Chris Boucher is poised to get much more action. (Gore Mutual Insurance)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. Christmas is coming next week, and that’s likely going to cause many owners to take their eyes off their rosters; use the opportunity to pounce and find yourself a new X-Mas gift on the wire.
This week, Gordon Hayward has suffered yet another injury, only this time it’s not serious; the Lakers have vowed to not lose consecutive games again this season; and Giannis Antetokounmpo nailed a career-high five treys to help the Bucks down the Lakers in a battle for NBA supremacy.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy basketball waiver wire picks…
Chris Boucher, PF, Toronto Raptors (ESPN: 2.4 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): A few weeks ago, we recommended Boucher, and while his ownership has risen since then, it’s about to soar with Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell all out. While Boucher is sure to be a healthy source of blocks for the next little while, he should be capable of providing some scoring, rebounding and three-point shooting to your team as well. In recent weeks, he hasn’t been seeing enough PT to help, but that is likely to change now. Boucher — who seems to understand his role (see video below) has been getting more touches this season, and with two of the Raptors’ big scorers out, he’s in line for a lot more in the coming weeks. The 2016 Pac-12 All-Conference honourable mention has a real chance now to make a name for himself at the NBA level, so grab him while you can.
Frank Ntilikina, PG, New York Knicks (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 10 per cent): Ntilikina was ill earlier this week, but was able to suit up Friday, albeit playing limited muntues. Still, he has a chance to do well as long as Reggie Bullock remains out. After seeing a bit less PT as a sophomore, Ntilikina has seen a nice uptick in minutes this season, but his production has been inconsistent lately. Still, on Sunday he had 13 points, five boards, four assists and four steals in just 24 minutes, giving an indication of what he’s capable of if he can get at least 20 minutes per game on an ongoing basis. Obviously, until he’s getting 25 or more MPG, Ntilikina’s value is limited to deeper formats.
Cameron Johnson, SF, Phoenix Suns (ESPN: 1.1 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): Johnson has been dealing with a hop injury, but returned Friday, although he didn’t see much PT. The rookie hasn’t set the world on fire yet, but he was starting to look much better before he got hurt, scoring 10 or more points in three of his last four games (potting nine in the other one), while chipping in with some decent rebounding numbers and the odd steal. The 11th overall pick in this year’s draft should be poised to make some nice strides in the second half, so consider him now in deeper leagues.
- After a slow start to the month, Jazz two-guard Donovan Mitchell has been on fire, scoring 26 or more points in each of the last five games and six of seven. He’s been sinking more buckets this month after some poor shooing in November, and his overall bucket count is up again this season as he just keeps getting better.
- LeBron James’ scoring has been down the last two games, but he managed another triple double on Thursday, leaving him one shy of tying his total from last season. His shooting is down a smidge this month, and overall it has dipped for the third straight season, yet he continued to redefine himself, averaging a career best 10.6 assists.
- The Hawks may be struggling badly now, but don’t blame Trae Young. He’s recorded three straight games of at least 30 points, as has been jacking up more three-point attempts this month. Other than his work on the offensive glass, pretty much every aspect of Young’s game has seen major growth this season.
- George Hill came up huge off the bench for the Bucks on Thursday, pouring in 21 points, his third straight double-digit effort. His PT has waned as the season has progressed, but he’s making the most of his minutes, upping his scoring so far in December. Hill hasn’t started a game since getting dealt to Milwaukee last season, but he’s never looked more efficient.
- Indiana small forward T.J. Warren snapped a mini slump Friday, canning 10-of-16 (3-of-4 from long distance) for 23 points. He hasn’t been as good in December, but it’s nice see him contributing a few more blocks (four in the last two games combined). Still, Warren’s work on the glass really slipped last season, and has continued to wane this season.
- OKC point guard Dennis Schroder has been on fire lately, scoring at least 18 points in four straight and eight of his last nine games. He’s actually attempting slightly fewer treys this month, but simply being more efficient with his shots. Despite being used exclusively as a reserve this season, Schroder is enjoying a better overall campaign in his second season with the Thunder.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Rhys O’Brien was a Junior High school music teacher in West Islip, New York, and he released two singles in his career, the first of which was in 1967. Here’s the B-side of that effort, “Christmas Morning,” which we felt was appropriate this week. For your trivia buffs, this track was produced by the legendary Phil Ramone.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy basketball waiver wire pick of the week is.