After a break for the All-Star game, the NBA is back in full swing with about 25-30 games left for most teams over the next eight weeks. Its time for teams to make their playoff push and secure their seeding just like in fantasy basketball where owners need to fine tune their roster and stay active addressing any deficiencies before playoff time.
This week most teams have three of four games with only the Celtics and Blazers having just two. In weekly leagues, make sure to adjust accordingly. In the list below, percentages refer to ownership in ESPN leagues going into the week.
The NBA trading deadline passed with a whimper this week, but there’s no deadline on getting key players if they’re on the waiver wire. The players on the list below are available in at least 50% of leagues. Here’s the top five players whose role and opponents make them look like good additions for the coming week:
1. Carlos Delfino-Houston Rockets
The Argentinian sharpshooter has logged big minutes in the three games since the Rockets roster reshuffle. He played 42 minutes against the Thunder in the first game after the trade but was fairly quiet aside from his four steals. Friday, he was much more of an offensive force with 22 points in his 36 minutes against the Nets hitting six three-pointers to go with his five assists and five rebounds. Last night, he played 35 minutes again stroking four three-pointers accounting for all 12 of his points while adding three assists, and five rebounds. Delfino has been contributing in three-pointers, scoring, assists, steals, and rebounds when playing in his newly expanded role.
Delfino started at power forward while the Rockets were without Thomas Robinson, but the lineup was effective so Delfino could continue seeing increased playing time. The Rockets only have three games this week, but its a very favorable schedule especially with the Rockets high-scoring offense. Delfino is a hot pickup right now and is only owned in 11% of leagues. The only unknowns in his case is how he’ll fit into the new-look Rockets rotation and if he can stay healthy with increased minutes. He’s an across-the-board contributor when he plays big minutes which makes a good case for picking him up right away.
2. Gerald Henderson-Charlotte Bobcats
Henderson had a down game Friday night, but has been playing over 32 minutes a game so far this month. He’s been averaging 14.8 points with a steaal, over five rebounds, and over two assists per game. The Bobcats are on a nightly search for offense and with Henderson and Kemba Walker viewed as the “backcourt of the future” look for Henderson to continue to contribute for as long as he stays healthy. He’s owned in 45% of leagues, so you probably need to act now to grab him despite the Bobcats only playing three games this week.
3. Moe Harkless-Orlando Magic
With the Magic trading J. J. Redick, Harkless is stepping up and playing big-time minutes as he wraps up his first season in the NBA after being drafted out of St. John’s. Harkless has 15 or more points in his last three and has been one of Orlando’s most consistent players. He’s also a solid source of rebounds from the small forward position which can sometimes be difficult to find with all the shooters that can slide to the three-slot. Harkless makes an especially good play this week as Orlando plays four games, three of which are at home.
4. Jason Thompson-Sacramento Kings
The Kings have four games this week although three are tough road games before they finish with Charlotte at Sleep Train Arena next Sunday. Jason Thompson has been playing pretty big minutes for Sacramento and is around a double-double seemingly every night. Over the last five games he’s averaging 12.8 points and 8.0 rebounds along with a block per game. He doesn’t normally explode off the stat sheet, but has been consistently producing with at least nine points and at least six rebounds in each of his last seven games. His production is affected by the always volatile DeMarcus Cousins, but Thompson is a solid big-man fill-in for this week due to his four games and is only owned in 34.2% of leagues.
5. Derrick Williams-Minnesota Timberwolves
Williams is forcing his way into more playing time and should continue to produce for as long as Minnesota is using him to fill in for Kevin Love. Williams had a huge 24 point-16 rebound game before the break and followed that up with a solid 17 point-8 rebound game on Wednesday. Friday’s game was a bit of a letdown with a tough 3-14 shooting night and only nine points. He may be a bit inconsistent, but the T-Wolves should give him plenty of run down the stretch making him a solid fantasy option for the rest of the season although he’s only owned in 8.7% of leagues.
Other Options: Thamas Robinson-Houston Rockets, Jermaine O’Neal-Phoenix Suns, Tony Allen-Memphis Grizzlies, Jordan Crawford-Boston Celtics, and Alonzo Gee-Cleveland Cavs