Fantasy Basketball: The Week’s 4 Best Pickups (12.23)

Basketball demands we break down its players not just by stats, but by the time and place they occur. That’s not the case in NBA fantasy hoops, though, where cold calculations rule the day and the matchup. Who are the Fantasy Doctor’s choices for this week’s best pickups? Hit the jump to find out.

*** *** ***

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO, Milwaukee Bucks (17 percent owned in Yahoo!, six percent in ESPN)
The first highlight reel I ever saw of Antetokounmpo was over the summer, and right here on Dime. It left me in awe. Although his game was still raw, you could tell he had all the tools to succeed in the NBA. At age 19, no one expected him to make an impact this quickly, but Larry Drew inserted him into the starting lineup this past week, meaning the Bucks will be taking a hard look at what they plucked out of the mid first round this past draft. Antetokounmpo is far from polished, but should contribute heavily on your defensive stats. Offensively, inconsistency is to be expected, but he’s a smart player who only shoots within the flow of the offense, so it won’t be long before he makes a major fantasy impact. For now, he’s worth a speculative add.

D.J. AUGUSTIN, Chicago Bulls (13 percent owned in Yahoo!, 11 percent in ESPN)
After being cut by the Pacers, Augustin has signed with the Bulls and stepped right into a starting role. We all know that it’s hard for the team to rely on Kirk Hinrich on a nightly basis, so while he was out with a back issue, Augustin filled in by averaging 13.8 points and 8.0 assists with 1.5 steals and 2.8 threes. If you’re in a deeper league and are in need of a point guard, he’s your guy.

JORDAN HILL, Los Angeles Lakers (29 percent owned in Yahoo!, 17 percent in ESPN)
Hill has made an appearance on the Fresh Pickings list before, only to lose his starting role and all fantasy relevancy. Now, he’s back and better than ever, averaging 11.2 rebounds, 6.2 rebounds and 0.5 blocks over his last five games. As long as he’s starting and receiving major minutes in Mike D’Antoni‘s offense, he’s going to have value. If you’re looking for a cheap source of boards and blocks, look no further than Hill.

DANNY GRANGER, Indiana Pacers (55 percent owned in Yahoo!, 71 percent in ESPN)
It’s important to approach Granger with extreme caution because of his recent injury problems, but he returned on Friday night for the Pacers. Coach Frank Vogel said the team will use Granger to try and control Paul George‘s minutes so he’s going to get more time on the floor than everyone originally thought. You may be in for trouble down the road, but for now, Granger’s worth a speculative look.

These guys were mentioned in previous editions and are listed in order of desirability. Go grab them if they’re still around.

Lance Stephenson
Jared Sullinger
Isaiah Thomas
Terrence Jones
John Henson
Harrison Barnes
Jordan Crawford
Brandon Knight
Alec Burks
Glen Davis
Miles Plumlee
Marvin Williams
P.J. Tucker
Kirk Hinrich
Reggie Jackson
Lou Williams
Brandan Wright
Terrence Ross
DeJuan Blair
Derrick Williams

Waiting on injured players is tough, especially once the zeros start piling up. However, this is the time of year to do it. If you start slipping too much in the standings, you can go ahead and drop these guys, but for now, they’re worth the stash. This list is limited to guys with long term injuries, so be sure to keep your eye out for players that are day-to-day too.

Larry Sanders (out 1-2 more weeks)
Marc Gasol (out for 2-4 weeks)

Kobe Bryant (out six weeks)
Rajon Rondo (no set timetable)

What do you think?

Follow Kevin on Twitter at @DimeFantasyDoc.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.