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NBA Bench Risers: Waiver Wire Sleepers for Fantasy Basketball (Week 22)


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 22 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.

Ivica Zubac (C, LAL) 35% owned - It was a slow start to the season for the rookie, but he is making a name for himself as of late. Since a pair of DNPs in early March, Zubac has averaged 13.7 points in the last seven games. That includes a blowout loss against the Rockets where he played just 10 minutes and made one bucket. His per-36 minute averages are more impressive than you would think: 16.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks. This comes with a .540 FG% that would rank 12th in the league, were he able to qualify.

Zubac's potential is unquestionable, but his playing time is. It has been all over the place, including several games where he has been limited to single-digit minute totals. This makes him someone to avoid in daily games, unless you're taking a risk in tournament play, but he can give some sustained value in season-long leagues. Hopefully Luke Walton will take the reins off in the final weeks and let Zubac do his thing.

 

Solomon Hill (SG/SF, NO) 29% owned - Hill has started 59 games this season, so he isn't really a bench player, but I'm putting here anyway because he isn't typically a fantasy starter. Since Buddy Hield was shipped off to Sacramento, Hill has seen more minutes and has become more involved offensively. He put up 30 the other night against Houston, including 6-of-9 from the three-point line. That makes four of the last five games in which he's had double-digit scoring outputs.

Hill's scoring average (8.6 per 36 minutes) is down a tad from his time in Indiana, as are most of his other stats. To consider Hill as a free agent pickup, you have to mostly ignore his season-long stats and focus on the past couple of weeks. His minutes are up to 32 per game and he's raised his scoring average every month this season, although 8.6 is nothing to be overly excited about. Hill is an inconsistent shooter and is only averaging 4.7 rebounds per 36, but he is showing signs of coming into his own and could be worth streaming down the stretch.

 

Frank Kaminsky (PF/C, CHA) 43% owned - Kaminsky hasn't taken many steps forward since his rookie year. In fact, he is averaging less rebounds, blocks and shooting a lower percentage than last season. Yet, he has still managed to raise his scoring average to 16.1 points per 36, compared to 12.8 as a rookie. The difference has been a 21.9 percent usage rate that is up almost five points and the fact he is taking 3.8 more shots per 36.

What about playing time and the fact he missed five games with a shoulder injury to start March? He was actually playing about 36 minutes a night during a five-game stretch near the end of February and has been solidly above 30 each night since returning. Kaminsky should be even more involved toward season's end as the Hornets' playoff chances slip away. Frank the Tank can boost your three-point shooting and scoring, while chipping in 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per 36.

 


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.