We’re almost mid-way through the NBA season in Week 13. We’re also almost halfway through January, which is nuts to think about. What we do need to be thinking about, though, is the NBA Trade Deadline which is fast approaching on Feb. 6. The best strategy when considering waiver wire pickups prior to the deadline is who will benefit if players are shipped out. We’ll also take into consideration some injuries — as always — but the focus here will be on players who may benefit from players being traded on their respective teams.
Darius Garland, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers (24.6 percent on ESPN)
The idea here is capitalizing on Kevin Love potentially being traded before the deadline. He’s probably the most likely high-profile player that should be dealt. Deadline moves aside, Garland is finally showing signs of that upside that made the Cavs select him so high in the 2019 NBA Draft. He’s played at least 34 minutes in seven straight games, coach John Beilein finally letting the rookie off the leash a bit. His stats over that stretch are actually pretty respectable, and it’s looking like Garland should emerge as more of the PG over Collin Sexton. Garland’s averages over those seven games: 16 points, 5.6 assists, 2.3 3PM on 34.6 percent from distance. Again, nothing too crazy, but he’s starting to hit a stride. I think scooping him up — especially in a Keeper format — would be a wise idea. The league would likely be deeper though, of course.
Josh Hart, SG, New Orleans Pelicans (19.3 percent)
This is a combination of both injuries and potential deadline moves. The Pelicans have been without Jrue Holiday, who is nursing an elbow injury. He’s also been thrown around in trade rumors and could be moved out at the deadline. If that’s the case, Hart could be the guard that steps in and starts unless New Orleans goes a bit bigger with Zion Williamson in the lineup when he’s healthy. Still, Hart would be the first guard off the bench and would be an injury away from becoming a starter/playing big minutes. Hart’s production has been up and down, but the minutes are there. I think in deeper leagues, Hart can be a decent producer of rebounds at the guard position.
Norman Powell, SG/SF, Toronto Raptors (19.3 percent)
So the Raptors are finally getting healthy. Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol are close to being back and Powell is already supposed to be back in the lineup Sunday. With Fred VanVleet sidelined, then we should see Powell be inserted into the starting lineup for Toronto. When Powell was starting in place of FVV earlier in the season, he was really thriving. He’s going to see around 36-38 minutes per game when he’s starting and 100%, plus Powell is an above-average 3-point shooter at 38.9 percent on the season. This doesn’t have as much to do with the Trade Deadline, but the Raptors can really peak once they get their full rotation back.