Fantasy Basketball 2021: Pickups and NBA Waiver-Wire Adds After March 3

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2021

Fantasy Basketball 2021: Pickups and NBA Waiver-Wire Adds After March 3

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Before the NBA goes on a brief intermission for the All-Star break, fantasy managers should load up on players who could have a strong finish through the second half of the season.

    Keep an eye on players who have built some momentum in recent weeks and developing talents on teams at the bottom of the standings. They're bound to come out of the break strong or at least hold on to significant minutes.

    Despite a rocky start to the 2020-21 campaign, a preseason breakout favorite on the Oklahoma City Thunder roster may reach his potential going forward. He's bounced back with double-doubles in two of his last three outings.

    The Memphis Grizzlies have a deep roster with a sixth man who's re-established his rhythm after battling an injury.

    If you're in search of a big man capable of racking up defensive statistics, take a look at a budding center with the Brooklyn Nets. He has a small sample size but has looked impressive in a handful of games.

    We'll highlight three waiver-wire pickups to add after Wednesday, March 3. All the selections are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.

SF/PF Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder (49 Percent Rostered)

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Managers who dropped Darius Bazley probably regret it now. After his scoreless dud on February 24, he's averaged 17 points and 8.7 rebounds over the last three outings, knocking down six three-pointers in that span.

    Although Bazley doesn't offer much in defensive stats (steals and blocks), he's probably going to play a lot of minutes through the second half of the season if the Oklahoma City Thunder (14-21) remain at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

    Bazley went into the 2020-21 campaign with some buzz because of his performances in the bubble last summer. He's experienced ups and downs through the Thunder's first 35 contests, but the second-year forward has a secure spot in the starting lineup on a team that needs a consistent secondary scorer behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

    Lately, Bazley has become a trendy add, so make sure to jump on that wave while he's still available in about 50 percent of leagues.

PG/SG De'Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies (17 Percent Rostered)

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    After missing six games because of a left shoulder sprain, De'Anthony Melton has carved out a role in the Memphis Grizzlies' rotation with guard Grayson Allen (concussion) out.

    Allen will miss his third consecutive game Thursday, and he doesn't have a timetable for a return. In his absence, Melton has taken advantage of his playing time, averaging three triples, 16.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, four assists and two steals while shooting 55 percent from the field over the last three games.

    Melton put together a string of solid performances coming into February, but a shoulder injury interrupted his momentum and allowed Allen to soak up extra minutes. Now, with the latter on the sideline, the former may hold on to his expanded role after the All-Star break.

    Even though Melton comes off the bench, he contributes enough in multiple categories for a spot on your roster. With at least 20 or so minutes on the floor, the Grizzlies guard can score 15-20 points, dish out a handful of dimes and force a couple of turnovers every night.

C Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets (11 Percent Rostered)

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    Darren Abate/Associated Press

    Nicolas Claxton has only appeared in five games this season, but he's made an immediate impact on both ends of the court.

    Claxton has scored 33 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots over the past two outings. Clearly, head coach Steve Nash doesn't want to overload the second-year center right after a return from knee tendinopathy. 

    Yet Nash seems encouraged by Claxton's performances. The Nets head coach gave a glowing review of the youngster after a 129-92 win over the Orlando Magic on February 25, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post

    "Nic's energy was outstanding. Hasn't played for about a year, so to play these last two games and for him to be as disruptive as he was—I think he had four steals and two blocks, [he] assists, he rebounds. He's somebody we believe in and think he's got a lot of upside, continue to grow and just take it step-by-step. But I was impressed and really happy that he had success out there."

    Claxton hasn't played more than 20 minutes in a game this season, but that could change following the All-Star break. As the Brooklyn Nets prepare for a postseason run, Nash may not want to play 32-year-old big man DeAndre Jordan for 25-plus minutes down the stretch.

    Jeff Green has played center through the first half of the term, but Claxton's growth could allow him to eclipse the 20-minute mark, which gives him enough time to help managers in field-goal percentage, points, rebounds and blocks.


    Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.