Basketball Pickups: Larry Nance Jr. is back on the radar

Wednesday's seven-game slate was the last before the trade deadline, which falls at 3 PM Eastern on Thursday. Three trades were made on Wednesday, with the Celtics (Xavier Tillman) and Timberwolves (Monte Morris) making moves that could pay dividends in the postseason, even though they won't necessarily impact fantasy basketball. The Pistons were the most active, as they added Shake Milton and Troy Brown Jr. in the Morris deal and traded Kevin Knox II to the Jazz for Simone Fontecchio. The lingering question for Thursday: will any "big names" move before the deadline, most notably Dejounte Murray and Miles Bridges?

Moving onto the games, an intriguing pickup emerged amid New Orleans' wire-to-wire win over the Clippers. Jonas Valanciunas suffered a right calf contusion when he collided with Brandon Ingram during the first half and did not return. As a result, Larry Nance Jr., who's rostered in just nine percent of Yahoo leagues, is a player worth adding, especially with the Pelicans playing two more road games to end Week 16. The fact that it's a back-to-back (at LAL on Friday and at POR on Saturday) is a bit concerning regarding Nance's value moving forward.

However, adding him before official word on Valanciunas' prognosis may work out better for managers in deep leagues than waiting until after that happens. Nance's stat line against the Clippers (two points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one blocked shot in 27 minutes) was pedestrian, but the circumstances make him a solid add in the aftermath of the Pelicans' victory.

Let's look at a few more pickups from Wednesday's slate:

Alec Burks (20%)

Two Pistons were traded on Wednesday, and Burks wasn't one of them. The absence of Cade Cunningham enhanced the veteran guard's fantasy outlook, and he had another standout performance in Detroit's win over Sacramento. Burks shot 7-of-12 from the field and 6-of-6 from the foul line, scoring 25 points with seven rebounds, two assists, and five 3-pointers in 28 minutes off the bench. We'll see if the Pistons receive an offer they can't refuse on Thursday, as this would impact the fantasy value of Burks and the other guards on the roster.

Rookie Marcus Sasser still isn't worth adding, but his minutes increased with Cunningham sidelined, and he played well. Sasser tallied 18 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes, and he's someone whose minutes could increase after the All-Star break. Killian Hayes dished out nine assists in the starting role, but his offensive limitations are well-known at this stage of his career. Eventually, the Pistons will want to see what Sasser can bring to the table, but there's no need to rush to add him just yet.


Corey Kispert (11%)

The Wizards are another team that no longer harbors playoff ambitions this season, as Wednesday's loss to the Cavaliers dropped their record to 9-41. Kispert was among the few bright spots, as he amassed 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes off the bench. He's reached double figures in four straight games, playing at least 25 minutes in each. Kispert and Bilal Coulibaly (10%) are two players whose minutes should increase after the deadline, making them more valuable in fantasy than they are right now.

Cody Martin (3%)

Martin was back in the starting point guard role, and he finished the Hornets' loss to Toronto with 19 points, five rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes. It remains unknown when LaMelo Ball will be cleared to return from his ankle injury, so Martin is worth rolling the dice on in deep leagues until that question is answered. And if the Hornets decide to trade someone before the deadline, it may not matter what happens with Ball regarding the minutes available to Martin moving forward.

KJ Martin (1%)

The 76ers have been dealing with multiple illnesses recently, and there are also injuries for the team to deal with. As a result, Nick Nurse worked with a limited rotation in Wednesday's loss to the Warriors. And the absences led to Martin playing more rotation minutes. In 29 minutes, he finished with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal, and two 3-pointers. Martin isn't someone to add in the immediate aftermath of this performance, but he'll be worth a look if Nicolas Batum and Marcus Morris continue to miss time.