We’re coming up on the halfway point of the ’13-’14 NBA season. Injuries have piled, lineups have been scrambled, and a few trades have been made across the league.
Even if your fantasy team is not performing up to par, you still have plenty of time to make a strong comeback. The season is long, and I guarantee there are still players available in your league that could make a nice contribution to your team.
Here are 10 midseason waiver wire pickups that are currently coming on strong and could give your team a nice short or long-term boost. (The players are in no particular order.)
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL – SG, SF)
The man with the best name in basketball was considered quite a project when he was drafted by the Bucks. However, due to the Bucks’ injury-plagued roster (Larry Sanders, John Henson, Brandon Knight, etc.) and the fact that they have the worst record in the NBA, Giannis has been given a steady increase in minutes, and has displayed his great potential in small doses. In the last month, Antetokounmpo has seen on average 30 minutes of playing time, 8.5 PTS, 6.5 REB, 2.5 AST, and nearly 1 steal and block per game. The sky is the limit for this rookie, and he will only get better as the season goes on.
2. Kendall Marshall (LAL – PG)
Due to the amount of coverage that the Lakers get, Marshall’s superb recent play has not gone unnoticed. Laker point guards have dropped like flies this season with Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar all going down. Marshall is averaging 12.3 PTS, 9.4 AST, 3.9 REB, and 2 3PM per game over the last two weeks. Nash and Blake both have expected return dates of late January to early February, but until then, Marshall will be an excellent fill-in at the point guard spot.
3. Raymond Felton (NY – PG)
Felton has returned from his groin injury with a force. In his first 3 games back after his injury, Felton has averaged 11.3 PTS and 8.7 AST. Although the Knicks have point guard depth in Beno Udrih and Pablo Prigioni, it isn’t uncommon for the Knicks to play with two of them on the floor at once. Felton still has plenty in the tank to be a decent fantasy contributor.
4. James Johnson (MEM – SF, PF)
Johnson is, as Clark Kellogg likes to say, a “stat sheet stuffer supreme”. He has split time at small forward with Tayshaun Prince, and has gotten some time at power forward as well. Over the last two weeks, Johnson has accumulated 8.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.1 STL, and 1.6 BLK per game. If Johnson is given more minutes, his fantasy production could take off.
5. Mike Dunleavy (CHI – SG, SF)
Dunleavy has been in the league long enough now that you know what you get with him. An ability to score in the mid-teens, a handful of rebounds per game, and a textbook three-point stroke. With Luol Deng out of Chicago, the door has opened for Dunleavy to get a hefty amount of minutes. Jimmy Butler will continue to be heavily played, but rookie Tony Snell still has a lot of room to grow before he sees decent minutes.
6. DeMarre Carroll (ATL – SF)
Since Al Horford went down, Carroll has pickup up much of the slack. Over the past week, Carroll has seen an increase in his minutes, up to 35.7 per game. During that time, he has averaged 9.6 PTS, 6.0 REB, and 2.4 STL. As the Hawks continue to find ways to make up for the loss of Horford, expect Carroll to continue playing at this level.
7. Patrick Patterson (TOR – PF)
The Raptors have been playing extremely well since they traded away Rudy Gay, and Patterson has had a big hand in their performance. Over the past week, Patterson has seen a boost in minutes, and accumulated 13.3 PTS, 7.0 REB, 1.3 BLK, and 1.0 3PM per game. His ceiling is limited due to the Raptors’ continued ability to spread the ball around evenly, but he is a solid player getting better each game.
8. C.J. McCollum (POR – PG, SG)
McCollum’s rookie debut was nothing special, but in his second game he scored 10 points in 14 minutes, including two three-pointers. Damian Lillard has cemented his spot as the starting point guard, but McCollum is instant offense off the bench, and should see a decent amount of playing time if his hand stays hot.
9. Randy Foye (DEN SG, PG)
Foye has been on a tear recently. Him and Ty Lawson are quite the dynamic backcourt duo. Over the past two weeks, Foye has gathered 3.9 REB, 3.9 AST, and 2.6 3PM to go along with his 16.0 PTS per game. If the Nuggets are going to keep up with the rest of the Western Conference, Foye will need to continue being the impact player that he has been over this recent stretch.
10. P.J. Tucker (PHO – SG, SF)
The Suns have had a remarkable season considering the lack of household names on their roster. Thus far, it appears like Tucker may be one of the main players to make up for the loss of Eric Bledsoe. Over the last three games he has pulled down 10.0 REB per game to go along with 10.7 PTS and 1.0 3PM.