Another fantasy basketball week is in the books and that means we're one week closer to the playoffs. It is important this time of year to pay attention to the waiver wire and what kind of help is out there. There were a couple of players who came back this week from injuries that kept them out for most of the season who could help your team down the stretch.
Some NBA teams that have been struggling may start shaking up their rosters and giving certain players more playing time to generate a spark. So when looking at players, it is important to pay attention to playing time. Here is a list of four players who are probably on your league’s waiver wire who can help your team.
If the last five games are any indication of the rest of the season, Robin Lopez may have some competition for playing time at the center position for the Suns. Over the past week, Gortat has been averaging 25.5 minutes per game while Lopez has been averaging 14.3 minutes per game. With the extra playing time, Gortat has been playing well and has the most fantasy value.
In the past five games, he has had three double-doubles and has averaged 11.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and he is shooting over 50 percent from the field. Now that Gortat has gotten steady minutes in games, he is starting to show what teams saw in him when they tried to sign him in the offseason.
Marcin Gortat still has not taken the starting job from Robin Lopez but as long as Coach Gentry is giving Gortat these types of minutes, he could definitely help your team down the stretch and into the playoffs. There is no reason not to expect Gortat to average a double-double each night as long as he is getting the minutes. The Phoenix Suns have three home games coming up this week against Boston, New Orleans and Milwaukee.
One player who returned this week who can help you the rest of the season is center Kendrick Perkins. He suffered a torn ACL last season and while it may take some time for him to get back to 100 percent and be in game shape, he is a player who can help come playoff time.
Since the Celtics have a couple centers right now in Shaq and Semih Erden who can shoulder most of the minutes at the position, I am sure the Celtics will err on the side of caution with Perkins and bring him back slowly. In his first game back against the Cavs, he played only 17 minutes, scoring seven points with six rebounds and three assists.
However, I think the Celtics know that Perkins is the best player out of the three right now and will see his minutes increase as we go through the rest of the season. If this does happen, Perkins will be a great source for rebounds and blocks if your team is lacking in those two categories. The Celtics have three games coming up this week as they travel on a West Coast trip and play the Suns, Lakers and Kings. I don’t expect Perkins to get a ton of minutes this week seeing as they are traveling, but if you have the space on your bench to stash him for the time being, I would highly suggest it.
Another interesting player who is coming back from injury is Mike Miller. Miller has been struggling with a thumb injury that sidelined him for most of the season but he seemed to put that behind him in his last game. With both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh out with injuries, Miller saw extended playing time and put up 32 points and 10 rebounds with six three-pointers made.
Now this kind of line would be unrealistic to expect from Miller, but it is good to see that he found his touch from the three-point line as this was one of the reasons the Heat signed Miller. Playing with the Big Three, Miller could really benefit and be a great option for three-pointers as defenses will pay most of their attention to them, leaving Miller open on the arc.
I don’t necessarily suggest running out and picking up Miller off the waiver wire, but watch his stat line over the next few games. If he continues to shoot well, pick him up as he will be a good source for three-pointers, while adding some rebounds and assists. The Heat has four games against Detroit, Oklahoma City, Cleveland and Orlando over the next week.
Corey Maggette has been on a little tear these last two weeks. Over that time, he has averaged 16.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.6 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per game. The starting small forward for the Bucks has scored over 20 points in four of the last six games.
The problem with Maggette has always been his up-and-down play. Against the Bulls, Maggette only scores four points and then two nights later scores 22. I believe Maggette has value right now, but pay attention to point totals and if he has a string of three or four games of sub-par play, consider benching or even dropping him.
Another issue with Maggette is that since Carlos Defino came back last week, he has slowly been losing minutes to Delfino. Maggette is still averaging almost 30 minutes a game and it really hasn’t affected him yet, but it will be important if you add Maggette to pay attention to how the Bucks split the minutes between these two. As long as Maggette keeps getting minutes, I could see him putting up similar numbers to what he has over the past two weeks.
This will be a busy week for Maggette and the Bucks as they have five games coming up, with one home game against the Nets and visits to Toronto, the LA Clippers, Phoenix and Golden State.