Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups
Image © Dan Hamilton / USA TODAY Sports
Alicia Butler
Alicia Butler
December 23rd 2022

Need to pick up a player or two on the waiver wire for your NBA fantasy team? We’ve got a few players in mind to keep your eye on if you’re looking to make a switch. 

These fantasy basketball waiver wire pickups may just help keep your fantasy team in the league. 

What is a Waiver?

A waiver is when a player under contract with a professional sports team is released from the team and that contract is picked up by another team. 

The player is still under the original contract, but that contract will be taken over by the team with the highest priority (which is determined differently within each sport). The team that wants to take on the player’s contract will negotiate with the current team or simply just take the contract over. 

The waiver system was put in place so teams couldn’t create workarounds to trade rules and exchange players illegally. 

Basketball Waivers

Each sport handles waivers differently.

If a player in the NBA is released from his team during the season, any team may claim that player within 48 hours of his release. If (and when) several teams try to claim a player during this timeframe, the team with the lowest percentage of wins will get the first pick. 

Since the team takes over the player’s contract, that team must abide by that contract. Not every team in the NBA can afford contracts held by other teams. 

Players claimed after March 1 in the season cannot play in the playoffs with their new team. 

Only players that are released during the season become waivers and may sign with another team on their own. 

Can’t teams just loan players to other teams in the NBA?

Unlike in other sports, the NBA rules don’t allow teams to loan players to other teams. 

Players for any team must be under contract with that team to play in a season game (unless they happen to be a waiver; though, in this case, the player would be under contract with the new team as the new team must purchase the player’s contract). 

Since the NBA has a draft, one team can’t necessarily hoard all the best players. The waiver system in the NBA also ensures that the best teams can’t suddenly snatch up players released by other teams, either. 

What do waivers mean for fantasy basketball?

In fantasy sports (just as in real sports), waivers are another opportunity for you to make up for losses earlier in the season!

There are so many indeterminables in sports betting, including injuries. If your player is out or underperforming due to an injury, a waiver can help you get your team back in the game. 

In addition to waivers, free agents may also be claimed by fantasy teams. Just as in the real game, fantasy managers may claim free agents at any time — without the hassle of worrying about waiver priority.   

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups 

And without further ado, here are our picks for fantasy basketball waiver wire pickups. 

These players are the ones in free agency that show the most promise of adding value to your fantasy basketball team. 

Alec Burks, New York Knicks 

Alec Burks is new to the New York Knicks starting lineup, but he’s been proving his worth this season nonetheless.

Yahoo!Sports called Burks, “The Knicks’ Swiss Army knife of production,” and it’s easy to see why. Burks averages 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.2 steals per 36 minutes per game. 

Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder 

This 19-year old point guard for Oklahoma City Thunder may not be perfect, but he’s actually performing well for a rookie. 

At the start of the season, Josh Giddey was averaging 4.5 assists and 1.5 turnovers per 27.3 minutes per game. While his shooting is far from perfect, he 13 points per 31 minutes in the Thunder’s last game against the Raptors on December 8. 

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks

On Saturday, Jalen Brunson got in 37 minutes and in that time scored 15 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 steal in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies. 

Though the Mavericks lost on Saturday, they made a comeback on Wednesday, winning against the Grizzlies 104 - 96. 

Kevin Porter Jr., Houston Rockets 

Though Kevin Porter has been out for the past few games, this point guard/shooting guard is expected to bounce back quickly. 

Though fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers (the team that traded porter to the Rockets last season) were initially disappointed, many have started considering this trade a good move for Cleveland. 

That doesn’t mean that Porter won’t make a good fantasy pickup, though. He’s a highly undervalued player to many fantasy managers, making him an excellent option for a waiver pickup. 

Jae'Sean Tate, Houston Rockets 

Another Houston Rockets pick is Jea’Sean Tate. He’s been pivotal in the Rockets’ gameplay while Porter has been out. 

Though he only played 27 minutes on Wednesday, he played for an average of 33 minutes during the Rockets’ three previous games, where he scored a whopping 58 points total in all three games. 

Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies 

Desmond Bane is an extremely undervalued player in our opinion. 

He made at least 40% of 3-point shots this season and logged 34 minutes in the game against the Mavericks on Wednesday. Though the Grizzlies lost this game, Bane scored 21 points in the game on Monday against Miami Heat. 

The Grizzlies won on Monday, 105 - 90.

Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies

Another Grizzly that deserves some attention is Dillon Brooks

While he hasn’t been the highest scorer this season, he’s gotten some decent time on the floor. He clocked 33 minutes in the game against Dallas on Wednesday and 36 minutes in Monday’s game against Miami Heat. 

He was responsible for a whopping 8 assists in Monday’s game as well as two steals. 

Tyus Jones, Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies sure are hot on this list! The third Grizzly we want to mention is Tyus Jones, a point guard.

Jones is in play this week thanks to Ja Morant's knee injury. 

Jones made his biggest impact in the Grizzlies’ stats on Saturday night, aiding in the team’s win against Dallas. Jones scored 16 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals in his 34 minutes of gameplay. 

As long as Ja Morant is out, Jones could be a solid choice for a pickup. 

Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets

Moving on from our little love fest for Memphis Grizzly players, we have two Denver Nuggets players to keep an eye on.

The first is Monte Morris, who played for 36 minutes on Wednesday and 35 minutes on Monday. Though he was out for several weeks thanks to a hamstring injury, he’s been averaging 16.6 points.  

Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets 

Another possible pickup from the Denver Nuggets is Aaron Gordon, a power forward/small forward. 

The Nuggets have been in a bit of a pickle with point guard/shooting guard Jamal Murray out for an unknown period of time with a torn ACL. 

But Gordon is getting some serious court time, playing a whopping 43 minutes in Wednesday’s game. He scored 10 points in Wednesday’s game and 18 points in Monday’s game — though he did receive some heat for his performance in Saturday’s game against the Knicks (the Nuggets won but Gordon only scored 5 points, though he did rack up 3 steals). 

Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors

This small forward/shooting guard racked up 24 points in 39 minutes of gameplay on Wednesday as well as four rebounds and three assists. 

While Gary Trent Jr. isn’t the most consistent player (he only 6 points on Sunday and 8 points in the Raptors’ Thursday game), he’s a solid pick for the games he’s on point.  

Bobby Portis, Milwaukee Bucks

This Milwaukee Bucks power forward/center has played about 30 minutes per game in his past four games — making him a consistent choice for a waiver pickup. 

He consistently gets rebounds and has scored between 10 and 19 points per game in his past four games. He averages almost a double-double per game — just another way in which Portis shows consistency in his gameplay. 

Will you have any surprises if you’ve picked up Bobby Portis? Probably not. But you will probably be consistently content with this pick. 

Dewayne Dedmon, Miami Heat

Another pick that has gotten steadier gameplay thanks to an injured teammate is Dewayne Dedmon, center for the Miami Heat.

While his game time isn’t as high as many of the other players on this list (he only managed 13 minutes in Wednesday night’s game), he’s still scored some solid points throughout the season.

Last Wednesday in the Heat’s game against Cleveland, Dedmond scored 11 points, a whopping 13 rebounds, and 3 assists. 

While his stats and game time have dropped since the beginning of the month, players that have the most prove often find their way back into the game. 

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