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NBA Waiver Wire: Risk and Reward

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.

Some of fantasy's biggest names posted video game stat lines in New York on Wednesday night, headlined by Stephen Curry's 54-point explosion at Madison Square Garden. Curry added six boards, seven dimes, and three steals, very nearly carrying the Warriors to the win despite the absence of both David Lee and Andrew Bogut.

I've long considered Curry a potential top-five fantasy player, assuming he can stay healthy. But that may be the most dangerous assumption in fantasy NBA circles. Can you really risk a top-five pick on a player with his injury history?

It seems fair to call Curry the biggest risk/reward play in next year's draft.

Worth noting ... Curry's Warriors lost the game, in large part because their Lee and Bogut-less frontcourt could do nothing to slow the Knicks' big men. Carmelo Anthony had 35 points and eight assists, and Tyson Chandler grabbed 28 rebounds - 10 on the offensive end - and scored 16 points.

Imagine how many boards Chandler would have had if Curry missed a shot occasionally. Chandler has actually been rebounding better this year than in years past. To date, he's averaging 11.4 rebounds per game - up from 9.9 in his first year as a Knick on about the same playing time. That could be a by-product of lining up with Anthony at the four instead of Amar'e Stoudemire most of the time, or just a slight change of focus to account for what is otherwise a weakness on his team. Either way, there's no reason he shouldn't be able to keep it up, though it's possible that coach Mike Woodson will cut Chandler's minutes a bit if and when Marcus Camby is ready to contribute.

According to Woodson, Camby could be back on the floor this Sunday, but don't expect significant minutes out of the oft-injured center for a while.

Is it time to consider the possibility that the Orlando Magic actually won the Dwight Howard trade? Howard clearly hasn't been himself for most of this season; he and Kobe Bryant seem to get along about as well as Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries; and it seems there's a real possibility he could sign elsewhere this summer. Meanwhile, Andrew Bynum has yet to suit up for the Sixers, and the roster built around him is falling apart at the seams. But in Orlando, Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic - two of the players acquired in the four-team deal - have been playing very well of late.

Throw in recent acquisition Tobias Harris, who arrived in last week's J.J. Redick trade, and the Magic suddenly have one of the league's more promising young frontcourts.

Oh, and while we're on the topic of the Howard trade ... anyone else think it was strange for Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak to suggest that some of the moves he made for this season were motivated by Dr. Jerry Buss' illness?

Did the Lakers accelerate their rebuilding plans due to Buss' failing health? Maybe. But to admit that now sure sounds a lot like Kupchak is attempting to lay the blame for a series of questionable decisions - the Steve Nash and Dwight Howard acquisitions and Mike Brown's ouster and replacement by Mike D'Antoni - on the dearly departed?

Not cool, Mitch.

Picks for the Week

All percent-owned stats are from Yahoo! Your league’s mileage may vary.

Isaiah Thomas (71%) - Thomas averaged over 17 points and just under five assists per game in February, making him one of very few people connected with the Sacramento franchise that had a good month.

Jeff Green (39%) - Green seems to be thriving for the post-Rondo Celtics, especially on the defensive end (1.7 blocks per game in February).

Al-Farouq Aminu (27%) - Aminu doesn't score much, but he has developed into a talented defender for the Hornets, er, Pelicans. He's averaging more than two blocks per game through New Orleans' last four contests.

Jermaine O'Neal (14%) - O’Neal has grabbed double-digit rebounds six times this season, with five of those games coming in the last two weeks. I have no idea why a rebuilding team like the Suns is giving that much run to a player that clearly isn't part of their future, but hey, enjoy it while it lasts.

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