The Wire Troll: Alex Len is Rising in Phoenix
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. Adrian is off eating smoked meat in Montreal this week, so once again the Troll will be penned by your trusty editor, RotoRob. It’s All-Star weekend: the perfect chance for you to catch leaguemates napping while you raid the wire for a big finish.
This week, the cold war between Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant has continued on the All-Star stage; Draymond Green backpeddled on his comments about Knicks’ owner James Dolan; and the NBA has put Texas on notice for its controversial “bathroom bill” that targets transgender people.
And now onto this week’s Fantasy basketball waiver wire recommendations…
D.J. Augustin, PG, Orlando Magic (ESPN: 1 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): Other than an 11-point showing a week and a half ago, Augustin has been fairly quiet lately. So why the Fantasy nod? Rumours suggest he’s on his way to Detroit in a deal that would send Reggie Jackson to the Magic and open up PG time in Motown. Augustin, who has spent plenty of time starting this season, could nab the job, but even if he’s coming off the bench, he should see a boost in PT, making him an interesting player to stash in deeper formats. He’s shown a great shooting touch — at least in the virtual world (see video below).
Ish Smith, PG, Detroit Pistons (ESPN: 16.1 per cent; CBS: 37 per cent): Of course, the other dude that stands to benefit from Jackson being shipped out is Smith. Given that he’s got a long-term contract, Smith might be handed the keys to the offense in Detroit, but again — either way — he’s in line for a boost in PT. Even as the backup, he’s developed some nice chemistry and at times has done a better job than Jackson of running the Piston attack. Smith has put up double-digit scoring efforts in four of the last five games despite getting over 21 minutes of action just once. That’s efficiency, people. So imagine what he’d do with a consistent 25 to 30 minutes.
Jeff Green, SF/PF, Orlando Magic (ESPN: 3.6 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Green is another player rumoured to be heading to Detroit in that trade, but in his case, it may not be such a good thing given the Pistons’ frontcourt depth. However, if he stays put, that may be just fine given that he was moved into the Magic starting lineup last game, responding with a second straight double-digit scoring effort. Green has struggled from downtown this season, but if he continues to start, he’ll be worth a pickup in deep leagues.
Bobby Portis, PF, Chicago Bulls (ESPN: 1.1 per cent; CBS: 7 per cent): With Nikola Mirotic (back) out, Portis has again been flashing his potential, scoring 16 points with six boards on Sunday and then a season-best 19 points with eight boards (including an impressive seven off the defensive glass) on Thursday. Portis is a solid defender, but the fact he’s shown a sweet offensive touch in two of the last three games is what’s really got us excited. He could be worth a short-term add to see how this plays out.
Alex Len, Phoenix Suns (ESPN: 25.2 per cent; CBS: 48 per cent): Len has now racked up four straight double-digit scoring games, flirting with double-digit boards in each of them while pitching in with some blocks. Phoenix is a shit show this season, but his recent effectiveness has been a bright spot. Len certainly has the size to be a dominant NBA centre, but his speed and post skills are not considered elite. He’s sinking more buckets so far in February, but has not gotten to the line as much as we’d like to see this season. If that changes, he’ll have a better chance of breaking out offensively.
Kevin Seraphin, Indiana Pacers (ESPN: 0.9 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): Injuries in Indiana have forced Seraphin into the starting lineup, and while he hasn’t exactly exploded, he’s definitely worth considering in very deep formats as he’s seeing enough minutes to produce. His touches are down this season, but the 17th overall pick from 2010 is getting a lot more looks now, and he tends to shoot at a fantastic clip (especially lately with a 65.7 per cent mark over the last five games). Once upon a time, Seraphin looked like the future of the Wizards; now, he’s getting a second chance in Indy, so perhaps it’s worth tracking him to see if he can grab it and run.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy basketball waiver wire pick of the week is.
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