Stan Van Gundy did just that this week; ridding himself of the failed experiment he inherited by waiving Josh Smith.
It’s a move with no precedent in the NBA and many pundits have asked why they didn’t trade him, even if they just got something, anything in return. What it does achieve though is to allow Detroit to move forward as soon as possible with their preferred front court of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
Monroe will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and with their newfound cap relief by virtue of using the stretch provision when waiving Smith, the Pistons are sure to make a sizeable offer to keep him.
Van Gundy is moving forward with his preferred roster and building around those pieces he plans on keeping.
Fantasy basketball is no different. If a player is not performing as you’d hoped or not a good fit for your team’s strategy, then after you’ve exhausted all trade offers, or if you simply cannot find a taker, don’t be afraid to cut ties and waive that player. You can then look to replace that spot on your roster elsewhere.
That’s where I can help, as Downtown is listening to the Music of the Traffic to aide in your recovery as you move towards restructuring your roster.
Week 10 (Dec 29 – Jan 4)
4 Games: BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, HOU, IND, MIA, MIL, ORL, PHO, SAC, UTA, WAS
3 Games: ATL, BOS, DAL, DEN, DET, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIN, NOR, NYK, PHI, SAS, TOR
2 Games: GSW, OKC, POR
The schedule is still a little light this week as the Holiday season continues and we move into a new year. 13 teams play 4 games, while 14 will play 3 times. Golden State, OKC and Portland will have a chance to make some extra New Year’s resolutions with only 2 games each in Week 10. That might be all the incentive you need to finally let Andre Iguodala go and if you’re fed up with Perry Jones’ inconsistency, then set him free, while holding Thomas Robinson is likely a waste of a roster spot in most formats.
The following players may be available in standard 10 or 12 team leagues.
Jarrett Jack (G, BKN): Although his numbers and minutes have been inflated by Deron Williams’ absence this past week, Jack is a candidate to stash right now given the trade rumours swirling across the East River in Brooklyn. When starting this year, Jack has averaged 36mins with a USG% of 23.1 for 19.7pts, 7.7ast, 4reb, 2stl, with a TS% of .626. Contrast that with Deron Williams averages as a starter of 15.6pts, 6.8ast, 3.1reb, 1.1stl and a TS% of .533, in 34.5mins also with a USG% of 23.1 and there’s a case to be made to start Jack whether Williams is on the roster or not. For now though, Jack is ballin’ and has delivered top 15 value over the past week. He should be owned in all formats for as long as he’s starting and makes for a solid stash in case Williams does get moved.Tristan Thompson (F/C, CLE): Sadly, Anderson Varejao ruptured his Achilles tendon this week and will miss the remainder of the season. While Shawn Marion started in his place on Christmas Day, it is Tristan Thompson who started on Friday and Thompson who will benefit most in the long term. Kevin Love is not a 5-man and asking him to play there is not going to fly in the Central Division against the likes of Andre Drummond, Roy Hibbert and Joakim Noah. Thompson can fill that void and will likely continue to see his minutes increase above the 25mpg he averaged over the past week before Friday’s game (40 minutes, 9pts, 13reb, 1blk, 1stl). He’ll help in rebounds and blocks most of all, as well as FG% and as a nightly threat for a double-double; it would be wise to grab him if you have someone you can afford to waive.
Kenneth Faried (PF, DEN): I’ll keep this brief. Faried is available in 21% of ESPN leagues which is 21% too many. One of my leagues contributed to that percentage until I used my #1 waiver claim to grab the FIBA World Cup All-Star Five member, and boy has he repaid that move. Faried has back-to-back double-doubles but also back-to-back 20 point games and it looks like the light switch has finally been flicked on this season. If you’re in one of those 21% of leagues, stop reading now and go and add him. Go. Now!
George Hill (G, IND): We only have a small sample size to go by so far, but boy did he look good in his season debut on Tuesday night. Helping his Pacers to a much needed home win vs. New Orleans, Hill came off the bench for 15pts, 4reb, 3ast, 2 3ptm and a steal in just 21 minutes. He backed that up Friday in a loss at Detroit, playing 27 minutes for 13pts, 3reb, 2ast and 3 triples. His role will eventually become bigger than it was in year’s past and with 4 games in Week 10 to continue to find his groove, he should probably be owned in all formats right now; even if you’re hesitant to play him right away.Ed Davis (F/C, LAL): I know plenty of guys who have loved Davis since he left UNC and believe he just needed a consistent role and minutes to prove his worth as a fantasy asset. Davis has started plenty of games over his young career, but never for a full-season. Having supplanted Carlos Boozer in the starting line-up recently, he has another chance to prove his game is starter-calibre and he seems to be doing just that. He’s scored in double-digits in 5 straight games; good for 13pts, 8.8reb and 1.6blk while shooting .658 FG% and .750 FT% over that span. Owned in just 21% of Yahoo leagues and 13% of ESPN leagues, Davis makes sense in 12 team leagues.
Jared Dudley (G/F, MIL): I tweeted out the following yesterday morning;It seems I had the right theory, but the wrong guy as the 7 year veteran is enjoying a little purple patch of production right now. Capped by his Friday night impressive 10-10 FG night at Atlanta (24pts, 4 3ptm, 4stl, 4reb), Dudley has averaged 17.3pts, 2stl, 1.5ast, 5.3reb and 2.5 3ptm over his past 4 games. The Bucks play 4 times this week and next, so ride Dudley (available in 94% of Yahoo and 97% of ESPN leagues) in 12 and 14 team leagues while he’s hot.
Thaddeus Young (F, MIN): Another quick one. Last season, Young was a top 30 player in Yahoo leagues and finished 35th on the ESPN player rater. While those numbers may have been slightly inflated by virtue of him playing on the horrible Sixers, he is finally settling into more consistent production under Flip Saunders and has averaged 17.2pts, 3.2ast, 2stl and 4reb over his past 5 games. Young is too good to be available in any format, yet there he is for the taking in 20% of ESPN leagues. Run, don’t walk, to add Thad Young.
Alex Len (C, PHO): There were many who doubted Len coming out of Maryland last year but in many ways, this is his rookie season given the interruptions he faced just to get on the court. Len has now started the past 6 games and while his minutes are still fairly conservative, his production is starting to stand out. Over his past 3 games, the big Ukrainian has averaged 11.7pts, 8.7reb, an impressive 3.3blk and made 14-21 FGs. He is still foul prone, but is starting to figure out how to be effective and is worth a look in 12-14 team leagues.If you’re looking to drop someone to make room for one of these names, the following players can be let go from your roster.
Donatas Motiejunas (F, HOU): Josh Smith is in town and it will only be a matter of time before he is starting over DoMo. He had a good run. See if you can get anything for him via trade or else cut bait. Sadly, Terrence Jones may suffer a similar fate when he finally returns from injury.
Matt Barnes (SF, LAC): Barnes’ fantasy value could be described as flirtatious given how he sucks you in quickly, but never really gives you what you hope you’ll get. He’s ranked outside the top 200 over the past week and failed to score a single point in a game versus Milwaukee last weekend; so do your best Stan Van Gundy impersonation and put him on waivers where he belongs.
Miles Plumlee (F/C, PHO): Len has asserted himself in the starter’s role and Plumlee’s minutes and production are no longer viable outside of 16 team leagues or deeper.
Remember, as New Year’s rolls around, you should resolve to stop carrying dead weight or bad fits on your fantasy roster. Admitting a player isn’t getting it done can be tough, but will help you out in the long run.
From all of us at Downtown, we wish you a very happy, healthy and fantasy prosperous New Year.
Bring on 2015!
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