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Nerlens Noel (PF/C, OKC) - Week 3 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add In 14-Team Leagues (or if you need REB + BLK)

OWNED IN: 21% of leagues

ANALYSIS: It always seems like just as Nerlens Noel seems on the cusp of fading into obscurity, he finds a new spark of life to his game. Although he ranks just ninth on the Thunder roster in minutes played (81) and averages just 16.2 minutes-per-contest, he has taken big-time advantage of every second on the floor to start the year off. Across the first five games of the 2018 campaign he has averaged 9.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 block per game; and turned in a phenomenal most-recent performance for Oklahoma City with 20 points, 15 rebounds, four steals, and a block. That has all come in relatively little playing time. Per 36 minutes of playing time, Noel would be averaging 20 points, 16 rebounds, 2.7 steals, and 2.2 blocks per contest.

While that serves in stark contrast to the playing time that Noel is currently receiving, it is very possible that Billy Donovan may be putting him in more often. The Thunder are not a very big roster, and Noel's fantastic play of late could help to cement future minutes in an increased role either behind or beside Steven Adams. How big of a role could he play as a rebounder and defensive specialist off the bench? Despite receiving the ninth-most playing time on the team, he is tied with Russell Westbrook for second on the roster in total rebounds (36) while he is second on the team in both steals (6) and blocks (5). With the makeup of OKC's lineup, Nerlens Noel has something big to offer, and is well on his way to earning a more prominent role within the Thunder frontcourt. Even in the unlikely event that he doesn't see an uptick in minutes-played, his play has been more-than efficient enough in his limited time on the court to hold substantial value in deeper leagues.

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