Eastern Conference Fantasy Notes: Week 20

The NBA is a fast-paced league where trends can switch as quickly as a lightbulb. Keeping up to date with these trends is vital to your success in fantasy basketball. We’ll be looking at the expected top performers, sneaky options, injury updates, rookie trends, individual team schedules, and some other points for the Eastern Conference. The key to winning this week? Look no further than this article. We here at Nerd Fantasy Sports got you covered. Check both our Consistency Rankings and New Age Rankings to get a data-driven take on fantasy basketball!

Sleepers to Wake Up

Derrick Rose, PG, New York Knicks
Since returning to New York, Derrick Rose has been a tremendous contributor for them off the bench. In his last five games, Derrick Rose has averaged 19 points, four rebounds, five assists, and a steal per game. He has also been extremely efficient, shooting 56 percent from the field from beyond the arc. Rose’s contribution has helped the Knicks go 9-1 in their last ten games and currently maintain the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. If there is any chance Rose is available in your waiver wire, add him immediately. 

Oshae Brissett, PF, Indiana Pacers
Oshae Brissett has been one of the biggest late-season surprises this year. He was originally signed to a 10-day contract that eventually transitioned into a multi-year contract with the Pacers. In his last five games, Brissett has averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game. Not to mention he also shooting 47 percent from deep. This guy can do it all and he’s still only 22 years old. It will be interesting to see what his role will be once Myles Turner returns from injury. For now, if he is still available, adding to your team is a must. 

Khem Birch, C, Toronto Raptors
After being buyout by the Orlando Magic, Khem Birch chose to stay in the same state and play for the Toronto Raptors. While his chances for the playoffs haven’t been exactly the brightest, he has been playing much more productive basketball since joining the team. In his last five games, Birch has averaged 14 points, nine rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He has also shot an effective 61 percent from the field. Birch will likely cash in big this offseason or maybe chose to stay in Toronto to fill a role that they need. Birch is a solid pickup if he is still available. 

Rookies Doing Work

LaMelo Ball, PG, Charlotte Hornets
After having wrist surgery, LaMelo Ball returned for the Hornets the other night for the first time since Match 20th. IN the two games he has played, Ball has averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. He still needs to work on his three-point shooting but that comes with conditioning and experience. It is still good for him to return ahead of the playoffs for a Hornets that have not made the playoffs since 2016. He will likely be very saught player in drafts next season. 

Aaron Nesmith, SF, Boston Celtics
Aaron Nesmith hasn’t been on this column before mainly due to little playing time behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But due to some injuries, he’s been able to have three productive games. In those three games, Nesmith has averaged 16 points, six rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. What’s most impressive are his shooting percentages, where he hits 68 percent from the field and 67 percent from deep. Depending on the offseason, Nesmith may be a sleeper pick in next season’s drafts. But it is good he is showing signs of life after being a mid-first-round selection. 

Question of the Week?

How far can the New York Knicks go in the playoffs?
I think the New York Knicks are in an interesting scenario in the Eastern Conference. Assuming all seeds stay the same, the Knicks would face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. This would be one of the more competitive four and five seed matchups we’ve seen in a while in the Eastern Conference. It could be anyone’s series, but I think the Knicks do have a slight competitive edge and will be the winners in this series. After that, it is an uphill battle. They would either face the 76ersor the Nets next, both are loaded teams. I think it would take a lot for the Knicks to win that series. Realistically, I only see them winning their first series. But with the acquisition of another superstar in the offseason, I think the Knicks could go much further in 2022. 

Other Notes

Every week I will share an opinion of mine about something going on in the Eastern Conference. This week’s take is:
The Celtics should consider trading Kemba Walker. After being an all-star starter in 2019, Kemba Walker has essentially fallen off. He still averages 18 points and five assists a game. But it isn’t enough for the Celtics to excel to the next level and that has been shown simply from their record. Not to mention Walker gets paid $34 million dollars and that will only go up the next few seasons. The only issue is who his replacement will be but Boston has never struggled to bring in talented free agents in the past so that should not be an issue today for the Celtics. 

Published by Ethan Hartley

Born and raised in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia. Junior at the University of Oregon studying journalism with minors in sports business and music studies. An avid follower of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, and MMA.

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