The Wire Troll: Josh Okogie Surprising as a Starter
Josh Okogie has given the Suns a nice jolt. (Mike Watters-USA Today Sports)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. With the All-Star break here and no real games until Thursday, it’s a perfect time to get the jump on your league and raid the waiver wire.
This week, a wrist injury could park Giannis Antetokounmpo for the All-Star Game (although he still wants to play, which we’re sure the Bucks are thrilled about); Kevin Durant believes the Suns have a chance to win it all; and the Cavs have bought out Kevin Love, possibly opening the door for him to take his talents to South Beach.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks
Josh Okogie, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns (ESPN: 13.6 per cent; CBS: 24 per cent): Okogie has been given a bigger opportunity now that Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson have been dealt away — and he’s taken advantage. In fact, Okogie has been moved into the starting lineup, exploding for at least 17 points in each of the last four games, while providing sweet numbers in FG percentage, three-pointers (which is a surprise — see video below for a taste of his outside game), boards and steals. His touches are way up this month and, on Thursday it showed as poured in a team-high 24 points. Okogie has already played more games than he did all last season, and looks poised to be a great second-half pickup. This very athletic Nigerian wasn’t exactly NBA-ready coming out of Georgia Tech in 2018, but sure is now, and his emergence has been a great story for the Suns.
Coby White, PG, Chicago Bulls (ESPN: 4.4 per cent; CBS: 12 per cent): Chicago is plagued with injuries right now, giving White an opportunity to play more, so perhaps his collision with Giannis might not be the biggest Fantasy impact he has this season. On Wednesday, White canned five treys en route to a 25-point showing, and while he struggled with his shot on Thursday, he saw even more PT. Really, he’s been coming on since the beginning of January, and with two games of at least 20 points and six with 10 or more just this month, he’s now worth your attention.
Terance Mann, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers (ESPN: 11.9 per cent; CBS: 24 per cent): We recommended Mann in late-November, and while many owners paid attention, he remains widely available. However, after going off for 26 points, four boards and three dimes on Thursday, he’s likely to be a very popular pickup this weekend. Mann has now scored double digit points in six straight, and has been very efficient in doing so (64.5 FG percentage this month). He’s been durable in recent years, and is getting a chance to start more this season. Mann is an underrated player who deserves some Fantasy love.
Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Utah Jazz (ESPN: 6.1 per cent; CBS: 45 per cent): We’ve long been believers in Horton-Tucker’s talent, and now that he’s seeing a bigger role for the Jazz, he’s been coming through, scoring at least 15 points in three of the last five games while racking up plenty of assists and some blocks. THT has even been pitching in on the boards more this month — especially on the offensive glass. He hadn’t been getting much PT in Utah, but now that this seems to be changing, it’s time to grab him.
Talen Horton Tucker had another great game last night
He was 5-15 but his overall impact was positive especially down the stretch. I can see why Lebron thought he was gonna be great. Still a lot of potential here pic.twitter.com/Vf5B2Ba7Tc
— Jazz Stats & Analysis (@jazz_stat) February 16, 2023
James Wiseman, C, Detroit Pistons (ESPN: 12.7 per cent; CBS: 46 per cent): Wiseman arrived in Detroit as part of the four-team Gary Payton II trade and he’s already getting a timeshare in Detroit. While Wiseman dealt with injury issues early in his career, in returning this season he didn’t have much of a role in Golden State. Clearly, that’s going to change in Motown, and if his Piston debut is any indication, Wiseman might be ready to leverage the athleticism, size and defensive chops that made him the No. 2 pick in 2020.
Others to Consider
Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies (ESPN: 48.3 per cent; CBS: 47 per cent): This Canadian-born big isn’t scoring quite as much as usual this season, but ranks fifth in the NBA with a 68.9 per cent true shooting percentage. Clarke got to start on Wednesday, and filled the stat sheet with boards, blocks and steals.
Malaki Branham, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs (ESPN: 4.5 per cent; CBS: 43 per cent): Branham has great potential as a scorer, which he’s really begun to display with four straight games of at least 10 points, including two with 23 or more. The Spurs are in free fall mode, but this kid has been a bright spot this month.
Josh Green, SG, Dallas Mavericks (ESPN: 6.4 per cent; CBS: 41 per cent): Green, recently inducted into the University of Arizona’s McKale Center Ring of Honor, had also been rolling in the NBA, scoring at least a dozen points every game this month until cooling this week. He’s been back for a month since missing a month with an elbow injury, and seems to be rounding into form now while seeing much more PT than he has all season.
Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, Minnesota Timberwolves (ESPN: 13 per cent; CBS: 49 per cent): Another player who’s dealt with his fair share of injuries, including a back woe this season, Anderson has proven to be an astute signing by the T-Wolves, really taking off since Karl-Anthony Towns got hurt. Anderson has scored a dozen or more points in three straight games and his FT shooting has bounced back a smidge this month.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
American funk band Commodores have been active since 1968. In 1977, they released their fifth album, the eponymous Commodores, and the second single was “Brick House,” which reached No. 5 on the U.S. charts.