We are a little past the halfway point in the 2013-2014 NBA season, which means fantasy basketball owners should have a good gauge on players and team trends. It's time to put yourself in prime position for a late-season run at the championship with some savvy trades.
I've identified five guys that are sure to move the needle on trade offers. As a fantasy owner myself, I know it does you no good to read about Zaza Pachulia being a great sell-high candidate. He's not going to bring you anything meaningful in return!
A co-owner in one of my leagues once said, "I feel like a fantasy basketball team has to be much more flexible than other sports." He was exactly right. Trading isn't just a fun byproduct of playing fantasy basketball. It's a viable part of a winning strategy.
Arron Afflalo is having his best season ever with career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and threes. At 28 years old, Afflalo's typical 15/3/3 seemed to have settled in, but with increased minutes in his second year with the Magic, he's exploded.
The vast majority of Afflalo's owners picked him up off the waiver wire, so his production is just gravy. So too will be the trade value he can provide you on the All-Star break's doorstep.
The UCLA product's increased production this season isn't due to any major improvement in his game. He's simply getting more minutes and taking more shots. But as a fledgling Orlando team continues to look toward the future, there's a chance Afflalo gets traded to a contender, bolstering his new team's playoff viability but hurting his fantasy prowess.
Even if the shooting guard stays put, the return of Tobias Harris could slowly chip away at his shots per game. If you have Afflalo and are set with threes, this is a terrific time to move him for great value.
Trading Paul Millsap requires a special set of circumstances. With increased minutes in Atlanta, Millsap was already seeing an uptick in his season averages, and now with Al Horford done for the season, he's the primary scoring option for the Hawks.
Couple that with the fact that he's added threes and a few blocks to his game and you see that Millsap has turned into one of the best draft values of the season. So what gives? Simply, I can't foresee a time when Millsap's fantasy value will ever be higher than it is right now.
He's averaging 17.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 three per game on 47.7 percent shooting. If the Louisiana Tech grad could bump his free-throw percentage up to around the 75 percent mark, he'd be a top-10 option.
This is absolutely a sell-high scenario. The special circumstances I alluded to are if you're an owner in a keeper league and are looking to build for next year. This guy should command serious assets.
Selling high on Jordan Crawford is a no-brainer, but the fact that there's still a little time before Rajon Rondo returns means there's still some value to be found here.
In particular, the idea that Crawford will continue to produce even after he's supplanted as the Celtics starting point guard is one you can exploit in the trade market.
With Avery Bradley seeing significant minutes at shooting guard and the recent acquisition of Jerryd Bayless to back up Rondo, as reported by ESPN.com's Marc Stein, it's a bit of a mystery determining where Crawford will fit in with a Rondo-led team.
Crawford is experiencing career highs in assists and field-goal percentage, which means he's truly commanding the point position by distributing the ball and taking high-percentage layups. Unless you're okay with cutting him once his production dips, move him while the moving is good.
Take a look at these two players and their per-game averages:
I love the Player A vs. Player B game. You can probably guess that Player B is Dirk Nowitzki, but I hope you're a least a little impressed when I tell you that Player A is fantasy scrub Josh McRoberts of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Without question, Nowitzki's points and percentages are superior to McRoberts. But the two power forwards are virtually identical otherwise. Mix in the fact that Nowitzki's name and draft spot have him considered an elite fantasy player and you have yourself an excellent trade candidate.
His big-man field-percentage of 49 is barely average. According to ESPN's Player Rater, guys like Brandan Wright, Timofey Mozgof and both Plumlee twins are rated above him. His free-throw percentage, while excellent, can be replaced by J.J. Redick, soon to return from injury and available in 70 percent of ESPN leagues.
If you're struggling for big-man stats like field-goal percentage, rebounds or blocks, Dirk Nowitzki might provide you the name you need to reel in a superstar.
I know, I know. Dwyane Wade plays for the Heat, has won three championships and has a Finals MVP award. And he's Dwyane Wade. To call him a trade candidate in any scenario is just wrong.
But follow me for a second.
At a position where the best strategy is to load up on threes, Wade provides less than one per game. His field-goal percentage is awesome for a guard, but unless you have Andrea Bargnani or the like, you can easily load up on big men to correct field-goal deficiencies.
Admittedly, Wade trends toward a nice five rebounds and five assists per game, but so does Lance Stephenson, who didn't even register on preseason fantasy draft boards. Five and five can be found elsewhere. With Wade, you get a solid producer and a huge name for trading, a powerful combination.