NBA teams have a multitude of players coming off the bench, each with a unique role to fill. As a fantasy owner, you need to decide which of those players can contribute across multiple categories and have the potential to make the most of their time on the court.
To find bench players that can contribute more than just energy and defense during their time on the court, I will analyze usage rate and Per 36 statistics. Below are my Week 8 bench risers and waiver wire adds for fantasy basketball. These are some bench players whose stock should be rising based on their recent play and could be great fantasy pickups for deep leagues.
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Rising NBA Bench Performers
Note: I will only be selecting players who are not regular starters and who are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! leagues.
Patty Mills (PG, SA) 46% owned
For fantasy purposes, Mills has looked like the best point guard for San Antonio this entire season. He may not run the offense as efficiently as Tony Parker, but fantasy owners don't get rewarded for that. Mills is an offensive spark plug and mad bomber when given free reign, as he has earned in his six year tenure with the Spurs. Even with Parker in the lineup, Mills has put together games of 15, 16, and 16 points in the last three respectively.
Averaging about 23 minutes per game, Mills has crept into 10th place for Offensive Rating among all NBA players with a 123.0 rating. He is also sixth in True Shooting Percentage with .647% and fourth in Effective Field Goal Percentage at .615%. It's rare to see a prolific three-point shooter nearly making half of all his field goals, but Mills is at a .490 FG% for the season, despite over half his shots coming behind the perimeter. At 3.2 3PM per 36, he will help any team in three point categories across the board. For a point guard, he averages a decent 5.6 assists and 1.2 steals per 36. Even if Parker misses time again, Coach Pop will keep his rotation consistent as always, which means a big jump in value is unlikely to ever come for Mills. His consistency remains his greatest asset.
Dwight Powell (PF/C, DAL) 23% owned
The Andrew Bogut injury will boost Powell's value most of all in Dallas. He had a lackluster Monday night against Denver with just eight points and one board, but prior to that he had been outplaying fellow center Salah Mejri. Powell has been averaging 4.8 rebounds in about 20 minutes per game. Those numbers should jump now that he will see closer to 30 minutes on average. He is averaging 8.2 REB per 36 minutes, as well as 12.3 PTS and 1.0 BLK.
Powell hasn't gotten off to a hot start this season, but that may be due to a subpar cast around him. The Mavs aren't going anywhere this year, especially with all the injuries to their best players. As long as Nowitzki and Bogut remain out, there should be ample opportunity for Powell to take on more responsibility. If anything, he could soon outplay his career averages (13.8 PTS, 9.1 REB per 36), even though he is below them right now. He can provide solid depth at the big man positions in larger leagues.
Allen Crabbe (PG/SG, POR) - 25% owned
He is still a bench player, even though he was nearly listed as a starter the other day. Evan Turner's inconsistency plays into Crabbe's favor, as he comes off the pine to provide a shooting spark. Crabbe collected 62 points in a four-game stretch last week, raising his scoring average to almost 10 a game (9.7). He is currently averaging 12.6 points per 36 minutes, although that figure was higher last season at 14.2.
The limitation with Crabbe is that he won't contribute much in non-shooting categories. He'll chip in 1.6 AST and 0.7 STL per 36. Deep league owners will want him for his .406 three-point percentage and consistent scoring. Portland's thin bench should keep Crabbe in the rotation all year, with the potential for big gains if one of their starting guards should miss extended time.
By popular demand, RotoBaller has aggregated all of our fantasy basketball NBA waiver wire pickups into a running list of NBA waiver options, so bookmark the page and check back often for updates.