Fantasy Basketball 2021: Hidden Gems to Pick Up for NBA Week 13March 15, 2021
Fantasy Basketball 2021: Hidden Gems to Pick Up for NBA Week 13
The NBA goes back into full swing following a short week. From Week 13, we'll begin to see how head coaches of below .500 clubs approach the second half of the season. Some teams at the bottom of the standings will prioritize development.
We should expect to see top players on playoff-caliber squads log heavy minutes in the final two months of the regular season. You can find hidden gems on teams with a long-term roster-building perspective, especially injury-riddled squads.
This week, we'll focus on teams that will likely miss out on the playoffs but may help fantasy managers in their race for the postseason.
Looking at a few rosters in the Western Conference, three unheralded players should show up at the top of your waiver-wire list. They're all available in at least 65 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Monday.
SF Kenyon Martin Jr., Houston Rockets (32 Percent Rostered)
With an 11-26 record, which ranks second-worst in the West, the Houston Rockets also have multiple players on the mend, including starters John Wall (knee contusion) and Christian Wood (sprained ankle).
As the Rockets battle injuries without a good shot at the playoffs, they have good reasons to evaluate and develop younger talent for the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign.
Over the past three games, Kenyon Martin Jr. has taken advantage of his playing time, stuffing the stat sheet with production on both sides of the court. The rookie forward averaged 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks in that stretch.
In the last two games, Martin has shot 10-of-13 from the free-throw line. He also knocked down two three-pointers against the Boston Celtics Sunday.
Don't expect the Rockets to rush their wounded players back to action. Martin should continue to play a solid role off the bench in the upcoming week.
SF Aleksej Pokusevski, Oklahoma City Thunder (13 Percent Rostered)
Aleksej Pokusevski moved into the Oklahoma City Thunder starting lineup in place of Darius Bazley, who's recovering from a shoulder contusion.
OKC may want to take an extended look at Pokusevski through the second half of the season. They selected him with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2020 draft.
While playing at least 29 minutes in each of the last three games, Pokusevski has shown range on his shot (seven three-pointers) and the ability to distribute as a playmaker (nine assists). As a 7-footer, he cleans up the glass, grabbing at least seven rebounds in all three of his starts.
Bazley should return to a decent role, but Pokusevski will likely remain in the rotation with a solid role off the bench. He's a rare talent in the sense that he's a natural shooter at his size. If the big man puts together a streak of blocked shots, he's a candidate for a strong second-half finish.
SG Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves (7 Percent Rostered)
D'Angelo Russell hasn't played since February 8. He has an estimated four-to-six-week recovery timetable following arthroscopic knee surgery, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. The Minnesota Timberwolves' lead guard could return in the near future, but interim head coach Chris Finch may have found something in second-year guard Jaylen Nowell.
Nowell has provided an offensive spark off the bench, logging 59 points, which included 13 three-pointers, over the last three outings. He's also grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out nine assists in that span.
Managers should take a flier on Nowell while Russell works his way back into game shape. Finch views the young guard as a "break starter" who's willing to take big shots.
Finch seems comfortable with Nowell in a playmaking role, which bodes well for his short-term fantasy outlook. The Washington product has played at least 25 minutes in each of the previous three contests. Add him to your roster until Russell returns with a decent workload.