Fantasy Basketball: Week 16 Pickups, the International Edition

Justin Hasan@justinhasanContributor IIIFebruary 19, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 28: Ersan Ilyasova #7 of the Milwaukee Bucks moves against Loul Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on December 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 90-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Among the top fantasy basketball waiver wire pickups for Week 15 are a Mexican, a Turk, an Argentinian and an American who had been playing in China.

The New York Knicks continue to make headlines, signing sharpshooter J.R. Smith a few days ago after his Chinese team was eliminated from the playoffs.

Arguably the smartest backcourt in the NBA, Jeremy Lin (Harvard) and Landry Fields (Stanford) should remain intact for the foreseeable future, but look for Smith to be the first guard off the bench. Steal-machine Iman Shumpert will be most negatively affected by Smith and will likely be relegated as a 2-category contributor (three's and steals). Smith has the fifth-highest career three-point percentage among active players, and in the up-tempo, Lin-led offense, Smith should average at least two three-pointers per game.

The anticipated return of Carmelo Anthony will not hurt Smith; the reduced touches will be offset by the open three's as a result of Carmelo being double-teamed.

Ersan Ilyasova has finally been inserted into the Milwaukee Bucks' starting lineup. The versatile Turk should now be universally owned (currently 51 percent in Yahoo leagues and 75 percent in ESPN leagues). Over the past two weeks, Ilyasova has averaged 15 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and one three-pointer per game, while shooting more than 48 percent.

Ersan has always had the fantasy potential, the only issues have been the minutes and the consistency. With the long-term injury to teammate Andrew Bogut, Ilyasova’s minutes have increased significantly, and he has managed to average the extremely rare one three-pointer and one block per game.

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Gustavo Ayon is one of the more intriguing pickups, as this Mexican rookie has been a huge beneficiary of the injuries to the New Orleans Hornets' frontcourt.

Carl Landry, Emeka Okafor and Jason Smith are all injured, none of whom are expected to return until after the All-Star break. Jason Smith may be the first to return (day-to-day with a concussion), but is also the weakest threat to Ayon.

Ayon has averaged 12.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, two steals and one block per game over the past three games. Yes, he may be a short-term add since Okafor and Landry should be back on the court after the All-Star break, but don’t forget that New Orleans is among the worst teams in the NBA, meaning that the young players should get more minutes than normal. Current Hornets starting center Chris Kaman may also be traded, further opening up the frontcourt minutes.

Gustavo is an ideal pickup for leagues with weekly game limits because he will produce as long as he continues to start, but will be irrelevant with a healthy Hornets frontcourt.

Whether it was erratic minutes or shooting slumps, Carlos Delfino has been one of the most inconsistent players this season. However, over the past two weeks, the Argentinian has averaged a remarkable 17 points, 2.3 threes and two steals per game.

Even when Delfino is at his best, he is limited to a 3-category contributor, so if you need help in those categories, he is a strong add. He is currently on the waiver wire in 47 percent of ESPN leagues and 34 percent of Yahoo leagues.

This article also appears in WinMyFantasyLeague.com

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