We’re two weeks into the 2012-13 regular season and players are being picked up and dropped at a furious clip. In one of my four leagues, there’s an owner who dropped Shannon Brown for Nate Robinson, who was then dropped minutes later for Ramon Sessions, who was then swapped out one day later for Larry Sanders.
To that end, I submit five waiver wire players with the best chances of sticking on your roster — long term:
Larry Sanders, Bucks: Sanders mystified the Bucks in his first two NBA seasons with freakish athleticism tossed in a salad of inconsistency and immaturity. Now, five games into his third season (aka, the make-or-break season for most NBA players), Sanders is averaging 12.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 66 percent from the field, and 83 percent from the line — good for 34th across 8 categories. And he’s doing it off the bench in only 27 minutes per game, so it’s reasonable to think there’s upside from here. Samuel Dalembert remains a viable player, and Milwaukee’s starting center, but Sanders’ role, minutes, bank account, etc. are expanding by the quarter.
Nate Robinson, Bulls: With Kirk Hinrich injured, again, look for Nate to take the Bulls’ starting point guard job and run with it. When Nate gets starter’s minutes, he lives in double figures, hits threes, gets steals, and generally loads the box score with love. To wit, Nate had 18 points in 31 minutes against the Wolves on Saturday, with a three and a steal. That’s what he does, and I think he’ll be doing it more consistently than Hinrich until Derrick Rose returns.
Jason Terry, Celtics: After a slow start to the season, the Celtics have moved Terry into the starting lineup at the expense of Courtney Lee. Terry responded with his best performance as a Celtic, netting 15 points in 22 minutes on Saturday against the Bucks. The promotion is important because now Terry gets to finish passes from arguably the best playmaker in the game, Rajon Rondo. Playing with the starters is going to make Terry better, more efficient, and he’s a heckuva start this week with five games on the schedule.
Eric Bledsoe, Clippers: Bledsoe was playing so well in Sunday’s win over the Hawks, Vinny Del Negro waited until deep in the fourth quarter before subbing out Bledsoe for Chris Paul — aka, the best PG in the league! Don’t get it twisted, with or without Chauncey Billups in the lineup, Bledsoe is a part of the immediate plan for the Clippers. No, he won’t fully spike while playing behind Paul, but he’s in the mix for 20ish minutes per game, and because he’s so incredibly athletic, he can’t help but produce usable fantasy numbers. For instance, in 18.1 minutes per game, he’s averaging 10.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.6 steals. My recommendation is to pick up Bledsoe and sit on him because the best is yet to come.
Carl Landry, Warriors: Raise your hand if you think Andrew Bogut has been shut down for ONLY 7-10 days to rehab his broken ankle. I’m hoping the big fella can return, as I spent a mid-round pick on him in my 5-cat league. However, given the parade of DNPs in the past 2-3 years — albeit to serious injuries that require months or years of recovery time — it’s hard to trust Bogut at this point. Enter offseason acquisition Landry, who is averaging 16.1 points on 60 percent shooting with 8.1 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game. Right now, it’s basically Landry and David Lee against the world in the Warriors frontcourt, so those minutes and categories should only increase as long as Bogut nurses his ankle back to health.