The Wire Troll: Rui Hachimura Flashes Talent
Rui Hachimura is a capable scorer when he gets the PT. (Kyle Terada-USA Today Sports)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. The NBA’s annual Christmas Day games are nearly here, so take advantage of the downtime to pick up some goodies off the waiver wire for the final two-thirds of the season.
This week, Detroit fans are starting to get antsy as the Piston skid has reached 25 games; Ja Morant is back in action for Memphis; and perpetually hurt Ben Simmons (back) will miss at least two more weeks.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks
Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN: 8.5 per cent; CBS: 24 per cent): Near the end of the 2021-22 season, Hachimura caught our eye while Kyle Kuzma was out. It was a great call as Hachimura played even more down the stretch and was quite productive. Now with the Lakers, he reminded us on Thursday what he’s capable of when he starts, as — filling in for LeBron James (ankle) — Hachimura poured in 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, adding a pair of treys with four rebounds and a steal (see video below). Hachimura missed some time earlier this season (and his status for Saturday is questionable because of his wrist), but he’s been sinking more buckets when active, and deserves attention when he gets this kind of PT, ideally as a fine DFS option.
Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Utah Jazz (ESPN: 10.9 per cent; CBS: 28 per cent): Back in 2017-18, Olynyk was our waiver wire pick of the season, and other than a great stretch with Houston at the end of 2020-21 and a solid debut with the Jazz last season, it’s been mostly downhill since. However, with Utah currently riddled with injuries, his PT has been on the rise and he’s delivered, scoring a game-high and season-best 27 points on Thursday. These kind of scoring outbursts have become rare for Olynyk and he’s struggled to get to the line as often as the season has progressed, but all of sudden he’s flashing passing skills like we’ve never seen from him before (six assists per game this month). He’s putting himself in position to be a trade target at the deadline, and the Jazz will want to maximize the return, so expect his minutes to remain steady.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, PF, Golden State Warriors (ESPN: 5.5 per cent; CBS: 22 per cent): Jackson-Davis is likely to be a popular waiver wire pick this week given the hype surrounding him given what he’s done the last few games with an expanded role. On Sunday, he flirted with a double-double and had two steals and a block in just 18 minutes and then managed a double-double with three blocks in 29 minutes on Tuesday. For good measure, TJD backed that up with another double-double on Friday. He hadn’t played much as a rookie so far, but now that he’s seeing more PT and is establishing himself as the key big off the bench, he’s the kind of player you need to jump on.
Gary Harris, SG, Orlando Magic (ESPN: 0.3 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): Harris is coming off one of his worst seasons ever, but in fairness he was hurt early and often. It’s been an even tougher slog for him this season with a reduced role, but given a chance to start on Thursday with Jalen Suggs (wrist) out, Harris turned the clock back with 14 points, five assists and two treys. Harris’ touches are up a bit this month, but will soar should he continue to start, so keep an eye on Suggs’ status before pulling the trigger on this one. If Harris keeps shooting (and sinking) more treys over time, he’ll be useful in deeper formats; don’t forget that just last season he did manage a career best in true shooting percentage, so if the touches are there, value should follow.
Bryce McGowens, SG, Charlotte Hornets (ESPN: unowned; CBS: 1 per cent): This former Nebraska star is a deep league option while LaMelo Ball (ankle) remains out, but McGowens is also a candidate to see bigger minutes in the second half if Charlotte continues to flounder and trades some vets at deadline (such as Terry Rozier and Ish Smith). McGowens put up a dud on Wednesday, but teased us with his talent in the previous two games, averaging 13 points while filling the stat sheet in Monday’s loss to Toronto. His bucket count is rising lately, and he’s seeing slightly more action this season, with the potential for a lot more soon.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
British glam rock band Sweet have been active since 1968, other than a three-year hiatus in the mid-’80s. In 1978, they released their sixth album, Level Headed, the first single from which was “Love Is Like Oxygen.” The B-side? “Cover Girl.”