I recently took down my Christmas tree. That has nothing to do with this column, but serves as proof that I got that tedious task out of the way and I know a lot of you should do the same too.

What else should you do? Read this column, but only if you want to win your fantasy basketball league.

Waiver Wire Considerations

Mo Williams, PG, Los Angeles Clippers (40% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Williams has to have the most broken heart in the NBA. First his buddy, LeBron James, leaves the Cavaliers without telling anyone and then the Clippers trade for Chris Paul AND sign Chauncey Billups during the offseason. What’s a man to do? I guess cry a little, as was the case with the former and just deal with it as it is with the latter. In his return from a three-game absence — and with CP3 resting from an injury — Williams caught fire, shooting 11-for-15 with a duo of treys for 26 points in a close 91-89 win over the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. He won’t do this on the regular, but he’s capable of going off and has been productive throughout the season. Add in the facts that Paul isn’t the most durable of players and Billups has a lot of games on his NBA bones, you never know how much time Williams will get on the floor. He’s a good add if you need a bench spot filled and some spot starts here and there.

George Hill, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers (43%)
I looked at the splits between December and January for Hill and was kind of surprised at how similar the the cumulative stats were. Wasn’t everyone complaining about how Hill was a disappointment at the beginning of the season? Well, I then scanned over the statline and saw why people had ill feelings towards Hill. In December, Hill shot these percentages — 39.5 percent from the field, 9.1 percet from behind the arc and a nice 77.8 percent from the charity stripe. Well, in January, those numbers have been significantly boosted to 53.7 percent from the floor, 52.6 percent from the land of Kerby and 89.5 percent from the line. Hill is shooting more efficiently and this turnaround could bode well moving forward. He doesn’t start, but plays about half the game and if he continues to work efficiently, he’ll produce for any fantasy hoops team.

Tayshaun Prince, SF, Detroit Pistons (33%)
I’m not sure if they have a “blue pill” for basketball players’ performances on the hardwood, but if they did, Prince surely had to have taken it in the past week. In his last three games, Prince has scored at least 20 points and averaged 23.0 PPG during this period. In total, he hit 31 out of 60 shots, including five three-pointers and that’s really about as much value as he’s bringing right now — scoring. The trend will eventually level off, but Prince is definitely more capable than he’s shown this season as a whole. If you have an injured player or a bench spot in standard leagues, Prince is worth a shot for this week.

C.J. Miles, SG/SF, Utah Jazz (43%)
I’ve watched two games of the Jazz in the past week and Miles looks like a bully. Not a Kevin Garnett type of bully, but one that’s going to attack the rim and do whatever he wants on the court. In four games the past week, Miles averaged 14.3 points on 51.4 percent shooting from the deck and 100.0 percent from the line (4.2 attempts per), 3.7 boards, 1.8 dimes and 1.8 rock thefts in only 21 minutes of play per game. Talk about instant offense off the bench, both in real life and in fantasy as you should pick him up as a solid back-up for your squad.

Danny Green, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs (12%)
Green doesn’t start for the Spurs and he’ll give inconsistent performances, but in deep leagues he’s easily worth the gamble, especially when you consider that Manu Ginobili is still out and will be for some time. In the past four games, Green has averaged about 29 minutes per contest and is working it to the tune of 10.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 triples, and 1.3 blocks. He seems to have a steady rotation spot and has come through with some big shots for the Spurs. It’s easy to see that the former second-rounder is hungry to do big things and keep earning his burn on the court.

Chandler Parsons, SF/PF, Houston Rockets (16%)
I was a big fan of Parsons coming out of Florida, even before being dubbed “Mr. Tip Dunks,” as he’s a very versatile type of player. He’s a tall three with solid ball-handling and passing skills, has a nice stroke from the outside and a high basketball IQ. Really, the only thing missing is aggressiveness as proven by some of his games where he hasn’t gone to the line once. Parsons is very unselfish and plays within himself. However, hopefully his knack for jamming home teammates’ misses will get the old testosterone going. At the very least, the fact that he has usurped Chase Budinger for the starting small forward position has to help Parsons gain some confidence that he can get things done at the NBA level. In the past week, in five games, Parsons averaged 6.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.4 3PTM, 1.4 steals and 0.8 blocks. These aren’t spectacular numbers, but it proves that he contributes everywhere and would be an excellent deep league pick-up.

The Power of Rookies

OK, so this is sort of a plug for a new blog I started solely focused on NBA rookies — NBARooks.com — but today, Michael Naclerio has an excellent look at the fantasy value of rookies this season and it had me thinking that there isn’t a dominant rookie as there has been in years past. You know, guys like Blake Griffin, Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, players that straight up did work from game one and were fantasy gold in their respective year. However, on the flip side, this season there are a lot fantasy finds more than in other seasons, I believe. Not a lot of guys that deserve the automatic start, but enough guys that have earned serious consideration.

For example, who would have thought the above mentioned Parsons would become a starter so quickly? Or how about Markieff Morris getting the start in Phoenix and likely keeping it because of his ability to rebound, play defense, and be efficient on offense? Enes Kanter is getting solid minutes in Utah even with the presence of other bigs around and the boot was given to Mehmut Okur so that Kanter and other youngsters get some burn. Kawhi Leonard with the Spurs is keeping the starting job warm for Manu and producing. There’s a lot of instances of players not named Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio and Brandon Knight getting some shine.

Someone like MarShon Brooks is a good example of rookies coming out of nowhere and getting it done. And yes, it’s pretty well-known by now that I’m a Nets fan (said without shame either!), but Swag is doing well for a 25th overall pick in what people considered a very weak draft class. He’s currently ranked as the 50th-best player in Yahoo! with only Rubio being ranked higher (32nd) among rookies. Before the season, Rubio was ranked at 115 and Brooks at 209, so for all intents and purposes, Brooks has given the most value from first-year players.

So, while there aren’t any fantasy gold type players out there in this draft class, there’s certainly more silver out there than we all probably expected. And some are even polishing up nicely to look like platinum when value (where rookie was drafted/picked up off waivers) is considered.

True or False

You should trade Amar’e Stoudemire right now!
FALSE … kind of. It definitely deserves some consideration since Stoudemire is under-performing. I received a few e-mails/tweets about STAT and I’ve said no to people, mostly due to the fact that he’s a “buy low” candidate and you wouldn’t get equal value for him right now. Well, at least perceived equal value. So, once he starts performing like he has in the past, I would definitely move him if possible.

Stoudemire is shooting less (19.0 attempts last season versus 15.9 this season), hitting less (50.2 percent versus 40.8 percent), getting to the line less (7.7 attempts versus 6.3 attempts) and subsequently scoring significantly less (25.3 points versus 18.3 points). There are many factors at work, which has to involve the shortened and compacted season, STAT’s injury history, new personnel that still needs to gel and STAT’s injury history. Did I mention that? Of course, I can’t say with authority that Stoudemire’s knees are affecting him, but all things considered, including the fact the Knicks couldn’t insure those bad boys says a lot.

Regardless, Stoudemire is still young enough to play through any pain, but it may be affecting him because how else can you explain those dips? Sure Melo is going to take more shots, but 15.9 attempts isn’t anything to cry about either. So, hold onto STAT for the time being, but then trade him when the right offer comes. If you have him in a keeper league of any sort, the same advice holds true.

Fantasy Thoughts To Jump Off From

- Dwyane Wade was recently injured and I was asked for my view on the situation on Twitter. Basically what it comes down to is that the Heat won’t be in a rush to bring him back quickly. Unfortunately for Wade owners, he’s going to sit at least a week and become non-productive for your team. However, it’s not like you can drop Wade either.

- So, where can you get production since there isn’t anything equivalent to a DL spot like in baseball? This is why a fantasy hoops bench is very important, particularly in a season like this one where a lot of players are getting injured. Cut off non-productive bench players from your squad and grab new ones off the wire, even if you have to cycle them in. Yes, a lot of people don’t like cycling, but unless your league has a specific rule that doesn’t allow it, it’s all legal and you’re just playing to win within the rules. If you have transaction limits in your league, I’d still consider cycling for a player of Wade’s caliber. It’s a short season and there’s no time to be timid. Be the opposite of teams like the Heat and be aggressive to get players to produce for you.

Number of Team Games in Week 5

Five Games: ORL
Four Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NJN, NOR, NYK, PHI, PHO, POR, SAS, TOR, WAS
Three Games: DEN, GSW, LAC, LAL, OKC, SAC, UTA

Follow me on Twitter (@dv140) and feel free to ask me any question about fantasy hoops or even movies. And check out the new NBA blog I founded, NBARooks.com and follow us on Twitter as well (@nbarooks). Paz, fantasy heads!