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Fantasy Basketball: Top NBA Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 21 of 2020-21

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy basketball leagues heading into Week 21 which starts Monday, May 10.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Denver Nuggets Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The wild roller-coaster ride of the NBA regular season is just about to come to an end with just one more week of jam-packed thrilling fantasy basketball action ahead. While some teams are still jockeying for playoff positioning, others are evaluating players for the future, and some seem to just be trying to survive to the end of the week. With the continual rotation adjustments from game to game, there are constantly new options emerging who can help your fantasy team, and you can find four of my favorite widely available pickups listed below.

Looking at the remaining schedule, the Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks and the San Antonio Spurs still have the most work remaining with five games over the next seven days. Twenty-four teams play four games this week with only the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Detroit Pistons playing three times. Especially in formats where the number of pickups is limited, make sure to lean into teams that play at least four times where possible. As always, remember to consider your specific team needs and league rules when making your pickups.


SF/PF KJ Martin Jr., Houston Rockets (at POR, at LAL, vs. LAC, at ATL)

With so many injuries in Houston, the Rockets have been playing extremely short-handed over the past few games and will likely continue to do so the rest of the season. That has opened a massive opportunity for Martin, who has stepped up in a big way. The 20-year-old rookie has started and played over 39 minutes in three straight games with usage rates of 18.4%, 23.5% and 21.4%. He has also stayed very efficient with an effective field goal percentage over 60% in five straight contests.

With so many minutes and so much usage, Martin has piled up impressive numbers, averaging 25.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.0 3-pointers over his past three games. Even though his minutes may come down a little if the Rockets get more bodies back this week, he has shown enough to be a key part of their rotation in their four remaining games and should be able to finish the season strong and establish himself as a part of Houston’s rotation to start next year as well.


C Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic (at MIL, at ATL, at PHI, at PHI)

The Magic have finally given fantasy owners some Mo, and Bamba has not disappointed. He has been especially beastly on the glass with a rebound rate of at least 26% in each of his past three games. Bamba has been filling in for Wendell Carter Jr. (eye) in the starting lineup, but even when he was coming off the bench he was outperforming Carter and putting up great big-man numbers, which can be very hard to find on the waiver wire at this point in the season.

Bamba has at least 15 rebounds in three straight games, averaging 16.0 boards to go with his 16.7 points and 3.0 blocks per game over those three contests. If there’s any way he’s still on your waiver wire, he needs to be rostered for the home stretch since he comes with a high ceiling and should keep getting plenty of work for the Magic as they play out the remaining games of a disappointing season.


SF/PF/C Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves, (at DET, vs. DEN, vs. BOS, vs. DAL)

The Timberwolves are another team going nowhere in the postseason but are getting a look at some important future pieces over the final week of the season. Vanderbilt has shown some decent upside when given expanded playing time this season, and he has gotten a chance to start while Jaden McDaniels (personal) has been away from the team.

He played 35 minutes in his start on Friday night and had a season-high five steals to go with eight points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. He contributed those solid non-scoring stats despite a 5.9% usage rate, and could easily approach a low-grade double-double with good defensive stats if he keeps starting and getting good playing time.


PG/SG Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies (vs. NOP, vs. DAL, vs. SAC, vs. SAC, at GSW)

Like Martin, another rookie getting increased run down the stretch is the Grizzlies’ first-round pick, Desmond Bane. Bane hasn’t been as heavily or as consistently involved as Martin since his team is still pushing for the playoffs, but he has posted several solid performances and showed good upside and potential. He has started a few games recently in place of Grayson Allen (abdominal) and should continue to get more work with Allen out even if he comes off the bench as he did on Saturday against the Raptors.

Bane has played over 20 minutes in six straight games with three starts and three games in the second unit. He has reached double-digit scoring in three of those games, including setting and matching his career-high of 22 points in back-to-back games against the Knicks and Timberwolves. The rookie from TCU has added 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists to his 11.3 points per game over that six-game stretch and should be lined up for a busy week as he and the Grizzlies prepare for the play-in tournament. He doesn’t have the high ceiling of Martin or Bamba, but with five games he can bring sneaky value if he stays so involved.


Other options to consider

  • SG/SF Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Spurs
  • PG/SG R.J. Hampton, Orlando Magic
  • SF/PF Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • C Guillermo Hernangómez, New Orleans Pelicans
  • PF/C Jalen McDaniels, Charlotte Hornets
  • SF/PF Juan Toscano-Anderson, Golden State Warriors
  • C Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans Pelicans
  • PG/SG Austin Rivers, Denver Nuggets
  • PG/SG Frank Jackson, Detroit Pistons
  • SG Khyri Thomas, Houston Rockets

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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