Since most teams have moved past the halfway point in their season and All-Star starters have just been selected, it seems appropriate to figure out which pickups could provide the most dividends in the second half. Generally, these are young players on losing teams who will gain playing time when management decides to see what they have for next season. It may be wise to keep your eye on these guys for the time being.
Here’s are the top five:
Randy Foye, Minnesota Timberwolves – He has fought an injury to his left knee all season, but all signs are that he should be ready to practice and will return around the time of the All-Star Break. A quick, slashing scorer (traded for Brandon Roy on Draft Day 2006), Foye has all of the talent to take the starting point guard job in Minnesota and provide help in points, 3-pointers, FT%, and assists.
He is currently owned in 63.6% of leagues.
Marcus Williams, New Jersey Nets – I have a gut feeling this is the year that the New Jersey Nets finally blow up this team and trade Jason Kidd for an array of young players and draft picks. In that case, Williams would rise up to be the starting point guard for the Nets and, judging from the talent and leadership he showed at UConn, provide assistance in points, assists, 3-pointers, and FT%. And with increased playing time, Williams may just answer the bell and become a top 15 point guard in the league, ultimately paying off for owners who read this advice.
He is currently owned in 0.0% of leagues.
Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee Bucks – With talent that is hard to ignore, Villanueva entered this season as a sleeper pick, but has failed to produce. Although I find it stupid to keep backing a player who fails to blossom, Villanueva has shown spurts this season, and, with the Bucks again dwelling in the cellar of their division, should gain playing time alongside with star Michael Redd and former first-round picks Yi Jianlian and Andrew Bogut. He can offer a boost in points, rebounds, and even 3-pointers and FT%.
He is currently owned in 10.6% of leagues.
Thabo Sefolosha, Chicago Bulls – With a season-long injury nagging star Luol Deng, the inconsistency of Kirk Hinrich (before his recent outbursts), and the desire of management to play a big shooting guard for better match-ups, Sefolosha has garnered much more playing time recently, a trend that should continue. Although not a refined shooter, Sefolosha will help with points, rebounds, and both defensive categories.
He is currently owned in 10.9% of leagues.
Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers – Although he just recently sustained an ankle injury, Varejao has returned from his contract dispute and quietly emerged as the force of energy that helped propel the Cavs to the NBA Finals last year. He is an excellent source of rebounds (currently leads the team) and FG% and does not turn the ball over. Furthermore, with a lackluster Cleveland frontline of the oft-injured Zydrunas Ilgauskas and inconsistent Drew Gooden, Varejao should see increased minutes and production.
He is currently owned in 32.1% of leagues.
- Aaron Afflalo, Detroit Pistons (owned in 0% of leagues)
- Kareem Rush, Indiana Pacers (owned in 71.8% of leagues)
- Mark Blount, Miami Heat (owned in 20.2% of leagues)
- Brandon Bass, Dallas Mavericks (owned in 0.5% of leagues)
- Luis Scola, Houston Rockets (owned in 4.4% of leagues)
- Al Thornton, Los Angeles Clippers (owned in 12.6% of leagues)
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