With the truncated NBA season at its half-way mark, we break down a short list of players that have been the top free-agent pick ups of the year thus far. These players are now owned in the majority of fantasy leagues and are putting up stellar numbers for the wise owners that picked them up weeks back.
Jeremy Lin (PG, NYK)- Lin really came out of nowhere. One day he was a bench warmer, the next day he was dropping at least 20 points for six straight games. The point-guard has averaged 22.5 PPG along with 8.6 APG during his 12 starts.
Although Carmelo Anthony has returned to the court and is inevitably cutting into Lin’s overall fantasy production, the Harvard graduate will still provide fantasy owners with anywhere from 12-15 points per game, as well as 5-8 assists per game and 1-2 steals. Not too bad for a waiver-wire pick up.
If your fantasy league’s owners have been living under a rock for the last few weeks and Lin is somehow still available, he should be picked up and added to your team immediately.
Ryan Anderson (PF, ORL)- Anderson has impressed us all during the first half of the NBA season, averaging a career-high 16.1 PPG, along with 7.3 RPG. The power-forward currently leads the league in total 3-pointers made, with 99, and is shooting the trey ball at an impressive 43.4 percent.
Before all of the Linsanity, Anderson was considered as one of the biggest pick-ups of the first half of the season, due to his vastly improved production from just one season ago. If you were fortunate enough to either draft Anderson or pick him up early on during the first few weeks of the season, give yourself a pat on the back.
Nikola Pekovic (C, MIN)- Similar to Lin, Pekovic came out of nowhere and quickly has become a hot commodity in the fantasy basketball world. The big man has been a double-double machine and a model of consistency during the month of February, averaging just over 17 PPG, along with just over 10.3 RPG.
Pekovic is turning out to be the real deal and provides the Timberwolves with a deadly front-court duo. The Serbian has definitely surprised many, and owners that were lucky enough to pick him up are reaping the benefits now, and hopefully for the remainder of the NBA season.
Consistent big men are hard to come by in the league, and Pekovic is definitely one that can continue to provide your fantasy team with just around a double-double on a nightly basis.
In 17 games starting for the Bucks, the power-forward has posted averages of 17.1 PPG and 7.7 RPG.
With the starting gig all but his to lose, Gooden should continue his hot streak into the second half of the NBA season. Although he has been dealing with some minor wrist and knee injuries, it seems like he’s going to return to the floor this week. Gooden should be picked up and started in all fantasy leagues if he is still somehow roaming the waiver-wire.
Isaiah Thomas (PG, SAC)- It may be too early to consider Thomas as one of the best pick-ups of the first half of the NBA season, but man can this kid play basketball. The point-guard was recently inserted into the starting line-up for the young Sacramento Kings, and he really hasn’t looked back. In three starts, Thomas has averaged a ridiculous 21.6 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 4.3 RPG, including eight made three-pointers.
Thomas seems to have solidified himself to head-coach Keith Smart and will continue to start for the Kings until further notice. If you were lucky enough to scoop Thomas off of the waiver-wire during the last few weeks, your in for a roller-coaster ride with the young gun. His numbers will ultimately fall off slightly, but he should continue to be a very solid guard in all fantasy basketball formats.