Wired: Hot NBA pickups Week 12

Steve Alexander
Rotoworld
Point guards Ish Smith, Tyus Jones, Tyler Johnson and Shabazz Napier are all hot plays right now in fantasy hoops

Wired: Hot NBA pickups Week 12

Point guards Ish Smith, Tyus Jones, Tyler Johnson and Shabazz Napier are all hot plays right now in fantasy hoops

Games Played Week 12

4 Games:  CHI, LAL, MIL, MIN, NYK, PHX, POR, SAS

3 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, MIA, OKC, ORL, TOR, UTA, WAS

2 Games: CHA, IND, MEM, NOP, PHI, SAC

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Point Guards

Ish Smith Pistons 41 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues – Reggie Jackson (ankle) is down for several more weeks and Smith is ballin’, averaging 14.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 0.6 steals on 52 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s been especially good in his last two and despite a lack of 3-pointers, looks like an automatic pickup in any competitive league. 

Tyus Jones Timberwolves 30% - Jeff Teague (knee) is also down, but probably won’t be out for as long as Reggie Jackson will be, making Jones a little less exciting than Ish Smith over the long haul. Jones has played just one game without Teague recently and he had six points, four boards, five assists and five steals in 35 minutes of Thursday’s loss to the Bucks. Jones is a bit of an unknown commodity, but should get 30-plus minutes for at least two-to-four weeks and should be closer to 65 percent owned a week from now.

Tyler Johnson Heat 49% - Johnson is on fire, dropping 31 points on Saturday and averaging 19.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.8 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting over his last five games. The Heat are super banged up on most fronts and Johnson has now scored in double figures in five straight, and six of his last seven games. He’s also played at least 33 minutes in those six games, and got 28 minutes in the seventh one. He should be owned in more leagues.

Milos Teodosic Clippers 36% - Slowly but surely, Milos is starting to come on. He had 11 points, five boards, seven assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on Friday after Tuesday’s eight-point, 10-assist performance with two more 3-pointers. He’s averaging 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.8 3-pointers over his last four, but is shooting just 36 percent. I’m all for owning Teodosic still, but I think I’d rather take a flier on Smith or Jones, as they seem to be more capable of a short-term, bananas-like breakout.

Frank Ntilikina Knicks 11% - Frankie Smokes had 11 assists and three steals on Thursday and has been playing better, averaging 6.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.4 3-pointers over his last five. He’s shooting just 36 percent, which is the problem, but if you need assists and steals, he might be able to help. Additionally, the Knicks are thinking about starting him, which would be a nice bonus.

Bonus: Shabazz Napier Blazers 13% - Man, if you picked up Napier on a flier for last week you have to be smiling right now. He’s been killing it with Damian Lillard sidelined with a hamstring injury for the past four games and we still don’t know if Lillard will play on Monday or Tuesday, although I think he’s more in than out. Napier is averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his last four games, playing at least 34 minutes in each of them. If Lillard is good to go on Monday, Napier takes an obvious hit, but if Lillard misses any more time, get ready to fire Napier up in DFS leagues, as well as season-longs where you can get him in your lineup. And even when Lillard’s back, Napier might still be able to stay relevant. 

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Shooting Guards

Jordan Clarkson Lakers 64% - JC has scored 20, 22, 17 and 18 points in each of his last four games, averaging 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.8 3-pointers on 41 percent shooting over his last five. He gets a big boost with Lonzo Ball (shoulder) out and Ball has already been ruled out for Monday against the Wolves. It’s possible that he’s back on Wednesday against the Thunder, but even if that happens, Clarkson is still worth owning in most leagues.

Wayne Ellington Heat 29% - Ellington is playing big minutes with Dion Waiters (ankle) out and blew up for 28 points and eight 3-pointers on Dec. 22. Over his last five he’s at 15.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.2 3-pointers in 34 minutes per game and we still don’t know when Waiters will be back.

Delon Wright Raptors 3% - Wright is quietly showing signs of a breakout, scoring in double figures in three of his last five games while racking up steals, blocks and 3-pointers, i.e. the fantasy gold. He’s averaging 10.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting over his last five. He’s getting 23 minutes a night but played 29 minutes against the Hawks on Friday, when he had 13 points, seven boards, two assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer. He can play both guard spots and small forward, and is currently trending up in a hurry.

Buddy Hield Kings 57% - Hield keeps flirting with good stuff but rarely comes through. He’s averaging just 11.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.4 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five games, shooting 40 percent. The minutes have only been over 25 once over that stretch, but there’s still a decent chance he can break out in the second half. Just don’t cut someone good if you want to pick him up.

Small Forwards

Caris LeVert Nets 44% - LeVert has now scored in double figures in seven straight and all but two of his December games. He had a career-high 11 dimes on Friday and is averaging 16.6 points, 4.2 boards, 5.6 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.8 3-pointers on 58 percent shooting over his last five. He should be owned in 75 percent of leagues instead of 44 percent of them.

Kelly Oubre Wizards 40% - Oubre’s hit double digits in scoring in seven straight games and is averaging 15.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers on 50 percent shooting over his last five. Even with Markieff Morris and Otto Porter starting, Oubre just keeps getting it done.

Ersan Ilyasova Hawks 50% - Ilyasova cooled off a little bit after a hot streak that saw him score at least 20 points in three straight games, but is still averaging 16.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers on 54 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s getting 31 minutes a night right now and starting for the lowly Hawks, making an excellent fantasy option as long as he’s healthy.

Lance Stephenson Pacers 22% - Victor Oladipo (knee) isn’t likely to play on Sunday and that will be his third straight missed game. He’ll be reevaluated next week, which means he could miss more games. Stephenson has been ballin’, averaging 17 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.0 3-pointers in his two starts for Oladipo. And he’s at 12.6 points, 8.4 boards, 3.4 assists and a 3-pointer over his last five, three of which included Dipo.

Michael Beasley Knicks 25% - Beasley was a hot play when Kristaps Porzingis was down with his sore knee, but has managed to stay relevant with KP back in action. Beasley had 15 points, five boards, a steal and a block on Saturday and is averaging 12 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals over his last five, shooting 48 percent and playing 21 minutes a game. He’s the Knicks’ most effective bench player right now and could stay relevant going forward.

Power Forwards

John Collins Hawks 60% - Collins had just five points on 2-of-8 shooting Saturday, but also had nine boards, four assists and two steals in that one. He’s averaging 10.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.8 blocks over his last five in just 23 minutes a night. The Hawks simply have to unleash him at some point in the near future and owners should just wait patiently until it happens.

Trey Lyles Nuggets 38% - Lyles is rolling after going for 23 points, 10 boards and four 3-pointers on Wednesday, and then 16 points, eight boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers on Saturday. Over the last five, he’s averaging 16 points, 8.2 points, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers on 53 percent shooting. He’ll take a hit once Paul Millsap (wrist) returns, but that’s not expected to happen until after the All-Star break. Go get Lyles.

Jordan Bell Warriors 40% - Bell is a blast to watch and continues to get nice run for the Warriors, and got some extra work on Saturday after Draymond Green got ejected. Bell’s a more intriguing player when Kevin Durant or Draymond Green isn’t playing, but he’s averaging 7.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks over his last five, shooting 55 percent.

Frank Kaminsky Hornets 40% - Kaminsky is playing well, scoring between 14 and 16 points in each of his last three games and averaging 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 3-pointers on 46 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s still not a must-own player, but if you’re looking for a substitute for an injured guy like James Johnson, Kaminsky probably works.

Maxi Kleber Mavericks 5% - Kleber had a huge game on Tuesday with 15 points, eight boards, two assists, two steals, five blocks and two 3-pointers, but was awful on Friday with three points and not much else in 21 minutes. He’s averaging just 6.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers over his last five games, but Tuesday’s explosion, along with the fact he’s starting for the Mavs, makes him an intriguing stash candidate.

Centers

Bismack Biyombo Magic 35% - Biyombo’s filling in nicely for Nikola Vucevic (hand) and should continue to start for the foreseeable future. In three games without Vuc, Biyombo has double-doubled in back-to-back games and is averaging 8.3 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks on 55 percent shooting. He’s going to get 30-plus minutes a night, Vuc is going to be out for another month or so, and Biyombo looks like a no-brainer pickup right now.

Kelly Olynyk Heat 53% - Hassan Whiteside is back, but James Johnson (ankle) could miss more time. Olynyk had a dud on Friday with two points, but still filled the stat sheet and bounced back with 17 points, six boards, three assists, a steal and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes on Saturday. He’s averaging 11 points, 7.8 boards, 2.4 assists, a steal, a block and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five games. And he could stay relevant as a backup even when Johnson is healthy.

John Henson Bucks 36% - Henson had a nice game with 18 points, six boards and four blocks on Friday and is averaging 12.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over his last five. He’s shooting a whopping 73 percent over that stretch, missing just 10 of his last 37 shots, four of which came in Friday’s big night.

Alex Len Suns 42% - Len is the most reliable of the Suns’ centers, but has hit single digits in scoring in four of his last five games. He’s averaging 7.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.8 blocks over that stretch, meaning he’s a low-end fantasy center option. And if you pick him up, watch the news feed to make sure he’s playing each night, even though he’s played in nine straight games.

Mason Plumlee Nuggets 27% - Plumlee has been starting alongside Nikola Jokic and is averaging 6.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks on 43 percent shooting over his last five. He missed all six of his shots and scored just one point on Saturday, or those numbers would look better. He’s getting 24 minutes a night right now and has the potential to be a decent backup fantasy center.

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