By Gabe Allen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
While it wasn’t the wildest of NBA trade deadlines, there were still a decent number of deals made. Most trades, even the minor ones, tend to have ripple effects, some of which may not be immediately apparent. This week’s waiver wire article focuses primarily on the recent roster shakeups, although some of the players I’ve recommended play for teams that stood pat.
Without further ado, here’s an early attempt to sort out what took place at the trade deadline and who figures to benefit. As usual, I have included a list of recently recommended players at the end.
Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic (48% rostered)
The Magic didn’t make any trades before the deadline, but Suggs is still worth adding for the second half of the season. Cole Anthony has seen his minutes evaporate to a large extent, leaving plenty of playing time for Markelle Fultz and Suggs in the backcourt. While Suggs has been struggling with his shot lately, he has been a difference-maker on the defensive end. Across the last seven games, he’s averaging 10.3 points (39.4% FG, 35.7% 3PT, 62.5% FT), 3.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.1 steals in 30.3 minutes. If another shot or two per night start finding the bottom of the net, Suggs will be a valuable contributor even in shallow formats.
Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls (42% rostered)
Drummond has been co-existing alongside Nikola Vucevic for significant stretches with impressive results in the last two contests. During these last two games, Drummond has combined for 37 points, 29 boards and five rejections across 66 minutes. Although he’s unlikely to replicate this level of production for the remainder of the campaign, the fact that he’s sharing the floor with Vucevic bodes well for his rest-of-season outlook. If he keeps earning ample minutes, he’s going to be worth adding in all formats.
Marvin Bagley III, Washington Wizards (39% rostered)
Bagley (back) was perhaps the biggest winner of the trade deadline. First, he recently escaped a crowded frontcourt on a Pistons team that lacked any semblance of offensive spacing — and then yesterday Washington went ahead and moved starting center Daniel Gafford to the Mavericks in exchange for Richaun Holmes. Holmes hasn’t been fantasy-relevant for a few years, which means Bagley is probably going to play heavy minutes for the rest of the year once he’s healthy. Bagley has been ruled out for Friday’s matchup versus the Celtics, which will mark his fourth straight absence. However, he’s a player to add and stash if you can afford to do so.
Kelly Olynyk, Toronto Raptors (27% rostered)
Olynyk is another potential winner of the trade deadline. He had been averaging just over 20 minutes per game with the Jazz this season, in large part due to the team’s frontcourt depth. A career 48.2% shooter from the field, Olynyk is sporting career-high shooting percentages from the field and beyond the arc (56.2% FG, 42.9% 3PT). Furthermore, he has been handing out a career-best 4.4 assists per game while keeping his turnovers at his career average (1.6 TPG). Although Olynyk has only averaged 30-plus minutes once in his career, and not for a whole season — earning 31.1 minutes across 27 appearances with the Rockets back in 2020-21— the versatile big man boasts impressive per-36-minute averages of 14.3 points, 9.0 boards, 7.7 dimes, 1.3 threes and 1.3 steals this season.
Toronto may have had other motivations, but the fact remains that the Raptors dealt a first-round pick in this upcoming draft in their acquisition of Olynyk. As such, he might be much more involved than he was in Utah, and the offensive spacing he provides should make life a little easier for Scottie Barnes and Co. I’ve already added Olynyk in a few leagues; you may want to do the same, regardless of format.
GG Jackson II, Memphis Grizzlies (18% rostered)
Jackson’s solid play this season just led to him signing a four-year contract. He has been particularly impressive over the last three games, averaging 20.3 points, 7.0 boards, 3.0 threes, 1.3 steals, 1.0 assists and 0.7 blocks in 29.8 minutes. Silly season is arriving early for the injury-plagued Grizzlies, and Jackson seems like he’s going to be among the biggest beneficiaries.
Marcus Sasser, Detroit Pistons (11% rostered)
Detroit was among the most active teams in the league prior to the trade deadline, most notably sending Bojan Bogdanović and Alec Burks to the Knicks in exchange for Quentin Grimes. Meanwhile, Monte Morris, having recently returned from a lengthy injury absence, was moved to Minnesota. Also, one of the more under-the-radar moves that the Pistons made was not even a trade, as the club waived former seventh-overall pick Killian Hayes. In the aftermath of Detroit dealing two of its point guards, the rookie might be getting a chance to shine going forward.
If the last two games are any indication, Sasser is going to be much more heavily involved for the next few months. During these last two outings, Sasser combined for 35 points, 15 assists, five boards, five threes, two steals and only two turnovers across 70 minutes of action. He had already shown some flashes earlier in the season, but considering recent events, Sasser is worth a speculative add in most leagues.
Scotty Pippen Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (5% rostered)
Full disclosure: Pippen Jr. has not even seen the floor in two of the team’s last six games. However, during his last four appearances, Pippen Jr. has shown some promise, averaging 14.0 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 threes, 2.0 steals and 0.8 blocks in 27.4 minutes. It remains to be seen whether he’s going to play himself into a more significant role, but the early returns are encouraging. As such, he’s a player to put on your watch list, at the bare minimum.
Recent recommendations still rostered in less than 50% of leagues: Brandin Podziemski, Ayo Dosunmu, Precious Achiuwa, Amen Thompson, Cam Whitmore, Santi Aldama, Andrew Nembhard, Cody Martin