Fantasy basketball waiver wire finds: This Brooklyn Nets duo is your safest option

Patty Mills continues to produce in Kevin Durant's absence and is one of the top options on the waiver wire this week. Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Working the waiver wire is pivotal to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless shifts in rotations throughout the marathon campaign, we'll need to source stats from free agency to maximize imaginary rosters. A willingness to entertain competition for the last few spots on your fantasy hoops roster can prove rewarding. When curating this fluid collective of statistical contributors, it helps to consider your end-of-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.

The goal of this weekly series is to identify players at each position available in free agency in at least a third of ESPN leagues. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings. In the breakdowns below, I've ordered players at each position with the priority of acquisition in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.


Point Guard

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Rostered in 48.7% of ESPN leagues)

The cool kids might call Simons a "bucket," as he's supremely confident in his own shot and has been empowered to create in a starting role given Damian Lillard's absence. Also proving capable as a distributor in this capacity, Simons has averaged 21.6 points and 6.4 dimes with a stellar offensive rating of 125 in 12 starts this season.

Coby White, Chicago Bulls (rostered in 24.3% of ESPN leagues)

Found among elite fantasy point guards such as Ja Morant and Luka Doncic on the Player Rater during the last week, White's ascent as a steady source of shooting and scoring now appears more sustainable with Alex Caruso's significant wrist injury.

Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets (21.8%)

Similar to White in that you are mostly rostering Mills for his 3-point and scoring volume as a floor-stretcher for Brooklyn, this veteran combo has enjoyed a team-high surge in fantasy points per minute whenever Kevin Durant is off the floor this season.


Shooting Guard

Kevin Porter Jr., Houston Rockets (60.1%)

With at least seven assists in three straight games entering Monday's slate, Porter can provide atypically strong passing production for a young wing. With Houston letting Porter grow in his role as a creator for others this season, he's likely underrated by the fantasy market by this point.

Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers (22.9%)

Injuries have swept through Indiana's rotation, pushing this rookie back into the starting lineup. Posting a positive net rating in five of his last six games while playing heavy minutes for a depleted roster signals just how well Duarte has played.


Small Forward

Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors (58.3%)

Back in the lineup after missing roughly two weeks due to an ankle injury, it's worth noting the 3-point marksman ranks fourth in the league in steals per game.

De'Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks (17.0%)

With the Hawks reportedly eyeing some significant roster shifts ahead of the looming trade deadline, Hunter appears likely to stick with Atlanta given his combination of defensive acumen and scoring on a rookie pact. Averaging just over 18 points and nearly 35 minutes during his last four appearances for Atlanta, Hunter could vault into an important role if the team deals a few veteran wings in the coming weeks.

Jae'Sean Tate, Houston Rockets (28.9%)

Like with Porter, Tate enjoys a uniquely long runway on the Rockets' roster, as he's able to flash some fun passing skills in addition to handling important defensive duties.


Power Forward

Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers (63.5%)

Finally delivering special defensive rates and palatable offensive results, Covington is a "stock" machine once again. Covington has averaged 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks in his last 11 games, evidence he should be rostered in nearly every fantasy format.

Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets (48.7%)

Entering Sunday's game against Detroit averaging 21.3 points with strong defensive rates over his last three games, Gordon has reemerged as a steady statistical sidekick for Nikola Jokic in the Denver frontcourt.


Center

LaMarcus Aldridge, Brooklyn Nets (29.8)

Assuming Toronto's Chris Boucher is already rostered in your league, I'd consider Aldridge the top pivot pickup of the week. Like Mills, Aldridge has enjoyed a relatively massive statistical boost whenever Durant is off the floor. Durant's absence will likely last until after the All-Star break, Aldridge makes for a solid pickup at a shallow center position.

Kelly Olynyk, Detroit Pistons (22.4%)

If you can afford to stash Olynyk as he spends time in health and safety protocols, there could be a rewarding result given he's been quite productive whenever active for the Pistons.