The Wire Troll: Cam Thomas Breaking Out in Brooklyn
Cam Thomas is taking advantage of early-season injuries. (All-Pro Reels)
Welcome back to another season of Fantasy basketball. By now you know the drill around here: we won’t recommend any players that are owned in over 50 per cent of ESPN or CBS leagues. In other words, we’ll actually pimp players that are more likely than not on your league’s waiver wire.
This week, Damian Lillard paid immediate dividends for the Bucks; the James Harden drama continues to ramp up; and Victor Wembanyama enjoyed an impressive NBA debut.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks
Cam Thomas, SG, Brooklyn Nets (ESPN: 28.5 per cent; CBS: 49 per cent): The superstar experiment is finally over in Brooklyn, leaving Thomas to potentially fill the void as the main man on the Nets. After he poured in a whopping 36 points in just 25 minutes off the bench in the season opener and then added 30 while starting on Friday (see video below), he’s sure to be among the top waiver wire picks this week. Thomas upped his bucket count last season, but looks poised to take his game to a completely different level, so jump on this opportunity while you can. Coming out of LSU, he had a superb jump shot, but his athleticism was underwhelming.
Grayson Allen, SG, Phoenix Suns (ESPN: 2.3 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): Allen has dealt with his own health issues, but stands to get an early season boost thanks to injuries to others. With Devin Booker (foot) and Bradley Beal (back) dealing with minor injuries, Allen is getting a chance to start, and while the early results leave something to be desired, Allen may still be worth a short-term add. Last season, Allen got more starts than ever, but his shooting touch regressed a smidge and he wasn’t as big a source of treys as he’d been over the previous couple of seasons. Still, if he keeps getting close to 30 MPG, he will help you in three-pointers.
Jalen Johnson, SF, Atlanta Hawks (ESPN: 9.3 per cent; CBS: 46 per cent): Atlanta’s 2021 first round pick has gotten progressively better each season, but after firing home a career-best 21 points in the season opener and just missing a double-double on Friday, he looks like he’s ready for prime time now even though he’s still coming off the bench. Johnson got into way more games last season while hoisting up more treys, and if he can keep sinking buckets like he did in the first game, you’ll be thrilled to have nabbed him while you had a chance.
Jordan Goodwin, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): Goodwin managed six boards on a whopping 15 chances on Thursday, but what really grabbed our attention was that he had 15 field goal attempts despite coming off the bench. He sunk some buckets for the Wizards last season, but in being given more PT in Phoenix, he’s showing more offensive ability. And right now, considering all the backcourt injuries the Suns are facing, Goodwin has a chance to start, or at least see even more action either way.
Taurean Prince, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN: 8.7 per cent; CBS: 13 per cent): When we last checked in on Prince, he was disappointing his owners, and really, he’s never quite lived up to the promise he showed early in his career in Atlanta. However, he’s now getting a chance to start while Jarred Vanderbilt (heel) is out, and sure showed a little something-something in the opener (four treys, 18 points) before taking a goose egg on Thursday. Prince will need to produce consistently to maintain his role, but could be a sneaky play for the next couple of weeks while Vanderbilt recovers.
Others to Consider
Royce O’Neale, SF/PF, Brooklyn Nets (ESPN: 22.8 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): Despite being undersized at the four (6’6″), O’Neale is a force on the glass, especially at the defensive end where he ranks 11th in the NBA in defensive rebound percentage. If he can get his bucket count back to where it was last season (and he made strides in this regard on Friday), he’ll provide deep league value.
Santi Aldama, PF, Memphis Grizzlies (ESPN: 2.4 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): Aldama (ankle) has yet to make his season debut, but the Spaniard took big steps last season, getting a chance to start and proving his worth as a solid spotup wing. He’s got Joel Embiid type of potential on D, so consider grabbing him now.
Isaac Okoro, SG/SF, Cleveland Cavaliers (ESPN: 4.5 per cent; CBS: 13 per cent): After a huge debut (18 points), Okoro didn’t shoot as well on Friday, but still flirted with a double-double again… despite taking an elbow to the face and getting stepped on. Expect his shooting percentage to settle somewhere between his first and second games.
Dorian Finney-Smith, SF/PF, Brooklyn Nets (ESPN: 1.2 per cent; CBS: 12 per cent): Part of the booty Dallas sent to Brooklyn last season to acquire Kyrie Irving, Finney-Smith has a chance to provide early-season returns with both Cameron Johnson and Nic Claxton hurting. DFS has enjoyed back-to-back double-digit scoring games, each time flirting with double-digit boards as well. If nothing else, he is a solid defender.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets (ESPN: 25.3 per cent; CBS: 46 per cent): Can you believe that it’s been over seven years since we called Caldwell-Pope a building block when we previewed the Pistons’ 2016-17 season? Um, ya. Sadly, he’s never matched or eclipsed his 2015-16 level of play, but early on this season is the closest he’s come in terms of MPG and points. KCP is also helping owners in other categories; how about five steals on Friday? He played a key role in helping Denver win a title last season, so perhaps the veteran has more left than we thought.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Sir Roderick David Stewart CBE is known more commonly as Rod Stewart, British rock singer. He’s been at it since 1961, and as part of his new wave era, in 1981 he released his 11th album, Tonight I’m Yours. The second single was “Young Turks,” which reached No. 5 in the U.S.