RotoWire Partners

The Give and Go: Second-Half Targets

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown is the Managing Editor of NBA Content for He hosts the Fantasy Basketball Podcast and writes about fantasy basketball. Kyle used to run an after school program and approaches his work as an editor with teaching in mind. He genuinely cares about helping others win their fantasy basketball leagues, which seems really dorky when it's written in the third person.

Shannon McKeown

Shannon McKeown is the VP of Advertising Sales and Basketball Editor for He's a two-time FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year. He also covers the Pistons and Tigers for the site.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Shannon McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 11:39AM
To: "Kyle McKeown"
Subject: Give and Go

Now that the All-Star break is behind us, it's time for fantasy owners to position themselves for a playoff run. Most head-to-head leagues are down to their final four weeks before the playoffs tip off, so the time to make changes to your squad is now. Trades are always a viable route to take to improve your team for the stretch run, but which players would you target? Any buy-low options who you believe are bound for a big second half?

One player who I'm targeting in trades this week is Andrew Bogut. The defensive-minded big man will have his minutes restriction lifted and not be held out of the back half of back-to-backs going forward. When right, Bogut is a legit top-50 fantasy option. At the very least, he's worth taking a look at if you need help in rebounds and blocks.

Danny Granger is another veteran who could have a big impact in the second half. He wonít be returning to action Wednesday night against the Knicks but is quite close to making his season debut. I expect plenty of rust, and his production won't match previous seasons, especially while he's coming off the bench, but Granger will carve out a large enough role with the Pacers to make a fantasy impact. Numerous readers have asked if Granger's return will negatively impact Paul George or David West, but I see bit players like Lance Stephenson and Gerald Green taking the brunt of the damage. How do you think Granger's return plays out?

The second half of the season is also a time when a couple of rookies seem to break out. Bradley Beal appears set to rejoin the Wizardsí starting lineup, which makes him a good candidate to finish the season strong. Are there any other rookies that you expect big things from going forward?

-----Original Message-----
From: "Kyle McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 2:04PM
To: "Shannon McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

It's hard to predict which players will have an increased role after the NBA trade deadline because there's no certainty that any players will get moved. However, the fact that the Clippers have shown a willingness to move Eric Bledsoe (according to rumors), that drove me to grab him in any leagues in which he was still available. Bledsoe is currently owned in just 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 54 percent of ESPN leagues. He should be pretty much universally owned as a flier pickup through Thursday's trade deadline to see if he lands in a position where he'd be the unchallenged starting point guard. In 12 games as a starter this season, Bledsoe averaged 14.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 0.6 three-pointers in 34 minutes, and I think he'd manage more than that on most other teams.

Beyond that, some players that struggled in the first half who I'd take a chance and trade for include:

  • Marcin Gortat - I won't give up much for him, but if he were to get traded, he has shown us what he can do when motivated and in a good atmosphere. I think he'd be interesting playing next to Al Horford in Atlanta, if the Hawks and Suns did a Gortat/Josh Smith trade.
  • Josh Smith - I'm looking past his FG%, FT%, and turnovers.
  • Ty Lawson - He's already recovered from his early-season slump, but his season-rank hasn't caught up to his recent production.
  • Andre Iguodala - His numbers are barely off of his career production, and everyone seems down on him. If he gets even slightly better during the second half, everyone will be back on the bandwagon. I'm jumping on now.

I like the idea of targeting Bogut if you can get him at his current value because he should improve in points, rebounds, and blocks down the stretch. Good call.

The Granger situation does scary me a little bit as a Paul George owner, only because George has been playing small forward all season and will now move back to playing more shooting guard again. I'm not sure it will matter too much, but I'm interested to see how it changes things. Heck, in reality, Granger's outside shooting might even open the lanes enough for George to start developing his slashing game and work at getting to the free-throw line more.

That's something we've talked about in the past. If George ever starts attacking the rack and getting foul calls to go to the charity stripe, his value would improve all the more. That's one of the scary things about George. Even though he's proven that he can be a star in the NBA, we still haven't approached his ceiling.

As far as Granger's value, I think you're right that the role players will take a step back more than anything. Coach Frank Vogel shortened his rotation a lot this season with Granger sidelined and leaned on his starters to play big minutes. I think he'll continue to do that down the stretch.

Beal's a great player to bring up. I was surprised he was held out so long, but the idiocies of the Wizards' front office and coaching staff can't be brought up enough. I would have liked to see Beal stay in the lineup and struggle with his shot just to get a better rhythm next to John Wall this season, but the Wizards' instead opted to have Beal sit out five games at the end of January and the beginning of February. Even more befuddling was the process of bringing him off the bench in his last three games. Coach Randy Wittman is a moron if ever there was one. Every time I think of that idiot, I think about how he once told Kevin Love to stop shooting three-pointers. Moron.

If you're going to look at any rookies who have struggled, and who have the chance to excel in the second half, I think you have to start your story with Anthony Davis. There has to be a stretch in him of monstrous games. I'd take the risk and trade for him in most leagues.

Thomas Robinson is another rookie who I think will break out down the stretch. Jason Thompson is a cardboard box with arms, and Robinson wasn't taken with the fifth overall pick to be a bench player.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Shannon McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 3:07PM
To: "Kyle McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

A trade would be huge for Bledsoe's fantasy value going forward. Any team that would go through the trouble of acquiring him in a deal would surely value him as the starting point guard of the future. But he hasn't been traded yet. He's worth the flier in deeper leagues, but there's not much room for speculative adds in most 10- or 12-team standard leagues. I'd only scoop him up if there was some dead weight already on my bench.

Gortat is a good player to target. As I briefly touched on last week, the rotations in Phoenix have been pretty frustrating since Lindsey Hunter took over the reins. He's averaging just 4.0 points and 6.3 rebounds over his past three games, which should make his price tag as low as it's been since he left Orlando. The Suns seem like one of the most likely teams to make moves, so either Gortat will be shipped off to a team that is committed to playing him more, or other pieces in Phoenix are moved to open up a bigger role.

Smith and Iguodala are two players I won't touch. In fact, I've been trying to move both of them in some of my leagues. Both players have been absolute drains in field-goal and free-throw shooting, and I don't see that changing in the second half. The only scenario I see them as good targets is if your fantasy squad already has a stranglehold on those percentage categories. Unless Smith gets traded to a coach who can actually convince him to stop taking ill-advised jumpers, buyer beware.

Given the Pacers' success with Granger on the shelf, I'm convinced George will remain the focal point of the team's offense. Whether George is listed as a two or three, the team will continue to utilize him in the same fashion as they have the past few months. George is the present and future of that franchise. Granger is the one who will have to make adjustments.

Your anger toward Randy Wittman isn't totally unwarranted, but it's still somewhat troublesome. Beal actually started to break out in January, before a wrist injury stole his thunder. Prior to the first mention of a sore wrist during a Jan. 24 game against the Jazz, Beal had averaged 16.4 points, 2.2 threes and 1.1 steals over a 13-game stretch. I wouldn't be surprised if he posts similar averages for the remainder of the season.

When will the Hornets take the kid gloves off Davis? He's averaging just 28 minutes this season, and that number has dropped to under 25 mpg since the start of the new year. Despite the limited minutes, Davis still has a per-game rank in the 30-35 range. The potential is obviously there for him to be a fantasy monster, but I'm not convinced the Hornets will really turn him loose until next season.

The smart thing for the Kings to do is bench Thompson in favor of Robinson, but I think it's somewhat unlikely. Thompson is signed through the 2016-17 season at a relatively affordable contract. Of course, he could always be traded, but teams in the midst of an ownership change rarely make many personnel changes. Remember the Pistons lack of roster moves before Tom Gores completed his purchase of the team?

-----Original Message-----
From: "Kyle McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 3:40PM
To: "Shannon McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

If Gortat stays in Phoenix, I'm scared that he'll remain terrible. So, if I trade for him, it's with the hope that he gets moved to a new team.

I think the fact that Smith and Iguodala take so few free throws makes their deficiencies there negligible, especially in head-to-head leagues. I'll take their pluses and give on their minuses.

I've been having a lot of people ask me who I'd take when considering two players that have pretty comparable value, so I wanted to throw some situations out to you.

Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving?

I'd take Irving in the long run, but most of that is with an eye toward the fact that I think Irving could end up finding his way to the free-throw line for double-digit attempts every night by next season.

Carmelo Anthony or Paul George?

This one is tough, but I'd take Anthony's scoring for this season. In the long term, I'd take George's ceiling, assists, steals, and block potential.

DeMarcus Cousins or Greg Monroe?

Based on what we know now, I'm taking Monroe, but if the new owners find a legit person to run the Sonics' front office, I think Cousins still has the higher ceiling.

Where are you at on these?

-----Original Message-----
From: "Shannon McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 3:07PM
To: "Kyle McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

Irving - He has more upside and less apparent health risk.

George - Nothing against Melo here, but George offers a more versatile line. It's easier to make up the scoring than the multiple pluses George offers.

Monroe - Cousins has the edge in upside, but does he have the mental fortitude to ever live up to his promise? I'm not sure. Monroe will never be as explosive, but he'll continue to post steady double-double production.

See you in the comments.
Top Fantasy Basketball Player News