The NBA trade deadline came and went this past Thursday, and the deals that happened will change the landscape of the league for years to come.
Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration on the NBA level, but there will certainly be some notable fantasy fallout from the various deals (and non-deals). The rotations of several teams are up for reevaluation, and the value of certain players will soar or crash into a brick wall based on what went down.
The day wasn’t exactly filled with blockbusters, but a one-time All-Star was traded for a former second-overall draft pick, and that’s certainly something worth looking at it. Sure, it wasn’t like Stephen Curry was traded for Kevin Durant (something that would fit the aforementioned parameters), but sometimes it’s the small deals that can make a world of difference, especially in fantasy basketball.
This week’s Dimes is focused (almost) entirely on last week’s NBA trade deadline and the resulting fantasy transactions you should consider. Some moves are speculative, while others are downright no-brainers. Those on the more speculative side of the spectrum are certainly worth monitoring, even if you don’t want to make the move right away. I’ll try to be as clear as possible on the urgency level of each move, so read carefully before pulling any triggers.
In the meantime, before we jump into the deadline fun, I have one thing to get off my chest…
Drop Kobe Bryant
Give up the ghost.
Kobe Bryant's chances of contributing to the Lakers or your fantasy team this season are slim to none. I know, it’s hard to let go of a guy with first-round upside who you probably snagged and stashed in the early rounds of your fantasy drafts and have waited on all season, but it is officially time to wave (or waive) the white flag.
Kobe has had two negative doctor’s visits in a row that have led to extended reevaluation periods. The next one isn’t for another three weeks, and even then, there’s absolutely no indication that he’ll play.
And why would he? The Lakers are 19-37, have no chance of making the playoffs (according to our metrics) and are currently trotting out a starting lineup of Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Kent Bazemore, and Pau Gasol. No offense to any of those guys, but come on.
Even if he does come back for the last few weeks, it’s not like he’s a lock to be effective right away. In his six games played this season, he averaged 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game (the good), but also shot .425 from the field, .188 from deep, and turned the ball over 5.7 times per game (the incredibly bad).
You can move on. No one will fault you, I promise.
Buy Thaddeus Young
Everyone and their dog knew that the Sixers would be sellers at the deadline, and they did not disappoint. I’ll speak more on those shipped out and those coming in over the next few sections, but first I have to point out that the biggest and most obvious beneficiary from all this movement is Thaddeus Young.
Thad is essentially the last man standing in Philly, a team bereft of refined NBA talent. The Sixers organization is clearly looking ahead to the draft, but in the meantime, the remaining players on the roster still have to play out what's left of the schedule. No matter how much better opposing teams will be than the Sixers (and it’s safe to say they almost universally will be), someone still has to put up numbers.
Young was already having an excellent season, posting career highs in points (17.3), assists (1.9), steals (2.2), and three-pointers (1.0) per game. He’s been combining that with 6.3 rebounds, 0.4 blocks, and .476 shooting from the field for early-round value on the season. With almost every other reasonable option out of town now, Thad will now be relied on to do even more than he has to date.
In the first game after the deadline, Young posted a monster line of 30 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 7 steals, and 2 three-pointers. He did that in over 43 minutes played, in which he took 29 shots and had a usage rate of 32.2 (up from his season mark of 23.1). Given, none of the new acquisitions had shown up yet, but it would be foolish to discount just how heavily the Sixers are likely to rely on him down the stretch.
I recommended that you sell Thad back in Volume 8, in anticipation of potential trades. Now that trade speculation is a thing of the past this season, those types of pre-emptive moves are no longer in play. Young is going to be a stud the remainder of the season if he can stay healthy, and you should contact his owner to at least see what it’ll take to get him before he becomes untouchable.
Add Danny Granger
Arguably the biggest move from last Thursday came down the pipe at the proverbial eleventh hour. The Sixers traded Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen to the Pacers for former All-Star Danny Granger just moments before the 3:00PM EST deadline.
The fantasy implications of this move will depend on many different factors. Most importantly, it’ll be important to know whether the Sixers will hold onto Granger and expect him to play for them, or if they’ll buy out his contract and let him sign with a contender. Any fantasy transaction for Granger should be made with these two eventualities in mind.
If he plays for the fantasy fun-land known as the Sixers, he’ll have plenty of chances to have a bounce-back second half of the season. His knees aren’t exactly allowing him to be the same player who averaged 25.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.4 blocks, and 2.7 three-pointers per game in his 2008-09 All-Star year, but the Sixers just have so few people to give the ball to who have shown that kind of ability to do something with it. If he stays, he’ll be a must add. He might even be worth a speculative add right now, just in case.
Just don’t lose sight of the fact that he has struggled mightily in the mere 34 games that he’s managed to play over the last two years. You need to temper expectations, as he might not be worth cutting someone who consistently posts good value to get.
In the 29 games he played for the Pacers this year, he only managed to average 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game while shooting .359 from the field. If he gets bought out and goes to another contender, you can expect more of the same and can comfortably leave him on waiver wires. He’s essentially a lottery ticket at this point, so if you’ve got dead weight on your roster and you’re in a gambling mood, pick him up and see how this goes.
Add Tony Wroten / James Anderson
Some other Sixers that have the potential to emerge, with or without Granger, are Tony Wroten and James Anderson. I talked about Wroten’s chances for fantasy relevance last week and I stick by it, even if he didn’t start for the depleted squad on Friday night. He still managed to post 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal and has put up great stats this season whenever he’s been given extended burn.
James Anderson continued to start, as he has since early January, but didn’t have the strongest night, posting nine points and little else. That doesn’t really matter though, as he still has a starting gig on a team that needs just about anyone to rack up counting stats. Look at him as a potential add as well, in case he absorbs some of the touches left in the wake of these trades. Regardless of who runs away with the opportunity, it will be very interesting to see how Coach Brett Brown manages his rotations from now until the end of the season and just about anyone in a Sixers uniform has a fair shot at fantasy value.
Drop Evan Turner
On the other side of the trade, the Pacers got former second-overall pick Evan Turner to bolster their bench unit. Turner was enjoying what was arguably his best season as a Sixer before the trade, averaging a career high in points at 17.4 per game to go with 6.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.0 steal, and 0.7 three-pointers.
As previously mentioned, Philly is a great place for players to inflate their stats in a way that wouldn’t be possible on most squads. The fast pace of the the Sixers and Turner’s 34.9 minutes per game and career high usage rate of 24.1 contributed to the gaudy numbers, which will almost certainly see a decline in Indiana.
There’s practically no way that Turner has a chance of challenging All-Star-caliber wings Paul George or Lance Stephenson for minutes, so a 20-minute bench role is probably the best that he and his owners can hope for. Considering that Turner has never been a great per-minute contributor and his inefficient play this season only has him at #130 on our NBA Player Rankings with a nERD of -9.3, there’s little reason to have hope for big things right now.
This move might have been just what Indiana needed in the real NBA to tip the scales in their hunt for a championship, but Turner is not going to do the same for your fantasy team. You can hold onto him to see how he integrates with his new squad, where he won’t be forced into the role of being the number one scoring option for a change, but I have a feeling you’ll be forced to drop him before too long.
Sell Spencer Hawes
Spencer Hawes is another Sixer that got moved at the deadline, and his value has taken a hit as a result. Hawes, like Turner, was enjoying a career year in Philly, posting early-round value on the strength of 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 1.5 threes per game in 53 contests as the Sixers’s starting center.
In being moved to Cleveland, Hawes is now part of a crowded frontcourt with Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, and this year’s first overall draft selection, Anthony Bennett (who’s having a relatively disappointing year, but has been coming on as of late).
In two games as a Cavalier, Hawes has come off the bench and averaged 11.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.0 blocks, and 1.0 three-pointer in 29.4 minutes per game. That looks like more of the same from the stretch big, but the early surge should be taken with a grain of salt.
Varejao is currently out with back and knee injuries, and bigs Zeller and Bennett are still very young and struggling with consistency. Hawes’ minutes and touches are far from a given on this team compared to the Sixers and owners should be looking to sell him while he still looks like his old self early on in Cleveland. With Varejao coming back soon and the threat of the young guys being given the chance to develop looming, Hawes' fantasy value is a ticking time bomb.
Add Byron Mullens
Taking Hawes’ place in Philly is Byron Mullens, who came over in a trade with the Clippers. With very few viable options left in the Sixers’ frontcourt, the closest thing they might have to a starting center is in fact Mullens (which should tell you all you need to know about how weak this roster has become).
Mullens has done nothing this season worth talking about, but he was somewhat useful as a fantasy option last season when he started for the Bobcats. In 41 games as a starter, he averaged a serviceable 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 1.5 three-pointers, making him somewhat of a poor man’s Spencer Hawes (who’s already a poor man’s someone-or-other else, but I digress).
He’s not exactly going to be a savior for your fantasy team, considering he shot .382 from the field, .303 from deep, and .672 from the line in those games as a starter last year. He could be worth a flier now though, since he’s set to start on a team that works at such a fast pace and has so few options that it basically functions as a performance enhancing drug for stat lines. He could be worth a speculative look if you’ve got room on your roster.
Drop Steve Blake
Steve Blake was enjoying a somewhat productive season for the injury-ravished Lakers whenever he managed to get on the court. In 27 games (all starts), he put up 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.9 treys. Sure, the .378 shooting from the field wasn’t great, but those numbers were still worth late-round value and he flirted with even better than that during certain stretches.
Unfortunately for Blake owners, he got moved to the Golden State Warriors last week to serve as a boost to their bench that they so desperately needed. The depth is great for the Warriors’ playoff aspirations, but it has effectively killed Blake’s value as a fantasy player.
In the two games he has played so far coming off the Warriors bench, he has averaged an inconsequential 4.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in a mere 17.1 minutes per game. The 1.5 threes are nice, but he’s still only shooting .333 from the field and doesn’t really belong on standard-league rosters at this point. Drop away.
Add Kendall Marshall / Kent Bazemore
With Blake out of town and Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar falling further out of the Lakers rotation due to various injuries and/or uninspiring play, Kendall Marshall has become the point guard to own in Lakerland.
Since the beginning of 2014, Marshall has led the NBA in assists per game at 10.8. Yes, you read that right. Put that with 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 1.9 three-pointers, and a decent shooting percentage of .442 and you’ve got mid-round value over that time.
I mentioned him as an add in Volume 10 when he began emerging, and as a hold in Volume 15 when he continued to put up numbers during the returns of Nash, Blake and Farmar. Now you can consider him a rest-of-season add if you’re looking for a point guard to stick in your rotation. He seems like a perfect fit for Mike D’Antoni’s system and has earned his starting spot. He shouldn’t be on any waiver wires the rest of the way.
Also worth mentioning, Kent Bazemore came over from the Warriors in the Blake trade and is unexpectedly on fantasy radars. With the Dubs, Bazemore was known more for his crazy bench celebrations than, you know, actually playing basketball. In 105 career game in Golden State, he averaged nothing more than 2.1 points in 5.6 garbage minutes per game. Continuing this year’s tradition of the Lakers making fantasy value nearly impossible to predict (which I’ve complained about at length and will spare you from now), Bazemore is suddenly awesome.
Of course he is.
In two games playing for the Lakers, he has averaged 16.0 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 three-pointers in 31.5 minutes per game. His career high while in Golden State was 14 points and he only reached double-digits in scoring four times. In both of his games as a Laker, he has topped his previous career high in points, going for 15 off the bench on Friday and 17 as a starter on Sunday. As has been the case with just about every Laker this season, go ahead and add him and see how it goes. Why not, right?
Add Ben McLemore
Ben McLemore has done little to warrant your attention in standard leagues so far this season, but he might be on the verge of doing just that. There’s little to report on here in terms of positive trends, other than the fact that he’s started the last three games since Marcus Thornton stopped playing for the Kings (he was traded to the Nets at the deadline).
In those games, the averages of 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 steal, and 1.0 three-pointer are a little underwhelming (and the .304 shooting from the field isn’t exactly a good thing), but the 27.2 minutes per game are a positive sign that the Kings are ready to spend the rest of this season developing their youngsters.
With their newest acquisition Jason Terry set to take the rest of the season off to rehab his knee, McLemore and fellow rookie Ray McCallum are in line to get all the minutes they can handle. The starter McLemore has the best chance of standard-league value and is worth the speculative add to see what he can do with the increased role.
Drop Glen Davis / Buy Tobias Harris
The Magic have a very bright future ahead of them with a young core of players, cap flexibility, and several picks in the next few drafts. This future, of course, wasn’t likely to include all three of veterans Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, and Glen Davis. Neither of them got moved at the deadline, but Davis had his contract bought out this week and cleared waivers to become a free agent.
He looks to be all but locked up to play for the Clippers and should provide the frontcourt depth that they’ve been looking to address all season. While the move might help the Clippers’ title chances, it leaves Big Baby’s fantasy owners no choice but to drop him.
He was posting borderline late-round value in standard leagues in 45 games for the Magic and he certainly won’t come close to the 30.1 minutes per game he used to average as a starter in Orlando now that he’s serving as a backup to Blake Griffin (36.2 minutes per game) and DeAndre Jordan (36.1 minutes per game). No need to bore you with stats, just drop him and don’t think twice.
Also, just as a friendly reminder, I told you last week to buy or add Tobias Harris, as a Big Baby exodus would give him every chance to be a huge difference maker down the stretch this season. He wasted no time whatsoever blowing up, averaging 25.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 0.5 threes in the two games since Davis’ departure, while shooting .654 from the field, .500 from deep, and .938 from the line. The chance to buy might already be gone, but no harm in making one last-ditch effort.
Add Matt Barnes
Someone who is posting surprising value for the Clippers over the last few games and who warrants at least a temporary add is Matt Barnes. Barnes has been starting for the Clippers since mid-January, but has been too inconsistent to warrant ownership. Over his last two games, however, he’s put up mid-round value on the strength of 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steal, and a ridiculous 4.5 threes per game, while shooting .519 from the field, .529 from deep, and 1.000 from the line.
He might fall off again before long, but he was always a good streaming option last season and has an inside track to decent value with J.J. Redick out indefinitely and Jared Dudley doing next to nothing to threaten his starting spot. Give him a shot if you’re looking for a player trending up for this coming week.