It’s always fascinating how much younger the NBA seems to get as the season moves along. Established stars who get hounded by aggressive defenses each game get beat up quick and soon find themselves on the sidelines while a 20-something takes their job. Of course, while there is nothing worse than owning a high draft pick who ends up spending most of his season in rehab (a la Kevin Love), there is nothing better than snatching up a guy who has been playing seven minutes a game right as he is about to breakout. Let’s take a look at some breakout candidates in this week’s waiver wire:
Al-Farouq Aminu (Available in 14% Yahoo Fantasy Leagues): Solid buy. Aminu is healed up and back in the starting lineup. In his first start since December 16, Aminu played 38 minutes Saturday vs. Mavericks and put up 10 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block. He isn’t much of a scorer but has double-double potential in any game he plays 27+ minutes.
Dante Cunningham (8%): Strong buy. With Kevin Love out indefinitely with a re-broken hand, Cunningham steps into his starting spot. In just his second start of the season Saturday vs. Blazers, he played over 42 minutes and put up 10 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. He will continue to start as long as he keeps producing so he is a must-have right now.
Derrick Williams (13%): Solid buy. Williams seemed more likely to replace Love in the Wolves’ lineup but will still get increased opportunities off the bench. He put up 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals in Saturday’s game and should finally see over 20 minutes per game if he keeps performing.
Alan Anderson (11%): Strong buy. Although he is not starting, he is getting starter minutes and scoring opportunities. He has put up 47 points over the last two games and more importantly got 31 shot attempts. He is a horrible shooter (39% on the season) but with 16 PPG over his last 10 he is definitely worth the shot.
John Henson (6%): Solid buy. The rookie hasn’t played a lot this year but with some lineup reshuffling he has found himself in a 25+ MPG role. Over his last three games, he has a combined 37 points, 37 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 4 steals and is getting a lot of shot opportunities. His shooting is inconsistent from game to game but he is worth a shot in most fantasy formats.
Bradley Beal (59%): Solid buy. I have been up and down on the lottery pick out of Florida this year but you can’t argue against his minutes and shot opportunities. He is shooting a miserable 36.5% on the season but with 15+ shot attempts most games, he is still averaging 16.5 PPG over his last five and 13 PPG on the season. Beal will contribute some steals, assists, and rebounds as well – all with the same consistency as his scoring.
Andray Blatche (24%): Strong short-term buy. Any time you see Kris Humphries listed on the injury report you need to pick up Blatche. With Humphries sidelined with a sprained ankle, Blatche has found his way back into legitimate minutes and put up 28 points, 23 rebounds, and 5 steals in his last two games. Of course, he has almost no value once Humphries is back but he’s been banged up all season.
Ben Gordon (22%): Solid buy in deeper leagues. He’s not the most consistent player in the world but with 18.5 PPG over his last four games to go with 14 assists, and six steals over those games he still has some value off the Bobcats bench.
Rodney Stuckey (35%): Solid buy. Stuckey has returned strong from his injury, scoring 28 points with 4 steals in his first two games back on the court. He was consistently putting up double-digit scoring and solid assist numbers before getting hurt.
Isiah Thomas (54%): Solid buy in deeper leagues. I’m not a huge fan of Thomas as a fantasy player, his shot percentage (45%) and lack of non-scoring contributions don’t lend themselves to fantasy production. Still, he is back in the Kings’ starting lineup and may be worth a shot in deeper leagues. Considering he is already owned in 54% of leagues, odds are he is only available in leagues that he won’t have much value in.