Waiver wire pickups: Knicks, Warriors offer value adds


Working the waiver wire is pivotal to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless shifts in rotations throughout the marathon campaign, we’ll need to source stats from free agency to maximize imaginary rosters. A willingness to entertain competition for the last few spots on your fantasy hoops roster can prove rewarding. When curating this fluid collective of statistical contributors, it helps to consider your end-of-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.

The goal of this weekly series is to identify players at each position widely available in free agency in ESPN leagues. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings.

In the breakdowns below, I’ve ordered players at each position with the priority of acquisition in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN men’s basketball leagues.

Point guard

Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers (50.8%): Shooting woes defined the early phase of his professional career, but a sizable surge in playmaking and scoring craft suggests we shouldn’t take that early sample as a lasting trend. If the team ends up moving Malcolm Brogdon or any other meaningful vets, Henderson’s role is going to grow.

Tre Jones, San Antonio Spurs (66.8%): It’s tough to find steady sources of assists via the waiver wire, which makes Jones a valuable acquisition in those leagues where he’s still available. With several efficient scorers around him, Jones’ path to playmaking is paved.

Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (26.5%): A popular name in trade rumors, this gifted defender brings enough offensive production to the surface as a two-way fantasy force. It’s possible that he maintains or even improves his statistical impact if he lands on the right roster by the deadline.

Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors (14.9%): Back to swiping steals at an elite rate thanks to an uptick in minutes lately, Trent is another viable trade candidate with potential to improve his stock if he’s moved. Even if he stays with the Raptors, the volume shooting and special steal clip should sustain.

Shooting guard

Donte DiVincenzo, New York Knicks (29.8%): Vaulting to a new tier of fantasy value in the wake of the team dealing Immanuel Quickley, this Nova product can score, rebound, pass and defend at meaningful rates.

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (13.3%): With more offensive firepower than Caruso and rising defensive rates as he earns more playing time in the wake of Zach LaVine’s likely season-ending foot issue, Dosunmu is a rewarding addition in all formats. The ceiling gets even higher is Caruso is dealt.

Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors (10.6%): Two recent double-double showings via assists and rebounds reveals just how versatile this guard’s game proves. With savvy beyond a traditional rookie, Podziemski should continue to play an important role even upon Chris Paul’s eventual return.

Small forward

Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets (63.2%): Finding his groove as a volume scorer while also flashing newfound defensive acumen, Miller has league-winning upside as the high-usage cog on the perimeter of the Hornets’ offense.

Aaron Nesmith, Indiana Pacers (19.9%): Adding off-the-bounce creation and slashing to his once limited catch-and-shoot profile, Nesmith has been a rising force ever since the team dealt Bruce Brown to Toronto.

Josh Hart, New York Knicks (37.4%): One of the league’s best rebounding guards is cleaning the glass with Julius Randle ailing. There is also real upside as a distributor, again via Randle’s vacated usage.

Power forward

Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors (49.8%): The Warriors’ record and place in their conference suggest a disappointing season, but if you consider the arrival of Podziemski and the rapid rise of Kuminga as impact contributors on controlled contracts, the picture looks better. Kuminga, unlike Podziemski, is unlikely to lose any minutes or touches when the team gets to full strength.

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets (52.0%): Is Simmons ever going to sustain health and play big minutes? Only time will tell, but his ability to flirt with triple-double results even in limited minutes spells real upside for those who prove patient with the former top pick.

Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards (36.0%): With Washington involved in trade rumors surrounding Kyle Kuzma, his potential departure would likely result in a massive spike in shots and creation duties for Avdija.


Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks (48.0%): An injury to Clint Capela should see Okongwu play big minutes and patrol the paint for the Hawks in the coming weeks. Efficient offense and special defensive rates could surface.

Precious Achiuwa, New York Knicks (5.9%): Part of the OG Anunoby package, this athletic big has earned a major role in the New York rotation and could become a productive option for as long as Randle sits.

Special teams

This section focuses on specialists; players who flash in a singular category and can provide specific value to those in category and roto formats. Nominations are based on which category such players are helpful in and will rotate throughout the season.

  • 3-pointers: Only this Stephen Curry guy has provided more added value in 3-point production than DiVincenzo over the past two weeks. Dallas’ Tim Hardaway Jr. (29.1) is 11th in this regard, with the Hornets’ Miller at 13th during this sample.

  • Steals: Trent’s return as a larcenous defender is notable, as is Jones’ steal rate for the Spurs. Houston’s Amen Thompson (14.8%) consistently gets his hands in passing lanes.

  • Rebounds: Hart’s atypically awesome rebounding rate has him in the top 25 in added value via this statistic on the Player Rater during the past two weeks. Teammate Isaiah Hartenstein (40.9%) is also a valuable source of collecting boards.

  • Blocks: Caruso and Okongwu both register as notable rim protectors despite very different bodies and roles. Achiuwa also qualifies thanks to his recent spike in rim protection chances.

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