NBA Waiver Wire: Best Players to Add Post-Trade-Deadline

NBA Waiver Wire: Best Players to Add Post-Trade-Deadline

This article is part of our NBA Waiver Wire series.

The 2022 NBA trade deadline was a doozy. Tons of trades, headlined by an MVP and multiple All-Stars on the move.

There's a ton of players impacted, and a lot of potential pickups to consider, so let's cut this introduction short and get right to the player analysis. 

As usual, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.

Deadline winners who miss the cut

These guys are too widely roster to qualify for this article, but the Kings' and Nets' trades and the Lakers' inactivity improves my rest-of-season outlook on these three players

Davion Mitchell, Kings (70% rostered)

Malik Monk, Lakers (72% rostered)

Andre Drummond, Nets (80% rostered)

Adds For All Leagues

Devin Vassell, Spurs (46% rostered)

The Spurs shipped out Derrick White and his 30.4 minutes per game Thursday, and got back a pair of backup small forwards. The change should create a big opportunity for Vassell or Lonnie Walker (16% rostered) – or possibly both – to step forward and become rest-of-season all-league guys. When Vassell has seen consistent minutes he's been a valuable producer. The 2020 lottery pick has played at least 28 minutes in 17 games, averaging 30.6 minutes across that sample – a solid sample size, and a likely approximation of his minutes load moving forward. In those games he's averaging 15-5-2 with 2.7

The 2022 NBA trade deadline was a doozy. Tons of trades, headlined by an MVP and multiple All-Stars on the move.

There's a ton of players impacted, and a lot of potential pickups to consider, so let's cut this introduction short and get right to the player analysis. 

As usual, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.

Deadline winners who miss the cut

These guys are too widely roster to qualify for this article, but the Kings' and Nets' trades and the Lakers' inactivity improves my rest-of-season outlook on these three players

Davion Mitchell, Kings (70% rostered)

Malik Monk, Lakers (72% rostered)

Andre Drummond, Nets (80% rostered)

Adds For All Leagues

Devin Vassell, Spurs (46% rostered)

The Spurs shipped out Derrick White and his 30.4 minutes per game Thursday, and got back a pair of backup small forwards. The change should create a big opportunity for Vassell or Lonnie Walker (16% rostered) – or possibly both – to step forward and become rest-of-season all-league guys. When Vassell has seen consistent minutes he's been a valuable producer. The 2020 lottery pick has played at least 28 minutes in 17 games, averaging 30.6 minutes across that sample – a solid sample size, and a likely approximation of his minutes load moving forward. In those games he's averaging 15-5-2 with 2.7 threes and solid shooting splits. 

The Spurs got some draft compensation and semi-usable players in the deal, but, from their perspective, opening up minutes for Vassell was likely a driving factor motivating the trade. At first glance, he appears to be easily the deadline's biggest waiver wire winner.

Alperen Sengun, Rockets (58% rostered)

Sengun's minutes (finally) began to tick upwards last weekend, and then he moved into the starting lineup during the week. He's now played at least 25 minutes in four straight games. In the 14 games when Sengun played at least 22 minutes, he averaged 12-6-3 with 1.3 blocks and 0.9 steals. He can be a highly efficient and well-rounded Fantasy contributor, and his workload should continue to increase as Houston leans harder into the tank. Daniel Theis has been out of the rotation for a couple weeks, but the Rockets trading him away is an added vote of confidence in Sengun. 

Darius Bazley, Thunder (60% rostered)

The Thunder were surprisingly quiet at the deadline, only making two small moves, acquiring second round picks to help other teams manage their cap space. The moves should have no impact on the Thunder's rotations, which is great news for Bazley, whose minutes have jumped lately. He's averaging 32.6 minutes over the last seven games, and he's started the last four.

And he's putting up across-the-board numbers, with 14-7-1 to go with 2.2 stocks and 1.7 threes over that seven-game span. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (tanking) out for the season – sorry, I'm being told we're still pretending that he has an "ankle" injury and "will return after the All-Star break" – Bazley's new role should continue as long as the Thunder don't accidentally start winning games. 

Raul Neto, Wizards (2% rostered)

The Wizards traded away their starting point guard (Spencer Dinwiddie) and his top backup (Aaron Holiday). Bradley Beal (wrist) is done for the season. Those three players combined for 82 minutes per game. And the only guard they brought back was 33-year-old Ish Smith. Neto is probably the starter going forward, and even if he's not, he's in for a much bigger role. He started Thursday, and kicked off the Washington-Embraces-The-Tank era with 21 points and six assists.

Cam Thomas, Nets (15% rostered)

Thomas is the best pickup available right now if you're looking for a short-term play. However, the trade deadline often creates a lot of season-long pickup opportunities, which is why Thomas is a little buried here.

James Harden is in Philadelphia, and the newly acquired Ben Simmons is not yet available. Until Simmons makes his season debut, Thomas should continue with the high-usage, high-minutes role he's had since Harden hurt his hamstring last week. In those four games, he's putting up 23.5 points and 2.3 threes while rocking at least a 24% usage rate. Incorporating Seth Curry will probably cut into Thomas' upside a bit, though both can coexist.

Reggie Bullock, Mavericks (41% rostered)

TBD whether Bullock remains rosterable once the newly acquired Spencer Dinwiddie gets incorporated into the rotation. But Bullock recently entered the Mavericks' starting lineup, and he's averaging 17.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.6 threes since Tim Hardaway (foot) suffered a probably-season-ending injury. At minimum, Bullock is a solid stream for a few days. And he could turn into a much longer-term hold.

Marvin Bagley, Pistons (52% rostered)

Last season, Bagley averaged 14-7-1 with a small smattering of steals, blocks, and threes in 25.9 minutes per game. Nothing fantastic, but certainly worth an add for a lot of teams. So the question becomes: Can the new Piston reach roughly 25 minutes per game? Jerami Grant and Isaiah Stewart are likely to continue combining for roughly 60 minutes per game, but that still leaves 36 PF/C minutes available with Kelly Olynyk as the only serious competitor. Bad teams tend to do bad team things, but the logical move here would be to give minutes to the former No. 2 pick and see what happens as the Sacramento stink gets washed off of him. 

Justise Winslow, Trail Blazers (19% rostered)

Injuries have completely undermined Winslow's career, but I remain pretty high on the 25-year-old if he can ever get and keep his body right. With the Trail Blazers selling off any assets they could find, they took a chance on a Winslow revival and got right to work seeing what he can do. Portland moved him into the starting lineup in his second game in Portland, and he's put up excellent numbers through his first two starts.

As a starter, he's averaging 12-8-3 to go with 3.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 33.0 minutes – obviously those defensive numbers will come down a bit, but they show Winslow's ability to contribute across the board (though he's a net negative in shooting efficiency).  If Winslow can stay healthy and stick in the starting lineup, he should be able to provide solid value down the stretch.

Jaxson Hayes, Pelicans (46% rostered)

Had this article come out earlier in the week, Hayes might have been the top recommended add. But he played only 17 minutes on Thursday, split evenly between the first and second half. I'm fully spooked – his run as a high-value Fantasy play may already be over. That said, his last week-and-a-half of production demands attention. In a five-game span, he put up 16-8-1 with 1.6 blocks. He started four games and scored 19-plus in three. For a moment, it looked like the third-year former lottery pick was finally breaking out.

Thursday was the Pelicans' first game with the newly acquired CJ McCollum, so we should give them another game or two to see how the new rotation shakes out. It's possible Hayes' light Thursday had more to do with matchups than anything else. Every manager's situation is different, but in most cases Hayes remains an add/hold on the hope that Thursday was a fluke.

Ziaire Williams, Grizzlies (9% rostered)

We're only a half-season into his NBA career, but it's already been a rollercoaster ride. Through his first month, he looked ineffective and like a doomed waste of a lottery pick. Then three consecutive injuries sidelined him for a month. When he returned, something had clicked, and he started showing flashes that justified the Grizzlies' summer optimism. Then Williams entered the starting five, and his minutes starting creeping up. After playing 30 minutes just once in his first six starts, he's reached that number in four of his last 10. 

Williams' production is still middling, but he's improving fast and his promotion to starter should last at least until Dillon Brooks (ankle) returns, which could be at least a month away. 

Lonnie Walker, Spurs (16% rostered)

I talked about him some in the Vassell section above, but wanted to list Walker here so readers could see where I'd prioritize him amongst this week's pool of potential adds. There's a solid chance Walker sees more minutes after the deadline, but he'll need to get close to 30 minutes to have consistent value. He's best in points, threes, and FT%, and a big FG% drain. 

Other recommendations: Monte Morris, Nuggets (61% rostered); Jonathan Kuminga, Warriors (29% rostered); JaVale McGee, Suns (18% rostered); Zach Collins, Trail Blazers (14% rostered); Javonte Green, Bulls (22% rostered); Serge Ibaka, Bucks (14% rostered)

The Pacers

Indiana completely overhauled its roster this week. How do we make sense of what remains?

Let's start with the bigs, because they're probably the most straightforward. Myles Turner (foot) is out, but it seems like he could return relatively soon after the All-Star break. Once that happens, Goga Bitadze returns to unrosterable flotsam. The more relevant question is rookie Isaiah Jackson (39% rostered), whose per-minute production is efficient enough that he can be rosterable at barely 20 minutes per game. The acquisition of Jalen Smith from the Suns hurts Jackson's chance at maintaining that workload, but my guess is that Indiana makes a point of incorporating Jackson down the stretch. The 2021 first-rounder is currently out with an ankle injury, but I think he's worth a stash if you have the roster flexibility.

Everything else starts with Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles). The Pacers are 5.5 games out of the play-in tournament, Brogdon's injury history is terrifying, and they have him under contract for next season. The smart move would seem to be shutting him down. I'll move forward on that assumption, but I want to emphasize that this is only an assumption, and that an active Brogdon sucks up 30-plus minutes from everyone else listed below.

If Brogdon is out, Tyrese Haliburton starts at point guard, and there are more than enough minutes for Buddy Hield, Chris Duarte, and rookie two-way players Duane Washington Jr (10% rostered) and Terry Taylor (29% rostered). In that scenario, both Washington and Taylor are pickups. Washington is averaging 15-4-3 over his last six games. Taylor's box scores have been inconsistent, but his five-game averages are an impressive 14-11-3. Neither will do much on defense.

In addition to Brogdon, a few other uncertainties remain. How does local fan-favorite Lance Stephenson fit in? He's played relatively well for them lately, with a few eye-popping box scores sprinkled in. What about Oshae Brissett, a promising 23-year-old who is on a cheap contract through next season? And finally, there have been rumors of a wild T.J. Warren (foot) spotted around the team facilities. 

Tl;dr: Add Duane Washington now, stash Isaiah Jackson if you can, add Terry Taylor in deeper leagues or if you need rebounds, and remember that every word of this section could look really silly in a week.

Who's Not Here

Mavericks' or Wizards' big men

Kristaps Porzingis missed the last five games with a knee injury. Theoretically, Dallas trading him away for a point guard and a washed up power forward creates the opportunity for a new big to step up. But, with Porzingis having missed 19 games already, we already know what that looks like, and it does not require our attention. Meanwhile, a window briefly opened up after Washington traded away Montrezl Harrell, but that closed with Porzingis' arrival.

Nets or 76ers

In real basketball terms, both teams got better. But for Fantasy, almost everyone takes a small value hit (with the possible exception of Andre Drummond). Seth Curry may see a slight value boost while Kevin Durant (knee) is out and Ben Simmons works his way back, but once the Nets are healthy, Curry is probably worse off than he was in Philly.

Raptors' big men

Some are calling Thaddeus Young (17% rostered) a pickup after Toronto acquired him. The Raptors needed a reliable center, and they went out and got their man – surely, the thinking goes, that means he'll get plenty of minutes. I'm not so sure. Whatever happens, I promise you will be a happier person if you stop letting Nick Nurse's center rotation impact your Fantasy teams. It's been years of this. It's not worth the frustration. 

The Kings

Poor Sacramento fans. They don't deserve this. The Kings made so many moves at the deadline that it is likely that some wings emerge as Fantasy factors, but there's no reason to try and guess who that will be. This franchise has an unblemished, decades-long track record for not doing what makes sense, so applying my own logic to try and project what I think they should or will do would be a foolish waste of time. We'll just have to wait and see who emerges. 

Schedule Notes

Due to the All-Star break, Week 18 is actually two weeks. There are no games Friday, 2/18, through Wednesday, 2/23.

Before the break, almost everyone plays twice. The Lakers and Cavaliers have only one game, while the Nets, Rockets, Clippers, Bucks, Pelicans, and Wizards have three. 

Day-to-day, the schedule is relatively balanced, with a slightly busy 11-game slate on Wednesday and a quiet-ish five-game slate on Thursday. 

The pattern is similar after the break. Almost everyone plays twice. The Bucks and Magic play once. The Celtics, Nuggets, Pistons, and Suns play three times. And the day-to-day schedule is even more balanced, with between seven and nine games each night.

In broad strokes, it's harder to take advantage of a schedule that's so straightforward and evenly divided. That said, two notes:

If your league has a weekly games max, you are unlikely to reach it during this week (most platforms simply double it for the two-week period, not accounting for the off days); make sure to start as many players as possible every day.

The Nets are the only team to play on both the last day before the break and the first day after it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Rikleen
Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball and was a nominee for the 2016 FSWA Newcomer of the Year Award. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living outside Boston.
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