We’re past the halfway point of the NBA regular season, which means it’s crunch time for fantasy basketball season-long leagues with playoffs on the horizon and a push to the Championship coming up quickly. If your team could use a boost from the waiver wire, check out my favorite four widely-available pickups listed below along with some other options at the bottom that are also worth grabbing or watching if available.
The NBA has massive slates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week with just a few games on Tuesday and Thursday. On Monday, only the Clippers and Mavericks have the day off with everyone else in action commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. day. Both those teams still have busy weeks, though, leaving the Hornets and Bucks as the only two teams playing just two games in the coming week.
As you take a look at each team’s matchups for the coming week to see who you can potentially add, take a close look at these four widely available options.
PG/SG MARKELLE FULTZ, ORL (AT CHA, vs. OKC, vs. BOS, vs. LAC)It has been a long road for the No. 1 overall pick from the 2017 NBA Draft, but Fultz has been making the most of his second chance with the Magic. Fultz moved into the starting lineup in place of D.J. Augustin earlier this season and now he’ll get an even heavier workload over the next few weeks while Augustin is out with a bone irritation in his left knee.
Fultz had a breakout game on Wednesday night against the Lakers, posting a massive triple-double of 21 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. That game didn’t come out of nowhere, though, since over his past nine games, Fultz has averaged 13.5 points, 5.8 assists, 5.04 rebounds and 1.9 steals. Despite the upward trend and big workload, he’s only owned in 53% of Yahoo leagues and 47% of ESPN leagues.
PG/SG SHABAZZ NAPIER, MIN (vs. DEN, at CHI, vs. HOU, vs. OKC)Napier is another guard trending in the right direction with more work coming his way. The Timberwolves traded Jeff Teague to Atlanta, which should open up more time for Napier moving forward.
Since joining the starting lineup 14 games ago, Napier has averaged 12.1 points, 5.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.0 steals. He has 12 or more points in six of his past 10 games and at least seven assists in five of those games. Unless the Timberwolves make a move to acquire a big-name guard, Napier should be a strong play as long as he’s in the starting lineup.
PF/C LUKE KORNET, CHI (at MIL, vs. MIN, vs. SAC, at CLE)Kornet is the last man standing in the Bulls’ frontcourt and should be in for a heavy workload while Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) and Daniel Gafford (thumb) are out. He just returned from his own thumb injury but is ready to carry the load for at least two-to-four weeks until Gafford returns.
Kornet played 35 minutes against the Wizards with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal. He followed that up with 13 points, three rebounds, two assists and two more blocks in his first start of the season against the 76ers. Kornet isn’t usually a great source of rebounds, but should be able to hit some long-range shots, get some blocks and chip in 10-plus points on a nightly basis while he is in the starting lineup and playing around 30 minutes.
PG MONTE MORRIS, DEN (at MIN, at HOU, at NOP, vs. HOU)Morris moved into the starting lineup on Thursday against the Warriors, but only played 26 minutes. He finished with 11 points, three boards and three assists, but didn’t play much late as the Nuggets went with a no point guard look rolling with Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr. and Malik Beasley. With Jamal Murray (ankle) out for the foreseeable future, though, the Nuggets will likely need Morris to be much more involved.
Last season, Morris had a great four-game run in the starting lineup, averaging 18.3 points, 7.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals while Murray was out. If he can find that kind of groove, he’ll be a great short-term pickup playing PG for one of the best offenses in the Western Conference. Even though the returns in the first start weren’t great, he’s an option worth checking out for the coming week.
Other options worth watching
- SF Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
- SG Damion Lee, Golden State Warriors
- SG/SF Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors
- SG/SF Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
- SF/PF Sekou Doumbouya, Detroit Pistons
- PG/SG Malik Beasley, Denver Nuggets
- PF Omari Spellman, Golden State Warriors
- SG/SF Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies
- SF/PF Trevor Ariza, Portland Trail Blazers
- SG Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee Bucks
- PF/C Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
- SG/SF/PF, Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat
- SG Svi Mykhailiuk, Detroit Pistons
- PF/C Daniel Theis, Boston Celtics
- PF/C Christian Wood, Detroit Pistons
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