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Waiver Wired

NBA Waiver-Wired: Week 20

by Jonas Nader
Updated On: March 2, 2020, 12:38 am ET

Hello and welcome back to another Waiver Wired! For most of us, the fantasy playoffs will be starting up in a week or two, and fortunately we’ve been blessed with some awesome pickups this week that could make all the difference down the stretch. It’s like I’ve always said: A great draft will get you into the playoffs, but the waiver wire is what wins championships. Just ask Christian Wood. Let’s dive right in with the top adds available in over 60% of Yahoo Leagues, and if you have questions just ask away on Twitter!

 

Week 20 Games Played

4 games: BOS, BKN, CHI, CLE, DAL, HOU, IND, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, ORL, POR, SAC, SAS, UTA, WAS

3 games: ATL, CHA, DEN, DET, GSW, LAC, LAL, PHI, PHX, TOR

 

Top Pickups Under 40%

1) Cam Reddish (35%)- He’s been at or near the top of this list for several weeks now, but he pulled a Derrick Favors and left his last game vs. the Blazers after 24 minutes with low back pain. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious, as Cam has been lighting up fantasy leagues. In his previous five games before the Portland game, Cam showcased his monster upside with top-30 numbers of 17.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 dimes, 1.6 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 triples. Now that his shooting has stabilized (shoutout to the coaching staff for the tweaks to his jumper/footwork), he looks like the total package in fantasy and has future early-round stud written all over him. 

“He had [confidence] tonight and when he has that confidence you can just see the talent oozing out of him,” John Collins said after Cam’s career night vs. Brooklyn (h/t Zach Koons of the ACJ). “Hopefully he keeps that confidence and keeps playing that way because the game really opens up when you have a guy like him who can slide, cut, shoot and play-make.” 

2) Seth Curry (34%)- As fantasy owners everywhere continue to wait anxiously for the return of Steph Curry (hand), Seth has singlehandedly kept teams afloat with the best month of his career by a country mile. He averaged 18.5 points, 4.0 boards, 2.8 dimes, 0.9 steals and 3.9 triples on a 56/59/82 shooting line, posting top-30 numbers in 9-cat during that stretch. To put this into perspective, Seth has jumped all the way up to No. 2 on the NBA’s all-time 3-point percentage list after this run.

“His shooting of the basketball has been phenomenal during an important stretch here,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s definitely a positive.” Carlisle isn’t the only one showering him with praise, as Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis both mentioned that they need to be running more plays through the marksman. It took a while, but Curry has solidified himself as the third best fantasy option in Dallas, leaving Delon Wright and Tim Hardaway Jr. in the dust. 

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3) Shake Milton (30%)- I’m glad I mentioned Milton as an add last week but I’d be lying if I said I expected him to be this good. Coach Brett Brown initially said he’d use a “PG-by-committee” with Ben Simmons (back) out indefinitely, but it took Milton about 10 minutes before those comments were swept under the rug. In his last three starts, Milton put up 15.3 points, 4.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 1.3 blocks and 3.3 triples on 60% from the field and 100% from the line. He’s second on the team in touches per game (67) in that span, and more are coming his way with Joel Embiid (shoulder) out. 

“At this stage, if everybody is looking for a tournament, he’s winning it,” coach Brett Brown said. “He’s the starting point guard. The rest of it falls into place with some other ball-handlers that are more than capable. Shake has been a needed surprise late.” Brown added that Milton is “becoming consistently reliable on a bunch of things,” and he has certainly passed the eye test with his defense being just as impressive. He’s a strong pickup with the fantasy playoffs starting up.

4) Jerami Grant (39%)- He fizzled out last week, but Grant put his name back on the map with a career-high 29 points vs. the Pistons and then dropped 20 points in an encore performance vs. the Clippers. “I just rode [Grant] that whole second half,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after the Detroit game. “He was terrific.”

Grant has played 29 minutes in back-to-back games with 24.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 dimes, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.5 triples. The scoring will obviously trail off, but Grant’s peripheral stats are usually fantastic. Starting forward Paul Millsap has run out of gas with three duds in his last four games, and now he’s questionable for Sunday with a right ankle sprain. 

Grant’s minutes are already trending up but if he gets a start then he’ll be a no-brainer fantasy asset in standard leagues, especially since Malone is treating Michael Porter Jr. like Steve Kerr treated Jordan Bell. In 21 starts this season, Grant showcased his all-around stat set with 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 dimes, 1.4 blocks, 1.1 steals and 1.5 triples on 48% from the field and 83% from the line. Those are elite numbers and he has to be rostered with Millsap’s status up in the air. 

5) Kent Bazemore (37%)- His ownership rate has soared in recent weeks and it’s absolutely warranted. Even if we include a dud vs. the Thunder, Bazemore is cruising with 7th-round value in 9-cat over his last six games with 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.7 triples in 26.5 minutes. Bazemore made a few appearances on this column earlier this season during his Portland days, but he was a shell of himself then and appears to be rejuvenated in Sacramento. He’s been a huge reason why the Kings have won four of their last five, putting them in striking distance of the 8th seed out west. 

“He’s been great -- the things he says in the locker room, his participation in film sessions, the energy and passion he plays the game with, his versatility,” coach Luke Walton said (h/t James Ham of NBC Sports). The numbers we’re seeing right now mirror what we used to see during his Atlanta days, so there’s no reason why he can’t sustain this. The shooting will come and go, but not many players can fill up the steals, blocks and triples category quite like this guy — he averages 1.7 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 triples per 36 for his career. 

6) Trevor Ariza (27%)- He’s not for everyone because his FG% is volatile and the counting stats are pretty bland, but he’s a gem in category leagues for his defensive stats and triples. In fact, he ranks 94th in 9-cat for the last two weeks with 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 dimes, 2.0 steals and 1.2 triples. He’s playing close to 37 minutes per game, and you’d think his workload will be secure as long as Portland remains competitive in the West. 

7) Juancho Hernangomez (23%)- Jake Layman was supposed to put a dent in Juancho’s value, but it hasn’t happened yet with Layman playing 13 minutes in three straight. As for Juancho, he’s holding on tightly to the starting gig and the Wolves can’t justify taking him out of it with how well he’s playing. He’s averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 dimes, 1.0 steals and 2.0 triples over his last four, and I think he’ll continue to be a borderline top-100 play in the near future on a Minnesota team that continues to encourage aggression from beyond the arc. 

8) Harry Giles (30%)- It took about three years for Giles to get a full workload in Sacramento and obviously the health of his knees is a big reason why, but he’s been unleashed as of late with 15.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.3 dimes, 0.5 steals and 0.5 blocks on 59% from the field and 67% from the line over his last four. He’s playing just under 28 minutes per game and is sitting on 8th-round value in that stretch. The Kings still haven’t provided a timetable for Richaun Holmes, but play-by-play announcer Grant Napear watched him get in a workout and said he believed Holmes could be back in the coming week. Holmes’ mother said the same on Twitter, and while that may be a reach, we’ll take what we can get since Sacramento’s injury reports are apparently classified. That means Giles has a short shelf life, but keep throwing him in lineups until then. 

9) Damion Lee (31%)- If you want to completely fade the Warriors, I have absolutely no issue with that. Lee has been getting the job done for fantasy owners with a top-40 stretch over the last two weeks, averaging 16.8 points, 4.6 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.8 triples. The Warriors have delayed Curry’s return by another three games because they want to protect their worst record, but Lee’s value could fall off a cliff when it actually happens. That plus the Golden State tank is why Lee isn’t higher on this list. 

10) James Johnson (25%)- Naz Reid has been underwhelming and is shaping up to be a swing and a miss by me. He’s had trouble staying on the floor with a Mitchell Robinson-like foul rate, and he’s been slumping pretty bad too with the jumper that looked automatic earlier this season. As for JJ, he’s getting run as a backup four and five, and he has a proven track record of fantasy success for his ability to contribute to everywhere. His last four games have been evidence of that, as he’s racked up 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.5 blocks and 0.5 triples in just 25 minutes. He’s worth owning until Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist) gets the green light. 

 

Honorable Mentions

Kevin Porter Jr. (23%)- He’s been a rollercoaster and when you mix in the volatile shooting you come out with a boom-or-bust fantasy option depending on the night. The counting stat upside is there with per-36 stats of 15.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.3 dimes, 1.5 steals and 1.7 triples, and you’d think the Cavs will make his development a priority down the stretch. That’s been the case recently with KPJ getting 33.1 minutes over his last four. 

Brandon Knight (7%)- You know the silly season is upon us when a guy like Knight finds his way on this list. Knight has looked washed for years but has suddenly found some momentum in Detroit with half the roster on the sidelines. His fantasy value may end up being short-lived with Luke Kennard (knees) due back soon (at least that’s what they say), but Knight seems like a decent short-term flier with 16.0 points, 4.3 dimes, 2.0 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 4.0 triples over his last three games. 

Nicolo Melli (6%)- He’s been pretty sneaky as a result of the Pelicans using smaller lineups. It also helps that they are making a strong push for the playoffs, so Melli isn’t going to lose ground in favor of a youth movement. Over the last two weeks, he’s right on the edge of the top-100 in 9-cat with 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 dimes, 0.8 blocks and 2.8 triples. 

Furkan Korkmaz (10%)- There are suddenly a ton of shots up for grabs in Philly without their two superstars. Korkmaz is a little hollow outside of points and 3s though, averaging 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 dimes, 0.5 steals and 2.8 triples over his last four.