Fantasy Basketball Risers and Fallers: NBA Trade Deadline Aftermath
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The 2011 NBA Trade Deadline has finally passed, which means the second half of the 2010-11 season is officially starting (despite some games already being played).
It also means that this is a huge week for monitoring fantasy player value, adding/dropping players and dissecting your fantasy lineup for the final push toward the fantasy playoffs.
Ty Lawson, PG, Denver Nuggets
Lawson got the start for the short-handed Nuggets on Monday night and tallied 21 points, seven assists, six steals and five rebounds in 39 minutes. You shouldn’t take much away from the eyebrow-raising performance because Denver only dressed eight players, and Lawson played his most minutes of the season, but at the same time, it’s still a nice indicator of what he can do in the lineup.
It’s not a guarantee that Raymong Felton will take over the starting PG spot—the Nuggets organization loves Lawson and could view him as the starter of the future. However, with Felton not being moved, you must monitor the situation.
Which player will improve the most?
Lawson is averaging 16.3 points, 6.1 assists and 1.7 steals in seven games as a starter this year—George Karl has said that Lawson will be the starter for the next “week or two,” so the second-year guard’s value has boosted tremendously.
Kendrick Perkins, C, Oklahoma City Thunder
The biggest shock on Feb. 24 came just minutes before the trade deadline, when Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that Boston had agreed to trade Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
Nobody anticipated Boston breaking up a nucleus and starting five that, when healthy, hadn’t lost a playoff series in three years. The Celtics veterans are all ardent supporters of Perkins, and his absence will be felt when Boston takes on teams with strong interior presences like Chicago, Orlando and Los Angeles.
Perkins is what he is—a strong rebounder and the best low-post defender in the NBA. A change of scenery isn’t going to change that. However, OKC has been in desperate need of someone like Perkins for the last two seasons and now finally have a guy that can patrol the paint and shut down opposing forwards and centers one-on-one.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see his minutes, rebounds and blocks all increase for the Thunder.
Shane Battier, G/F, Memphis Grizzlies
Battier was traded back to Memphis on Thursday—the team for which he played the first five years of his career. His best seasons came as a member of the Grizzlies: as a rookie in 2002, he averaged 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks, and in 2006, he put up 10.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals.
He’s quietly put up a solid all-around season in ’11: 8.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 three-pointers, 1.2 blocks and .9 steals. He’s joining a Memphis team that is in need of a wing player—with Rudy Gay out at least a month with a separated shoulder.
He should see some good minutes for the Grizzlies and continue to put up strong all-around numbers for his old team.
Kyle Lowry, PG, Houston Rockets
The back-and-forth fantasy battle of Kyle Lowry and Aaron Brooks tipped in Lowry’s favor over the last month.
And with the Rockets dealing Brooks to the Suns, it only solidifies what we’ve started to realize over the past few weeks—Lowry is the dominant PG for a Rockets offense that is third in the league with 105.5 points per game.
Kirk Hinrich, PG, Atlanta Hawks
Hinrich will join the Atlanta Hawks after a five-player deal that took place on Wednesday night, meaning he should take over the starting PG spot for Mike Bibby.
An up-and-down player across the fantasy wire this season, Hinrich enjoyed the majority of his success with John Wall out of the lineup and him in the starting five. He averaged 11.3 points, 5.1 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 2.3 three-pointers and 1.2 steals as a starter for the Wizards.
He’s joining an Atlanta team that may not need him as a primary ball-handler but as someone who can improve their perimeter defense and knock down open shots. He’s still available in over 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues so he may be worth a speculative pick-up to see how he fits in with the Hawks.
Raymond Felton, PG, Denver Nuggets
If we’ve learned anything from the Mike D’Antoni era, it’s that point guards flourish in his system.
Take a look at Raymond Felton this season: he averaged career-highs in points (17.1), assists (9.0), three-pointers (1.6), FT percentage (86.7) and steals (1.8).
But now, he’s leaving a comfortable and freelancing system in New York to an uncertain situation in Denver.
The teams play similar styles, but the Nuggets already have a point guard they may value higher than Felton—Ty Lawson. Either way, his minutes will likely go down, and he and Lawson have too similar builds to play together, like Chauncey Billups and Lawson did at times this season.
O.J. Mayo, SG, Memphis Grizzlies
Mayo was all but traded to Indiana on Thursday at the deadline—in fact, multiple outlets reported that the deal was done. However, Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said that “Indiana was not able to get it all together,” and a deal was left on the table as the deadline expired.
Mayo wasn’t exactly thriving in Memphis—he had an altercation with teammate Tony Allen early in the season; he was fresh off a 10-game suspension for substance abuse; and his points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, FG%, 3PT% and FT% are all at career-lows.
A fresh start in Indiana would have been great for him—they need scoring on the wing, and Mayo fits that bill to a tee.
Unfortunately for him and fantasy owners, he’ll be stuck in Memphis for the rest of the season where he’ll likely continue to play behind Sam Young or Tony Allen.
With the Grizzlies acquiring Shane Battier, it only lessens the available minutes for a young guy that needed a change of scenery.
Jeff Green, F, Boston Celtics
Poor Jeff Green just can’t seem to catch a break.
He was putting up solid numbers in OKC (15.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.1 three-pointers), but many wanted him to become a dominant rebounder, defender or three-point shooter, and Green didn’t display any of those characteristics.
Because of that, he was viewed as somewhat expendable—someone the Thunder more than likely wouldn’t target for a big extension.
But few thought he would be traded midseason, especially in a deal that came out of the blue. Now, he moves to Boston where he’ll be known as the guy for which the Celtics traded fan-favorite and potential playoff series-changing center Kendrick Perkins.
Green will come off the bench for Boston and could easily be one of the most explosive bench scorers in the league. However, his minutes will be down, and his initial transition may not be quite so smooth. Owners should be patient with him and give him time to develop in Boston, but his days of being the No. 3 option are gone—his value will take some hit.
Baron Davis, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
Davis has been known as a guy that doesn’t exactly bring his A-game to subpar teams—look at the beginning of the season when he showed up for Clippers camp overweight and out of shape.
He was largely responsible for the Clippers' slow start that basically knocked them out of the playoff race in the first 20 games.
Now, he’s been moved to the worst team in the league that doesn’t show signs of being a contender any time in the remaining two-plus years on his contract.
I can’t imagine that Davis equals his recent production (15.6 points, 7.0 assists, 1.4 three-pointers, 1.4 steals in January) as a member of the Cavaliers.
Mike Bibby, PG, Washington Wizards
Bibby wasn’t having an elite season by any stretch of the imagination, but he went from being a starter in Atlanta to a bench guy at best in Washington. Rumors are swirling that he’d like to negotiate a buyout with the Wizards, but the two sides are reportedly far apart in the amount of money left on the table.
Regardless, Bibby’s days of being an NBA starter, and a viable fantasy option, are likely done.
Keep Your Eye On…
For some players, it’s not concrete whether or not the trades will be beneficial or detrimental for their fantasy value. So monitor these guys carefully over the next week or so:
Gerald Wallace, G/F, Portland Trail Blazers
Devin Harris, PG, Utah Jazz
Danilo Gallinari, SF, Denver Nuggets
Wilson Chandler, G/F, Denver Nuggets
Nicolas Batum, SF, Portland Trail Blazers
Wes Matthews, G/F, Portland Trail Blazers
Eric Felkey contributed to this article.
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