NBA Fantasy Basketball's 5 Biggest 'Trade High' Candidates
Fantasy basketball is like a stock market: You can assemble a juggernaut of a team if you acquire assets—or players, as the case may be—at favorable prices while doing the same when cutting ties with others on a regular basis.
It’s extremely likely that the players who may be traded away at a premium now won’t be by the time your fantasy trade deadline arrives; fantasy value changes all the time. If one of the following five ballers is on your team, you may wish to capitalize on his recent performances by looking to trade him away as soon as possible—but not too fast.
Desperation is a terrible negotiating partner.
Eric Bledsoe, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
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You’ll have to move quickly to get top dollar for Eric Bledsoe in the fantasy realm, assuming he isn’t dealt by the L.A. Clippers before the NBA trade deadline. He’s not Chris Paul, but he did do enough in CP3’s absence to raise some eyebrows.
In the seven games that Paul has missed in January, Bledsoe scored 11.9 PPG, pulled down 5.6 boards per game, distributed 4.0 dimes, swiped 2.0 steals and added 1.0 blocks a night. His 40.0 percent field-goal percentage in that time was less than ideal, but it’s easy to convince your fellow fantasy owner that he or she wants a point guard that gets a rejection per game.
Per Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, CP3 won’t be available to the Clippers on Jan. 30 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. That allows at least one more game of Bledsoe’s production as a starter to grace your fantasy lineup before he’s shipped off in anticipation of Paul’s return.
Paul George, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers
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Whether the Indiana Pacers trade Danny Granger or reintroduce him to the lineup alongside Paul George is rather inconsequential; each scenario brings about uncertainty in their rotation, which is a bad thing in fantasy basketball.
George has emerged as an All-Star in the Eastern Conference, scoring 17.5 points per game with 2.2 threes made on 42.8 percent shooting from the floor. That stat line is a lot like Granger’s numbers from a year ago: 18.7 PPG, 2.0 threes made per game and 41.6 percent field-goal shooting.
George’s peripheral stats (7.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.8 SPG and 0.7 BPG) make him an extremely well-rounded fantasy asset and a valuable swingman. There’s a possibility that his efficiency improves with the introduction of another primary-type scoring threat, but he could also find himself in a secondary role again.
By trading him now, you alleviate yourself of that risk.
Kyle Korver, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks
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Kyle Korver’s last six games are—optimistically speaking—indicative of a flat-out deadeye shooter who hits plenty of threes (3.5 per game) while shooting a ridiculous percentage (58.9) from the field. His 36.1 minutes per game in that stretch may even be sustainable due to Lou Williams’ torn knee ligament.
In reality, now is a perfect time to get rid of him.
In addition to Korver’s proficiency from the field, he’s shooting 84.6 percent from the line and averaging 15.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.5 BPG and just 0.9 TOPG. Unfortunately, he’s only getting 9.1 shots per game and he’s not going to convert field goals like a center for the remainder of the season.
He’s performing his NBA role at an excellent level right now, but the stretch that Korver is currently enjoying is called a hot streak.
Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs
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Tim Duncan has missed four of the San Antonio Spurs’ last five games. His absence has transformed Tony Parker into a more frequent facilitator who still scores at a high rate: 25.3 PPG and 10.5 APG. Parker’s season averages are 20.1 PPG and 7.5 APG.
Three of his 12 double-digit assist games on the year came in Duncan’s latest four absences, suggesting that those appearances will become less likely when The Big Fundamental returns. The totality of Parker’s season has made him a top-five fantasy point guard, but you may be able to get even more than that if you can sell another owner on his recent numbers.
His recent scoring binge without Duncan—if taken over the course of an entire season—would rank first among point guards, besting Kyrie Irving by 1.1 PPG. His assists number would only trail Rajon Rondo’s 11.1 dimes per game.
Larry Sanders, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks
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Larry Sanders’ fantasy value is derived almost exclusively from his blocks: a league-leading 3.1 per game. The fact that he’s a liability from the free-throw line (60.9 percent) keeps him out of the top fantasy big man discussion.
In some ways, he compares favorably to Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ibaka tends to get more buckets, though: 13.9 PPG in 32.5 minutes per game compared to 8.5 PPG in 25.4 MPG for Sanders.
Because Sanders’ gaudy block numbers are normalizing to a level below his season average to date, his fantasy appeal is likely to decline in the near future. He has blocked fewer than four shots a night in nine straight games after swatting between four and seven in seven of his previous nine.
If the downward trend is going to continue, it’d be best to trade him before his still-impressive swats figure is no longer tops in the NBA.
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