Charlotte Hornets point guard Devonte' Graham shot an ugly nine of 26 in a double-overtime loss to the Hawks to finish with 27 points along with 10 assists, four rebounds, and four steals. After missing Charlotte's narrow one-point loss to San Antonio, Graham has come back with three consecutive 20-point outings with no less than three three-pointers in any game. He played a career-high-tying 46 minutes in this one but didn't commit a single turnover either. It was an incredible all-around showing for a player who should be in the conversation for Most Improved honors. He'll have a tough time replicating it, however, with the Hornets traveling down to South Beach to face the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
Charlotte Hornets point guard Terry Rozier shot 15 of 26 from the field to finish a double-overtime loss to the Hawks with a career-high 40 points along with four rebounds and three assists. Rozier took advantage of his 43 minutes of action in this one, also matching a career-high with eight three-pointers in 13 attempts. His performance was the perfect storm of a hot-shooting night coming against a horrendous Atlanta defense. With the Miami Heat up next on the schedule for Charlotte, Rozier will have to work a lot harder to build momentum off one of the best performances of his career.
Atlanta Hawks wing Cam Reddish shot eight of 14 across 40 minutes to finish a double-overtime victory over the Hornets with 22 points, seven rebounds, and three three-pointers off the bench. Reddish was coming off a 12-minute nine-point outing in the loss to Memphis on Saturday, so this was certainly a bounce-back effort for the rookie. He's really picked up his offensive production in recent weeks, and with the Hawks slated to face the Knicks and Cavaliers in their next two games, Reddish could be primed for even more.
Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young had a double-double in a double-overtime win over the Hornets on Monday, shooting 11 of 25 to finish with 31 points along with 16 assists, six three-pointers, and four rebounds. Young played a whopping 43 minutes in this contest, the second-most playing time he's seen in a game this season. This game helps to make up for Young's previous performance of just 16 points against Memphis on Saturday, and he'll be in prime position to build momentum with the Knicks and Cavaliers up next on the schedule.
Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker shot just four of 14 in a loss to the Thunder to finish with 14 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Walker also made only two of his nine attempts from beyond the arc in this one. He's struggled to reacclimate himself following his knee issues with consecutive games of less than 20 points and sub-30 field goal percentage. With the fantasy playoffs right around the corner, this isn't an ideal time for Kemba to be struggling. Perhaps the more Walker plays the quicker he'll return to his All-Star form.
Boston Celtics wing Jayson Tatum struggled in a loss to Oklahoma City on Sunday, shooting just eight of 22 to finish with 19 points along with five rebounds, three assists, three three-pointers, two steals, and one block in 38 minutes. After raising his level of play en route to Player of the Month honors, Tatum has now posted back-to-back games of less than 20 points without shooting higher than 36.8 percent from the field in either. He has a tough two-game stretch ahead of him with road battles against Indiana and Milwaukee awaiting the Celtics, so the struggles might continue at a less-than-ideal time for fantasy owners.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari shot just six of 17 in a win over the Celtics to finish with 18 points and six rebounds. Gallinari also struggled from beyond the arc by making only two of seven from downtown in Boston. That being said, this big road victory marked his 13th straight game with multiple triples. Gallinari doesn't contribute across the board, but he's been consistent all season with one single-digit scoring performance and four games with less than two three-point makes. Winners of eight of their last 10, the Thunder are all on a roll and will look to continue their play when the Utah Jazz come to OKC on March 11.
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Dennis Schroder scored 27 points off the bench in a win over the Celtics, shooting 10 of 21 from the field along with six assists, three three-pointers, and two steals. This marks the third game with more than 20 points for Schroder over his last four, with this performance requiring his most minutes -- 34 -- since Feb. 9 against the Celtics in Oklahoma City. Schroder has been playing like the Sixth Man of the Year all season and is a prime candidate to take home the award on a Thunder team that continues to exceed all expectations.
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul shot nine of 19 from the field in a win over the Celtics to finish with 28 points along with seven assists and six rebounds. This was a game Paul clearly wanted to win as evidenced by his 37 minutes played, his most in a game since Jan. 7. CP3 also shot a perfect 10 of 10 from the free-throw line in this one while displaying his usual brand of clutchness down the stretch. OKC is on a roll right now, winners of three straight and tied with Houston for the fifth seed in the west. Paul is perhaps the biggest reason behind the Thunder's play this season, and he doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic scored just eight points on four of 11 shooting in a loss to Cleveland to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists in 32 minutes of action. Jokic is primed for one of these outlier performances on occasion when the aggressiveness simply isn't there. He had firmly rediscovered his MVP-caliber form before this disappointing loss, so there really isn't any reason to look too deep into the performance. However, things don't get any easier for the Nuggets with the Milwaukee Bucks up next on the schedule followed by a tough three-game road trip against Dallas, San Antonio, and the Lakers.
Denver Nuggets forward Will Barton scored a team-high 22 points versus the Cavaliers on Saturday along with eight rebounds, four assists, and three three-pointers. Barton has been a key source of offense for Denver in recent games with five consecutive outings in double-figures. Unfortunately, the Nuggets are just 2-3 during that stretch, including this disappointing loss to a lowly Cavaliers team. Things won't get easier for the Nuggets moving forward, as four of their next five games come against projected playoff opponents, starting with a home battle against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton shot 11 of 19 in a win over Denver on Saturday to finish with 25 points along with six rebounds, five assists, and two steals. The sophomore guard has been playing at an extremely high level in recent weeks with just three sub-20 point performances over his last 17 games. He did tie a season-high in turnovers with six in the win, but it's hard for fantasy owners to complain much when Sexton is averaging north of 20.0 points a game, producing at a level far beyond what was expected from him heading into this season.
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Cedi Osman contributed 20 points on seven of 12 shooting in a win over the Nuggets to go along with five three-pointers, three rebounds, and two steals in 38 minutes. This marks the third game in double-figures with multiple three-pointers for Osman, who tied his season-high in makes from beyond the arc in this unexpected victory. He's seen an average of 40.0 minutes per game during that stretch which certainly helps from a production standpoint. Cleveland has lacked legitimate wing depth all season long, so perhaps consider giving Osman a look with opportunities not many other fantasy free agents are getting at the moment.
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love scored a game-high 27 points in a win over the Nuggets, shooting nine of 17 to go with six rebounds, five three-pointers, and three assists. Love has been on some type of stretch recently with four consecutive 20-point outings and 16 combined three-pointers over his last three games. A natural shutdown candidate at this time with an injury history Cleveland out of the playoff picture, Love is pushing to finish out the season strong. As long as his body holds up, he'll most likely get there.
While the NBA playoffs are still more than a month away, the fantasy playoffs, believe it or not, are right around the corner. For some, they start as early as next week.
It's a time that's both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially with a potential prize on the line. You could have the most potent roster in your league, but the wrong struggles at the wrong time can doom your squad and have it eliminated. Conversely, a hot streak could help one leapfrog their opponents to an improbable championship victory.
There's only so much one can do on that front with a roster largely set in stone heading into the postseason, but a savvy free-agent pickup never hurts to help swing the odds and build momentum, or maybe even help secure a playoff spot. That being said, here are five mid-week waiver wire pickup options for Week 20 of the NBA fantasy season.
Week 20 Mid-Week Waiver Wire Pickups
Juancho Hernangomez - SF/PF - Minnesota Timberwolves
Juancho Hernangomez couldn't get off the bench as a member of the Denver Nuggets, but he's been a starter ever since he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the deadline.
Since then, Hernangomez has taken full advantage of the opportunities he rarely got in the Mile High. He has just two single-digit scoring outings across 10 games with averages of 14.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.2 three-pointers, 1.4 assists, and 1.0 steals in 29.2 minutes a game.
Minnesota has long been looking to address its hole at the power forward position. The Wolves are even in more of a need for outside shooting given the current absence of Karl-Anthony Towns.
Hernangomez will be a free agent following the season and he knows it. It's why he'll likely continue to shoot a scorching 45.8 percent from beyond the arc on 4.8 attempts per game to earn every dollar he can when his contract expires this summer.
Brandon Knight - PG/SG - Detroit Pistons
Brandon Knight has appeared in six games for the Detroit Pistons since coming over from Cleveland in the deadline deal that included Andre Drummond.
In his first two games back with the team that drafted him, Knight played just 12 minutes apiece with a combined three points. He saw north of 20 minutes in each of the next four, averaging 16.0 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.3 makes from the three-point line.
The Pistons don't have much on the line at the moment, limping to season's end while allowing guys like Knight to provide any type of offense he can muster for one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league.
Perhaps Knight's hot shooting will cool off. He is shooting an incredible 45.9 percent on 9.3 three-point attempts per game. Until that time comes, Knight will have every chance to fill up the scoring column with an outside touch that's great for those lacking in perimeter shooting.
Alex Len - PF/C - Sacramento Kings
Alex Len hasn't exactly broken out of his struggles since being traded by the Atlanta Hawks to the Sacramento Kings at the deadline, but he has provided quality numbers in several specific areas.
Across six games with his new team, Len is shooting 60.0 percent from the field while averaging 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in just 18.5 minutes per game. At just 6.7 points per game, the scoring isn't there, but it's enticing to think what Len could do with minutes somewhere in the 20s
The Kings are banged up in the frontcourt right now with the absence of both Marvin Bagley III and Richaun Holmes. Harry Giles seems to be making the most of those injuries, but Len isn't too far behind.
If he can earn a bit more playing time, who knows how high is production could rise?
Jordan Poole - SG - Golden State Warriors
Jordan Poole has had a touch-and-go first season with the Golden State Warriors, but the rookie guard has certainly picked up his play as of late.
Poole has scored in double-figures in each of his last 10 games, his longest such streak of the season. During that time, he's averaging 15.8 points, 4.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.9 three-pointers in 29.1 minutes per game.
With the injuries to several key parts of Golden State's roster as well as the deadline trade of D'Angelo Russell, the Warriors have a desperate need for scoring, specifically in their backcourt.
The pending return of Stephen Curry will certainly help in that department, but the return of the two-time MVP should also create more open looks for the teammate who's finding his groove at the offensive end.
Cameron Johnson - SG/SF - Phoenix Suns
Cameron Johnson hasn't done a lot to warrant a mid-week pick-up, but the circumstances around him certainly have.
Kelly Oubre Jr. underwent successful knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus and will likely miss the remainder of the season, leaving a hole on the wing for the Phoenix Suns.
In an attempt to fill the void, the Suns gave Johnson 33 minutes in their most recent game against the Toronto Raptors, the most playing time he's seen since Dec. 27. The rookie stepped up to the challenge, knocking down five triples to finish with 21 points, both career-high marks.
How this opportunity came about is unfortunate, but this is the perfect time for Phoenix to get a better look at the player many criticized the organization for taking so high in the 2019 Draft.
More Fantasy Basketball Analysis
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari was four of nine from beyond the arc to finish a loss to the Clippers with 15 points along with four rebounds in 28 minutes. Gallinari had missed OKC's blowout loss to Milwaukee but had dropped 24 apiece in back-to-back games before that, so this game made for a bit of an underwhelming return. The last time Gallinari hit less than two three-pointers in a game was way back on Jan. 31 against Phoenix. He's been a key contributor for one of the surprise teams of this NBA season and will have plenty of opportunities to catch fire with OKC's next two games coming against the lowly Pistons and Knicks.
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Dennis Schroder scored a team-high 24 points off the bench against the Clippers by shooting nine of 19 from the field to go with two rebounds in 30 minutes. This was a much-needed bounce-back performance for Schroder, having scored just nine points in the previous outing against Milwaukee. He's a candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year as a surprise contributor for a surprisingly competitive OKC team. The Thunder now embark on a three-game road trip, but Schroder will have favorable matchups to start with games against Detroit and New York.
LA Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell was productive in 19 minutes off the bench in a win over the Thunder, shooting five of eight from the field to finish with 16 points and three rebounds. Harrell had looked better during the Clippers' previous two games, posting 18 points and 10 rebounds against Denver followed by 24 points and nine rebounds versus Philadelphia. Nevertheless, Harrell has been in the running for Sixth Man of the Year honors all year long with career-highs in points and rebounds per game for one of the league's top second units. He'll have the chance to feast on an undersized Rockets team on Thursday.
LA Clippers wing Paul George shot five of 10 from the field in a win over Oklahoma City to finish with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. This game was a bit of a step-back for PG against his former team as it came on the heels of consecutive 24-point outings. Nonetheless, George has four consecutive games with multiple three-pointers as well as multiple steals three out of LA's last four games. Barring another hamstring flair up, George will be sure to ramp up his intensity to enter the playoffs on a roll and expect his numbers down the stretch to reflect that.
LA Clippers wing Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points in just 32 minutes in a win over the Thunder to go along with eight rebounds, two steals, and two three-pointers. It's been nice to see Leonard on the court for a long string of outings, as he hasn't missed a game since Feb.9 in Cleveland. He's had just a single sub-20 point game during that stretch without any signs of injury, but fantasy owners only have so much longer before LA plays a back-to-back on March 13 and 14, likely without Leonard for one of those games.
Miami Heat wing Duncan Robinson was three of nine from beyond the arc in a win over the Bucks to finish with nine points and three rebounds in 33 minutes of action. This marked Robinson's sixth consecutive game with multiple three-pointers, but he didn't contribute anywhere else. Despite little value outside his three-point stroke, Robinson has been an incredible bargain find as a consistent source of three-pointers with the added bonus positional versatility. He's firmly entrenched in Miami's starting unit and that isn't likely to change given what he brings to the table. Given the stinginess of Milwaukee's defense, expect Robinson to bounce back with a double-figure effort against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo put up 14 points with 13 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks in a win over Milwaukee. This was Adebayo's 38th double-double on the season, the seventh-most across the NBA as well as his fifth straight. During that five-game stretch, Adebayo has posted no fewer than three assists with four games blocking multiple shots. He's been a breakout fantasy contributor and an incredible all-around contributor throughout the season. It's a trend that's likely to continue against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Miami Heat wing Jimmy Butler scored 18 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds in a win over Milwaukee on Monday. Butler has shown off his newfound playmaking chops all season long, averaging a career-high 6.2 assists per game. He's maintained his level of All-Star play following a brief two-game absence and has helped pull the Heat out from a previous rough stretch in which they had lost four of five. He'll get the chance to continue Miami's momentum on Wednesday when the Orlando Magic head down to South Beach.
Milwaukee Bucks wing Khris Middleton shot just four of 16 in a loss to Miami on Monday to finish with 12 points along with seven rebounds and one steal. Few on the Bucks had anything going on this night and Middleton was no exception, converting on only two of his 10 attempts from beyond the arc. Middleton was coming off a two-game absence due to neck soreness, so the Heat weren't exactly the best opponent to return against. Like the rest of Milwaukee, expect Middleton to rediscover his All-Star form Wednesday against Indiana.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored just 13 points in a double-digit loss to the Miami Heat along with 15 rebounds and three assists. Miami's defense isn't one to take lightly. Giannis learned that the hard way, shooting six of 18 from the field with only two free-throw attempts across 30 minutes of action. Antetokounmpo was coming off a historic outing of 40 points and 20 rebounds against Charlotte, so there really isn't much to worry about here. If anything, fantasy owners should look for an anger-induced bounce-back game on Wednesday when the Pacers come into Milwaukee.
Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier needed 18 shots to produce just 13 points in a loss to the Bucks on Sunday to go along with four assists and three rebounds. Following a mini two-game slump, Rozier had bounced back in Charlotte's previous two games before this inefficient performance against one of the league's best defenses. With the San Antonio Spurs coming into town on Tuesday, Rozier will have the chance to get back on track against a far less imposing team than one with the best record in the NBA.
Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte' Graham shot just seven of 18 in a loss to Milwaukee to finish with 17 points along with three assists and three three-pointers. It's of little surprise that the sophomore guard struggled with his shot against one of the league's top defenses. Graham has now followed a one-game absence with three straight double-figure outings that have also seen multiple three-point makes as well. During that stretch, however, Graham hasn't shot better than 38.9 percent from the field. Charlotte only has so many games left in the season. Hopefully, Graham can finish out his breakout campaign on a high note, starting Tuesday when the Hornets welcome in the San Antonio Spurs.
Milwaukee Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe shot just two of eight to finish a win over the Hornets with four points in 22 minutes of action. With Khris Middleton out with neck soreness, Bledsoe had the platform to post a gaudy stat line. This wasn't Milwaukee's game as a whole, where the Bucks streak of 100-point games ended at 83. This outing now makes back-to-back in single-digit scoring for Bledsoe after a streak of 13 straight in double figures. With the Miami Heat next on the schedule, Bledsoe has a tough task ahead of him if he wants to end this mini slump at two games.
Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez shot just four of 11 from the field to finish a win over the Hornets with 16 points along with seven rebounds and three blocks. Lopez hasn't shot above 50.0 percent in a game since Feb. 10 versus Sacramento. He also hasn't played more than 30 minutes since Feb. 12 against Indiana. His scoring is a career low, as is his three-point shooting since he began venturing out beyond the arc. Nevertheless, Lopez is still providing 1.4 three-point makes a game along with a career-high 2.5 blocks a night. That's as unique an impact as there is from a seven-footer that should continue amid Milwaukee's chase of 70 wins.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 40 points in a win over Charlotte to go with 20 rebounds and six assists. In just 34 minutes of action, the Greek Freak became the fastest to produce such a stat line in a game in NBA history. We're simply running out of words to describe the reigning MVP, whose numbers have somehow gotten better despite playing fewer minutes a night. The Bucks hold on the league's top record might prompt Antetokounmpo to sprinkle in some DNPs to finish off the season, but his foot is ultimately on the gas right now and will firmly remain there for however long Milwaukee's season lasts.