It's hard to criticize the Warriors for letting Jarrett Jack walk this summer. They had to cut ties with Jack - to renounce him, in NBA contract-ese - to free up the salary cap space they used to sign Andre Iguodala. Iguodala seemed like an ideal fit on the wing and a defensive presence that would help them make the leap from "fun team to watch" to "Western Conference contender." And they probably figured they could find another veteran combo guard to spell Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Reasonable assumptions both; unfortunately, they followed those up by thinking that Toney Douglas would be a suitable replacement for Jack. That's where things went wrong. Douglas was unable to fill the void, leaving the Dubs with sub-par production from the bench and forcing Mark Jackson to use Steph Curry - and his delicate ankles - far more than he'd prefer.
Enter Jordan Crawford.
Acquired this week in a three-way deal with the Heat and Celtics, Crawford should fit nicely into the role Jack played last season. He's not a good enough point guard to play that spot on a full-time basis, but for Golden State he won't have to. He can initiate the offense well enough to give Curry an occasional breather or play off the ball to provide the second unit with a much-needed scoring punch.
I'm expecting a slight drop in fantasy value for Crawford, as he probably won't average 30-plus minutes for the Warriors. (Of course, he probably wasn't going to average 30-plus for the Celtics after Rajon Rondo's return either, so call that a wash.) He's at 53 percent owned as he awaits his Warriors debut and is probably worth an add in a lot of leagues.
The other players in the trade are unlikely to get much - if any - playing time this season. It's almost sad to see how far MarShon Brooks' stock has fallen; he seemed a promising, though limited, scorer as a rookie with the Nets, but he's been dumped in two separate trades since then. It seems he's destined for mop-up duty. So is Joel Anthony, who wasn't playing much in Miami and won't play much in Boston. Douglas' only real contribution to the Heat will be to save Mickey Arison a bit on his luxury tax bill; he might be waived.
Speaking of Miami, Greg Oden made his first appearance of the season in Wednesday's blowout loss to the Wizards - his first NBA action in more than four years. Oden managed to score six points in eight minutes of play, two coming on a fairly emphatic dunk. More importantly, he reported no swelling or other ill-effects afterwards.
The timing of Oden's Miami debut is interesting; Pat Riley may use the next few games to see if he can depend on Oden, even in limited minutes, before he opts to make a play for someone like Andrew Bynum.
Picks for the Week (Percent-owned stats from Yahoo!):
Rajon Rondo (88%) - Expected to make his season debut on January 17. Rondo will reportedly be limited to around 20-25 minutes initially as he works off the rust.
JJ Redick (74%) - That wrist injury? Healed up nicely. Redick has exploded for 19 and 33 points in two games since his return.
Raymond Felton (68%) - It seems we can write off Felton's dismal performance earlier this season to injury - since his most recent return from inactivity he's been producing numbers comparable to last season's.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (20%) - Pistons management seems to be discovering what many of us have been saying for months… that a team built around Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond desperately needs an outside shooter on the floor to create some space. Rookie wing Caldwell-Pope seems to be establishing a much stronger grip on that role and has scored in double figures in four of the Pistons' last six games.
Luke Ridnour (6%) - Is it odd that the Bucks play Ridnour as much as they do, especially when that means that OJ Mayo - the signature acquisition of their offseason - has to come off the bench? Probably, yeah. Would it make sense to the Bucks to trade Ridnour and clear playing time for the likes of Nate Wolters and Khris Middleton? Yes again. But until the next shakeup happens, we might as well take advantage of the fact that Ridnour is averaging over five assists and 1.3 threes per game in January.
Hedo Turkoglu (2%) - Veteran wing has signed with the Clippers for the rest of this season. If he works his way into a regular role, he could become a source of threes and assists.
Brandon Rush (1%) - The former Kanas star is working his way back into form after missing most of last season with a fairly gnarly knee injury. Before getting hurt, he was a dangerous three-point threat.
Manny Harris (0%): Ten-day contract guys usually come and go pretty quickly, but with the Lakers struggling to find guards healthy enough to play, he's worth a look. Harris has been lighting up the D-League, posting an average of over 30ppg for the Los Angeles D-Fenders.