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Fantasy Basketball pickup

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

2022-23 Fantasy Basketball: Early Waiver Wire pickup options

Fantasy Basketball pickup
Royce O’Neale has shown he could be a reliable fantasy basketball pickup option. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

2022-23 Fantasy Basketball: Early Waiver Wire pickup options

We are officially one full week through the 2022-23 NBA season, with roughly every team having played six-to-eight games. Plus, we are two weeks into the fantasy basketball season. You are seeing where you thrive and don’t thrive — depending on the league format you’re in — at the start of the season. While it’s still early, let’s examine some possible fantasy basketball pickup options!

Royce O’Neale, F, Brooklyn Nets (rostered in 17.0% of ESPN leagues)

If you need scoring and/or efficiency, then O’Neale might not be the preferred target. But he’s shown production in every other category through a week-and-a-half, averaging 2.3 three-point makes, 3.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks. He’s more valuable in the latter two categories, too, but he gives you good enough production as a streamer to warrant a pickup.

Jaylen Nowell, G, Minnesota Timberwolves (9.3%)

As Minnesota’s presumptive sixth- or seventh-man, Nowell does provide scoring, though his efficiency has been down to begin the season. He’s only shooting 41.1 percent from the floor and 26.5 percent from three-point range, down from his career averages of 44.6 percent and 34.5 percent (heading into 2022-23), respectively. He’s still knocking down 1.3 threes per game, hauling in 44.1 rebounds and dishing out 2.1 assists, so he’s been totally unproductive. But his efficiency will be something to keep an eye on — history suggests that’ll positively regress. But only time will tell.

Bol Bol, C, Orlando Magic (19.7%)

Bol Bol! Your favorite player’s favorite player — no, that’s not up for debate. It’s inarguable, but I digress. The dynamic 7-foot-2 center has gotten 20.3 minutes per game to begin the season, averaging 10.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks — that’s roughly 19-12-4 per 36 averages. He’s converting on 65.3 percent of his attempts and 76.9 percent of his free-throws. The counting stats — especially blocks, perhaps the hardest category to nab — are there. Sure, the health might a concern, but buy stock before it’s too late.

Santi Aldama, F, Memphis Grizzlies (17.0%)

The Grizzlies rookie got off to a very hot start to begin the season, posting 18 points and 11 boards on 7-of-14 shooting with three 3s (on eight attempts) in 39 minutes in an overtime win against the Knicks. He’s taken a slight step back in the five games since, averaging 9.4 points, 4.8 boards and 1.2 blocks on 45.9 percent shooting, though has only hit 20.0 percent of his 3s and 76.9 percent of his 2.6 triple attempts a game. As long as Jaren Jackson Jr. is still sidelined, Aldama is a worthwhile streamer, barring injury.

Trey Murphy, G, New Orleans Pelicans (27.1%)

Last season, Murphy had little opportunity with the Pelicans, posting 5.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 13.9 minutes across 62 games. This year, he’s gotten ample opportunity — and has excelled. His production is better suited for categories leagues — he’s canned 3.2 3-pointers at a 54.3 percent clip, while totaling six boards and 1.2 steals per game. He might be due for some regression along the way, but as one of New Orleans’ top floor-spacers, I think he’s still going to average around 25 minutes per game once Brandon Ingram returns. Snag him now while he’s still producing.

Kelly Olynyk, C, Utah Jazz (27.6%)

Olynyk has gotten off to an incredible start since arriving in Utah, posting 13.7 points, 4.1 boards, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals on 56.7 percent shooting and 64.0 percent shooting from distance. The efficiency will regress, but as long as he’s in a low-pressure situation, he’ll put up numbers in multiple different categories — especially 3-point makes, assists (for a center) and points. That much is certain.

De’Anthony Melton, G, Phildelphia 76ers (9.1%)

If you’re looking for production off the Sixers’ bench for any particular reason, you’re out of luck, to this point … except Melton. He’s averaging 8.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists plus a pair of steals on good efficiency. I’m not sure if he’ll garner more minutes as the season ages — currently averaging north of 21 per game — but Melton’s worth adding, since he’s available in over 90 percent of leagues, especially if you want to grab a few extra points with steals lone.

Isaiah Stewart, C, Detroit Pistons (24.6%)

Stewart nearly cracked my fantasy sleeper list for centers before the season. He’s currently averaging 13.4 points and 10.3 boards in 28.9 minutes per game. His efficiency and blocks will come, but for points and rebounds, if you need a center who can do either (especially the latter)? He’s a good option.

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