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Top fantasy basketball waiver wire pickups for Week 17

Tim Finnegan shares some his top recommendations off the waiver wire on ESPN heading into Week 17.

Los Angeles Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

With the NBA trade deadline passing last Thursday, new rosters and rotations will open up some potential waiver pickups for fantasy basketball owners in seasonal leagues. These type of players are also salary relief candidates in daily contests on DraftKings. Here are some players that are under 50 percent owned in mainstream seasonal leagues that fantasy owners can consider picking up:

Jordan McLaughlin, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves (0.2 percent)

With the Timberwolves very thin at point guard lately, McLaughlin has thrived in an expanded role, scoring 33 DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP) and 48 DKFP over his last two games while surpassing 30 minutes in each game. McLaughin is coming off a highly impressive performance in his most recent game where he created 16 potential assists on a heavy 92 passes. D’Angelo Russell’s eventual return to the lineup will likely cut McLaughlin’s volume down, but he could be in line to see solid minutes in the Timberwolves’ rotation given his impressive play lately. McLaughlin owns a respectable 14.5 player efficiency rating in 332 minutes this season, which is slightly better than average at his position. McLaughlin is owned in almost no fantasy leagues.

Thon Maker, PF/C, Detroit Pistons (5 percent)

The Pistons trading Andre Drummond to the Cavaliers has opened up a substantially increased role for Maker recently. In two starts since Drummond was traded, Maker has played 34 and 29 minutes, a big boost from his season average of 12 minutes per game. Maker has averaged a respectable 26 DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP) in those two games. It’s not clear if Maker will cede minutes to newly acquired John Henson (2 percent), but Maker is available in almost all leagues and is a frontcourt depth option if he continues his expanded role for the Pistons.

Ish Smith, PG, Washington Wizards (20 percent)

The Wizards traded Isaiah Thomas prior to the deadline, which opened up room in the starting five for Smith in their most recent game. Smith is averaging about 30 minutes per game in starts this season, a boost from 25 minutes per game off the bench, and could be in line for an expanded role the rest of the season if he sticks in the starting lineup. Washington plays the seventh fastest pace in the league and has showcased foul team defense, which often leads to high-scoring games. The Wizards rank fourth in points scored per game, putting Smith in an appealing point scoring environment.

Ky Bowman, PG, Golden State Warriors (5 percent)

The Warriors traded guards D’Angelo Russell and Alec Burks prior to the trade deadline, which makes Bowman a candidate for a significant role for the rest of the season. Bowman recently signed a multi-year NBA deal with the Warriors and started in their most recent game, playing 29 minutes. Bowman is averaging nearly 30 minutes per game in starts this season and is worth consideration if fantasy owners need backcourt depth.