You know it’s a long season when one of your point guards exits the game with a bed bug issue as was the case with Kyrie Irving this week. We are one week past the All-Star break and all of those bottom rung and mid-level players that were traded at the deadline are having trouble adjusting to their new squads. While there is always a period of adjustment after any trade, finding a groove, especially offensively on a new team that has played together for 50+ games will always be a difficult challenge.
For those hoping Markieff Morris would seamlessly blend with his new Wizards squad and put up those double-doubles your team desperately needs to make that playoff push (my hand is raised), it might be better to start thinking of other alternatives.
After the unusually late and elongated All-Star break, I hope you found yourself back into the swing of things and setting those lineups. For those of you that have battled and overcome major injuries and suspensions, or in some cases both (I’m looking at you Blake Griffin), now is the time to gear up and remain focused down the home stretch. For those of you losing hope, I’ll toot my own horn here and tell you that you don’t have to have big name players to win your 8- or 9-cat leagues. I’m enjoying a comfortable first place lead in my dynasty league and the only top-20 player I have rostered is Damian Lillard. It’s all about working that waiver wire and crunching those stats so let’s get to it.
Chairman of the Boards – With Marc Gasol unofficially officially done for the year, the front court of the Grizzlies is wide open and ready for someone to make an impact. Enter JaMychal Green who showed flashes of being a contributor in multiple categories in his recent games. The Birdman, Chris Anderson, has taken flight to the Grizzlies but his arrival should be a minor deterrent in Green’s ascension in Memphis.
Assisted Living – I initially dismissed the arrival of Shelvin Mack in Utah as I was skeptical that he would have an immediate impact. Head coach Quinn Snyder quickly proved me wrong as he sang Mack’s praises, anointing him a starter after one game. If Mack is out there on your waiver wire, he won’t be much longer.
Block Party – Head coach Earl Watson doesn’t seem ready to give center Alex Len a full complement of minutes, but with Tyson Chandler ailing and the Suns falling further out of contention, it’s only a matter of time before Len steals someone’s sunshine. Yes, that was a reference to a 90’s one-hit wonder and now you can’t get that song out of your head. While the blocks haven’t been there in the couple games since the break, they are coming.
Points of Emphasis – Last week, I listed Blazer’s swing man Gerald Henderson in this spot and this week I’ll be tossing his teammate Maurice Harkless into the conversation for a waiver wire add. Harkless got on a bit of a run heading into the All-Star break and has continued that momentum into the second half. With Lillard blowing up and McCollum holding his own, the Blazers are on a roll. It’s time to snag whatever you can.
Threes Amigo – The Sixers are a mess, that’s no secret, so the only thing consistent in Philadelphia is the lack of consistency. Last year’s mid-season acquisition Isaiah Canaan was suppose to be the point guard of the future in Philly but Ish Smith has laid claim to that role leaving Canaan backup duties. Lucky for us, Canaan has proved serviceable in that role and has excelled over the past 8 of 9 games knocking down multiple three’s. He’s worth a plug and play while he’s hot.
Man of Steals – The steals somehow always allude me as it feels like I’m constantly on the hunt for them. This week, Kyle Anderson of the Spurs has popped up on the waiver wire radar as an injury replacement for Kawhi Leonard as he’s been able to nab 5 steals in 3 games. His minutes, of course, are directly impacted by Leonard’s health but with the overly caution Popovich calling the shots, Anderson is someone to keep an eye on.