It’s getting down to the nitty-gritty with fantasy basketball playoffs around the corner. Let’s see what players will give you that extra push to get you in there like swimwear. Yes, I just used that dumb phrase.
Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Orlando Magic (40% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Harris is easily fantasy basketball’s flavor of the week, but for those that don’t play pretend hoops, they may ask, “Who?” In any case, Harris deserves to be rostered at this point. Case in point: since The Tobias has been unleashed in Orlando (five games), he’s averaged 17.2 points on 58.3 percent shooting from the field (12.0 FGA), 84.6 percent from the free throw line (2.6 FTA), 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals and a block per game in a mere 28 minutes. Sure he had a horrendous game yesterday (six points while shooting 3-for-14 from the field and three boards in 23 minutes), but he led the team in attempts and that bodes well moving forward. Soon enough, if he keeps getting opportunities, it’ll be like “Cheers” where everyone will know Harris’ name. I’m so old.
Devin Harris, PG/SG, Atlanta Hawks (19%)
Remember when Devin Harris mattered? I mean, this dude was an NBA All-Star at one point! However, thanks to injury and the New Jersey Nets mess, the 2004 fifth overall draft pick has fallen on some lean times. Only turning 30 years old last week, Harris has found a second wind lately and averaged 12.8 points, 48.5 FG% (8.3 FGA), 84.6 FT% (3.3 FTA), 2.0 treys, 4.3 dimes and a couple of steals in 24 minutes during his last week of games. Harris can play both guard positions, which will lead to more opportunities, especially if he keeps up his recent production. He’s a definite add in deep leagues and if you need solid points, triples, and steals production in a standard league, pick up Harris.
Corey Brewer, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets (15%)
In his past six games since the All-Star break, Brewer has averaged 12.3 points, 43.5 FG% (11.5 FGA), 84.6 FT% (2.2 FTA), 0.5 treys, 2.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.2 steals in 25 minutes. However, before the All-Star break, things haven’t been too different other than freebies percentage (64.5 percent), steals (1.2) and threes made (1.2). However, I’d expect the triples production to get back to over one because he’s only shot 14.3 percent in his past six games. Overall, Brewer really does provide solid across-the-board production (other than the percentages) and should be owned in more than 15 percent of leagues.
Jermaine O’Neal, C, Phoenix Suns (15%)
Last week, O’Neal averaged a double-double (14.7 points and 10.3 boards) and a couple of blocks in three games. However, let’s expand the sample size a little bit, which is still small, but maybe is telling of how JON will do in the interim. Since the All-Star break (seven games), he’s averaged 12.1 points, 53.1 FG% (9.1 FGA), 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 rejections in 22 minutes. Surprising? Sure. However, looking at his splits, he’s produced when given the minutes. O’Neal’s Per 36 numbers are solid: 16.0 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. Looking at advanced stats, he owns an 18.1 PER and 104 Offensive Rating, both very respectable. Can O’Neal keep it up? As crazy as it sounds, it’s possible if he stays healthy, which of course is a big IF, but one of those that can pay off for you down the stretch.
John Salmons, SG/SF, Sacramento Kings (13%)
Salmons always seems to appear on these waiver wire lists around the internet in spurts. That’s because he produces solid numbers, but never consistently enough to stay rostered, so it’s always best to throw a line in and add him during these good times, but be ready to throw him back into the waiver wire waters when the bad times come. In the past week (four games), Salmons averaged 15.3 points on 50.0 percent shooting from the floor (10.0 FGA), which includes 61.9 percent from three-point range (5.3 3PA), 3.3 triples, 2.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 31 minutes of play. So, keep him until something smells fishy. (END: stupid fish puns).
Patrick Beverley, PG, Houston Rockets (1%)
Jeremy Lin has been ailing of late and Patrick Beverley has been doing well when on the court. Last week, Beverley averaged 8.3 points, 53.3 FG% (5.0 FGA), 83.3 FT% (2.0 FTA), 1.3 triples, 4.0 boards, 3.7 dimes and 1.7 steals in 21 minutes. If you’re in a deep league, Beverley should be a must-add as he’s done well since joining the NBA and the Rockets (20 games): 5.8 points, 2.8 assists, 1.0 threes and 1.1 steals in 15 minutes. That’s some relatively high-end production for the threes and steals categories in such limited minutes. Plus, considering the Rockets have the best offense in the NBA (points per game), there’s room for everyone to add to the offense, including Beverley.
And The Answer Is: Rankings!
I asked the following seven fantasy basketball experts to rank their top 10 players, player values, and busts and the following is the average of those lists with 70 being the highest average score each player could receive.
Patrick Madden (Fantasy Basketball Coaches)
Chris Morgan (Rotowire)
Josh Whitling (ESPN)
Chris Towers (CBS Sports)
Brian Flood (formerly CBS Sports, but now comedian)
Eric McClung (KFFL)
Frankie Lloyd (Baller Mind Frame)
Top 10 Players: 1. LeBron James (67), 2. Kevin Durant (66), 3. James Harden (60), 4. Kobe Bryant (43), 5. Stephen Curry (33), 6. Chris Paul (32), 7. Russell Westbrook (23), 8. Paul George (18), 9. Carmelo Anthony (12), 10. Nicolas Batum (10)
Top 10 Player Values: 1. Nikola Vucevic (56), 2. Larry Sanders (46), 3. Chandler Parsons (45), 4. O.J. Mayo (32), 5. Damian Lillard (25), 6. Greivis Vasquez (19), 7T. Metta World Peace (16), 7T. Amir Johnson (16), 8. Earl Clark (14), 9. Kemba Walker (12), 10. Kyle Korver (10)
Top 10 Busts: 1. Pau Gasol (53), 2. Andrew Bynum (48), 3. Kevin Love (43), 4. Dwight Howard (23), 5. Roy Hibbert (21), 6. Josh Smith (16), 7. Deron Wiliams (15), 8. Steve Nash (14), 9T. Marcus Thornton (13), 9T. Marcin Gortat (13), 10T. Eric Gordon (12), 10T. Rajon Rondo (12)
Number of Team Games in Week 19 (3/4-3/10)
Four Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DEN, GSW, LAL, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA
Three Games: BKN, CHI, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, PHO, WAS
Two Games: SAS
Dennis Velasco is proud of the 5th grade CYO team that he helps coach with John and Vince, two men who are clearly less handsome than he is. Beating the number one seed in the playoffs is big and deserves a shoutout, so keep it going Brendan, Chris, Christian, Cole, Danny, Holden, Mike, Nick, Peter and Ryan! On to the next one!