The Wire Troll: Magic Rookie Anthony Black Gets Bigger Chance
Orlando rookie Anthony Black has a bright future. (Matthew Hinton, USA Today)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. A new year has arrived and we’re now over two-fifths through the season, so let’s get serious about maximizing the waiver wire, shall we?
This week, two-time MVP Nikola Jokic did it again with the game-winner on Thursday over Golden State; Giannis Antetokounmpo outplayed Victor Wembanyama in their first meeting, but came away blown away by the rookie’s talent; and Draymond Green (suspension) is getting closer to returning and will soon start working his way back to playing condition.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks
Anthony Black, PG/SG, Orlando Magic (ESPN: 2.1 per cent; CBS: 17 per cent): Rookie combo guard Black, the sixth overall pick in 2023, has seen his PT rise over the course of the season and with Franz Wagner (ankle) currently out, there’s an opportunity for even more (as soon as Black gets healthy). Despite spending most of his time in the starting five, Black hasn’t seen quite as much PT as we’d like, but he’s a second half sleeper as it seems the Magic are slowly ramping him up (beware of the return of Markelle Fultz, however). We’d like to see Black get his bucket count up to the point where he’s flirting with double digit points more often, but if the touches keep rising, we really like his future. He teased us with his talent on Boxing Day (23 points, six boards, four treys and four steals), and there’s no doubt his skill level is through the roof. Talent wise, think Josh Giddey, but hopefully Black steers clear of underaged girls for his hard fouls (see video below).
Simone Fontecchio, SF, Utah Jazz (ESPN: 4.1 per cent; CBS: 23 per cent): Has the next great Italian player emerged in Fontecchio? Before a poor shooting effort on Friday, he had scored at least 12 points with two steals in three straight games, flirting with a double-double in each contest while seeing his PT consistently rise as the season has progressed. Fontecchio, who has been getting more starts lately, is doing a better job of getting to the line as a sophomore, and if he can regularly attempt six freebies like he did last Saturday, his offense will really take off.
Donte DiVincenzo, SG, New York Knicks (ESPN: 10 per cent; CBS: 45 per cent): Staying with the Italian theme (sort of… he’s American born), DiVincenzo is someone we last pimped nearly two years ago because we thought he might get traded. Sure enough, he did, and sure enough, it was a boost to his value. Last season, however, DiVincenzo didn’t get the touches he needed to be as useful for the Warriors, but that’s changed this season in New York. He’s rolling right now, scoring 11 or more in four straight including a 38-point explosion last Saturday, and his PT keeps rising as the season goes on. Always lauded for his grittiness, DiVincenzo has now become a great source of treys while proving he’s more than simply a role player.
Cameron Payne, PG, Milwaukee Bucks (ESPN: 2.2 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): It’s been over five years since we last paid attention to Payne, and while he’s had a few solid seasons, they’ve always been spent mostly as a backup. Still, what we noticed recently was his propensity to knock down a fair amount of FTs in very limited minutes while not hurting you at all in turnovers. Keep Payne on your radar in deep formats and be ready to pounce should Damian Lillard get hurt or need rest down the stretch.
Kyle Filipowski, C, Duke Blue Devils (ESPN: NA; CBS: NA): It’s possible you’ve dug yourself such a huge hole in your dynasty league that you’re already thinking about next season; if that’s the case, it’s time to consider 2024-25 impact rookies like Duke big man Filipowski, currently projected to be a lottery pick (around No. 12). The seven-foot Blue Devil star has been a bit inconsistent on offense lately, but his bucket count has risen in his sophomore season and he’s once again led the team in scoring and rebounding. Filipowski could be the next Naz Reid.
Cedi Osman, SF, San Antonio Spurs (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 4 per cent): When we last gave Osman some love nearly four years ago, we were hoping he’d pick up his offensive game. Well, he did… just in time for COVID to shut things down. Osman has never quite managed to get back to that level of scoring, but we remain hopeful, especially if he keeps getting playing time like he did on Thursday. At the very least, this is enough to get Osman on our radar, but we still want to see his bucket count rise before getting more excited. To put things in perspective, he took a goose egg on the scoreboard on Tuesday, so clearly has plenty of bust potential as well.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Formed in 1973, Van Halen stuck around until 2020. In 1979, they released their second album, cleverly entitled Van Halen II, and the second single from this effort was “Beautiful Girls,” which reached No. 84 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.