Add a Pair of Grizzlies to Your Fantasy Basketball Team
Andrew Harrison (Owned in 26 percent on Yahoo!/6.1 percent on ESPN) will take over as the starting point guard in Memphis after it was revealed Mike Conley will miss 6-8 weeks due to a fractured vertebrae. It’s becoming a trend for Conley to miss games, as he missed 12 in 2014-15, 26 last season and now a huge chunk this year. Somewhere, Conley is laughing like Ted Dibiase while counting his money. Regardless, Harrison is the starter now and played quite well in his first crack against the Raptors. In 35 minutes of play, he scored 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting with four rebounds, four 3-pointers, three steals and two rebounds. It was a stellar game all-around but Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect this on a regular basis. Harrison was shooting just 27 percent from the field entering this game with per-36 averages of 4.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 0.8 threes. Despite being a prominent name coming out of Kentucky, his numbers weren’t all that impressive in college either. He averaged just 10.1 points on 37 percent shooting throughout his two-year collegiate career. The reason he’s still the top add, however, is because of the minutes. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a starting point guard on your waiver wire, especially one that will consistently see 30-35 minutes per game. As usual, the Grizzlies are dealing with a ton of injuries, so until Chandler Parsons returns (who knows when), Harrison will automatically be handed a ton of usage. The efficiency will be wildly inconsistent but tonight, Harrison proved he has a pretty nice ceiling as the starter. Don’t be afraid to spend up 15-20 percent of your FAAB on Harrison if you’re a Conley owner or just in desperate need of a point guard.
[caption id="attachment_116383" align="alignright" width="464"] JaMychal Green and Andrew Harrison have been inserted into the Grizzlies starting lineup and are playing well. Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire[/caption]
Jameer Nelson (Owned in 13 percent on Yahoo!/5.4 percent on ESPN) has started in a dual point guard lineup for Michael Malone’s Nuggets recently, due to all the injuries in the backcourt. I just want to give a quick shout out to Will Barton, who I recommended as a pickup last week, only to see him get hurt again. Thanks for making me look stupid, bro! Because of the injury to Barton and Gary Harris still on the shelf, Malone has opted to go with Nelson at shooting guard as a veteran presence in an otherwise youthful lineup. Despite being 34 years old, Nelson has played 35.7 minutes per game over his last three with averages of 19.7 points, eight assists, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 3-pointers. He contributes almost nothing in the defensive categories but like Harrison, he needs to be owned while he’s getting minutes like this. Barton has been hampered with an ankle injury all year and even when he’s ready to return, he will likely be eased into action. Nelson is not shy about getting his shots, so in the meantime, he should be owned in 12-team leagues or deeper.
Nik Stauskas (Owned in 15 percent on Yahoo!/7.2 percent on ESPN) is still just 23 years old in his third NBA season but it feels like he’s been in the league for much longer. He teased Fantasy owners a few times last season but was never able to put it together for a sustained period of time. Stauskas has now been in a nice groove over the last 11 games dating back to November 11. He’s scored in double-digits in every game but one since then, averaging 12.7 points on 55 percent shooting with 2.4 3-pointers per night. It’s obvious that Stauskas has worked hard on his shot in the offseason to improve consistency, evident in his 63.8 percent effective field-goal percentage. For the season, he’s shooting 51 percent from the field overall and 45 percent from beyond the arc, and that makes much more sense than his putrid percentages over the past two seasons. During those first two campaigns, he shot 37.8 percent overall and 32.5 percent from 3-point land. College numbers may not mean the most but they’re a useful reference or starting point to see what a player did before the NBA. In Stauskas’ two years at Michigan, he shot 46.7 percent overall and 44.1 percent from downtown. Basically, he’s not nearly as bad as the numbers say and there was a ton of room for improvement. To his credit, Stauskas has done exactly that and is making the most of his minutes in Philly. The percentages will be scaled back some moving forward but there’s no reason why he can’t shoot over 40 percent from downtown going forward. Owners in need of points and consistent 3-pointers should consider Stauskas in rotisserie/category leagues.
JaMychal Green (Owned in 32 percent on Yahoo!/17.1 percent on ESPN) is on this list for reasons very similar to Andrew Harrison. Green is seeing big minutes as the starter now. The Grizzlies have no bench depth now. Green is currently starting and is backed up by Jarell Martin and nobody knows who that guy even is. Green has played very well over his last seven games. During that span, he’s averaged 12.1 points on 59 percent shooting with 7.1 rebounds per night with a few 3-pointers and blocks sprinkled in. Green is a bigger body who can score on the inside, but he also has a nice touch on the perimeter. He’s also a solid rebounder and defender, but what makes him even more valuable is that he doesn’t kill your free-throw percentage like other big men do. Green doesn’t shoot many free throws but he is shooting 79.4 percent from the stripe this season and is a 76 percent shooter for his career. Zach Randolph is on his way back but he’s accepted his role as a bench player at this point. Also, it makes sense for the Grizzlies to let Green stick as the starter and let him develop at age 26. Owners in need of a power forward should look at Green for points and rebounds with some surprises thrown in every now and then.
Al-Farouq Aminu (Owned in 38 percent on Yahoo!/19.4 percent on ESPN) is nearing a return from his calf injury and should be considered in both category and points leagues because he fills up the stat sheet. Aminu contributes across the board, and is particularly useful in the defensive categories. This season is a small sample of just eight games but during that time, Aminu averaged 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks. Aminu is more of a slender power forward at 6’9”. His athleticism coupled with a 7’3” wingspan gives him plenty of opportunities to rack up steals and blocks. Not to mention, he’s a solid rebounder as well, though, erratic at times. In some games Aminu grabs double-digit rebounds while he fades to the background in others. Offensively he’s bad, evident in his 42.8 career field-goal percentage, but there is a plus. He improved his spot-up 3-point shooting and even managed to make 1.5 threes per game as a starter with the Trail Blazers last season. Owners in need of the gritty statistics like rebounds, blocks and steals should add Aminu. Just be ready to tolerate his terrible shooting performances.
P.J. Tucker (Owned in 9 percent on Yahoo!/4 percent on ESPN) is more of a short-term add, but he should be owned as long as T.J. Warren is out. Warren is dealing with a head injury and could still be a few weeks away. In his absence, Tucker has picked up the slack. Over the last two games, specifically, Tucker averaged 19 points with 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 3-pointers. Steals are another category Tucker can fill up in a hurry, although he hasn’t had many recently. He’s averaged at least 1.3 steals per game each season over the past three years. Tucker is what he is at this point in his career. He’s a hard-nosed player who scores scrappy points, rebounds well, racks up steals and hits the occasional three. While Warren is out, however, Tucker will consistently see 25-30 minutes a night, which warrants an add in 14-team leagues or deeper.
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