The Wire Troll: Nic Claxton Breaking Out in Brooklyn
Nic Claxton posterized LeBron James. (Erik Drost on Flickr)
Happy New Years to all our readers, and welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. Things are really tough for owners now, with players entering the COVID protocols right, left and centre. Everyone is facing the same challenges, so keep your eye on the news and the waiver wire.
This week, the Nets (who have been hearing the Bulls’ footsteps in the standings) are getting Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and LaMarcus Aldridge back from the health and safety protocols; Jordan Clarkson stepped up for the rolling Jazz on Monday; and there’s now been 10 coaches who have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols as the fun times continue.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks
Nic Claxton, C/PF, Brooklyn Nets (ESPN: 10.2 per cent; CBS: 27 per cent): Claxton had only received one career start over his first two seasons, so small wonder he’s never really popped up on the Fantasy radar. This season, however, he’s getting tons of starts with the Nets dealing with COVID issues (like everyone else), and he’s really taking advantage — and perhaps it’s something we should have all seen coming. With another 10 points on Thursday, Claxton has now scored in double-digits four times over the last five games, and he’s been flirting with double-doubles while contributing with plenty of blocks. In seeing way more action this month, he’s been getting more touches, and overall, his shooting percentage keeps rising each season. Claxton, who had a statement dunk over LeBron James on Christmas Day (see video below), has the size to be an effective NBA big, but there were questions about his strength coming out of college. We think Claxton has answered that with authority and suggest you pick him up while he’s rolling.
- It’s no secret that Joel Embiid has dealt with plenty of injuries over the years, and this season is no different as he’s already missed 11 games. The thing is, Philly is just 3-8 when he’s out, so it’s pretty obvious how vital the big man is to the team. The good news is Embiid is healthy and rolling right now, scoring at least 34 points in three straight, and while he’s seen slightly less PT this month, he’s really been efficient with it. His touches are actually down a smidge this season, but he’s been getting more and more looks each month, so that’s clearly not an issue.
- Rajon Rondo may be worth a look now that he’s been dealt to Cleveland in the wake of Ricky Rubio‘s season-ending knee injury. Rondo had been getting some decent PT for a bit, but then wound up in the protocols. His touches have dipped as the season has progressed, so this move will be a great boost for his value.
- Since returning from the protocols, James Harden has been going off, recording two triple doubles in three games, giving him six for the season. His PT keeps rising, and while he’s not scoring as many buckets this season, that trend is definitely reversing now.
- Heading to the Lakers in return for Rondo is Denzel Valentine, a player we really liked just over four years ago. Unfortunately, it’s been all downhill for Valentine since, and he’s been stuck as a deep bench player in Cleveland this season. The Lakers will waive him, but he should get another shot with someone given the current COVID shit show. However, the 14th overall pick from 2016 has never lived up to his draft status, for the most part.
- Jrue Holiday was banged up a bit early on this season, but man, is he ever killing it now. He was an absolute stud on Thursday (8-for-11 from the field, 6-for-6 from the line for 25 points with seven dimes, five boards, three treys, three steals and two blocks), and is shooting vastly better this month. Injuries have been an issue for Holiday over the last three seasons and he’s already missed seven games this season, so let’s hope he remains healthy for the rest of 2021-22, because we’re seeing how he can take over games when he’s 100 per cent.
- Near the beginning of the season, we expressed how impressed we were with Magic rookie Franz Wagner. Well, he continues to amaze us, pouring in a career-high 38 points on Tuesday and following it up with another 20 on Thursday. Wagner’s PT has reached a season-high this month as he shows no problems handling heavy minutes right at the outset of his career. So impressive.
- Bradley Beal showed no ill effects in his first game back from the protocols on Thursday, going off for 29 points, 10 assists and six boards. He’s red hot now, scoring 26 or more in four straight as his touches have risen this month. Beal hasn’t shot as well this season, but his accuracy has improved as the season has progressed, so this is nothing to fret about.
- Sadly, the NBA lost a legend on Thursday when Hall of Famer Sam Jones passed away. A 10-time NBA champion, he was a major talent capable of prolific scoring, leading the Celtics in points five times over his 12-year run with the team. Boston retired Jones’ No. 24 while he was still active… how’s that for a tribute?
- With Rubio done for the season, Cleveland will need more from Kevin Love, and he delivered on Thursday with 24 points and 11 boards and then went insane on Friday for 35 points with another 11 rebounds and seven treys. Love has now scored 15 or more in eight straight and his three-point shooting is getting better and better as the season moves along. He’s averaging the lowest number of touches since his rookie season, but that number’s going up now.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Cat Stevens was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. In 1970, he released his fourth — and probably best — album, Tea for the Tillerman, and the second single from this classic was “Wild World.”