In just two games, Lakers guard Kendall Marshall has reminded fantasy basketball owners just how much a speculative buy can pay off. Prior to Friday’s game, Marshall was a virtual unknown, having started all of three games in his short NBA career. He didn’t do much last season in Phoenix where he averaged just 14.6 minutes, three points, and three assists. This season he had only played four games. Yet, taking over the Lakers’ starting point guard job with Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar all out, Marshall has quickly posted 29 points, 32 assists, 12 rebounds, and two steals in his first two starts of the season. Even more mind-boggling is that he’s still available in most leagues.
Let’s take a closer look at Marshall and some other rising players to target on the fantasy basketball waiver wire this week.
Kendall Marshall (Owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues): Marshall’s path to the Lakers has been an interesting one. He was an elite point guard at North Carolina where, despite not being much of a shooter, he averaged 33 minutes and 10 assists per game in his sophomore year before entering the NBA Draft. The Suns chose him at number 13 but the 6-foot-4 guard didn’t play much and shot just 37 percent from the floor when he did. He ended up spending much of the season in the D-League until the Suns traded him, along with Marcin Gortat, Malcolm Lee, and Shannon Brown to the Wizards for Emeka Okafor and a first-round pick right before the season.
The Wizards immediately waived him and he didn’t get a job in the NBA until the injury-riddled Lakers signed him on December 20. Last Friday, he became the Lakers’ sixth different starting point guard this season and quickly racked up 32 assists. He scored 20 points on Friday but don’t expect that often. He’s never been much of a shooter but he’ll get you threes and some rebounds but, more importantly, a healthy dose of assists until the rest of the Lakers guards heal up. Grab him immediately if he’s still available.
Darren Collison (47 percent): With Chris Paul expected to miss six weeks, Collison is suddenly a must-own as the fifth-year guard has found himself back on a starting lineup. Over two games since Paul went down, Collison is averaging 17 points, five assists, and two threes while shooting 63 percent from the floor. Don’t expect that shooting percentage to stay sky high but Collison has always been a solid shooter who can dish the ball, steal the ball, and grab a few rebounds as well. He’s back in a 30+ minute per game role once again and should be owned universally until Paul returns.
Pero Antic (11 percent): While Marshall and Collison are temporary injury replacements, Antic may well find himself the starting center for the Hawks for the rest of the season with Al Horford done for the year. We’re likely to see more minutes than the 25 he’s been playing in his first two starts of the season and his 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.5 threes per game over those two contests are bound to give him a boost. The 31-year-old rookie is a rare big man who is especially good at the longball and can haul in plenty of rebounds. He’s shooting 43 percent from downtown since December and is in line for a minutes bump so grab him.
Kris Humphries (30 percent): Man, I never thought this name would grace the waiver wire list again but Brad Stevens seems to have come around to the 28-year-old forward and the former Mr. Kardashian is suddenly averaging 25 minutes per game over his last four games. More importantly, he’s averaging 12 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 2.3 assists over that stretch. It’s tough to trust him, and Brad Stevens, but Humphries is suddenly averaging close to a double-double again and showing off the shot-blocking prowess that we haven’t seen since 2011.
Jodie Meeks (37 percent): Meeks has done a great job in Kobe Bryant‘s absence and has now scored double-digit points in nine of his last 10 games. Over that stretch, he’s averaging 15.1 points, two steals, two threes, and a few rebounds and assists. He’s not a particularly efficient shooter but the Lakers will continue to feed him the ball until Kobe returns.
Reggie Jackson (55 percent): In seven games since Russell Westbrook hurt his knee, Jackson is averaging 14.6 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds. He’s also shooting 41 percent from downtown and should continue to put up numbers, at least until Westbrook is back at 100 percent.
Gerald Green (38 percent): Green has made it onto the list several times this season and has found his way back to both this column and the starting lineup. In two games since returning to the starting five, Green is averaging 16.5 points and 4.5 steals. Yep. He’s stolen nine balls in his last two games and always puts up a steady dose of threes, averaging nine attempts per 36 minutes on the season. In spite of that, he’s shooting a very solid 39 percent from downtown.