Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Kevin Porter Jr. a must-add on depleted Rockets

·7-min read

By Gabe Allen, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Not all that much has changed since last Friday’s column, and only one of last week’s recommended adds (De’Andre Hunter) has seen their rostered percentage rise above 50 percent in Yahoo leagues. As such, this week’s edition will focus on several more players worth picking up for the coming week, or perhaps even the rest of the season.

Best Bets

Kevin Porter Jr., Rockets (41% rostered)

Losers of 14 games in a row, Houston is exploring trade/buyout options with veteran forward P.J. Tucker. Meanwhile: John Wall (bruised knee) missed Thursday’s game versus the Kings; Eric Gordon (groin) exited the contest and did not return; Danuel House (knee) is sidelined; David Nwaba just had wrist surgery; contract extension discussions with Victor Oladipo have reportedly gone nowhere. And on top of all that, last night Porter exploded for 13 points and a career-high 10 assists to go along with five rebounds and three swipes in 29 minutes. Stop what you’re doing, open a new tab, and add Porter right away—before it’s too late.

Rudy Gay, Spurs (18% rostered)

With LaMarcus Aldridge’s days in San Antonio seemingly numbered, Gay is a solid short-term option in most formats, with some long-term upside as well. Making his return from an almost-month-long absence (health and safety protocols) during Wednesday’s loss to the Mavericks, the 34-year-old forward posted 13 points (4-12 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT), nine boards, three steals, and one dime across 27 minutes. Gay hasn’t earned that much run on a regular basis since 2018-19, when he averaged 13.7 points (50.4% FG, 40.2% 3Pt, 81.6% FT), 6.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 threes, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 26.7 minutes. However, it’s entirely possible Gay will play a pivotal role for the Spurs in the second half of the season.

San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Antonio, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Rudy Gay could get some extended run with the San Antonio Spurs in the second half, making him a pickup to consider. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Solid Veteran Adds

Josh Hart, Pelicans (37% rostered)

Though not quite as well-rounded or efficient as Jazz forward Royce O’Neale, Hart is right up there when it comes to undervalued wings. The 26-year-old is averaging career highs in rebounds (7.5), assists (2.1), and minutes (28.6), affording him decent value in most formats.

Danny Green, 76ers (22% rostered)

Green doesn’t possess a ton of upside, from a counting stats perspective, but he’s a pretty consistent source of threes (2.2 per game), steals (1.2 per game), and blocks (0.8 per game). Joel Embiid can be expected to continue drawing plenty of double teams, which means Green’s probably going to keep getting his fair share of relatively clean looks at the basket. Green has drained at least three three-pointers in six of the last nine outings, during which time he has also combined for 14 steals and 10 blocks.

Maxi Kleber, Mavericks (18% rostered)

Kleber is beginning to look like himself again after a subpar start to the season, including an injury-plagued January. Capable of covering multiple positions, Kleber is a versatile defender who also stretches the floor offensively with steady three-point shooting. He has scored in double figures in three of the last four games while sinking 11 treys during that same stretch.

Maximizing Memphis

De’Anthony Melton, Grizzlies (20% rostered)

Melton is managing career highs in scoring (10.1 PPG), field goal percentage (48.2%), three-point shooting (1.6 3PM; 42.5% 3Pt), blocks (0.7 BPG), and minutes (20.3 MPG). He has also scored in double figures in four of the last five games while swiping 11 steals across the last four. While it’d help if Melton were earning a bit more playing time, he’s making the most of his opportunities and could be on the verge of a breakout. With that said, the return of Grayson Allen from a concussion could once again cloud Melton’s role.

Justise Winslow, Grizzlies (16% rostered)

If you’re already punting field goal percentage or can afford to take a hit in that department, Winslow is intriguing thanks to his ability to contribute across various categories. His per-game averages are nothing special through seven appearances this season, but he has shown flashes of the player many thought he could be coming out of Duke. If he can hang onto a significant role — and more importantly, stay healthy — going forward, Winslow could be a second-half steal.

Desmond Bane, Grizzlies (5% rostered)

Bane turned in career highs of 20 points and five treys while doing an admirable job defending Bradley Beal in Wednesday’s win over the Wizards. Though the rookie isn’t likely to be all that helpful outside of deeper leagues, his knock-down shooting ability and stout defense have enabled him to hold down a consistent role on a playoff-caliber club. With averages of 9.9 points (48.2% FG, 45.6% 3Pt, 88.0% FT), 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 threes, 1.3 assists, and 0.7 steals in 23.1 minutes, Bane is worth keeping an eye on.

Rookies in OKC

Theo Maledon, Thunder (11% rostered)

Maledon’s field goal percentage remains below 40.0 percent. However, he’s coming off a promising performance versus the Mavericks (11 points, nine assists, four boards, three treys in 36 minutes), and his assist-to-turnover ratio is nearly 2-to-1 (3.5 assists versus 1.8 turnovers per game). Assuming the Thunder prioritize the development of the younger players on the team over the second half of the season, Maledon may prove to be a stat sheet-stuffer even after George Hill returns from injury.

Aleksej Pokusevski, Thunder (1% rostered)

Pokusevski has been quiet through the first half of his rookie campaign. Still, he stepped up with Darius Bazley (shoulder) sidelined on Thursday, amassing career highs in points (14), rebounds (eight), and minutes (30), while matching his career best in made threes (two). Though Pokusevski likely won’t hold as steady of a role as Maledon, he’s a player to monitor as the season continues and the Thunder shift more and more toward improving their lottery odds.

Short-Term Solutions

Kelly Olynyk, Heat (37% rostered)

Bam Adebayo (knee) has already been ruled out of Friday’s game versus the Bulls, which will mark his third straight absence. It’s possible Adebayo will be available for Sunday’s matchup against the Magic. However, if he’s held out longer than that, Miami doesn’t have many other options at center besides Olynyk, who has combined for 38 points, 17 boards, nine assists, eight treys, three steals, and one block in 72 minutes across the last two games.

Markieff Morris, Lakers (4% rostered)

Morris has been a consistent source of scoring and rebounding of late, pouring in double-digit point totals in four of the last five games, while hauling in 6.4 boards per game across the last five. If Anthony Davis (Achilles, calf) doesn’t rejoin the rotation in the immediate future, Morris might remain relevant in deeper leagues for at least another week or two.

Jaylen Nowell, Timberwolves (2% rostered)

Nowell had scored in double figures in three of the last five games even prior to Thursday’s scintillating performance, in which he accumulated career highs across nearly every category. Finishing with 28 points (11-13 FG, 6-7 3Pt), six dimes, five boards, one steal, and one block in 28 minutes, Nowell may be worth a speculative add, as he looks to be the primary beneficiary of Malik Beasley’s 12-game suspension.