Wired: Top NBA Pickups Week 23

Steve Alexander
Kris Dunn is hot and the Timberwolves have seven games left, while teams like the Clips and Suns only have four remaining games

Wired: Top NBA pickups Week 24

Kris Dunn is hot and the Timberwolves have seven games left, while teams like the Clips and Suns only have four remaining games

Games Played Week 23


3 Games – BOS, CHI, DEN, LAC, MIN, POR

This column gets a little tough this time of year, as the teams still left in the playoffs are managed by savvy owners who have already scooped up most of the worthy waiver-wire players. But we forge ahead with my thoughts, nonetheless. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!

Point Guards

Tyler Ulis Suns 57 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues – Ulis took a backseat and chilled while Devin Booker went ballistic on Friday night, when he scored 70 points, Ulis double-doubled in his previous game, Eric Bledsoe is shut down, and he’s averaging 11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.8 steals over his last five games, and is still one of the hottest point guards to own, despite Friday’s disappearance.

Ish Smith Pistons 21% - Ish is starting, but that doesn’t mean he’s getting it done. He played just 16 minutes on Friday and finished with six points and three assists, while Reggie Jackson fired off 14 shots off the bench. Neither player looks all that great right now, but I’ll still take my chances on Smith as long as he’s starting.

Austin Rivers Clippers 31% - Rivers has quietly scored in double figures in six straight games and is averaging 14 points and shooting 52 percent over his last five games. The problem is he’s not doing much besides scoring and the Clippers follow up a five-game week as just one of six teams with three games this week. He’s not ideal, but with Chris Paul occasionally resting a possibility, Rivers is still worth a look.

Malcolm Brogdon Bucks 49% - Brogdon’s roll has been slowed a bit by the return of Khris Middleton, but he’s still averaging 11.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, a steal and a 3-pointer over his last five. He’s starting and getting 33 minutes a game, so the big-game potential is still there.

Patty Mills Spurs 35% - Tony Parker has been a disaster and there’s no way to tell when he may or may not play. Mills is averaging 22 minutes, 9.8 points, 4.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five games. You could do worse.

Shooting Guards

Josh Richardson Heat 28% - Dion Waiters is still not healthy and while Richardson still hasn’t lived up to the hype and blown up, he has scored in double figures in three straight games. He’s averaging 30 minutes, 9.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers over his last five games. I still feel like a big line is coming and as long as he’s starting for the Heat, I’m fine with him starting for my team.

Denzel Valentine Bulls 17% - With Dwyane Wade shut down for the seasons, the pieces are in place for Valentine to blow up. He’s averaging 29 minutes over his last five, but the rest of his numbers aren’t too special. He did have a big double-double a week ago, but over his last five he’s averaging just 8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.2 3-pointers on 33 percent shooting. But as long as the minutes are there, the potential for him to get hot and fill it up are too.

Jamal Crawford Clippers 46% - Crawford lit it up for 28 points on Saturday and has scored in double figures in four of his last five games. Again, the Clippers are one of just a few teams who don’t have four games next week, but JC is averaging 15.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.4 3-pointers on 52 percent shooting over his last five games.

Kris Dunn Wolves 26% - Dunn blew up for a career-high 17 points to go along with four rebounds, one assist, two steals and a 3-pointer on 8-of-13 shooting in 29 minutes of Saturday’s loss to the Blazers. Dunn might be ready to play a lot more shooting guard now that their playoff hopes are basically dashed and he’s averaging 32 minutes in his last two games. He looks like an excellent flier and he should still be available in a lot of leagues. Over his last two games, he’s averaging 14 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.0 blocks and a 3-pointer. The only problem is that the Wolves play just three games this week.

Allen Crabbe Blazers 34% - Crabbe has scored in double digits in four of his last five games, although he hasn’t scored more than 11 in his last three. He’s averaging 10.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five games and is due for a big game soon. However, this probably isn’t the week to use him, as Portland only has three games.

Small Forwards

Mindaugas Kuzminskas Knicks 2% - Kuz went off for 19 points and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes on Saturday against the Spurs. Kristaps Porzingis was quiet and Carmelo Anthony sat out again with a sore knee. It’s possible that Melo could be shut down and if it happens, Kuz will be a must-own player. Which is why he’s at the top of this list.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Nets 52% - RHJ scored 19 points with seven boards on 9-of-13 shooting on Friday, and racked up 16 rebounds, two steals and a block on Thursday after being pretty lackluster in his previous three games. The Nets are a mess, but play four games next week and RHJ, K.J. McDaniels, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie are all worth a look.

K.J. McDaniels Nets 1% - McDaniels has quietly scored in double figures in three straight games and is averaging 12.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers over his last three games. He’s seen at least 21 minutes in each of them and the tanking Nets have nothing to play for. It looks like KJM is going to get run over the rest of the season and he should be owned in a lot more leagues than he currently is. He also makes for an intriguing DFS play whenever the Nets are in action. And they have four games this week.

Solomon Hill Pelicans 27% - Hill’s not a great scoring threat on most nights but did have a 30-point explosion a week ago Friday. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five games, despite shooting just 39 percent from the floor. His numbers would look a lot worse without that 30-point night, but he’s played at least 34 minutes in four straight games and is starting for the Pelicans.

Shabazz Muhammad Wolves 15% - Bazz had a dud on Friday when he failed to score in 12 minutes, and then had a lackluster 13 points and two rebounds in 20 minutes on Saturday. It’s probably not a coincidence that Kris Dunn played very well in those two games and it looks like Dunn has possibly surpassed Muhammad on the depth chart. If you are interested in Muhammad, he’s really only good for points, but I’d much rather own Dunn as of this second.

Power Forwards

Marquese Chriss Suns 53% - Like Tyler Ulis, Chriss took a backseat to Devin Booker on Friday, finishing with three points, six boards and five fouls after hitting just 1-of-10 shots. But he was on fire before that, scoring between 13 and 24 points in those games and even with Friday’s dud, he’s at 15.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five. I can’t imagine him not being owned in a playoff matchup, but you never know.

Skal Labissiere Kings 28% - Kosta Koufos has become an afterthought and the Big Skal almost triple-doubled on Friday with 10 points, 10 boards and eight assists. He’s now averaging 15.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals over his last five games, numbers bolstered by his 32 points and 11 boards on Wednesday, March 15. He’s getting minutes, the Kings have nothing to play for and Skal looks like one of the hottest pickups in all of fantasy right now.

Ersan Ilyasova Hawks 46% - Paul Millsap (knee) has now missed four straight games and the Hawks have lost all of them. We still don’t know exactly when he’ll be back and since he hasn’t been playing with the Hawks in a playoff dogfight, I’m a little concerned. Ghostface Ilya hasn’t exactly been killing it in his absence, but is averaging 11.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.8 3-pointers on 43 percent shooting over his last five. I don’t think you’ll want to use him if Millsap is healthy, but if he’s out, go ahead and roll Ilyasova out there.

Noah Vonleh Blazers 11% - Vonleh was a total dud in 23 minutes on Saturday against the Wolves, finishing with three points and three rebounds. However, before that he was playing very well and is still averaging 7.2 points and 8.2 rebounds over his last five. Unfortunately, the Blazers only have three games next week, but if you need a rebounder, he might be your guy.

Taurean Prince Hawks 3% - With Millsap out, Prince has been getting nice run, or at least was prior to Friday’s loss to the Bucks. Even with Friday’s five points in 19 minutes, TP is still averaging 9.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 1.6 blocks and 0.8 3-pointers on 38 percent shooting in 27 minutes a game over his last five. If Millsap’s going to miss more time, Prince is a decent option if Ilyasova’s already gone.


Alex Len Suns 42% - With Big Sauce Alan Williams struggling, Len has been coming on, averaging 10.8 points, 8.8 boards, 1.0 steals and 2.0 blocks on 45 percent shooting over his last five. Even if Williams gets hot, I still like the idea of using Len going forward.

Ivica Zubac Lakers 34% - Zubac still hasn’t really put it all together, but did score in double figures in three straight games before Friday’s seven-point, three-rebound performance. But even without figuring it all out, the potential for him to go on a scary tear is still there. He was dominated by Karl-Anthony Towns on Friday, but is still averaging 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 23 minutes over his last five. He may not be a must-start player, but I still think he’s must-own.

Richaun Holmes Sixers 53% - Holmes is worth a look any time Jahlil Okafor is resting his sore knee and blew up for 24 points and 14 boards last Monday. He was pretty quiet after that one and has been in foul trouble for three straight games. But despite the duds, he’s still averaging 13.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks on 59 percent shooting over his last five games. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he does it again this week.

Frank Kaminsky Hornets 48% - Cody Zeller has been solid recently, and should be owned in most leagues, but Kaminsky has also been coming on. He missed all nine of his shots and failed to score on Friday, but was straight killing it before that. He’s averaging 13.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five games, despite shooting just 36 percent. Of course, his 0-for-9 performance played a big part in that number and I like Kaminsky as a hold the rest of the way.

Georgios Papagiannis Kings 4% - Not to be confused with Rusty Griswold’s Vegas Vacation alias, Mr. Papagiorgio, Papagiannis has quietly been playing well. He had a 14 & 11 double-double last Saturday and is averaging 7.8 points and 8.0 rebounds over his last four games, and is averaging 1.6 blocks over his last five, on 38 percent shooting. If the shots start falling, look out. 

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