You’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a million times this season. The Pelicans have dealt with injury after injury starting with Jrue Holiday; then Tyreke Evans, Norris Cole, the aforementioned Davis and even Ryan Anderson. The show goes on, however. With the Pelicans needing to fill out a starting lineup, journeyman Toney Douglas (former Knicks great) has gained the opportunity and played well as a result. Douglas has started the last six games and played a season-high 25.7 minutes per game in the month of March. To go along with that, his 19.1-percent usage rate is his highest mark since last November. Since March 9, specifically, Douglas has averaged 13 points, 5.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 3-pointers and 1.6 steals per game. His shooting percentages are very erratic, but when you can find a player who produces across the board like this at this point in the season, you have no choice but to pounce on him. Even if he drags your field-goal percentage down, that production is equal to a fifth-round pick. Douglas could possibly be auditioning for other teams as a backup point guard for next season and there’s no doubt he will give it his all as long as his minutes are there. He should be owned in 10-team leagues and deeper.
Looking Deeper: After riding the pine for most of the season, another former Knicks great, Tim Hardaway Jr., is finally making his presence felt with the Atlanta Hawks. I’ve heard one person describe the Hawks’ handling of Hardaway Jr. as a Knicks detox, meaning they wanted him to sit and learn the game from a real basketball perspective before he earned his minutes. Seeing the Knicks’ record and how they play on a nightly basis, this description sounds entirely accurate. Seriously though, THJ has played well over his last three; specifically, playing 25.3 minutes per game over that span. In those games, Hardaway Jr. is averaging 19 points and 3.6 3-pointers per game. He won’t offer much upside in the hustle stats categories, but he can provide double-digit scoring and two-plus 3-pointers consistently. If you need the help in long-range shooting, he’s your guy.
I want to take Brad Stevens by the shoulders and just shake him, and remind him what’s at stake here; “quit toying with everybody’s emotions!” He continuously switches up the Celtics’ rotation and while it’s a testament to his coaching ability and their overall depth, it does give Fantasy owners false hope often. The latest installment of the Brad Stevens “Break Your Heart Tour” comes in the form of Amir Johnson. Of course, Johnson was effective earlier this season, going through an impressive seven-game stretch during the month of January. Until recently, he’s been wildly inconsistent thanks to his erratic playing time. Over his last four games, however, Johnson has been starting and has averaged 27.3 minutes per game. There’s nothing flashy about Johnson’s game, but he is a gritty player who will provide decent points to go along with above average rebounding and blocks. During this recent run, Johnson is averaging 11.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. He has two double-doubles in those games as well, for those who get bonus points or have dub-dubs as a category. This very well could end up being a short-term addition based on Stevens’ coaching history, but owners in 12-team leagues or deeper should be willing to take a chance on him anyway.
Looking Deeper: Donatas Motiejunas has finally settled back in with the Houston Rockets after the trade deadline deal that sent him to the Detroit Pistons was voided. Motiejunas showed flashes last year, as a legitimate 7’0” big man who can spot up his jumper with ease. That’s pretty rare to find, and he’s back it again with the jumper. Aside from one dud in which he only played eight minutes, Motiejunas has scored 13 or more points in three of his last four. He also averaged seven rebounds per game, while recording at least one steal in each of those contests. He’s worth looking at in 14-team leagues or deeper, and honestly, his name is just fun to say.
Remember everything I wrote about Amir Johnson? Of course, how could you forget? It was just a few seconds ago. Well, imagine his skill set, but on steroids. No, no, no, my next waiver wire claim does not partake in the consumption of performance-enhancing drugs. What I’m saying is that Bismack Biyombo has a similar skill set to Johnson, but turned up a notch. You don’t believe me? He recently had a game in which he double-doubled, grabbing 25 rebounds . . . 25! He also had another game in which he blocked six shots. Those are hustle stats that can single-handedly win a category or move you up the rotisserie standings. He’s played 24 or more minutes in seven of his last eight games, thanks in large part to Jonas Valanciunas’ recurring hand injury. Valanciunas had surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand earlier this season, and has not fully recovered from the injury. Biyombo is owned in less than 41-percent of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. He should be snagged in 10-team leagues or deeper due to his immense rebounding and blocking potential.
Looking Deeper: A few years ago, when the Pelicans signed Omer Asik to a long-term deal that had him making more than $9 million annually, I was simply left scratching my head. He is a hustle player of the type necessary on every winning team. but to have given a guy who is averaging just 3.7 points and six rebounds per game this season that much money; you can tell somebody messed up. All the power to Asik, though; I will never blame a player for taking the most money they can get. As mentioned earlier, Davis is shut down, and now there has been talk of Anderson following suit. He’s dealt with a groin injury and there is really no reason for him to play, as he’s set to enter free agency. The Pelicans don’t have many big men left and, as a result, the $9-million-dollar man is finally producing. In the Pelican’s recent upset of the Clippers, Asik played 30 minutes, scoring 15 points and grabbing 14 boards. Owners can’t expect production like that every night, but he can certainly be an elite source of rebounding, if nothing else. His 13.3 rebound average per 36 minutes speaks for itself. He’s worth a look in 12-team leagues or deeper.