By this point of the season, fantasy owners should be able to identify their teams‚Äô statistical shortcomings and be looking to address specific categories. Rather than ‚Äúpunt‚ÄĚ a category, it‚Äôs best to sell from your strengths now and address your weaknesses. Here is a look at some potential trade targets that will provide significant boosts to individual categories. These are the specialists.
Top Target¬†‚Äď DeAndre Jordan
The 23-year-old out of Houston is currently blocking 3.1 shots per game. Since the 2001-02 season, Marcus Camby is the only player to finish a season averaging more than three blocks per game (which he has done four times in his career). Jordan continues to improve and is learning more how to stay out of foul trouble. He‚Äôs a big part of the Clippers‚Äô expectations and adding him to your fantasy team could take you from the bottom of the league in blocks to near the top.
Low-Cost Upgrade¬†‚Äď Serge Ibaka
Expectations were high for Ibaka entering the season and he went among the top 50 picks in many fantasy drafts. However, he‚Äôs averaging just 24 minutes per game and his 6.8 points and 5.7 rebounds likely have his current owners frustrated. He is still blocking 2.4 shots per game and there‚Äôs a very good chance his value goes nowhere but up from here out.
Waiver Target¬†‚Äď Ekpe Udoh
The second-year player out of Baylor was drafted for his defense and has yet proven incapable of providing much else. With Kwame Brown out and Andris Biedrins struggling, Udoh will get his share of minutes. He has 11 blocks in his last five games.
Top Target¬†‚Äď Jason Kidd
Kidd has fashioned a hall-of-fame career by specializing in the specialists categories ‚Äď primarily assists, threes, and steals. He has eight steals in his first two games since returning from a first-time back injury and should finish among the top 10 in the league for the 13th¬†time in his career. His 2500 career steals rank third all-time.
Low-Cost Upgrade¬†‚Äď Mario Chalmers
Chalmers has produced some very good lines in January and it‚Äôs possible his owners have taken notice, lessening the likelihood that they‚Äôd be willing to part with him. He has 10 steals over his last four games and despite just three seasons of inconsistent playing time, he has proven to be effective in this category. Perhaps more importantly is that he‚Äôs averaging 32 minutes per game this month. That‚Äôs 10 more minutes than he averaged last season.
Waiver Target¬†‚Äď George Hill
Hill has gotten off to an inconsistent start with his new team, but one could still debate that he is the best of Indiana‚Äôs top-three guards (Darren Collison and Paul George are the current starters). Hill has picked up 10 steals over his last three games and has been earning more minutes by excelling on both ends of the court.
Top Target¬†‚Äď Chauncey Billups
As expected, Billups is developing into a primetime shooting guard quickly. He‚Äôs hoisting a career-best 5.9 three-pointers per game and hitting over 40% of them. Don‚Äôt expect much to change. He will make a run to lead the league in this category.
Low-Cost Upgrade¬†‚Äď Anthony Morrow
A-Mo came off the bench last game as Avery Johnson made the ill-advised decision to start DeShawn Stevenson against the Clippers. Alas, Stevenson ended up (-26) for the game. Morrow should be back in the starting five very soon and he should be good to average at least 2.0 made threes per game from here on out. One of the most accurate long-distance shooters in the game, he‚Äôs hit 25-of-46 (54%) three-pointers over his last eight games.
Waiver Target¬†‚Äď Daniel Gibson
Gibson has consistently garnered 25 minutes per game for the surprising 6-6 Cavaliers. He‚Äôs using that time to do what he does best; shoot a lot of treys. He‚Äôs averaging 4.0 attempts per game off of the bench and converting 45.8% of them. There‚Äôs no reason that could change and on any given week he could net your team 10 additional three-pointers.
Note: Keep an eye on Mike Miller as he is due to return this week.
Top Target¬†‚Äď David Lee
Prior to last season, Lee finished among the top three rebounders in the NBA in two-straight campaigns. His first season with the Warriors saw him fall to tenth in the league. But it‚Äôs clear he‚Äôs trending upwards and should finish the year averaging well over 11 rebounds per game as the Warriors need him desperately to work the glass.
Low-Cost Upgrade¬†‚Äď Anderson Varejao
Varejao may be an even better rebounder than Lee and the Brazilian looks healthy after missing most all of last season after undergoing ankle surgery. His defense and work on the glass may be the biggest reasons why the Cavaliers are catching teams off guard. He could do the same for your fantasy team and shouldn‚Äôt cost much in a trade.
Waiver Target¬†‚Äď Udonis Haslem
Haslem is actually owned in just over 50% of leagues, but he deserves mention in this report as he‚Äôs among the best examples of a specialist. While his numbers across the board scream mediocrity, the 10.2 rebounds per game is a large enough exception to make him worth owning.
Top Target¬†‚Äď Raymond Felton
Felton‚Äôs gotten off to a very disappointing start in Portland as he‚Äôs hit only 34.7% of his shots and is averaging just 10.4 points. He is still dishing out 7.2 assists. Expect all his numbers to climb as he will hit his very productive stride sooner or later.
Low-Cost Upgrade¬†‚Äď Jarrett Jack
Jack is averaging 7.3 assists and that number should climb upon Eric Gordon‚Äôs return. The Hornets don‚Äôt have much depth at the position, so his production should remain consistently good throughout the season.
Waiver Target¬†‚Äď Earl Watson
Simply put, Watson has been a much better option for the Jazz than Devin Harris for most of the season. It‚Äôs hard to imagine this continues, but Watson‚Äôs as averaged 5.6 assists in eight January games.
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