As we get closer to the NBA trade deadline, you must remember that NBA trades can change the complexion of your fantasy team. When trades do occur, many people benefit at the start. If you pick up a player off of your waiver wire whose name has come up in the rumor mill, do not be worried. If an up-and-coming player is an actual piece to a team's puzzle, they will get that attention on their new team. As of now, through the end of February, I want you to be aware as to which players are heavily being shopped around. It will help maintain that balance on your fantasy team and can open up new doors for increased playing time. Here are a few players who have been drawing attention after having a solid last couple of weeks.
Kirk Hinrich, guard, Chicago Bulls: We all know everybody in Chicago is focused on the return of Derrick Rose (knee). Even when Rose returns, the Bulls will ease him back into the rotation, and that could take an extra month. Conditioning plays a big part with returning from an injury of this magnitude. If Rose's recovery stalls, the Bulls will have no problem deactivating him. Hinrich is a seasoned veteran who knows how to run an offense.
Hinrich's point guard experience has been beneficial to fantasy owners, as he has dished 6.5 assists per game over the last few weeks. He has been scoring 8.3 points while shooting 37 percent from the field. On the defensive side, he has grabbed 3.8 rebounds and stolen the ball 1.3 times per contest over the last few weeks. He has even helped in the blocks category, with one in nearly every game as of late. He is owned in only 27 percent of leagues polled and plays over 27 minutes per game. Even when Rose comes back, Hinrich will still make an impact on the Bulls.
Charlie Villanueva, forward, Detroit Pistons: He will provide only a minor boost for your team, but Villanueva has always shown his versatility when on the floor. Over the last few weeks he has made at least two three-pointers and has averaged 9.4 points a game. He is owned in just 3 percent of leagues polled. Villanueva is will be relied on if he does not take bad shots.
Villanueva has also grabbed 3.2 rebounds and stolen the ball almost one time per game over his last few games. He also will grab you a block every other game. Shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, Villanueva is a good short-term option for your team. He is the type of player that you put on your watch list, and if he has a few good games in a row you should pick him up.
Toney Douglas, guard, Houston Rockets: Douglas' aggressiveness alone puts him on this list. The Rockets are a very up-tempo team, and Douglas has shown that he can help organize this group. He has seen his minutes improve over his last few games and has scored 11.4 points while shooting 49.3 percent from the field as of late. He also has made at least one three-pointer a game. He also does the little things for your team, like grabbing a couple of rebounds and dishing a few assists every night.
Douglas is owned in just 4 percent of leagues polled. He has stolen the ball 1.3 times per outing and has shot 80 percent from the free-throw line since the end of 2012. He is the kind of player that when given the opportunity, he will sink his teeth into just about every standard fantasy basketball category.
Taj Gibson, forward, Chicago Bulls: It has not been the best year for Gibson, but as of late he is showing what makes him a threat on both ends of the court. Gibson has scored 11 points while shooting 53 percent from the floor over the last few weeks. In that same time period, he has grabbed 7.3 rebounds and blocked 1.8 shots per game. These are statistics that we are used to seeing from Gibson.
Gibson is owned in just 9 percent of leagues polled, and I have no idea why. Even though he is playing just 23 minutes a night, his defense alone makes him a solid fantasy option. If he is on your waiver wire, you need to immediately pick him up. Other than his playing time, everything is looking positive for Gibson. Monitor his minutes.
Derrick Williams, forward, Minnesota Timberwolves: When a player expresses publicly that they are unhappy, their next course of action is judged critically. Williams thought that he was left out of the Timberwolves overall plans for the season. The former second pick in the draft is playing just under 18 minutes per game. As frustrating as that is for him, it looks like Kevin Love (hand) will not be back for a while. This means that Williams gets the chance to show his worth.
In the last two weeks, Williams has scored 12.3 points while shooting 50 percent from the floor. He has seen a minor increase in playing time lately. He has also grabbed 4.2 rebounds, stolen a ball and blocked a shot in almost every game in his last few outings. He is owned in just 22 percent of leagues polled, and with Love hurting Williams could benefit from this new open door. It can at least raise his value if the Timberwolves are looking to trade him. His name has been brought up in trade talks a few times this season.