Culture of Hoops

Runnin’ The Weave: Unwrapped

Alexey Shved is one of the players you should keep on your fantasy basketball Watch List as he can give some value for your team

Let me start off by saying to each and every one of you that was touched by Hurricane Sandy, I hope you and your family are safe and in a good place. If you were in any vicinity and felt this terrible and devastating storm like I was, my heart and prayers go out to you. Stay positive and know in time we will all be back to our normal everyday ways. Keep the faith.

As they say in show business, the show must go on. Let us use this column as a distraction of some sort to momentarily move our thoughts to the fantasy basketball world.

As I have read from other sites that try to compete with us here at Baller Mind Frame, I am confused that they list around 50 (!) players that should be added. I have seen these sites list players that are only un-owned in the shallowest of maybe 10-team leagues. I am not sure how that clears up or helps owners make tough roster decisions.

What I would like to do for this week’s column is concentrate on a league that consists of 16 teams that use four guards, four forwards, and two centers. That’s a total of 160 players that are being used. Not to mention this league also rosters four bench spots making the player roster count balloon to 224 owned players. Pretty deep league, huh? You bet.

I infiltrated the system to one of the great leagues around titled NBA Fanatics, with the help from a league member who also happens to be one of the better fantasy owners I have had the pleasure of competing with, Jason Sealove. Not to go unmentioned, I consider Jason a good friend of mine.

I pulled up the free agent page and here are the players that I feel should be kept a close eye on and could emerge with value. My guess is that if they are available in this prestigious and competitive league, they are un-owned in yours as well. Let it be known that these players probably have done nothing to this point, warranting them their place on the waiver wire.


C.J. Watson, Brooklyn Nets
Here is one player who actually has done something good to this point. Sure it is a small sample size of one game, but boy was it impressive. In 28 minutes, C.J. scored 15 points, had three 3-pointers, and added two blocks to go along with one steal. The immediate backup to Deron Williams definitely has value and might actually have stand alone value without those backup duties.

Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves
Shved has the seemingly good role of backing up an injury-prone player in Brandon Roy. The smooth shooting Alexey could prove useful if given the minutes. He also has shown the ability to create and make plays for others when he starred for his home country Russian team in this past year’s London Olympics.

Pablo Prigioni, New York Knicks
One of the oldest rookies the NBA has ever seen. Prigioni’s role is to backup Raymond Felton and he could surface with value at some point in time.

E’Twaun Moore, Orlando Magic
With starting point guard Jameer Nelson missing his first game of the season, Moore is being granted the opportunity to step in and start. While we are not certain the extent of the injury to Jameer, we are equally unsure what Moore will contribute. I would keep a close eye and if the injury lingers I would definitely take a shot with Moore.

Donald Sloan, Cleveland Cavaliers
Notice a pattern here? Another backup point guard seems to be the theme. This one plays for the Cavaliers and backs up stud Kyrie Irving. When Irving missed time last year it was Sloan who stepped in and stepped up rather nicely. The same situation could happen again this year.

Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles Lakers
The backup shooting guard for the Lakers is usually not a desirable position to be in. Unless your goal is to sit and watch of course. Well this year may be slightly different. Starting stud and guaranteed future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant has battled foot soreness during the preseason and missed most of those games. Obviously Bryant AKA “The Black Mamba” has shown up rather huge for the games that actually count, but Meeks is a name you may want to file away just in case.

Other Notables: Leandro Barbosa, Beno Udrih, Darius Morris


Jason Smith, New Orleans Hornets
Smith is off to a noticeably fast start. A decent amount of points and rebounds from this underrated big man and yet quite surprisingly still finds himself with no place to call home. Adding to his value, Smith is center eligibile.

Tyler Hansbrough, Indiana Pacers
Definitely not the flashiest player around. What really baffles me is when I watch Hansbrough play I swear I could block his shot. Though that’s the furthest thought from the truth. Tyler can play and will provide a decent amount of points and rebounds. Expect inconsistencies and you surely won’t be let down. Could have even more value if more playing time became available and could average a double-double if that became the case.

Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors
Qualifies at both forward and center, but since forward is his primary position I have decided to list him here. The athletic big man would be a stud if ever given the chance to stay on the court. He is truly one of the players that really perplexes me as to why he does not get a consistent sweat on. Maybe it is something beyond the scene that I am missing, but still he puts up serviceable numbers and I really like the fact he is a shot blocker.

Shane Battier, Miami Heat
This future President of the NBA union is really only a one trick pony. Though that one trick he sure does well. If you need three-point bombs and want a cheap source, look no further. Just don’t expect anything else other than defensive charges, which in most leagues is not a scoring category.

Jan Vesely, Washington Wizards
Usually when a player gets a starting gig, owners flock to the wire and gobble up that player. Such is not the case when dealing with Vesely. Sure his numbers have been putrid to date but let’s not forget he was a high draft pick so there has to be some talent there. Right? Well…

Richard Jefferson, Golden State Warriors
With the unfortunate season-ending injury to Brandon Rush, RJ finds himself as a rotational player for the Warriors. Not the greatest of an add here, but surely Jefferson will be asked to hit the three and defend – two things he does pretty well. If I was grading who to add between RJ and Battier I would chose RJ. It is usually a fun ride owning Warriors players.

Thomas Robinson, Sacramento Kings
This athletic, really athletic rookie finds himself in a crowded frontcourt. Right now that is. I really like his bounce and if ever given a chance I would have no problems adding AND starting him. Only problem I see is, how does he get that chance to play?

Dante Cunningham, Minnesota Timberwolves
Center eligibility helps him make this list, but temper the excitement. Right now he is in the rotation and will post the occasional points and rebounds with a block or two game, but that’s about it. Blocked for minutes by many other frontcourt teammates, I am listing him here due to the fact his team’s decision-maker, Head Coach Rick Adelman, seems to like him and Coach surely knows more than I do. Or does he?


Kosta Koufas, Denver Nuggets
I am not excited putting his name here, but this list will be short and sweet. Has a starting spot, but I don’t see how that lasts. Denver signed pogo stick Javale McGee to a huge contract and to continue bringing McGee off the bench makes zero sense. Only consider Koufos if an injury were to occur. If an injury did happen, he actually would be recommended and a nice player to own.

Greg Stiemsma, Minnesota Timberwolves
This guy can block shots. Forget about his lack of minutes. He makes an impact on the game, when he is in there. Yes he is not in there much so let’s not get too excited, but did I mention he can block shots? Give a look if that’s what you need.

Hasheem Thabeet, Oklahoma City Thunder
Another player with a lack of minutes finds himself on this list. Not so surprising. Thabeet winds up on another team, but with the same scenario – backup minutes with no clear role. Just keep in mind this player was a high draft pick and is still young enough to make an impact. It just has not clicked yet, but if it does, you will be the one that wants to own him.

Meyers Leonard, Portland Trail Blazers
Saw his name on the list and I think it is appropriate to mention him. If for no other reason than his high selection in the NBA Draft. Probably wont amount to anything this year, though like others listed above, keep an eye to see if minutes were to open up. Could definitely fill the need of a number two center if given the chance.

Greg Smith, Houston Rockets
I did tell you this column was for deep leaguers. So far Smith has not missed from the field. He is stuck shooting a whopping 100%. Obviously a ridiculous small sample size, but he does have potential to shoot a great field goal percentage for the season. He rebounds well and is a shot blocker. Another player I am keeping a close, close eye on.

Like I mentioned earlier, this list really is comprised of players who have done nothing to warrant an add/drop. I just found it more serving as opposed to giving you all a list of players to add that most fantasy basketball managers already owned.

Please feel free to contact me directly on Twitter @aka_MR_FANTASY and I will gladly get to your questions and help you navigate the season.

Quote of the Week: There is no “I” in the team but there is in win. – Michael Jordan

May God bless all those effected by this terrible storm and bless all those lending a helping hand. Sincerely.

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