Instead of the traditional “Look who’s hot on the waiver wire!” article that’s a dime a dozen, I’d like to take a different approach to things. The waiver wire is cool, but trading can be much more beneficial.
Each week I’m going to dive into guys who I think have a lot of potential moving forward based off of what I saw from the previous week. Whether it’s someone who had a down week that has a ton of upside, someone who has been producing at a high rate who can keep up similar production, or under the radar guys who can be key to a successful playoff run.
After week one, here’s who to look for:
With the new three-headed monster that the Oklahoma City Thunder have, Adams has quietly flown under the radar thus far in the season. Although he’s only three games in, Adams is currently averaging career highs in points (12.7 per game), rebounds (7.7), assists (1.3), steals (2.0) and blocks (1.7). All of this comes while shooting an impressive 69% from the floor. His 60% FT shooting may hurt you a bit in category leagues but guys that produce in every other major category are hard to come by. Those that do produce in every category also usually come with much higher price tags. With Enes Kanter and Domantas Sabonis finally out of the picture, Adams has become the main weapon in the post and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If you’re in need of a quality center, look no further.
Jrue might be the most underrated player in basketball. With career averages of 14/3/6 to go along with 1.5 steals, Holiday is the kind of player that is going to consistently put up the kinds of numbers that help win matchups. This years’ roster in New Orleans is going to take his game to another level as well. He’s off to a bit of a slow start shooting the ball (11.3 ppg/ 34% from the field) but his 5.5 rpg, 5.3 apg and 1.8 steals still offer a lot of value. Once the newly acquired Rajon Rondo gets back from his injury this year, Holiday is in line to move to the SG position meaning a nice potential boost in points and dip in turnovers. He’s the perfect buy low candidate.
No Serge Ibaka obviously makes Vucevic a very, very happy center. Not only does he now have the paint all to himself, but he has also joined the likes of Marc Gasol as dominant big men that have added a three point shot. He’s jumped from a career high 1 three per game last year (woohoo), to averaging a very curry-esque 4.8 threes through the first 4 games. His 36% accuracy from deep isn’t half bad either. One thing this has really done is enhanced Vucevic’s ability as a scorer. A career 14.8 ppg guy has now become a 23.8 ppg monster. Pair that with his 10.3 rpg which is right on with his career norm (9.9) and you have a recipe for fantasy success. Don’t look at Vucevic as a sell high type of player. Look at him as the type of player that needs to be on your roster sooner rather than later. The 24 ppg may regress a bit, but I can count on one hand the amount of people that averaged 20 & 10 last year. The fact that he is also helping you in threes, blocks (2.0) and assists (2.5) is just icing on the cake.
Unless you live under a rock, Jaylen Brown should be a name you’ve heard quite a bit by now. Last season, Brown was just an athletic rookie buried deep down the depth chart in Boston. Now, Brown looks to be an emerging star. If he could figure out how to improve on his 53% FT shooting, the sky could be the limit for this kid. Currently averaging 18.8/5.8/0.8 and 1.3 steals, along with 2.0 threes per game, Brown has shown the consistency necessary for being a viable fantasy option. His dual SF/PF eligibility is a nice touch too. Brown is still a year away from being a top fantasy option, but the top guys aren’t the ones that make a great fantasy basketball lineup. It’s the core group of guys you have after the elite players that separate the good players from the bad. Let Brown be that separator for you. You’ll thank me later.
Please tell me you saw the game he just had. Please. In case you didn’t, look at this masterpiece:
Although he has been a bit underwhelming the first few years of his career, Gordon seems to be taking a much different approach this year. Through only 2 games, Gordon has already been to the foul line 16 times. He averages 2.5 trips to the line over his career. Also, he seems to have vastly improved on his three point shooting. Yes, I know he’s not going to continue to shoot 85% from beyond the arc like he currently is, but he already seems much more confident from deep and I cant imagine he regresses all the way back to his gross 29% from years past. More free throws + better three point shooting = more points. Gordon seems more likely to end the year around 18/9/2 than his current 27/11/2. After the “meh” season he put together last year, though, Gordon was a very late round pick and getting that production from a late round player is something dreams are made of.