Panning for Gold
Last Week's Article
By Danny Goldin
The NBA's trade deadline has finally passed. With a number of serious playoff contenders having attempted to one-up their rivals, it seems as though every team in the West has made an attempt to strength their respective rosters, while an 11th-hour deal shook things up for a couple of East teams as well.
Surely by now, every fantasy-savvy owner in your league has frantically searched through the waiver wire to check the availability of that big-name guy who was dealt into a richer situation. If you haven't done so yet, be sure to put in the research, become familiar with every player's new surroundings and decide for yourself if their potential impact on their new squad is great enough to merit a spot on your roster.
One fantasy-relevant aspect of the trade deadline that owners often forget about, however, is the effect a given move will have on the players that weren't dealt. After a team pulls off a blockbuster move, the roles of the players that remained on the roster can change just as much as the newcomers involved in the deal.
The following is a list of players who were affected by the trade deadline, whether it is because of their new jersey colors or simply due to a change in their role. We'll highlight those who can help your squad win those tough categories.
Hakim Warrick, F, Memphis: No player's value was altered by the flurry of transactions more than Warrick. Unfortunately, many owners have already noticed and his ownership has skyrocketed in the past week after the forward was available in nearly all leagues just a couple of weeks ago. Pau Gasol's departure to L.A. vaulted Warrick into a starting role with the Grizzlies and he has responded beautifully. In his last four games, the athletic big man has posted point totals of 24, 23, 22 and 20 while clocking over 36 minutes per game. Add in Warrick's great field-goal percentage and ability to block shots, and he becomes an absolute must-add if he happens to still be available in your league.
, G/F, Cleveland: Cleveland now claims the moniker of Wally World and Szczerbiak, with his fourth team in the past three seasons, must be licking his chops at his latest destination. The nine-year veteran will provide the perfect outlet for LeBron James
when opposing squads undoubtedly sag inside to help restrict his ability to penetrate. With Daniel Gibson
out for up to six weeks with a sprained ankle and Damon Jones
over-the-hill, Szczerbiak becomes the Cavs' only true elite shooter. After putting up 24 points in less than 27 minutes during his final game with Seattle, Szcerbiak should see plenty of time and compile plenty of points in Cleveland.
Kurt Thomas, F/C, San Antonio: Thomas makes the shift from the bottom-dwelling SuperSonics to the defending champion Spurs and the 35-year-old should once again become relevant within the fantasy community. Listed at a generous 6-9, Thomas does not have typical big-man size but has always been a banger down low capable of posting double-digit rebounding numbers. After Tim Duncan, the Spurs are rather thin in the frontcourt and the fact that San Antonio gave up next year's first-round pick, along with Francisco Elson and Brent Barry, signals that Thomas will be a significant part of their plan this season.
, F, Cleveland: For whatever reason, it seems that nobody wants to hang onto Smith, as he will now be playing for his fifth team in the past three seasons. Even in his 13th year, the former No. 1 overall pick remains a very solid player who should help Cleveland in their quest to win the East. Smith can help your squad too, at least with his numbers on the glass. There's also the added bonus of a good free-throw percentage and his ability to garner a respectable number of points, while limiting his turnovers.
Marcus Williams, G, New Jersey: After dealing Jason Kidd to Dallas and a currently hurt Devin Harris coming in to fill Kidd's shoes, New Jersey will give Williams at least a week-long window to flash his skills. Harris has already taken longer than expected to return from his ankle injury, so you never know exactly how long Williams will have as the Nets' starting point guard. Williams is a true playmaker that averaged 3.3 assists in under 17 minutes a game last season and made a splash against Chicago on Feb. 20 by notching 25 points to go along with four assists. Expect solid production from Williams whenever Harris' health is in question.
(Author's Note: I have been a huge fan of Williams ever since his days with UConn and have been waiting for a reason to pick him up on my fantasy team for the past year and a half.)
, G, San Antonio: In limited minutes, Stoudamire has notched three or more assists in six of his eight games with the Spurs. Keep in mind that Stoudamire didn't play a single game in January, so he should only improve as he shakes off the rust, gets back into game-shape and becomes more acclimated with the Spurs' offense. Mighty Mouse will give San Antonio a great alternative option at the point whenever Tony Parker
is tired or banged up down the stretch.
Erick Dampier, C, Dallas: Dampier is currently available in nearly all leagues. While ripping into the big fella' seems to be the cool thing to do nowadays, a bad reputation won't lose you any fantasy points. With the pesky DeSagana Diop now in New Jersey, Dampier's minutes should come in a more consistent manner and his production in the blocks, rebounds and field-goal percentage categories will come as well.
, F, Los Angeles Lakers: Despite receiving a very inconsistent amount of minutes, Turiaf has been consistent in keeping opponents from driving his way in the lane. Turiaf has blocked at least one shot in 14 of his last 16 games and is averaging just below two blocks per game over the last month. While Gasol will certainly limit Turiaf's playing time, you can expect Turiaf to come in and guard the basket whenever Gasol needs a breather.
Larry Hughes, G, Chicago: Say what you want about Hughes, but the man has always been an elite defender along the perimeter. It will be interesting to see how the minutes are divided between Hughes, Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Chris Duhon, though I expect Hughes to receive at least 30 minutes per contest. Hughes was able to snatch at least one steal in every single game during the month of January and will continue to post a great amount of steals in Chicago. Along with his great skills as a ball-thief, you never know if Hughes' new setting will allow him to regain his former ability as a big-time scorer.
, G, Los Angeles Lakers: Vujacic has seen around 20 minutes per game since the Lakers' acquisition of Gasol and has been rather impressive. The shaggy-haired Yugoslavian has used his playing time to flash his ability to make it rain from long-distance. In L.A.'s 10 games in February, Vujacic has nailed 18 three-pointers off of 36 attempts (that's 50 percent for all you mathematicians). With Kobe Bryant
, Lamar Odom
and Gasol getting everyone's attention, Vujacic should continue to find open looks from behind the arc.
- Louis Williams
(G, Philadelphia) has great fantasy potential down the road and should definitely be held onto in deep keeper leagues. With the trade deadline passed and the 76ers deciding to hold onto Andre Miller
, however, Williams won't be see enough minutes over the rest of the year to make a consistent impact. If there is anybody you've been eyeing on the wire, feel free to let Williams go.
- Elton Brand
(F, Los Angeles Clippers) has indicated that he will play this season and could be a few weeks away from returning to the Clippers' lineup. He has likely been snatched up by now but actually is available in over 5 percent of leagues. If you happen to be in one, make sure to grab him immediately.
- Plenty of owners have given up on T.J. Ford
(G, Toronto) and you can't really blame them. Jose Calderon
's phenomenal play and yet another injury, this time an abdominal strain, have certainly given many owners a rational reason to call it quits with Ford. His current injury isn't serious, however, and he should be back soon. Ford was an assist machine in his brief stint back from a neck injury, dishing out 13 assists in just 22 minutes in one contest. If he can somehow remain healthy, he should get 20-25 minutes per game as a complement to Calderon and post very solid assists and steals numbers.
Article first appeared on 2/22/08