It was a big week in the NBA with the trade deadline shaking up several rosters while buyouts, injuries and players being shut down have created more rotation adjustments as we head into the stretch run. There are about five weeks left in the regular season, and there are some great options on the waiver wire that can push your season-long fantasy team to new levels of success in the coming weeks. Each week, you can find my top four pickups for season-long fantasy basketball leagues, with some other options to consider included at the bottom.
Looking at the week ahead, there are double-digit games on tap for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Twenty-four of the 30 teams play a total of four games in the coming week while the other six play three times. No team plays more than four games or fewer than three, so it sets up to be another fairly balanced week overall. Remember to consider your specific team need and league rules. Here are the four players I think you should look for first who are available on most waiver wires.
C Moses Brown, Oklahoma City Thunder (vs. DAL, vs. TOR, at PHX, vs. POR)
He was already been scooped up in the majority of active leagues. But, if there’s any way to go with Mo, he has to be the top priority for any team needing a big man. Brown has shown flashes of potential throughout his second season in the NBA, and now the 21-year-old will get an extended audition for Oklahoma City, who decided on Saturday to shut down Al Horford for the rest of the season to get a look at their younger players like Brown.
What can Brown do for you? In the seven games that proceeded Saturday’s action, he has produced 11.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.9 blocks while playing 28.1 minutes per game. He has put up a pair of double-doubles in the past week and provides good defensive numbers. He had a couple of down games during that stretch, as well, but those were in Horford starts. With more usage and consistent playing time, Brown should continue to produce plenty of production. The Thunder may get blown out a lot over the next few weeks, but it shouldn’t impact his playing time.
PF Chuma Okeke, Orlando Magic, (at LAC, at NO, at UTA, at DEN)
Okeke is another young player lined up for a ton of usage and opportunity over the rest of the season is Orlando’s top pick from last year’s draft. He has averaged 22.2 minutes per game in his 29 games this season but played 37 minutes in his first game for the Magic after the trade deadline when the team shipped off Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier.
Okeke scored a career-high 22 points to go with six boards, four assists and two steals. He only had an 18.1% usage rate, so there’s still room for growth if he gets more work for the thinned-out roster moving forward. Coach Steve Clifford has made it clear that he intends to give Okeke more post-up looks in addition to his opportunities as a slasher and rim-attacker. He has made four three-pointers in each of his past two games and comes with some long-range potential. He may not help your percentages, but his sheer volume over the next several weeks will likely make him very usable in countable categories.
PG/SG Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets, (at NO, vs. PHI, vs. CLE, vs. ORL)
With LaMelo Ball out for the rest of the season, Monk should be in for more work for the Hornets as the primary backup for Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier. Monk is dealing with a little bit of foot soreness but is probable for Sunday’s game, so it doesn’t appear to be a huge concern moving forward.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Malik Monk (foot) was ruled out for Sunday’s game vs. the Suns.
In each of the three games since Ball’s season-ending injury, Monk played over 23 minutes and took at least 10 shots with over a 25% usage rate. Monk had his second game of the season with over 30 points, scoring 32 points on Friday in a win vs. the Heat. He offers good scoring and heavy usage in the Hornets’ second unit and has a very high ceiling. He hasn't proven himself to be a consistent option yet, but his upside makes him a nice waiver wire add for instant offense in the backcourt.
SG/SF/PF Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets (vs. MEM, at BKN, at BOS, vs. NO)
The Rockets have had all kinds of issues this season, but Tate has been one of the few bright spots. He’s been a consistent option and shown a lot of versatility — both in terms of roles and variety of production.
Entering Saturday’s action, Tate had started 32 of 44 games for the Rockets, averaging 28.4 minutes and producing 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. With Victor Oladipo traded away, Tate will likely be lined up for more usage, and the Rockets will continue to utilize him next to Christian Wood, who is now back from his long layoff — though, he was a late scratch on Saturday. Tate played 39 minutes in his first game since the trade deadline and had 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. He has logged over 32 minutes in four of his past five games and should keep seeing plenty of run for Houston in the coming week.
Other options to consider
- SG/SF/PF Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks
- PF/C Khem Birch, Orlando Magic
- PF/C Isaiah Roby, Oklahoma City Thunder
- PG/SG Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PG/SG Tomas Satoransky, Chicago Bulls
- SG/SF Grayson Allen, Memphis Grizzlies
- SF Aleksej Pokusevski, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG/SF Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans
- PG/SG Reggie Jackson, Los Angeles Clippers
- PG/SG Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks
- PF/C Juancho Hernagómez, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PG/SG De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies
- C Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards
- PF/C Moritz Wagner, Boston Celtics
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