Special for Yahoo Sports
The All-Star break has arrived, which means the home stretch for both the NBA regular season and fantasy basketball. Fantasy managers are preparing for that final playoff push, trying to utilize the waiver wire to the best of their ability. As such, this week’s waiver cable article focuses on the big picture rather than suggesting near-term streaming options.
Six of the 13 players I recommend are available in more than two-thirds of the leagues, so unless you’re in a 30-team custom league, you should have access to some of these guys.
He quickly continues to thrive off the bench for the Knicks, entering the All-Star Game with career-highs in scoring (12.7 PPG), rebounding (4.0 RPG), steals (0.8 SPG), minutes (27.7 MPG), and field goal percentage (43 .7% GC). His assist-to-turnover ratio, nearly three to one, is also the best of his career. Although he’s shooting his career-lowest percentage from the charity fringe (82.4% FT), he’s still useful in that category and beyond the arc (1.7 3PG). If Quickley is still available in your league, add him quickly.
Kenyon Martin Jr., Houston Rockets (48% on roster)
Martin began his breakout in January and reached another level in February. Although he enters the All-Star break after a poor outing in which he scored four points and made only one of his nine field goal attempts, Martin maintains a monthly average of 13.9 points (58.3% FG, 31 .6% 3PT, 75.0% FT), 6.3 draws, 2.3 dimes, 0.9 blocks, 0.8 threes and 0.5 steals in 32.8 minutes. Only time will tell if Martin will stay as involved through the final months of the season, but if so, he’ll be valuable in most if not all formats.
Looney is enjoying his best individual season behind career-high averages in scoring (6.8 PPG), rebounding (8.8 RPG), assists (2.6 APG), field goal percentage (65.6% FG) and minutes (23.3 MPG). His assist-to-turnover ratio of just over five to one is ludicrous, even considering his modest role in the game. Letting Looney sit on the exemption wire is crazy; add it immediately.
Donte DiVincenzo, Golden State Warriors (43% roster)
DiVincenzo has seen his offensive efficiency, scoring and 3-point shooting reach new heights in February. However, his minutes are down a bit, as is his output in the rebounding and assist departments. However, DiVincenzo is still worthy of a roster spot going down the stretch. He has been a consistent contributor for most of the season, averaging 11.1 points (45.1% FG, 44.4% 3PT, 82.8% FT), 4.8 draws, 3.9 dimes , 2.6 triples and 1.5 steals in 29.3 minutes in the last 32 contests.
Avdija put in some sloppy performances heading into the All-Star break. Still, in the last 12 games, he averaged 13.1 points (46.9% FG, 35.0% 3PT, 74.0% FT), 7.3 rebounds, 2.4 dimes, 1.4 steals and 1 .2 triples in 28.2 minutes. Although he won’t necessarily see heavy minutes every night unless Washington’s frontcourt gets pounded, Avdija believes he will continue to play a demanding role for the Wizards as they run toward the playoffs.
Sochan should gain substantial minutes the rest of the season, which makes him especially valuable in the points leagues. In the last 11 games, he averaged 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 three-pointers. It remains to be seen what level of offensive efficiency the rookie will offer, as he sees more playing time against opposing teams’ starters, but if he can provide decent average shooting percentages, his multi-category production will come in handy in most formats. .
Minnesota is reportedly hopeful that Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) may rejoin the rotation at some point in the last 10-15 games. However, some fantasy leagues will be over by then, and even those playing through the bitter end of the NBA regular season should consider the possibility that Towns may not return as soon as the Timberwolves hope.
Meanwhile, Anderson has been a consistent contributor in various categories during Towns’ extended absence, averaging 9.7 points (49.8% FG, 44.2% 3PT, 76.8% FT), 5.2 boards, 4.8 dimes, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.7 triples in 28.9 minutes in the last 33 games. Recent injuries led to a significant drop in Anderson’s roster percentage, so if someone dropped Slow Mo in your league, go ahead and add them.
Mann has scored in double figures in six straight games and has been promoted to the starting lineup, at least for now. During this recent six-game stretch, in which the Clippers have been at their healthiest, Mann has averaged 16.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 3-pointers in 29.9 minutes. His shooting percentages during this recent run are untenable, but he fits well alongside the team’s stars and offers some tertiary plays without committing many turnovers. Savvy managers are already taking notice: His roster percentage has increased by 21 percent in the past day alone.
Malaki Branham, San Antonio Spurs (27% on roster)
Branham has been playing lately, tallying at least 22 points in four of the last eight games while averaging 18.1 points (51.8% FG, 41.3% 3PT, 71.4% FT), 3.9 boards, 2.9 dimes, 2.4 3-pointers and 0.8 steals in 32.6 minutes during this recent stretch. His shot is among the purest in the league, let alone in this draft class. Sochan is an intriguing addition, but if I can only nab a Spurs rookie, I’d rather take Branham.
Horton-Tucker was recommended in last week’s column when he was listed in only 3 percent of leagues. He is not it’s widely available, but he remains a free agent in nearly three out of four leagues despite averaging 13.8 points, 7.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 0.8 3-pointers in 25.8 minutes in the first five games following Utah’s recent trade.
Thybulle has racked up five hits and three hits in two games with the Trail Blazers. Perhaps most importantly, though, he combined to play 56 minutes in those two meetings. Expecting anything other than steals and bans from Thybulle is a recipe for disappointment. Still, if he keeps getting that much playing time, he’ll be valuable to many fantasy coaches as a defensive specialist.
Eric Gordon, LA Clippers (17% roster)
Gordon has thrown a ton of bricks in two outings with the Clippers. However, he has been given extensive responsibility from the bench. Defensively, he has recorded two steals and two blocks in two games and should be more motivated to compete on that side now that he has a contender. Plus, he’s dished out 10 dimes, including seven in 26 minutes during Thursday’s win over the Suns. Overall, the team lacks playmakers, so Gordon should still get the green light starting offense for himself and the others.
The days of Gordon being a must-play player in every format are probably over. However, he is someone to watch or speculatively add to, particularly in the deeper point leagues.
Delon Wright, Washington Wizards (16% on roster)
Wright hasn’t gotten much recognition, falling under the radar despite averaging 6.2 points, 3.7 assists, 3.2 boards and 2.0 steals in 22.5 minutes so far this season. Part of that is that he’s a backup guard on a middleweight team that has appeared in just 29 games. But the multi-category output, and especially his career-highest average in the steals department, makes him valuable in many formats. If you’re in a deep league and Wright is available, don’t hesitate to take him.