Most years, post-trade deadline movement of bought-out players is limited to the overpriced and unwanted - think Stephon Marbury's brief stint with the Boston Celtics. This season, things are a little different. Some big-name players are on the move this week, and a few could land significant roles.
Mike Bibby, for example, could be the starting point guard for the Miami Heat before long. Bibby is clearly on the down side of his career, and he's going to have a lot of trouble guarding any of the points he'll face in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But in Miami, where LeBron James serves as the de facto point guard much of the time, Bibby will mostly be asked to can open threes - and that's his strength. He's just 35% owned right now - look for that number to climb.
We're already seeing a run on Troy Murphy stock - the veteran forward/center is 54% owned despite the fact that he's barely played this year. Murphy can provide an outstanding combination of three-point shooting and rebounding when he gets significant minutes, but in choosing to chase a title with the Boston Celtics - where he'll share frontcourt minutes with Nenad Krstic, Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green and Glen Davis. I would have been much higher on Murphy if he'd opted for Miami or New York.
Jared Jeffries (1% owned) will be returning to New York, and could replace Shawne Williams in the starting lineup before long - but Jeffries is the exception to the old "every player in Mike D'Antoni's rotation is worth owning" rule, as he's inept on offense and won't generate enough rebounds or blocks to compensate.
Picks for the Week
The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who may be available in your average 10 team/15 player roster league. The second group is for owners in very deep leagues, and will be based more on speculation than actual numbers.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
Greg Monroe (56% owned) - The Pistons are a hot mess right now. Actually, that's being kind. That has obscured the fact that Monroe has been one of the more productive rookies in the league of late - and is averaging just under 17 points and 13 rebounds per game since the break.
George Hill (61% owned) - Should get a big bump in minutes (and numbers) with Tony Parker sidelined for the next month.
Marcus Thornton (41% owned) - Thornton has scored in double figures in all three games he's played for the Kings - including a 29-point explosion on Monday night. His playing time could take a hit when Tyreke Evans gets healthy, but there's a decent chance Evans (plantar fasciitis) won't be completely right for the remainder of this season.
Josh Howard (15% owned) - It appears Flip Saunders will keep Howard in the starting lineup for the time being. His numbers haven't been all that impressive thus far, but could show improvement as he continues his recovery from major knee surgery.
Eric Bledsoe (10% owned) - It's reasonable to assume that Mo Williams will take over the Clippers' starting job at some point, but that transition might take a little time; Williams is still recovering from an ankle problem.
Al Thornton (7% owned) - Thornton got a buyout from the Wizards and is headed to Golden State, where he's expected to serve as the primary backup to Dorrell Wright.
Larry Sanders (1% owned) - The rookie will move into the Bucks' starting lineup while Andrew Bogut is sidelined. He's already shown impressive shot-blocking ability in limited minutes.
Gary Neal (6% owned) - Like George Hill, Neal will be a beneficiary of Tony Parker's absence. But Neal might not be at his best for the next few days; he's coming back from a concussion.
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