Before we even start with the waiver wire, know the injuries that affect your lineup, and be aware of any role changes.
Shaquille O’Neal has thumb surgery and is likely out for the regular season, Jason Thompson is out for two weeks (or possibly longer) with a back injury, and Allen Iverson will reportedly not be returning to Philadelphia.
There are plenty more injuries and roles to be aware of, but for the quiet guys that are still left to go to waste in your league’s free agency pool, read on:
Note: Our waiver wire column only includes players available in over 50% of leagues, assuring you get a good dose of quality gems that are likely still available in your league.
Also, we generally try to avoid promoting the same players in consecutive weeks, to take a look at last week’s column for some more waiver wire ideas.
Drew Gooden, F/C, Los Angeles Clippers (58%)
Gooden has been on an absolute tear lately, showing people that he can put up solid numbers when he gets a good amount of playing time.
In his past five games, Gooden hasn’t registered less than 10 points or eight rebounds in a game, and has recorded at least 26 minutes in each contest.
He’s in the Clippers’ starting lineup now, and with four straight games with 15 or more points, he’s quickly turning into a solid performer. Grab him while he’s hot.
Taj Gibson, F, Chicago Bulls (61%)
Gibson isn’t nearly as consistent or dominant as Gooden has been over the last five games, but he’s definitely showing he can handle his own down low, and he’s doing so as a rookie.
Gibson has at least eight points and six rebounds in eight straight games, while notching four double-double’s during that span.
He’s inconsistent, but he’s starting, getting solid minutes, and routinely putting up a solid stats line with rebounds and blocks, and is shooting great percentages.
Nicolas Batum, G/F, Portland Trail Blazers (84%)
Batum was one of our deep sleepers a week or two before he started getting heavy minutes. It’s taken a while for him to get comfortable in the regular rotation, but now that he’s in the starting lineup (five straight games), he may finally be worth taking a real chance on.
He’s logging over 20 minutes in his last six games, and has become a much bigger part of the offense. With performances of 21 and 31 points in his last two contests, it’s time to take notice of Batum’s quick progress.
We knew he had excellent versatility before, but his nine three-pointers in the last two games tell us all we need to know. Grab Batum and use his hot hand while it lasts, and then stash him on your bench for future hot spurts.
J.J. Hickson, F/C, Cleveland Cavaliers (90%)
With everyone snatching at Anderson Varejao in lieu of hearing Shaq is done for the regular season, Hickson is getting lost in the frenzy.
However, he’s the one who’s starting (for now, at least) in place of the injured Shaq, and in his first game as the starting center, Hickson put up 17 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks.
It’s only one game, but if he’s starting and getting the minutes, we like his potential more than Varejao. Want to know what it feels like to grab a gem with less than 30 games remaining in the regular season? Grab Hickson.
Kyle Korver, G/F, Utah (95%) and J.J. Redick, G, Orlando Magic (85%)
We don’t like to throw in a fifth player just to meet a quota. There are the top available guys in more than 50 percent of leagues, and outside of them, there really aren’t many potential gems.
However, we still like Utah’s Kyle Korver after he dropped at least 16 points in for the second time in his last five games, and J.J. Redick helped his cause with his third straight game with at least 11 points.
Both players are mostly useful for three’s and some points, and don’t figure to be useful for anything more than a spare Utility option until the prove to be a bit more consistent.