This is the weekly edition of The Deep Leaguer with Max Loudermilch. When you’re in too deep, look no further! Each week, we will give you the low-down on 1-2 hot NBA waiver wire options for deeper fantasy basketball leagues.
NBA Waiver Wire Pickups - Deeper Leagues
Wesley Johnson (SG/SF)
The Lakers have the most fragile unit in the league. An franchise-concerning six members have been sidelined. Three of those injuries occurred within just the last four days. In a flashback to February 5th, they lost Jordan Farmar and Nick Young in what would be an almost unprecedented game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. At one point, the Lakers only had four eligible players. Only a rarely used NBA rule kept the team at “full” capacity.
Young's two week departure is a big hit to owners' fantasy warships, opportunities abound when new talent has a chance to flap its wings. One would-be high-flying eagle is Wesley Johnson, who stands to benefit most from the situation. The small forward is proving he has what it takes to be an awesome force.
Since January, in games where Johnson played heavy minutes (read: 30+), he's averaging 15 (2 threes) points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists 1.2 blocks, and 1.3 steals. He manages to scrape up some all-around value, and he seems poised to become one of the better defenders in the league. The silver lining on the Johnson pick is that he has proven to do poorly without significant time on the floor. The 26-year-old's future rests in Mike D'Antoni's crystal ball, which tends to tell a tale of highly sporadic minute distribution and a series of misfortunate events.
But D'Antoni's future itself is in jeapardy. Let's face it: one of the league's most notoriously competitive teams is 18-32. Someone has to answer. While extraneous circumstances have cooked D'Antoni's ability to secure a playoff shot, his handling of talent in general raises some red flags.
In a word, a correct inference of the Lakers locker room is “uncertainty”: uncertainty about the coaching staff and uncertainty about what the starting lineup will look like next month, let alone next game. However, Wesley Johnson has shown us his potential to do great things for this ball club and our fantasy rosters. Strongly consider adding the man in 12+ team leagues.