The Wire Troll: Ed Davis Rebounding in Cleveland
Ed Davis (21) has stepped up recently. (Twitter)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. Suddenly, November is nearly over, meaning we’re past the one-fifth mark of the schedule. You better be using that wire to your advantage.
This week, Didi Louzada got slapped with a 25-game suspension for violating the anti-drug program; on Friday, the NBA-leading Warriors were without Steph Curry (hip), Draymond Green (thigh), Andre Iguodala (knee) and Otto Porter Jr. (foot), yet they still found a way to edge Detroit; and Kevin Durant (shoulder) missed his first game of the season on Friday.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks
Ed Davis, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: unowned): Sure, he’s taking advantage of a depleted Cav frontcourt, so this may be very temporary, but Davis is reminding owners of his rebounding prowess this week. Starting in place of Jarrett Allen on Wednesday, he scored six points with 11 boards, a block and a steal, then followed that up the next night with seven points, 14 boards, two blocks and an assist. Davis has been a role player for several years now, but every now and then he surges onto the Fantasy radar, mostly because of his work on the glass, but also blocks (he ranks in the top 250 all-time in this category). He’s always been a lousy free throw shooter (even more so this season), but when he came out of North Carolina, his size, defense and quickness were considered major assets. Just keep Davis away from Blake Griffin (see video below).
Khem Birch, C, Toronto Raptors (ESPN: 2.6 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): Birch lost steam in Orlando last season, but sure picked things up after a trade to Toronto. This season, he hadn’t been getting the same burn, but with OG Anunoby out for a while, Birch has been shifted back into the starting lineup. The move paid immediate dividends as Birch — mostly known as a defensive specialist — came through with 14 points on Thursday. He followed that up with a near double-double on Friday, adding four steals and two blocks. Birch could stick as a starter for the time being, so expect his bucket count to rise while he provides help on the glass and pitches in with the occasional block or two. He’s definitely a better post player than he’s given credit for, and now he has a chance to prove it.
- Oh man, has Hornets’ PG LaMelo Ball ever taken a nice step forward in his sophomore season. On Friday, he poured in a season-high 32 points — 21 in the first half alone — while flirting with a triple double (11 boards, eight dimes). He’s now recorded back-to-back double-doubles, but the turnovers (five straight games with at least four) are becoming a bit of an issue. Still, we love how his outside game is coming around this season.
- Dallas PF Dorian Finney-Smith has gotten better every season — until this one. However, he’s showing signs of shaking off his somewhat slow start, as — given more run — his scoring has seen a slight uptick over the last two games (10.5 PPG). The Mavs’ starting four the last three-plus years has seen his rebounding dip in consecutive seasons, so that’s a concern for a power forward, but not surprising given that he’s undersized at the position.
- Jeremy Lamb‘s Fantasy value has been in free fall since arriving in Indy, but on Friday he reminded us what he’s capable of — against his old team, to boot. He went off for 23 points in 16 second half minutes as the Pacers almost pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Hornets. Exclusively a bench player now, Lamb still needs more minutes before we’re interested, but this effort sure made a case that he deserves them.
- Mikal Bridges had been quiet for the past week and a half, but broke out Friday with 19 points, four boards, three assists, three treys, a block and a steal. Phoenix’s starting three the past two-plus seasons got off to a real nice start in 2021-22 and looked like a breakout candidate before his recent slump.
- Speaking of breakouts, Golden State two-guard Jordan Poole deserves some serious Fantasy love. With the Warriors massively undermanned on Friday, he went off for a season-high 32 points — 22 in the first half alone. Poole needed a night like this as he’s been quiet for a couple of weeks. If he can just figure out a way to get to the line more often, he could be a very dangerous offensive player.
- Raptor rookie Scottie Barnes has been much quieter lately after a blazing first month in the NBA. He was just 1-for-8 for two points with seven boards on Friday. And although he did contribute six assists with a block and a steal to somewhat salvage his performance, he seems to have hit an early wall. Still, as a Day One starter in the NBA, Barnes obviously has Toronto’s faith, and we’re confident he’ll start sinking more buckets again very soon.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
In addition to his superb work as a musician, Roy Ayers is also known for producing his own albums… he’s one talented dude. In 1975, under the Roy Ayers Ubiquity brand, he released Mystic Voyage, which included “The Spirit of Doo Do,” written by keyboard player Edwin Birdsong, whose music has been sampled by the likes of Daft Punk.