The 2021-22 NBA season is almost here and will begin on Tuesday. The Bucks, Nets, Lakers, and Warriors are set to tip-off on opening night, but there's still time to build your fantasy basketball rosters up for the matchups coming later this week. Plenty of undervalued players are still readily available, and I've picked out a few that could be difference-makers in Week 1.
Here are some of the top targets you should consider on the waiver wire.
Marcus Morris, F, LAC (55% rostered)
The Los Angeles Clippers superstar duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have affected Morris's fantasy basketball upside since New York traded him, but he's likely to bounce back in 2021-22. Morris averaged 19.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game with the Knicks in 2019 before getting traded to Los Angeles. He shot 43.9 percent from deep during that span. He could approach these numbers again while Leonard recovers from the ACL tear he suffered last postseason. When Leonard wasn't available last season, Morris averaged 17.8 points and 4.8 rebounds on 50.6 percent shooting through 14 games.
Tyrese Maxey, G, PHI (52% rostered)
Maxey is in a position battle with Shake Milton, and it's unclear which of the two guards will start while Philly figures out what to do with Ben Simmons. Maxey and Milton got chances to start during the preseason, and the younger guard of the two was far more productive. Maxey averaged 13.3 points and 3.7 minutes while shooting 50 percent from the field across three games. While his long ball efficiency leaves something to be desired, Milton struggled to impact games like Maxey. Milton posted just 4.0 points and 4.5 assists per contest in his pair of preseason appearances. If you want a boost from an under-the-radar guard in Week 1, Maxey seems like one of the better options. His speed and aggression could result in solid stat lines against questionable defenses early on. The 76ers will open up their season with games against the Pelicans, Nets, and Thunder. His value should drop once Simmons is back in the fold, though.
Otto Porter Jr., F, GSW (35% rostered)
Porter has been an afterthought ever since the Wizards traded him to the Bulls. Injuries derailed his run as one of the NBA's best 3-and-D wings, but his resurgence seems inevitable if healthy. Golden State needed a veteran wing capable of spacing the floor, and Porter proved he can still do that during the preseason. Porter averaged 13 points and 5.0 rebounds through five preseason games. He made 16 threes during that span and converted his attempts at a 55.2 percent clip while hoisting 5.8 triples per game. His playing time seems sure to rise as the Warriors' top bench option at small forward and power forward.
Desmond Bane, G/F, MEM (28% rostered)
Bane is one of the more undervalued fantasy wings in the NBA this year. The second-year sniper averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 rebounds as a rookie and connected on 43.2 percent of his three-pointers. He'll get a lot more exposure at the beginning of this year, as Dillon Brooks is set to miss a few weeks with a hand injury, and Kyle Anderson will start the year on the bench. Brooks led the Grizzlies in field goal attempts (15.6) and three-point attempts (5.6) per game. Some of those opportunities will come Bane's way, and he's a much more efficient shooter than Brooks. During the preseason, Bane was the Grizzlies' third-leading scorer. He averaged 12 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists through five appearances. He could come close to matching Brooks' production early on. A strong start is likely with Memphis kicking things off against the Cavaliers.
Ivica Zubac, C, LAC (33% rostered)
Zubac ended last season with three straight double-doubles in the playoffs and has an opportunity to get off to a strong start in 2021-22. Serge Ibaka is still dealing with the back injury that limited him last year. The veteran only recently got cleared for 5-on-5 basketball, so Zubac's biggest threat is Nic Batum. Zubac averaged 10.6 points and 8.1 rebounds on 66% shooting in 31 games without Ibaka last year. Lack of frontcourt depth should help him serve as a consistent double-double threat.
Ricky Rubio, G, CLE (32% rostered)
Rubio averaged 9.0 points and a team-high 5.4 assists during the preseason despite ranking ninth in minutes per game (17.2). His playing time will overlap with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, but he's looked like the team's best passer early on.