The Biggest Risers and Fallers of the NBA Trade Deadline
The NBA trade deadline is over, but owners must study the effects of its aftermath. There are no extreme overhauls in sight—Pau Gasol is still a Laker, Jeff Teague is still a Hawk, and Kevin Love is still the face of the T-Wolves (for now).
It’s definitely hard getting excited when there aren’t many household names being shifted onto other rosters. There are however, several stock changes found within the fantasy landscape. Except this season, more so than others, will take some deep digging into the numbers to understand who those players are. Projecting minutes-played opportunities and examining “untapped potential” (upside) are the best tools to determine how player values have been shifted.
First, an ode to the Trade Deadline:
Some trades may interest, some may bore, but regardless, owners need to know what’s in store
For every group of players dealt away, there’s always a chance for one to save the day
You need not find a diamond in the rough; an-above average player will do, interestingly enough
This means you may not see another Tobias Harris in 2014, you’re just hoping to find another player to add to the scene
For our evaluation of the trade deadline, deals are presented in order of significance to Fantasy Basketball.
“Stock Rising” Players: Philadelphia 76ers’ backcourt players (PG, SG, SF)
“Stock Falling” Players: George Hill, Evan Turner, and Danny Granger
Analysis: Why would Philly trade a quality wingman for a less talented injury-prone player? The answer is simple; they are tanking for a top-5 lottery pick come draft time. Sure, they probably could have gotten more value in return, but the relief of cap space is the key to the deal.
Rumors have it that Granger will soon have his contract bought out, which means the entire Philly backcourt should benefit from a fantasy perspective. If and when he eventually signs with another team, he most likely won’t remain relevant in standard leagues.
Indiana simply added another scoring option (Turner) to take some of the pressure off Lance Stephenson and Paul George, offensively. Not only that, but Turner can act as a point-forward, which means Indiana’s starting point guard; George Hill, may see a decreased role.
“Stock Rising” Players: Arnett Moultrie and Henry Sims
“Stock Falling” Players: Cleveland Cavaliers’ frontcourt players (PF, C) and Spencer Hawes
Analysis: Hey listen up Cleveland fans: Hawes is no LeBron, but I see how this move can help make a playoff push. Or shouldn’t we just start worrying about solidifying that 8th seed first? Well anyway, at least Kyrie Irving won’t have to do all the work from down-town.
This trade instantly puts a huge dent in the value of Cleveland’s frontcourt players: Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao owners cannot be pleased as long as Hawes remains healthy. As for Philly, Arnett Moultrie; while lacking a fantasy-friendly skill-set, has earned a larger role.
Philly ultimately is clearing up the center position for young prospect, Nerlens Noel, to enter the spotlight. There’s a slight chance he can debut this season, but it appears doubtful. Henry Sims is an intriguing prospect, but he’s not worth adding in leagues across the board.
Los Angeles Clippers acquire a 2014 2nd-round draft pick (no active players); Philadelphia 76ers acquire Byron Mullens
“Stock Rising” Players: Byron Mullens
“Stock Falling” Players: N/A
Analysis: Call it crazy, but Byron Mullens is now fantasy relevant again. Sure, you may think this trade is not much of a big deal: L.A.C. gets a mediocre pick and Philly gets a scrub to help fuel the tank-mode fire. Well, this story is probably only half true.
For Philly to trade a 2014 draft pick, common sense tells us that their G.M., Sam Hinkie, sees something in Mullens that the average NBA fan is blindsided with. Don’t forget he has plenty of game experience from his days playing with the Bobcats, averaging over 22 minutes per game.
The new Philly center is expected to earn an enormous amount of minutes, and needs to be added in standard leagues. He even has center-eligibility while specializing in blocks and three-pointers made. Whether he starts or not, B.M. is clearly the best acquired Philly player to own.
“Stock Rising Players”: Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks
“Stock Falling Players”: Steve Blake and Los Angeles Lakers’ backcourt players’
Analysis: To the naked eye, it appears the yellow and purple universe lost the deal. Yes, just maybe, the Lakers gave up the best player in Steve Blake, which greatly strengthens the Warriors’ bench. But in the world of fantasy, it is time to…here comes the Baze!
As we all know, Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks have already lit eyelids after their two opening performances against the Celtics and Nets. Both players are worth a flier in 16-teamers or deeper, but Bazemore is the only one of the two with standard league appeal.
Steve Blake has lost all his standard league relevance with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at the helm. Going back to that Bazemore fellow--he can bring L.A. a spark as well as one to your fantasy team by performing as a nice “3 and D” option…three-pointers and steals aplenty.
“Stock Rising Players”: Aaron Brooks and Jordan Hamilton
Analysis: In all likelihood, neither one of these traded players will become “must-owns” in standard leagues (this season). However, both their values are on the uptick as the Nuggets’ point guard and Rockets’ small forward positions are open for the taking.
Once Ty Lawson, returns to the lineup, Randy Foye won’t need to cover the P.G. position, therefore should lower his minutes-played totals. Same goes for Casspi in Houston—with J-Ham possibly entering the rotation at the 3 and 4 spots, he could lose p.t. as well.
We all know who Brooks is: a solid vet, but Hamilton, however, is the dark horse candidate to become best acquired player of the NBA Trade Deadline. The former Longhorn was never given a real chance in Denver and still has “all-star level” upside…don’t sleep on this dude.
“Stock Falling Players”: Luke Ridnour and Ramon Sessions
Analysis: Not that Ridnour or Sessions were fantasy stallions to begin with, but neither player will have an easy time retaining their value in standard leagues. This trade makes sense for both parties by suiting each of their positional needs.
Fantasy upgrades instantly become Kemba Walker and O.J. Mayo—both have their health close to full strength and will be relied upon heavily down the stretch. As for the deal’s sleeper, the award goes to Jeff Adrien, mainly because Milwaukee’s frontcourt is umm… Bucktrocious!
“Stock Falling Players”: Marcus Thornton and Jason Terry
Analysis: Marcus Thornton is the biggest fantasy faller here, now having to earn minutes over J.J. and “The Truth” (Pierce), in what is a hopeless proposition. Jason Terry, once deep-league relevant, can safely be released onto the wire, as his role should transform into a bench warmer.
The young Sac town rookie, Ben McLemore, looks to be the top beneficiary of this deal, along with Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce. The young stud is making steady improvements and will receive starter-type minutes. The old stud’s value is booming also, with Terry out of the forefront.
“Stock Rising Players”: Austin Daye and Nando De Colo
“Stock Falling Players”: N/A
Analysis: This trade proves the Spurs are content with their guard depth and the Raptors are content with their forward depth. With both players playing on contending teams, actually first-place teams in fact, it’s going to be difficult for them to earn significant rotation roles, if any at all.
Analysis: The big winner of the trade is all three teams: the Nuggets get a young player to develop, the 76ers get a guard along with draft picks to rebuild, and the Wizards get a veteran point guard to mentor John Wall. Interesting deal, but it doesn’t have any fantasy implications.