[Editor’s Note: Please join us in welcoming Adrian Wallace as our new NBA Writer. He makes his RotoRob.com debut today.]
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball action. Speaking of action, plenty of it has been taking place both on and off the court recently.
This week, the Houston Rockets fired Coach Kevin McHale after a lumpish 4-7 start; rookie Kristap Porzingis continues to impress in New York (in fact, he’s so popular now that the NBA sold out of his jersey); and the Golden State Warriors remain undefeated — escaping a thriller against the Raptors, coming back from a 23-point deficit against the Clippers, and making history by defeating Chicago to become only the fourth NBA team to start the season 14-0. Well, would you expect anything less from Stephen Curry and the 2014-15 NBA Champions?
Now, how about this week’s waiver wire recommendations already?
Mario Chalmers, PG, Memphis Grizzlies (ESPN: 23.3 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): The Grizzlies acquired Super Mario Tuesday in a trade with the Heat. Since his debut in Memphis, that’s exactly what he’s been – superb. In just 21 minutes per game over the last three contests, Chalmers has scored double digits, including a 29-point performance Tuesday against the Thunder. We repeat — against the Thunder. He clearly didn’t fear Oklahoma’s defensive roar as he attacked the paint and received 15 free throw attempts (canning 13). Chalmers will hit treys, get to the line and a hit a ton of free throws for your team. This (much needed) change of scenery should allow Super Mario to find mushrooms to help elevate his game (not those kind of shrooms!) as he looks to fit in on the Grizzlies as Mike Conley’s back up. Chalmers also brings major postseason experience (for a reminder of his exploits in key moments, check out the video below) to a Memphis club looking to break through to the next level come playoff time.
Jamal Crawford, SG, Los Angeles Clippers (ESPN: 47.8 per cent; CBS: 42 per cent); If you were having doubts about the offensive productivity of veteran Crawford this season – who in all fairness is 35 years old and competes against the likes of J.J. Redick and newly acquired Lance Stephenson at the shooting guard position – stop. Just a week ago Crawford exploded for 37 points in a 41-minute vintage spectacle. He made good use of Redick’s absence (back injury) as the substitute starter, scored double digits in his last six games while hitting five treys Friday alone. Crawford is an efficient scorer that’s averaging 25 minutes per game and he’ll provide your team with threes and add a bunch of points.
Gorgui Dieng, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves, (ESPN: 33.1 per cent; CBS: 41 per cent): We have to feel it for Dieng who is struggling for a break among a deep Timberwolves frontcourt. After all, he’s competing for PT with the more-polished-than-we-all-expected rookie Karl-Anthony Towns and veteran Kevin Garnett. But we can’t help but appreciate the productivity Dieng is squeezing in while barely scraping in 20 minutes per game. With a nice five-block performance Wednesday, Dieng really flashed his wingspan and he pitched in defensively with a pair of steals in each of his last three games. He could be worth a speculative pick in deep formats as the T-Wolves occasionally get some rest for the aging Garnett.
Patrick Patterson, PF/C, Toronto Raptors (ESPN: 1.6 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): Similar to Bismack Biyombo (see below), Patterson stands to benefit from the injury to Jonas Valanciunas. We gave Patterson some love in February as Toronto’s sixth man, and it was a good call as he hoisted plenty of treys that month and continued to see nice PT for the remainder of the season. His PT is down this season given the Raptors’ frontcourt additions, so his minutes have been inconsistent off the bench. However, with JV going down in the first half, Patterson got a robust 26 minutes of action Friday and flirted with a double-double while adding three assists and a steal. He’s worth a speculative pickup while we see how Toronto divvies up the minutes Valanciunas was logging.
Bismack Biyombo, Toronto Raptors, (ESPN: 6.4 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): In mid-March we recommended Biyombo, but he was a Charlotte Hornet then. This season, he’s been coming off the bench for Toronto, bringing a defensive presence with his blocks and boards. With Valanciunas going down Friday with a hand fracture (timetable for his absence is pending further tests), Biyombo should step in as the starting centre for the Raptors. Fingers crossed, the extra minutes could translate into more rebounds and swats, making him a good short-term addition while Valancuinas is sidelined.
Festus Ezeli, Golden State Warriors (ESPN: 19.5 per cent; CBS: 35 per cent): Ezeli’s been more or less off the Fantasy radar since the beginning of 2013, but it’s time for a resurrection. With four blocks Tuesday, he looks comfortable coming off the bench and continues to back up injury-prone Andrew Bogut. If your team is lacking in blocks, Ezeli (averaging a team-high 1.7 per game) should definitely help the cause, and you never know when Bogut will suffer his next health issue, which will cause Ezeli’s value to really soar.
Be very sure to let us know who your favourite waiver wire pick of the week is in the comments below.
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