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Fantasy Basketball Dynasty Risers - Week 6

15-34.

That’s the combined record of the three teams who have players featured in this week’s column, with the 7-9 Oklahoma City Thunder looking almighty in comparison to the 4-win Pistons and Timberwolves.

You know what they say, “Out of adversity comes fantasy value” (or something like that). Regardless, these sub-.500 teams have allowed us the opportunity to get an extended look at some potential fantasy basketball dynasty risers and we are grateful to them for that, even though it may have come at the expense of their devout, frustrated fan bases.

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Naz Reid (C, MIN)

Over the past two weeks, Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid has provided strong value in a number of different categories. Across his last six games, he’s averaging 12.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.3 threes per game to go along with just 1.3 turnovers per game. He’s also shooting 50% from the field and a perfect 100% from the line over that stretch.

Reid has seen extended time on the court while Karl-Anthony Towns (COVID-19) has been out. It’s unclear just how much longer Towns will be out for, but Reid has certainly taken advantage of the opportunity he’s been given and he’s especially come alive over the past week.

On Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans, Reid scored a season-high 20 points while hitting all eight of his free throw attempts. In his next game against the Golden State Warriors on Monday, Reid notched his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 boards.

Reid’s most promising assets are his combination of threes and blocks and his efficiency. Playing time will be a concern for him as long as he remains Towns’ backup in Minnesota. He should still have some low-end value in deep leagues as long as that remains the case, but if he were to find himself in another jersey in a few years, he could really become a fantasy gem as an efficient double-double threat with solid blocks and threes.

 

Isaiah Roby (PF, OKC)

Power forward Isaiah Roby has been the latest member of the Oklahoma City Thunder to take advantage of the many opportunities provided by the team’s depleted roster. Roby, a 2019 2nd round pick, has seen over 20 minutes in each of his past six games and has reached double digits in scoring in five of six, including a season-high 16 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday:

 

Roby is a versatile forward who has the potential to contribute in a lot of different ways. He’s 6’8” and has a 7’3” wingspan, giving him great defensive potential. He blocked two shots in Monday’s game against Portland and he recorded four steals in last Tuesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets. He also has the strong foundation of a jump shot. He’s hit eight threes through 13 games this year and in Monday’s game, he was a perfect 7-for-7 from the line.

It’s hard to guess what the next few years entail for Roby. He might see more playing time the rest of this season than he’ll see the rest of his career, or at least for the next few years, just based on the minimal competition in Oklahoma City right now. He’s a high upside player who could develop into a fantasy stat stuffer, but he has a long and tough-to-rely-on road towards getting there.

Seeing how Roby fares in relation to his similarly talented teammate Darius Bazley the rest of the year will be interesting to watch. Both players are versatile 6’8” wings with slender builds. Bazley’s had some promising flashes, but both players remain extremely raw with a lot to prove.

 

Delon Wright (SG, DET)

A recent scoring surge has allowed Detroit Pistons guard/forward Delon Wright to become one of the hottest waiver wire fantasy basketball pickups over the past week.

Over his last four games, Wright is averaging 15.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 threes per game while shooting 53.7% from the field and 85.7% from the line. On Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wright had by far his best game as a Piston, hitting four threes while scoring a career-high 28 points and adding nine assists, seven rebounds, two steals and a block.

Wright has delivered solid numbers across several categories whenever he’s been given enough playing time to deliver, particularly contributing sturdy assists and steals. His playing time in his first year in Detroit has been a bit inconsistent. He’s seen over 20 minutes in just about every game but has only topped 30 minutes in six of his 17 games so far. If he can remain north of 30 for the bulk of the year, he’s going to be worth rostering in all fantasy leagues the rest of the way this year.

Wright is someone who is probably a better NBA player than he is a fantasy player. He does a lot of little things, both offensively and defensively, and doesn’t particularly excel in any one facet of the game, but at the same time, he doesn’t particularly lack in any one facet of the game as well. With the Pistons in a state of limbo, Wright could be one of the beneficiaries in the next few years as he proves to be one of the top players on an uninspiring roster.

 

Jarred Vanderbilt (SF, MIN)

And just like that, we’re back in Minnesota to close things out this week. Timberwolves small forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been another nice surprise for the franchise in the past month to go along with Reid.

Vanderbilt, a 2018 2nd round pick out of Kentucky, spent the first year-and-a-half of his career with the Denver Nuggets before a February 2020 trade sent him to Minnesota. He was a five-star recruit out of high school and a McDonald’s All-American in 2017, but only saw 17 minutes per game during his only season at Kentucky, a year where he dealt with multiple injuries.

Lately, Vanderbilt has had his most sustained success in the league so far. Over his past four games, he’s averaging 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per game to go along with 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He’s still trying to find himself on the offensive end, but he’s shooting 61.2% from the field on the year, so he’s certainly not overextending himself. His 48.3% free throw percentage is certainly concerning, but hopefully, it will raise if he sees more attempts. He’s only shot 29 free throws this year so far.

The Timberwolves have a lot of wings competing for playing time right now, but Vanderbilt appears to have leapfrogged 2019 1st round pick Jarrett Culver while holding off the likes of Jaden McDaniels and Jordan McLaughlin. There’s also Juan Hernangomez (COVID-19) who should be back soon and could pose a problem for Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt’s minutes might waver a good deal this year, but he is a worthy stash in deep dynasty leagues with the chance to be a defensive stud. If he can find steady playing time and unlock his offensive game, his upside is immense.

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