After suffering a scary injury earlier this season, the Clippers’ Matt Barnes is starting to find his feet in Los Angeles.
In today’s edition of “All Wired Up”, I’ll delve into the fantasy strengths of potential waiver wire gold like Barnes and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Derek Fisher.
» Matt Barnes, SF, Los Angeles Clippers (0.8 percent owned on ESPN.com)
24 points (8-14 FG, 2-2 FT), 6 three-pointers, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers vs Thunder.
Early this season, I thought Matt Barnes had a decent amount of fantasy value, especially in deeper leagues. But initially, he was stuck on the bench behind Jared Dudley. To make matters worse, Barnes then suffered a tear in the retina in his eye, a quite serious injury.
He had surgery on his eye and although he was slated to miss two weeks when the injury was first announced, he ended missing a month of basketball.
Upon his return, he went back to his bench role, and remained there for another month. At the end of January, Doc Rivers finally made the right move and slotted Barnes into the starting five. Since then, Barnes has really stepped up his game and is looming as a key piece in the Clippers’ title run.
What does this mean in fantasy though? It means that Barnes is providing the wing scoring that the Clippers need to run their system as well as providing elite level defense.
In his past two games, he’s averaged 19.5 points, 4.5 three-pointers and 7.0 rebounds, fantastic numbers to be sure. He’s also accumulated nine steals in his past seven games, highlighting the defense he brings to the court.
There’s no question that Barnes is the starter at small forward for the Clippers — former starter Dudley has been really struggling — and when J.J. Redick also out long term with an injury, Barnes is set to be a massive part of the Clippers’ stretch run to the playoffs.