There were several players who were undrafted or cut, and subsequently picked up off waivers, and then went on to make a big impact this season. Here are 13 of them, along with some honorable mentions. There’s no true Waiver Wired this week, as teams only have a couple games left and most of them are playing guys they wouldn’t normally play. In other words, it’s a bit of a crapshoot and most of you have already wrapped up your leagues. Having said that, I did provide a list of some (likely) available guys who are hot at the end of this column.
Josh Richardson – Richardson currently sits as the No. 32 fantasy player in the Basketballmonster.com season long rankings. I know he wasn’t drafted in a bunch of leagues due to the high number of questions we received about picking him up after the season started, especially in 10-team leagues, despite Mike Gallagher and I begging people to draft him. He is averaging 12.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.6 3-pointers on 45 percent shooting, and his line of 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals, four blocks and two 3-pointers on Wednesday likely helped owners win their league. He averaged career highs in minutes, shooting percentage, 3-pointers, free throw percentage, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Enough said.
Robert Covington – Covington’s shooting was pretty bad for the first half of the season and he was dropped in several leagues, but finished up quite strong, sitting as the No. 21 player in fantasy. He averaged 12.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.9 blocks and 2.6 3-pointers, and hit 86 percent of his free throws, which all helped his ranking despite a dismal 41 percent shooting percentage. If you throw out his FG%, he comes in at No. 15!
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Will Barton – Barton finished in a flurry and got some help from injuries to teammates, including Paul Millsap and Gary Harris. He finished as the No. 34 player in fantasy hoops, at least so far. He’s been killing it over his last five, averaging 20 points, 7.0 boards, 4.6 assists and 1.8 3-pointers over his last five, coming through in a big way in the fantasy championships. And on the season, he’s at 15.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.9 3-pointers on 45 percent shooting. He was drafted in a ton of leagues, but he was also on the wire in more than you’d think.
Donovan Mitchell – I actually plucked Mitchell off the wire in a rather deep league, although I’m still not sure how it happened. I’d personally rank him No. 1 on this list, but as they say, the stats don’t lie. He’s currently ranked as the No. 42 player in fantasy. Mitchell was money all season and is still killing it for the Jazz, and is averaging 20.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.4 3-pointers on 44 percent shooting. He made a heck of a run at Rookie of the Year, but Ben Simmons simply has to win it.
Dario Saric – Saric overcame a really slow start and sits as the No. 55 player in fantasy. He is averaging 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.0 3-pointers on the season, all of which are career highs.
Spencer Dinwiddie – Dinwiddie was a savior for many fantasy teams as he carried the load for the Nets after Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell went down. He was kind of quiet to close out the season as Russell returned and Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert and Joe Harris played well, but he was a monster for a big stretch in the middle of the season. He sits at No. 61 in the BBMonster rankings, although his value when those guys were out was through the roof. He’s averaging 12.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.7 3-pointers on the season, all of which are easily career highs.
Jeremy Lamb – Lamb checks in at No. 68 and was helped by injuries to several teammates, including Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Lamb is averaging a career-high 13 points, 4.1 rebounds, a career-high 2.3 assists, a career-high 0.8 steals and a career-high 1.2 3-pointers on the year.
E’Twaun Moore – I’m pretty surprised to see him at No. 72, but he hit a ton of 3-pointers and played well for the Pelicans this season. Moore is averaging 12.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 3-pointers on 50 percent shooting. And his 30-point game with seven 3-pointers last Wednesday was big for those of you who owned him.
Bojan Bogdanovic – Myles Turner was both disappointing and banged up this season and Bogdanovic came through for one of the most surprising teams in the league this season, sitting at No. 73. He’s averaging a career-high 14.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, a career-high 0.7 blocks and a career-high 2.0 3-pointers while shooting 48 percent from the field and 87 percent from the line.
Terry Rozier – The 77th ranked player on BBMonster filled in admirably for Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart when they were injured this season and the Celtics are going to need him to be big in the playoffs now that Irving is done for the year. Rozier should have been higher on this list, in my opinion, and I bet he helped a lot of you win a championship. In his 14 starts this season he averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.9 3-pointers, but shot just 39 percent from the floor in those games.
Kelly Olynyk – Between Hassan Whiteside’s pouting and injuries, and James Johnson’s inconsistency and injuries, Olynyk had a really nice season for the Heat, checking in at No. 79. Olynyk is averaging career highs in points (11.6), rebounds (5.6), assists (2.7) and 3-pointers (1.4), and also checked in with 0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks while shooting it well from both the floor (50%) and free throw line (77 percent).
DeMarre Carroll – Carroll’s late hip injury is a buzzkill, but he had a nice season for old coach Kenny Atkinson and checks in at No. 85. I drafted him in several leagues, but if I wasn’t in your league, there’s a good chance he went undrafted. He averaged 13.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.0 3-pointers in his bounce-back season.
Josh Jackson – His BBMonster ranking wasn’t good thanks to poor field goal and free throw shooting, but he averaged 18.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.5 blocks and 0.7 3-pointers after the All-Star break and hit 44 percent of his shots. He got off to a really slow start, but really helped teams that didn’t care about the shooting percentages.
MarShon Brooks – If you picked him up late, he’s been on a tear, averaging 23.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks and 3.0 3-pointers in his four games for the Nets. Hopefully you picked him up in time for your championship run.
Trey Burke – Post All-Star break he averaged 16.3 points, 2.3 boards, 5.4 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.4 3-pointers on 51 percent shooting. I still don’t know how he did it, but he separated himself from the other Knicks point guards, which probably wasn’t that hard to do.
Here are some guys worth a look for the final few games of the season.