Fantasy Basketball: Kidd-Gilchrist Becoming Unique Forward

There are some big contrasts this week. The waiver wire is pretty thin as usual, but some household names could be worth dropping. At this point in the fantasy season, playoffs are taking shape, and you need to have the best and most consistent team in your league. That could mean losing a big name and relying on one you don’t know much about. But that may make all the difference.

*All league ownership percentages are courtesy of ESPN.com

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Cha SF, 27.6% of leagues): Is it just me or did it seem like Charlotte was having an awful season? I was extremely surprised to see that they are still very much in the picture for the Eastern Conference playoffs. At 24-33, they are tied with Brooklyn, and a half game behind Indiana for the eighth seed. I guess that’s what’s expected in the east. I personally thought the Hornets’ season was spiraling when Kemba Walker tore his meniscus. He and Al Jefferson were literally the only ones scoring consistently. Their big offseason acquisition, Lance Stephenson, was nowhere to be found. What happened? Mo Williams has turned out to be an amazing trade as he has averaged 23.4 points in five games with the Hornets. But Kidd-Gilchrist has quietly put a good string of games together as well. In his last eight full games, he has actually had double-digit rebounds in five of them — not too shabby for a small forward. He’s averaging 7.5 rebounds on the season and averaged over 5.0 in his first two seasons in the NBA. Charlotte usually runs with Jefferson and Cody Zeller down low, and I don’t think Zeller is exactly a force on the block. At 6’7″, Kidd-Gilchrist has a big enough body to compete for rebounds and I think that trend will continue. He is unique in that he will provide you with rebounds at a position that is not commonly considered valuable for that category. Rebounds are usually more valuable in points leagues, but he can also be used in category leagues if the waiver wire is lacking in power forwards or centers.

Will Barton (Den SG, 4.4% of leagues): Barton should be thanking every member of the Portland organization for trading him to the Nuggets. Before his trade, he had not scored in double figures once this season and hardly ever played. The Trailblazers’ starters all play over 30 minutes per game leaving very few opportunities for bench players. Barton has never averaged over 13 minutes in his three-year career, but in five games with Denver, he is averaging 27.8. It’s no secret that the Nuggets have pretty much given up on this season (ICYMI: they left their huddle over the weekend saying “1, 2, 3, six more weeks”). With Arron Afflalo gone, the only other pure shooting guard on the roster is veteran Randy Foye, who most likely won’t even be on the team next year. Head coach Brian Shaw is most likely testing what kind of player he has in Barton. In those five aforementioned games, Barton is averaging 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and actually leads the team in free throws attempted and made in that span. To me, it seems like Barton is taking advantage of finally having a chance. Just because the Nuggets’ season is over doesn’t mean all is lost in Denver or for Barton for fantasy purposes.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Det SG, 16.4% of leagues): I would really only recommend adding Caldwell-Pope in category leagues because of his tendency to take a massive amount of three-pointers. I say that because he doesn’t exactly make all of them. For example, in his last two games, he is 4-16 from behind the arc. But in the two games before that, he was 11-20. Basically you’re playing with fire when you own a three-point shooter. They provide a huge advantage in the three-point category, but in points leagues, every one of their missed threes is going to be a negative. At least in my league, he has put up a negative total multiple times. On the season, he averages 5.4 three-pointers attempted and he is not afraid to toss it up there. I like their acquisition of Reggie Jackson since he isn’t solely a scorer. And as I said previously about the Pistons, their big men open up the outside.

Aaron Brooks (Chi PG, 14.3% of leagues): Dave Fuqua wrote an article about the Derrick Rose fallout and I think he brings up some good points. Brooks is essentially now valuable by default, but he has struggled to put the ball in the hoop since Rose’s injury. I put him on here just because I don’t want you to be hesitant based on his first few games as a starter. Chicago is still high-powered, and he will be the catalyst.

Guys I’ve mentioned previously who are still worth a pickup: Rodney Stuckey (Ind SG, 26.6% of leagues); Ed Davis (LAL PF/C, 18.4% of leagues); Alex Len (Pho C, 27.1% of leagues)

Guys I would be comfortable dropping or trading: Kenneth Faried (Den PF, 77.1% of leagues); Rajon Rondo (Dal PG, 82.0% of leagues); Tony Parker (SA PG, 77.7% of leagues); Dwight Howard (Hou C, 72.1% of leagues)