Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 8
Now that we are in December, the spirit of giving is in full effect. For us fantasy basketball degenerates, let’s embrace the spirit of the holidays…by handing out Ls and pontificating glorius lines of smackdown. To increase the probabilities of making that the reality, scouring the waiver wire can be of assistance. Injuries happen, rotations change, and players get hot/cold. Some teams play four games in the week, while others play only two.
Minutes and opportunity are king for fantasy basketball. Be vigilant and scour the wire, so that those beautiful lines of rapture can echo in the heads of the defeated. As usual, I utilize the Yahoo database and highlight only those players who are owned in less than 50% of leagues.
Marcus Smart (PG/SG – BOS) – 23% owned
Smart started the last three games, as Jaylen Brown sat due to injury. During that span, Smart averaged 32.1 minutes, 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2.7 steals, and 0.7 blocks. He shot 52% from the field, 46% from downtown, and only turned the ball over 0.3 times per game. He was close to being a top 10 player! Now, the shooting efficiency is obviously going to come down, as he’s a career 36% shooter from the field and 33% from downtown.
But those steals and assists. Get Smart! If you get the reference, then congratulations. You’re an old fart.
Anyways, the most intriguing thing about Smart is that he may remain in the starting lineup. With how putrid Brown has been this season, it seems like a logical thing for Coach Stevens to maintain.
Jakob Poeltl (C – SA) – 16% owned
I was very high on Poeltl coming into the season because the depth chart in San Antonio looked ripe for opportunity. He had also shown flashes in limited playing time for the Raptors, so there was some basis for the optimism. With that said, he’s been bad, especially on defense (#308 in defensive rating), which has contributed to the lack of trust that Coach Popovich has shown in his young center. Even when Pau Gasol went down due to injury, Poeltl only averaged 12.7 minutes per game. Over the last four games, though, he’s played 16.6 minutes, scored 11 points, grabbed 5.3 rebounds, and blocked one shot per game.
Granted, he got tons of blowout run, but the Spurs are getting blown out pretty regularly lately. This pickup may not amount to much, but there’s a modicum of upside at a relatively thin position. Godspeed.
Kevin Huerter (SG – ATL) – 2% owned
Travis Schlenk was the assistant general manager to Warriors GM Bob Myers, who constructed one of the most lethal backcourts with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Now reigning over his own team in Atlanta, Schlenk is creating his own version of the Splash Brothers with Trae Young and Huerter. After getting off to a slow start, Huerter has averaged 28.8 minutes, nine points, 1.7 three-pointers, 5.3 rebounds, four assists, and one steal over the past three games, good for the #103 player in fantasy. With the Hawks executing the “Not Tryin’ for Zion” campaign, Huerter should continue to get a ton of minutes and gain experience for the future.
Alec Burks (PG/SG – CLE) – 14% owned
Since getting traded to the Cavaliers, Burks has averaged 26.4 minutes, 13.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and one steal over three games. That’s good enough to be the #120 player in fantasy. He won’t chip in many three-pointers, assists, or blocks, but the turnover rate is low (0.7) and the usage rate is high (25.1). On a Cavs team that isn’t going anywhere, Burks should have plenty of opportunites to huck ’em and chuck ’em, as he’s averaging over 12 shot attempts per game.
Avery Bradley (PG/SG – LAC) – 12% owned
You won’t ever see Bradley on SportsCenter and, even though I live in LA, I forgot Bradley was still in the league. Slight exaggeration, but that’s only because I look at the box scores every night. With that said, he won’t ever win you a week, but he’s a useful fantasy asset. Over the past six games, he’s averaged 32.1 minutes, 10 points, 1.2 three-pointers, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals, and one block. That ain’t bad.