Crashing the Boards
By Derek VanRiper
For Sale: (1) 7-Footer. Shoots and defends well, can play two positions. Needs haircut and loving home with NBA Championship aspirations. Cost: (1) Starting point guard, an All-Star and/or draft picks. Willing to take on large contract if other parts of deal meet our needs. If interested, please contact J.West at 1-800-SAVE-PAU. Inquire before Feb. 22.
It's sink or swim time for fantasy owners, and whether you're moving a piece that no longer fits on your squad or looking to amp up your championship hopes with a big move, now's a great time to deal. NBA clubs are following suit, with Pau Gasol being shopped by the Grizzlies, Chris Webber having been bought out and joining the Pistons last week and a number of other veterans hoping to make a run at an NBA title still on the payroll for some bottom feeders.
If making the big move isn't really an option for you, check out some of the options below for a boost in a category or two.
Larry Hughes, G, Cleveland: It's easy to be forgotten when you take the court with LeBron James every night, but Hughes has quietly produced over 15 points per game this season. The knock will always be his shooting percentages (40.5 percent from the field and 67 percent from the free-throw line), but for a guy who can pitch in a handful of assists each night and a grab more than a steal per game, Hughes one of the better backcourt options floating around the waiver wire.
Willie Green, G, Philadelphia: Green's a little bit dinged up right now with a knee injury, but playing next to new point guard Andre Miller, he's going to get enough good looks to be a reliable scorer in Philly. The Sixers aren't exactly stockpiled with great offensive players; so don't be surprised if Green ultimately emerges as the No. 2 scorer behind Andre Iguodala.
Hakim Warrick, F, Memphis: Put away your Jump-to-Conclusions mat and just listen. If and when Pau Gasol gets shipped out of Memphis, there is a very good chance that Warrick will return to a starting role, where he's averaged 15.3 points and 5.8 boards in 31 games as a starter this season. He's been less impressive since coming off the bench following Gasol's return (9.1 points and 2.5 rebounds per game), but don't be left in the cold once word of a trade involving Gasol finally breaks.
Clifford Robinson, F/C, New Jersey: Fact of the day: Robinson is the only active NBA player who has played in each of the last three decades. What can he do for your fantasy team? Well, if you happen to play in a very deep league where a warm body eligible at center can be useful, than Robinson is your guy. He's averaged a blocked shot per game over his last five contests, along with 5.6 rebounds during that stretch.
Jason Williams, G, Miami: Having played in both of Miami's back-to-back games, Williams has shown that's he very close to 100 percent after being limited by knee issues earlier this season. Over his last five contests, Williams has averaged 6.2 assists per game (near his career level of production) in addition to 13.6 points and 1.6 steals. He's still available in nearly one-third of all leagues, so act now with limited options available on the waiver wire.
Jamal Crawford, G, New York: Crawford has stepped up in the absence of Stephon Marbury, dishing out 6.6 assists per game over the last five. His 16.8 points per game this season is nothing to sneeze at either, unless your league counts shooting percentages. Crawford is once again below his career 39.9 field-goal percentage, and he's significantly worse from the three-point line, shooting at a 28.9 percent clip. At the end of the day, he's a good option if you need the dimes and your league doesn't include shooting percentages.
Smush Parker, G, Los Angeles Lakers: We're talking about a steals specialist here, as Parker has averaged 1.33 per game this season. He's chipping in 11.3 points per game as well, but his poor distribution (2.8 assists against 1.8 turnovers per game) keeps him on the waiver-wire heap in the majority of leagues.
Rudy Gay, F, Memphis: Before his eight-minute cameo against the Jazz on Wednesday night, Gay was again showing flashes of being an impact player, posting 17.3 points, 2.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks in his previous three games. As a rookie, the playing time will be a bit of a roller coaster for at least the short term, but if minutes are freed up by a potential Pau Gasol trade, Gay could make his mark before his first NBA season is complete.
Steve Blake, G, Denver: Blake could be listed under a number of different categories in this article since moving to the Mile-High City, but the biggest change in his game is increased three-point shooting. Over the last five games, Blake has averaged 2.6 treys (10.8 points), 5.4 assists and 2.2 steals per contest. Opposing defenses have been plenty busy trying to simultaneously defend Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, so expect Blake to continue getting good looks on the perimeter.
James Jones, F, Phoenix: If he were buried as deep as he is on the Suns' bench anywhere else in the league, there's a pretty good chance he'd have no relevant fantasy value. Luckily for you, he's been able to benefit from the high-scoring Phoenix offense to the tune of 2.6 treys per game over his last five. He's played just under 20 minutes per contest over that period, but an added bonus is the 1.2 blocks per game.
Article first appeared on 1/25/07