Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Marcus Morris and Tyrese Maxey among top targets in week 1
The 2021-22 NBA season is almost here and begins on Tuesday. The Bucks, Nets, Lakers and Warriors are set to be briefed on Opening Night, but there’s still time to put together your fantastic basketball rosters for the upcoming clashes later this week. . There are still plenty of dumped players out there, and I’ve picked a few that could make a difference in week 1.
Here are some of the top targets you should consider on the waiver thread.
Marcus Morris, F, BAC (55% enrolled)
Los Angeles Clippers ‘superstar duo Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have affected Morris’ rise in fantasy basketball since New York traded him, but they are likely to rebound in 2021-22. Morris averaged 19.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game with the Knicks in 2019 before being traded to Los Angeles. He shot 43.9% from depth during that time. He could approach those numbers again as Leonard recovers from the ACL tear he suffered in the playoffs. When Leonard was unavailable last season, Morris averaged 17.8 points and 4.8 rebounds on 50.6 percent of shots in 14 games.
Tyrese Maxey, G, PHI (52% enrolled)
Maxey is in a position battle with Shake Milton, and it’s unclear which of the two guards will start as Philly finds out what to do with Ben Simmons. Maxey and Milton had chances to start in the preseason, and the young guard of the two was much more productive. Maxey averaged 13.3 points and 3.7 minutes while shooting 50% from the field in three games. While his long-ball efficiency leaves something to be desired, Milton has struggled to make an impact on games like Maxey. Milton has scored just 4.0 points and 4.5 assists per game in his two preseason appearances. If you want a boost from an under-the-radar guard in Week 1, Maxey seems like one of the better options. His speed and aggressiveness could result in solid stat lines against questionable defenses early on. The 76ers will open their season with games against the Pelicans, Nets and Thunder. Its value should drop once Simmons is back in the fold, however.
Otto Porter Jr., F, GSW (35% enrolled)
Porter has been an afterthought since the Wizards traded him to the Bulls. Injuries have derailed her run as one of the NBA’s best 3-and-D wings, but her resurgence seems inevitable if she’s in good health. Golden State needed a veteran wing that could space the ground, and Porter has proven he can still do it in the preseason. Porter averaged 13 points and 5.0 rebounds in five preseason games. He made 16 trebles during that span and converted his attempts to a 55.2% clip while hoisting 5.8 trebles per game. His playing time looks sure to increase as the Warriors’ top bench option as a small forward and power forward.
Desmond Bane, G / F, MIL (28% enrolled)
Bane is one of the most underrated fantasy wings in the NBA this year. The second-year sniper averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 rebounds as a rookie and connected on 43.2% of his three points. He’ll be much more exposed at the start of this year, as Dillon Brooks is set to miss a few weeks with a hand injury, and Kyle Anderson will start the year on the bench. Brooks led the Grizzlies in field goal attempts (15.6) and three-point attempts (5.6) per game. Some of those opportunities will present themselves to Bane, and he’s a much more efficient shooter than Brooks. During the preseason, Bane was the Grizzlies’ third-leading scorer. He averaged 12 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists in five appearances. He could get close to Brooks production early on. A good start is likely with Memphis kicking off against the Cavaliers.
Ivica Zubac, C, LAC (33% enrolled)
Zubac finished last season with three straight double-doubles in the playoffs and has the chance to get off to a strong start in 2021-22. Serge Ibaka is still struggling with the back injury that limited him last year. The veteran was only recently cleared for 5v5 basketball, so Zubac’s biggest threat is Nic Batum. Zubac averaged 10.6 points and 8.1 rebounds on 66% shots in 31 games without Ibaka last year. The lack of depth in the frontcourt should help him serve as a constant double-double threat.
Ricky Rubio, G, CLE (32% enrolled)
Rubio averaged 9.0 points and a record 5.4 assists during the preseason despite ranking ninth in minutes per game (17.2). His playing time will overlap that of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, but he looked like the team’s top passer early on.