NBA Trades: Jefferson, Miller, and Foye Alter Fantasy Basketball Landscape
It seems like just yesterday I was writing about Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups swapping squads, but a lot of time, money, and metal has swapped hands since then.
A few days before the 2009 NBA Draft, teams just couldn't wait to make a few trades.
First, the Milwaukee Bucks sent Richard Jefferson to San Antonio for a handful of players the Spurs had no intention of playing.
Next, the Washington Wizards finally got the fifth pick off their hands when they acquired Mike Miller and Randy Foye from Minnesota—and the T-Wolves don't seem to be done dealing.
These trades put the Spurs and Wizards firmly in the 2010 title race and will have a huge fantasy basketball impact.
San Antonio Spurs
Jefferson has been earning the title of iron man after playing 164 games in the past two seasons, the opposite of Manu Ginobili. His acquisition takes pressure off Ginobili to be on the court and Manu can focus on being ready for the playoffs, downgrading his fantasy basketball potential—especially the way head coach Gregg Popovich manages injuries.
In San Antonio, Richard Jefferson should be the second option in the half court. Tony Parker will always get his fair share of points (he was the Spurs' leading scorer although Tim Duncan is the first option), but Jefferson continues to improve his three-point shooting, giving Parker a reliable kick-out option.
I anticipate Jefferson making around two three-pointers a game, but his overall scoring may take a dip from last season and reflect his 17.7 PPG career average.
Jefferson isn't a great rebounder or passer, but with 35-plus minutes, he will record stats in these areas.
Parker, Ginobili, and Roger Mason could all see a slight decline in their scoring averages, but Parker has a great opportunity to eclipse the seven assist per-game mark for the first time in his career.
As for Tim Duncan, I don't see any reason for him not to hover around 20 points-and-10 rebounds as long as his body holds up.
For the Bucks, this was a move towards the future. It will give the team an opportunity to start 2008 lottery pick Joe Alexander, and he immediately becomes a fantasy sleeper.
Alexander is known for his springy legs and he is very similar to Jefferson with his inside-out game. Alexander will crash the boards, but he is not much of a creator.
There is no certainty that Michael Redd or Andrew Bogut will be healthy for the entire season, but if they are, they will continue to be the focal points of the Bucks' offense.
With the trade it looks like the Bucks are in a great position to bring back Charlie Villanueva, who blossomed in his fourth NBA season. Villanueva increased his scoring average by 4.5 PPG with a playing time increase of less than three minutes.
If the Bucks can bring Villanueva back he should be an underrated fantasy option heading into next season. Not only does he score and rebound, but he averaged one three-pointer a game last year, a nice bonus.
The Wizards roster just got a lot thicker, which is great if you're in the DC Metro Area, but not so great if you were targeting one of the team's great fantasy options.
With the acquisition of Foye, the Wizards can take it a bit easier on Gilbert Arenas, giving him the occasional night off and keeping his minutes around 30 a game. The only problem is that Foye has some injury concerns as well.
Depending on where his average draft position is, Gilbert could be a good or bad pick. The days of 29.3 PPG seem to be behind him, but he should eclipse his average of 5.5 assists a game, potentially placing among league leaders. Arenas will also get plenty of three-point shots.
Since Randy Foye's rookie season in 2006-07, his stats have been making a steady increase, but they will plateau and most likely decline as he becomes Washington's third or fourth scoring option. Foye should be able to maintain his average of 4.3 assists a game and is a reliable three-point shooter.
Mike Miller was a fantasy dud last year. He has a good chance of being Washington's sixth man, but I don't see his scoring average rising much higher than 10 or 12 ppg.I would also expect Miller's shooting percentages to rebound.
He's a very heady player, capable of gathering rebounds and making fantastic passes to his teammates. If someone goes down on Washington, Miller will have an opportunity to really step up.
As the ball -sharing improves, Antwan Jamison could see his scoring dip back below 20 points per game. He is the Wizard's only reliable big man and is a double-double threat every night.
Until we see differently I wouldn't expect Jamison's value to diminish.
Over the past three years, Caron Butler has played 188 of a possible 246 games. When he's on the court, Butler is a very good fantasy option and he should score in the high teens with a nice combination of rebounds, assists, and steals.
Butler is an overconfident three-point shooter. The Wizards now have four or five guys who should be pulling the trigger on the deep ball.
Lastly, whoever wins the war of the centers in Washington between Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee should be a viable fantasy basketball center.
Don't count on anything from the T-Wolves. As of right now they look to have four very good fantasy options in Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, and two rookie guards. Ryan Gomes, Rodney Carney, Rashad McCants, and Corey Brewer will all fight for playing time and fantasy relevancy.
That's if the T-Wolves don't make anymore moves, something that's highly unlikely.
As long as Jefferson is healthy he should be a 20 and 10 performer. Love also has double-double potential, I expect him to increase his shooting percentage this year and hopefully display those passing abilities that everyone was raving about, to increase his one assist per-game average.
Right now it looks like Minnesota will get Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans or James Harden. Both of the guards they acquire will have an excellent chance of becoming the rookie of the year.
Curry should hit around three three-pointers per game and generate four-to-five assists as a rookie.
If the Wolves get Harden, he will have a better shot at the Rookie of the Year than Curry, and I expect a rookie scoring average in the high teens as well as solid rebound, assist, and steal numbers.
If Evans lands in Minnesota, I don't think he will be as successful as Harden would and I expect a mid-teen scoring average.
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