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NBA Waiver Wire: Working the Wire-Week 5

Charlie Zegers

Charlie has covered the NBA, NFL and MLB for RotoWire for the better part of 15 years. His work has also appeared on,, the New York Times, ESPN, Fox Sports and Yahoo. He embraces his East Coast bias and is Smush Parker's last remaining fan.

Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor


Lots of turmoil in the NBA in the last week. The Knicks made two major trades, shipping the top two scorers on one of the NBA's top offensive teams to the West Coast. The Warriors imported yet another guard, the Clippers yet another forward. And the Thunder and Wizards fired their coaches.

Changes bring uncertainty. But if you're working the waiver wire, uncertainty can also mean opportunity. Here are some potential pickups for this week, with a focus on the teams that made significant changes recently.

New York:

Anthony Roberson - Wait, what? You read this right… Roberson might be the most valuable Knick to grab in the short term. Why? Jamal Crawford was traded. New acquisition Cuttino Mobley hasn't been cleared to play yet. And Nate Robinson pulled a groin muscle during Tuesday's loss to the Cavs and could be out for a week. That leaves the Knicks with exactly two healthy guards - Chris Duhon and Roberson.

Stephon Marbury - Marbury reportedly refused to suit up for Friday's game - the first the Knicks played without Jamal Crawford. That almost certainly knocks him out of Mike D'Antoni's plans permanently… but stranger things have happened. If the Knicks actually do manage to get Steph to suit up - the need is dire, given the current state of their guard rotation, Steph could put up big numbers. Obviously, don't make a claim until you see him on the floor - but if Steph suits up, he could be a short-term steal.

Al Harrington - Due to inconsistent play and a lingering back injury that mysteriously cleared up as soon as he was traded, Harrington was a non-factor in Oakland. That means he's available in a lot of leagues - any leagues where he wasn't snapped up the moment the trade hit the wires, anyway.

Tim Thomas - Like Harrington, Thomas figures to get a lot more opportunities in New York than he was getting on his old team. Remember -- Thomas was highly productive playing for D'Antoni with the Suns back in 2005-06.

Los Angeles:

Eric Gordon - The sweet-shooting rookie from Indiana was always intended to be Mobley's eventual replacement. "Eventual" just happened sooner than expected. Gordon played 36 minutes and scored 25 points - with four steals - against New Orleans on Sunday.

Ricky Davis - Davis should also have an expanded role with Mobley out of the picture… but not in the very short term, he's suffering from tendonitis in his knee.

Golden State:

Kelenna Azubuike - In Jamal Crawford's Warriors debut Tuesday night, Azubuike played over 32 minutes - more than four of Golden State's five starters. Now, his extended run in that game could have been dictated by matchup - this is a Don Nelson team we're talking about, after all. But this would seem to indicate that Azubuike won't be squeezed out of the rotation by Crawford's arrival.

Anthony Morrow - Morrow teamed with Crawford in the starting backcourt on Tuesday night, which may indicate that last week's fantasy darling might have some value left after all. He was limited, though, to just 15 minutes of play - four Warrior reserves played more than that.


Andray Blatche - Blatche had his best game of the season in Ed Tapscott's coaching debut, scoring 25 points in 29 minutes off the bench against Golden State. Now, Golden State has a way of making opposing big men look good… but Blatche has now set new season highs in scoring twice in his last three games.

JaVale McGee - Tapscott indicated that Etan Thomas is out of his top eight, at least for now, which means McGee and Blatche will be getting the lion's share of big-man playing time for Washington.

Dominic McGuire - For now it appears McGuire will be the fourth big man in Tapscott's rotation, behind Antawn Jamison, McGee and Blatche. McGuire is a "defense and rebounding" guy who will chip in a couple of steals and blocks when he gets playing time, but won't score much. He might be worth a look in very deep leagues.

Dee Brown - Brown has replaced Juan Dixon as the interim starting point for the last two games, and against Golden State he played arguably the best game of his NBA career (10 points on 4-of-4 from the field -- 2-of-2 from downtown -- three assists, two rebounds and one steal). His value is likely to drop like a stone once Antonio Daniels returns, but he might be worth a look in the short term.

Oklahoma City:

Damien Wilkins - Interim coach Scott Brooks unveiled his new starting lineup, which will feature Wilkins at the shooting guard spot, Kevin Durant at the three and Jeff Green at the four. That should mean that Wilkins' minutes - which have been inconsistent this season - should even out at around 25-30 per night.

Russell Westbrook - Westbrook isn't part of OKC's new starting lineup - yet. But with the team clearly making a move to feature the young guys, more playing time for the rookie out of UCLA seems like a logical next step.

Nick Collison - Like Wilkins, Collison is part of the Thunder's new starting five. Collison isn't a young guy with potential, but he is a solid vet who could contribute decent scoring and good rebound numbers at the five spot.

Article first appeared on 11/26/08