Making up ground with nine days left
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With just nine days remaining in the NBA schedule, it's time to start taking chances to make headway in certain categories.

Here are eight readily available players you should consider adding to your roster.

Gorgui Dieng, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves - Right ankle bursitis has nagged Nikola Pekovic since late January and caused him to miss 22 games and counting since Jan. 27. Ronny Turiaf was the first player to get a shot at filling in for Pekovic, but he too went down with an injury. Enter Dieng, a 24-year-old rookie from Senegal who won a National Championship with Louisville last year. Dieng has averaged 12 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals over his last 12 games.

Draymond Green, F, Golden State Warriors - Nerve inflammation is threatening to keep David Lee out into the playoffs, so Draymond Green will likely start at power forward for the rest of the regular season for Golden State. He doesn't score much but provides a little bit of everything. Over his last 15 games, Green has averaged 8.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks, 0.9 threes and an .826 free-throw percentage.

P.J. Tucker, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns - Like Green, Tucker isn't a consistent scorer (9.6 ppg this season) but offers solid production in many areas, including the glass. Among shooting-guard eligible players, Tucker ranks fourth with 6.6 rebounds per game, and he has averaged a full rebound more than that over his last 27 contests while recording 10.3 points, 1.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 threes during that span.

Kyle O'Quinn, PF/C, Orlando Magic - Since he entered the starting lineup 14 games ago, O'Quinn has played just 23.3 minutes per game, but that hasn't prevented him from rejecting 2.1 shots per game during that time. He also put up 8.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.7 steals in that stretch and averaged 30.2 minutes, 12 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.0 steals the last two games.

Anthony Morrow, SG/SF, New Orleans Pelicans - That Eric Gordon is out with knee tendinitis isn't surprising, but Morrow's play during Gordon's absence is. The veteran sharpshooter has scored double-digit points in eight of his last nine games and averaged 17.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 threes per game in that timeframe.

Aaron Brooks, G, Denver Nuggets - Ty Lawson may not play again this season due to a sprained left ankle, so Brooks will get a chance to run the point in Denver. The Nuggets have been crushed by injuries so Brooks has been playing a lot lately anyway, but he's seen his minutes balloon to 43.7 per game over the last two with Lawson out. The lightweight guard has played heavy over his last 10 games, averaging 15.3 points, 6.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.8 threes and 0.8 steals.

Jordan Hill, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers - With Pau Gasol dealing with vertigo and Chris Kaman out with a calf injury, the Lakers have needed Jordan Hill to step in and fill the frontcourt void. He has done that over his last eight games, averaging 16 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

Henry Sims, C, Philadelphia 76ers - The Sixers diluted their roster down to about two capable NBA players at the trading deadline, but they still have to fill 240 minutes every game. Sims has played 29.6 of those minutes over the last nine games and generated 15.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in that stretch.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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