While March Madness is in full swing, don’t lose track of the compressed NBA schedule as teams continue to press on into another full week of games. As we head into the week of March 19-25, there’s some great options out there on most waiver-wires to help you in your playoff push.
This week there are 2 teams with a “bonus game” as the Hawks and the Warriors have 5 games in the upcoming week. The teams with just 3 are the Bobcats, Bulls, Pistons, Rockets, Heat, Hornets, Magic, and Kings. Everyone else plays the usual 4.
Here’s the 5 best mostly available options in both the frontcourt and the backcourt. I skipped the obvious choices like Zach Randolph, Andrea Bargnani, and anyone owned in most leagues. The guys I’m highlighting here are probably available and can offer help in at least a category or 2 in the coming week.
5 to consider in the frountcourt
1. Zaza Pachulia-Atl: Pachulia is available in 79 percent of leagues and is really a 1 category contributor. For this week though, with the extra game and the time he’s been logging, he’s worth a look. In 7 of his last 8 games he’s gotten 10 or more rebounds and has double-double’s in 3 of his last 4. In his last 4 games he’s averaging well over 35 minutes with over 11 rebounds and just a shade under 10 points. He’s worth an add if you need boards this week.
2. Trevor Booker-Was: Booker has been one of the best stories out of Washington this year and just makes the list at a shade over 50% unowned. He’s averaging 14.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, an assists, and just under a block a game in his last 5 and had a nice night in Atlanta last night scoring 18 with 9 rebounds, a block, and a steal
3. Alonzo Gee-Cle: Ever since the talk of moving Gee to the starting lineup started to circulate in Cleveland, I’ve been touting him as a sleeper. Since the move actually happened, he’s becoming more and more widely recognized. He’s now owned in 36.7% of leagues and with very good reason. He’s started the last 7 for the Cavs and is averaging 14.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 steals, 2.0 assists, and 1.1 threes in 33 minutes and shooting 49.4 percent from the floor and 76 percent from the foul line. He’s a good all-around add if you need a fill-in this week.
4. Steve Novak-NY: Novak’s consistency off the bench and the way he is consistently passed over by fantasy owners is surprising. He isn’t going to contribute in all categories but he’s good in 3′s, %’s, and as a result points. He has hit a three is every game he’s played since January 14th. In 11 of his last 13 he’s hit multiple three-pointers. During March he’s averaged 3 threes almost 11 points and 2.6 rebounds. He had his season high in points and three’s Wednesday night against Portland as he scored 20 points on 6-10 from deep. Since Mike D’Antoni resigned and Mike Woodsen stepped in, he’s played 20 minutes in both Knicks wins. Surprisingly, he’s still unowned in 85 percent of leagues. If you need 3PM, he’s a good addition for the coming week.
5. Spencer Hawes-Phi: Admittedly, this is a high-risk, high-reward addition. When he’s able to play, he’s been one of the top Centers production-wise in the league. The problem is he hasn’t been able to stay on the court. He returned form a long lay-off, played one game Wednesday, and then sat out Friday so he could go tonight against Miami. His ownership has dropped back to 18%. If he comes back and performs at the level he was before his injury, he’ll be the most important addition the remainder of the fantasy season at the C position. That’s a big if though, so only grab him if you can afford the roster space to wait-and-see if he’s healthy.
5 to consider in the backcourt
1. Klay Thompson-GS: Thompson edges out his teammate only because of his stability (no threat of someone taking his spot) and explosiveness. He’s still only owned in 46.9 percent of leagues, but the rest of the leagues must have owners who are fast asleep or only watching college hoops this month. With Monta Ellis being traded, Thompson will assue an even bigger role in the Warriors offense and they have that extra game this week as well. He’s taking shots, making shots, and adding assists as well for Golden State. In his last 5 he’s averaging 16.6 points, 3.6 assists, and almost 2 threes per game. He’s the #1 add of the week.
2. Nate Robinson-GS: The only reason Robinson isn’t #1 is that Steph Curry may still return and take his spot, and he has a history of being streaky. He’s owned in 40.4 percent of leagues and the number will keep rising as long as he gets minutes in GS. He’s averaging 15 points, 4 assists, 3 boards, and 2 steals in the last 5 games and will get tons of run (and tons of shots) until Curry returns.
3. Ramon Sessions-LAL: He’s owned in 60% (so I’s breaking my 50% guideline) but is such a great pickup with his new team. The full breakdown of the Lakers trades is here, but the short version is this: He played 19 minutes last night and had 7 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. He’ll be a threat for a triple double almost every night once he gets in the rotation and used to his Laker teammates. He won’t go off scoring most nights, but will be 12-17 points with 6-12 assists, and 5-10 rebounds.
4. Jarryd Bayless-Tor: One of the more “under-the-radar” trades of the deadline moved Leandro Barbosa out of Bayless’ way. Right now he’s starting for Jose Calderon and tearing it up. When he returns to the bench (soon), his value will drop, but he should still have a scoring role. In his last 3 games he’s scored 28, 16, and 20 while dishing 9, 10, and 7 assists and grabbing 6, 4, and 4 rebounds.
5. Daniel Gibson-Cle: With Sessions in LA, Gibson should see an increased roll off the Cavs bench. He can help at least in threes and scoring when he’s on. Last night in the Cavs loss to the Bucks he had 5 three’s and finished with 18 points, 2 boards, an assist, a steal, and a block. He won’t have that level of numbers eavery game, but the opportunity is there and he’s available in over 99% of leagues.