logging some serious minutes of late -- 30 in Monday's loss to Indiana, while Evans played less than 10. The rookie finished with 13 points (6-11 FG, 1-2 FT), seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. He's clearly getting an extended look, and he's “zero percent” owned.
Thabo Sefolosha – CHI [SG,SF]: The Bulls have several players battling aches and pains, and Sefolosha has emerged as a jack-of-all-trades backup to everyone of late. Filling in for Luol Deng (Achilles), Sefolosha netted 12 points and 13 rebounds in 35 minutes of action in the Bulls' 97-81 win over Detroit Saturday. He'd make for an excellent pickup if Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Chris Duhon or Ben Gordon seem likely to miss time, and is “zero percent” owned.
Article first appeared on 1/22/08