Playing the hot hand
Will Bynum, Udonis Haslem, Maurice Evans among players worth picking up
This week I'm going to cover more players with fewer words spent on each, in order to help as many fantasy owners as possible down the stretch. If you're the type of owner who's still reading fantasy analysis in late March, then you likely don't need a paragraph about each potential option. Here are some quick hits on widely available players who have been performing well recently:
Will Bynum, PG, Detroit Pistons (7.6 percent owned): Since Rodney Stuckey's (literal) collapse, Bynum has averaged 12.5 points, 8.1 assists and a steal in six contests. Cross him off your list if you need 3-pointers, as he's drained just nine all season; however, he's a solid scorer with decent percentages and a solid steals-per-minute rate. Plus, the assists are there, illustrated by a recent 20-dime game. Don't be fooled into thinking his production will disappear when Stuckey returns; he's had value off the bench.
Udonis Haslem, PF, Miami Heat (6.9 percent owned): Haslem is a professional rebounder, and he dominated the boards in March. He has five double-digit rebound games this month, and is averaging 10 boards with 0.7 steals and 0.4 blocks in 28 minutes, his most significant playing time since November. Add him today if you need rebounds and can afford the fact he provides little else.
Toney Douglas, PG, New York Knicks (4.1 percent owned): The rookie has exploded in the past week, ranking ninth on the seven-day player rater while notching at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first two starts after recently claiming the gig. He's scored in double figures in four straight, and played 41 minutes in the Knicks' most recent contest, so there's no reason to believe he won't get the bulk of the point guard minutes as they evaluate their personnel for the future.
Quentin Richardson, SG/SF, Miami Heat (4.2 percent owned): He's like the old-school J.R. Smith: He'll score in single digits for a week then have a game in which he drops seven 3-pointers, and that averages out to pretty impressive 3-point totals (1.8 3s per game, most since 2006-2007). He's averaging 2.3 3s over the past 30 days and 3.4 over the past 15, which ranks third in the league behind Stephen Curry and Jason Richardson in that span. Q won't provide in several categories, but he should be in the top 10 in 3-pointers made from here on out based upon his recent production, with dual eligibility to boot.
Travis Outlaw, SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers (1.2 percent owned): Much like he did throughout his career in Portland, Outlaw has bounced in and out of the starting lineup during his brief tenure with the Clippers. His two starts were his two best games as a Clipper, although he's averaged 12 points, five rebounds, one block and one 3 in the past two games coming off the bench. He's playing the sixth-man role right now, and recently earning way more minutes than either Craig Smith or DeAndre Jordan. Drew Gooden isn't the only veteran castoff who's found some value for the Clip Show, and with Outlaw you can expect modest production in four categories: points, 3s, steals and blocks.
Francisco Garcia, SF/SG, Sacramento Kings (1.0 percent owned): The most encouraging stat for Garcia recently is the fact he's averaging 26.3 minutes per game in March. He's still working through rust, but does have some highlights to his stats: He's shooting 53 percent from the floor this month with 1.3 3s and 0.8 blocks per game. Even though it's largely a forgotten season for Garcia, I could see him going off at the end of the season when he's finally in full form. For a guy who averaged 1.4 3s, 1.2 steals and a block last season, I'll take a couple weeks of his best ball over any other widely available player.
Ronald Murray, SG, Chicago Bulls (0.7 percent owned): Chicago has been ransacked by injuries, with Kirk Hinrich, Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah all battling something, allowing Murray to fill the scoring void. He's averaging 17.3 points, 2.3 3s and 1.7 steals in his past three contests. We all know what Murray can do, and that's score, so if you need points, monitor the Bulls' injury report and consider Murray a lock for double-digits if given any significant run.
Maurice Evans, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks (0.5 percent owned): He's starting in place of the injured Joe Johnson, and is averaging 14 points with three 3s in the past two games. He's been relevant before, averaging 1.2 3s per game in the past two seasons, and as long as he's getting this kind of run he should contribute heavily in 3s with a handful of steals.
Julian Wright, SF/PF, New Orleans Hornets (0.6 percent owned): I've always loved his potential on the defensive end, and at times he's flashed the ability to be well over one per game in both blocks and steals. Too bad most of those times have been in summer league and garbage time. He can be especially productive in the steals department, as he ran off a recent string of five games in which he accrued 11 steals, and he's averaging 1.2 thefts per game this month. Don't expect offense, but Wright should rack up good combined steals and blocks, especially while Peja Stojakovic is sidelined.
Shaun Livingston, PG, Washington Wizards (0.4 percent owned): He's surpassed Randy Foye and Earl Boykins as the starting point guard for the lowly Wizards, and although his potential is limited this season, he'll provide modest assists, steals and blocks. If he's earning 20-plus minutes per game, Livingston should be good for around five assists and half a steal and block, numbers worthy of a deep-league flier.
James Johnson, SF/PF, Chicago Bulls (0.5 percent owned): Luol Deng continues to sit with a bum calf, and the inconsistent but impressive rookie Johnson has benefited. In his past five games, he's averaging 11 points, four rebounds, 0.8 3s, 0.6 steals and 1.8 blocks per game while shooting nearly 58 percent from the field. Even though he'll be inconsistent, he does a little bit of everything, scoring 20 points in one game then blocking four shots in another. His 1.5 blocks per game in March ranks 14th among all players, and puts him ahead of guys like Marcus Camby, Marc Gasol and Brendan Haywood this month. Definitely worth a pickup if you need swats.
Darko Milicic, C, Minnesota Timberwolves (0.3 percent owned): He hasn't been on a recent block spree, but has logged at least 27 minutes in three of his past four contests, which should quickly translate to some big block games if he continues getting that kind of run. He's averaging 0.7 swats per game in just 16 minutes per game, and should be good for at least one per game from here on out with the potential for much more if his minutes are regularly in the 20s.
Chris Hunter, PF, Golden State Warriors (0.2 percent owned): The first player called up from the D-League this season, Hunter was in the right place at the right time, as he's benefited from the Warriors' high-octane offense and the injuries throughout the season to Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf and Mikki Moore. Now his biggest competition is fellow D-Leaguer Anthony Tolliver, although they should both get solid PT as Hunter has been a 20-10 guy in both high school and the D-League. Don't expect him to mimic those numbers, although he's providing points, steals, blocks and rebounds and is undoubtedly worth a roster spot playing in the Warriors' offense.
Josh Boone, PF/C, New Jersey Nets (0.2 percent owned): Boone isn't a first-timer on the fantasy radar, and in the past he's shown glimpses of being a legitimate NBA big man, capable of rebounding and blocking shots. In his second season he averaged 7.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 25 minutes per game. His development has been hindered by the Nets' drafting Brook Lopez, so although Boone's playing time and production is limited, he's snared at least eight rebounds in three of his past four contests, including a 20-rebound explosion Tuesday.
Stephen Graham, SF, Charlotte Bobcats (0.2 percent owned): His twin brother, Joey, entered the league with more fanfare, but Stephen's career has had more longevity, and he's scored 19 points in two consecutive games with Gerald Wallace sidelined. He's worth considering only in the deepest of formats, but while getting minutes Graham should provide a little scoring punch, with a few 3s, steals and blocks throw in.
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
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