NBA Waiver Wire: January 6
Justin Fensterman goes around the league, providing players who are worth adding to your roster!
Now that we are into January, it’s time to begin focusing on what names are in the NBA trade rumors leading up to the deadline in February. A trade impacts everything from shot distribution to playing time, and it changes a team’s rotation. The bad teams will be sellers and those teams who are contending need one more piece in order to make a run. Focus on teams who are sellers because they will likely just take on bad salary just to acquire draft picks and those players will likely be just benched so current ninth and tenth men on bad teams could be getting bump in minutes soon.
Shabazz Napier G MIN-27% Ownership: Jeff Teague has been banged up and even when Andrew Wiggins was sick, Napier was able to get a little bit of breathing room in the Timberwolves rotation. Teague is no stranger to injuries, and Napier will likely get more chances to play as the season continues. He’s played over 30 minutes and scored in the 20’s in his last three games. Napier is not afraid of driving on big men, and he’ll constantly look to take contact in order to keep the Timberwolves offense moving at a faster pace. Karl-Anthony Towns being out has helped Napier because the Timberwolves have been moving quicker on the court and passing more unlike when Towns is there when they let him create or look to feed him off of high-post screens. Napier also dished seven plus dimes in two of his last three games. He’ll help grab long boards to a minor extent as well.
Maxi Kleber PF, C DAL-34% Ownership: View Kleber as a semi-short term solution because even though Kristaps Porzingis has been out with a sore knee, he’s perpetually injured and Kleber will be the biggest beneficiary from a playing time standpoint. He’s hit the 30-minute mark in his last three games, and even when Porzingis returns, give Kleber a couple of games before you release him. He’s scored 14 or more points in his last three games and even notched a double-double a few games ago. He’s blocked four shots total in his last two games. Kleber will help stretch the floor and he’ll allow Dwight Powell to play exclusively in the post. Tim Hardaway Jr. is also out and the Mavs need help with three-point shooting. Kleber averages hitting 1.7 shots from downtown per game. Kleber will also provide some rebounding help as he’s grabbed 5.5 boards per game. He can fill in at both power forward and center. His next game is against Chicago and he should be able to take advantage of Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen .
Svi Mykhailiuk SG DET-3% Ownership: The Pistons continue to lose players due to injury and with scorers Blake Griffin , Reggie Jackson , and Luke Kennard on the shelf, Mykhailiuk has been seeing more minutes and he’s been very helpful with scoring and steals. He’s taken on the Kennard role of firing a good amount of treys from downtown. He’s made multiple three-pointers and scored in double figures in four of his last five games. He’s taken double-digit shots in his last three games. At this point, he’ll continue to be a featured shooter along with Derrick Rose , Bruce Brown Jr., and Christian Wood . Seeing Mykhailiuk’s shooting more shots makes it encouraging that the Pistons will continue to give him the ball. Mykhailiuk has also stolen the ball in four of his last five games. His perimeter defense will also give him minutes. His main competition for shots will be Langston Galloway , but there are enough shots to go around.
Ish Smith PG WSH-20% Ownership: The Wizards are another team with a badly injured frontcourt and their leading scorer Bradley Beal has been held out of games recently with a leg injury. Isaiah Thomas will get more minutes than Smith, but he has been able to produce with Washington’s second unit and he’s scored in double figures in his last five games. He’ll look to drive more than take jumpers and he has no fears taking any contact. He’s hit the 30-minute mark in three of his last four games. Smith isn’t just a scorer, he’s more of a playmaker than Thomas and that will benefit him down the stretch. He’s produced 4.3 assists per game so far this year. Smith is also a feisty defender and can be frequently seen fighting through screens. He’s grabbed steals in his last five games. At this point, besides Beal, Jordan McRae , Troy Brown, Garrison Matthews and Thomas have been handling the offensive burden and there’s plenty of room for Smith to continue getting fed a lot of shots.
E’Twaun Moore SG, SF NO-6% Ownership: Even though he cooled off versus the Kings in his last game, the Pelicans feature a lot of shooters. They’re a bit limited up front and Moore has been able to see 20-plus minutes lately. He will serve primarily as a bailout three-point shooter right now. Luckily for Moore, featured scorer Brandon Ingram likes to play inside the arc and it gives Moore plenty of room to move around to get high percentage shots. Moore has averaged 10 points per game and has hit that mark or higher in five of his last six games. He’s grabbed three boards per game so expect minor help with boards. Moore will earn minutes off of defense, and he’s grabbed steals in three of his last four games. The Pelicans rotation is open as they’re experimenting with it meaning Moore’s chances of getting a slightly longer leash than normal for bailout shooters are high. If you start to see multiple single-digit scoring games, release him.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson F TOR-6% Ownership: Jefferson’s minutes and scoring have trended up in the last few weeks. The Raptors are still without Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol , and Serge Ibaka can’t handle the post by himself. Hollis-Jefferson and Chris Boucher will provide relief until the Raptors frontcourt is healthier. Hollis-Jefferson is an inside specific player and he’s scored in double figures in his last three games. He’s even been more helpful pulling down boards. He’s grabbed five or more rebounds in his last three games. Hollis-Jefferson will also help grab loose balls in the lane. He’s coming off of a four-steal game and he’s swiped the ball in his last two games. Hollis-Jefferson allows both Boucher and Ibaka to play a little more at the arc because he’s a post player. Once Siakam comes back, Hollis-Jefferson’s minutes will likely drop, but for a few weeks, he’s a good fill-in option on a very bare Raptors frontcourt.
Troy Brown SG, SF WSH-26% Ownership: Brown should be able to continue shooting 10-plus shots per game even when Beal plays. The Wizards were trying to get him more involved in the rotation even before Beal got hurt, as he’s one of the few active players that are very familiar with how the offense runs because he has more experience being on the team. Brown has taken double-digit field goals in eight of his last nine games. When Beal is active, Brown, Thomas and McRae will battle for that second scoring spot. Brown has played 25 minutes per game this season and over the last two weeks that averaged has been lifted to over 31 minutes per game. Unlike McRae, Brown can do more than just score. Since his role has grown two weeks ago, he’s grabbed 7.6 rebounds per game, which is very impressive for a mid-court player. He’s also grabbed 1.4 steals per game during that stretch.
Sekou Doumbouya F DET-20% Ownership: How desperate are the Pistons? They are giving Doumbouya a shot, and he’s proven himself thus far. He’s been given at least 27 minutes in his last two games and he’s produced double-doubles in both of them. Thon Maker doesn’t get the job done and with both Blake Griffin and Markieff Morris hurt, Doumbouya has been starting. The Pistons may even consider shutting down Griffin for the season if his knee pain doesn’t go away. Doumbouya has also grabbed steals in his last two games. The Pistons shouldn’t take Andre Drummond out of the post because he’s the fiercest rebounder in the league and he doesn’t have any kind of offensive game. Wood will help, but he needs support. Doumbouya will do more of the dirty work while Wood takes longer shots to draw out bigger defenders. Give Doumbouya a chance for a few games, as the Pistons really need any kind of depth in their frontcourt.
J.J. Barea G DAL-1% Ownership: Luka Doncic is on the court for a lot of minutes running the point and Barea is in a big competition for minutes. Whenever he’s given 20 minutes, he’s shown he can be a multi-category producer. Barea can play at both guard spots and he’ll fight for boards against bigger plays. He’ll sacrifice his body on the court and show a duel offensive attack between driving and jump shooting. Barea has scored in double figures in his last three games. With Hardaway dealing with an injury, it could give Barea more playing time. As I said before with Kleber, with Porzingis out, the Mavs need to show they still have a long-range game and Barea will help with that. Barea has also dished six-plus assists in his last two games. He was given 33 minutes in his previous game. Barea’s biggest competition for minutes will be Delon Wright and Seth Curry . View him as a short-term solution.
WILD CARD PICK UP: Anzejs Pasecniks C WSH-1% Ownership: Thomas Bryant , Rui Hachimura , Davis Bertans , and Moritz Wagner are all still injured and Pasecniks has been helpful with rebounding and blocking shots. He’s a complete volume play who won’t always get 20 minutes, but he has been averaging over 20 minutes per game this season. He’s grabbed double-digit boards in two of his last four games. Once Bertans returns to the lineup, he’ll need to help at the arc a bit to draw out bigger defenders. This will give Pasecniks some extra life in the rotation until Bryant or Wagner return. His main competition for minutes will be Ian Mahinmi , but Mahinmi doesn’t make a huge impact. He’s blocked shots in two of his last four games. He has a few good match ups coming up and we can give him a chance until his rebounding numbers go down. He’s not as consistent of a scorer as he needs more reps and more time to learn to bang with the big guys in the post.