Fantasy Hoops Insider: The true value of Byron Mullens

Streeter Lecka

In this week's column, we talk Byron Mullens, injury updates, waiver wire options and why you should remain patient... for now.

I bet you never thought that on a night where the schedule was loaded with 13 NBA games surely we wouldn't be spending the next day talking about Byron Mullens, right? Wrong. It's all Mullens, all day.

Mullens, who entered the season with some decent sleeper status, has exceeded early expectations, mainly due to his developing 3-point shot. Last night Mullens dropped 24 and 8 on the Suns, making 6-of-10 3-point attempts. On the season he's averaging 2.7 threes per game, to go along with 15.3 points and 8.7 rebounds. Yes, those numbers look eerily similar to the season Ryan Anderson had last year with the Magic, posting 16.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 threes. And for that, everyone wants to know: is Mullens the next Anderson?

The answer is: maybe, but probably not.

The thing with Anderson is that he's always had range. In the year prior to last he averaged 2.1 threes per game and since his rookie season he's posted at least one trey per. To me, Mullens is more Channing Frye than Ryan Anderson. Think about this, last year Mullens made just 12 total threes on 51 attempts. He already has eight threes through the first three games of the year. Meaning, he's "coming out of nowhere," much like Frye who in 2009 went from making 11 threes the year prior to making 172. Yeah, out of nowhere.

What this mean for Mullens, who is only owned in 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues, is you should take him seriously as a fantasy contributor, and add him where necessary. But, is there a chance for regression in his 3-point shooting? Sure. However, if you watched him last night, you know that his stroke looks good. Really good. Will he lead the league in threes, in the same fashion that Anderson did last year? Probably not. But 16 and 8 with two threes is well within reach.

INJURY UPDATES

Anderson Varejao: He missed Wednesday night's game (a late scratch) due to a sore right knee. As of now he's considered day-to-day, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. At least not for the time being.

Kyle Lowry: The good news is that Lowry is no longer in a walking boot, which means he's probably closer to a week or so away from returning from his ankle sprain than the initial 3-4 week timetable some had assumed. For now, Jose Calderon is stepping in and starting at point, making him worth a nice pick and plug. He had 11 points, six assists, one steal and three 3-pointers against Dallas, which is a fantasy-worthy line for sure.

Elton Brand: No, he's not hurt. His wife was delivering a baby, so he missed Wednesday night's game. You may proceed in starting him this weekend. But, be sure to congratulate him and his wife. It's the least you can do.

Gerald Wallace: He missed Wednesday night's game with an ankle sprain. He too is day-to-day, and if he does miss another game, well, you probably want nothing to do with Keith Bogans.

Danny Granger: As you probably know by now, Granger is out for the next three months with a knee injury, meaning Paul George will now become the go-to scorer on the Pacers. No, George isn't available in your league, but Gerald Green might be. Problem is, Green has been underwhelming since Granger went down, so too has Lance Stephenson. Really, unless you're in a deep league neither of these guys seems worth an add right now.

Gerald Henderson: He'll miss the next 2-to-4 weeks with a foot sprain. Expect to see better looks for Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon, who both got an instant bump on Wednesday night. I would give both a shot in 12-team leagues. Sessions, if you need assists, and Gordon, if you're looking for a scorer, both struggle with inconsistency, but have a nice ceiling in their respective game.

WAIVER WIRES

Jason Kidd: The funny thing about Kidd is that he can still make a fantasy impact at 39 years old, while playing just 22 minutes per game. For Kidd, it's not that he overwhelms you with his stats, it's that he contributes across the board -- for the most part. It wouldn't surprise me to see him average close to four rebounds, four assists, nearly two steals and about 1.7 threes per game this year. Sure, those aren't "great" numbers, but they're highly effective in the fantasy game, and right now Kidd, who is ranked No. 24 overall in 9-category leagues, can still be had in 41 percent of leagues.

Moe Harkless: Making his NBA debut on Wednesday night, Harkless went for seven points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks in 22 minutes off the bench. It's a bit early to call him a must-add, but his debut was certainly promising. I think in deeper leagues you can pick and plug him, but in standard leagues I would wait until we see more from him.

Robin Lopez: With Anthony Davis still out -- likely back this weekend, though -- Lopez has solidified himself as "the force" in the paint for the Hornets. On Wednesday he posted just six points and four rebounds, but he did manage to block four shots and pick two steals. Even with Davis coming back, Lopez has nice value for his big-man stats.

Nate Robinson: It's hard to buy into Robinson, give how erratic he can be, but I think if you're looking for some scoring help, Robinson has scored in double figures in each of the last three games, averaging two steals, one 3-pointer and nearly seven assists in that span. Give him a look, just make sure you've got the Pepto-Bismol handy.

Carl Landry: I'm still shocked that he's available in more than 50 percent of leagues, but alas, some people just aren't buying into Landry, which is a shame. The guy is giving you 17 points and seven rebounds, on 67 percent shooting from the floor and 76 percent from the line. Sure, his FG% will go down and, no, he doesn't play any defense, but what he gives you in points, rebounds and efficiency, there's no reason to be sleeping on him. Especially since Mark Jackson said just yesterday he wants to get Landry more involved, even pushing him to the small forward position where needed.

Kevin Seraphin:Still available in 70 percent of leagues, Seraphin is taking him game to another level, averaging 17.5 points and eight rebounds through his first two games. Right now the Wizards are looking for an effective big, and really Seraphin is the only one who is giving them something. In 9-cat leagues, yes, his six turnovers against Boston were a bit of a knock, but eight turnovers in two games against an active Celtics defense really is almost expected from a young big.

Zaza Pachulia: I mentioned Pachulia in our latest F'N Fantasy Show as a beneficiary of Josh Smith's rolled ankle, but it appears as if the Hawks have finally taken to Pachulia as their starting center even with Smith back in the lineup. Pachulia got his first start of the season on Wednesday night, posting six points, 14 rebounds and a steal in 33 minutes. Not bad, except for the fact that he went block-less. But if the Hawks are married to the idea of giving him 30-plus minutes at center, he's definitely worth looking at in most standard leagues.

Randy Foye: I've been telling you to pick up Randy Foye since before the season started, and even got some questionable looks and comments in our F'N Fantasy Show, but Foye has continued to show just how valuable of a fantasy performer he can be. On Wednesday he went for 17 points, making five threes, against the Lakers. On the year, Foye is averaging 13.6 points and 2.6 threes. He's really a two-category guy, but that's the kind of help roto-league owners might be looking for right now, especially as they look to pad their threes.

Patrick Patterson: In three starts, Patterson is proving his worth, averaging 13 points, six rebounds, a steal, one 3-pointer and nearly a block per game. There's no reason to think, as he's been the most consistent of the young power forwards in Houston, that he'll lose his starting gig anytime soon. He's probably not quite worth owning in 10-team leagues, yet, but beyond that, yeah, pick him up.

Jarrett Jack: I keep hearing fantasy owners complain about the lack of assists they have on their team. Well, here is a guy available in 60-plus percent of leagues who is giving you five dimes per game to go along with 9.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and a steal. Considering that his head coach is one of the all-time great play-makers, it's no wonder that he's getting great minutes (26.2) off the bench.

Got questions? Hit me up on Twitter: @TomLorenzo

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