The hype-to-impact ratio at yesterday’s NBA trade deadline was skewed very heavily in favor of hype. Lots of deals were made with an eye on the salary cap, luxury tax and bottom line, though just a few will have any on-court repercussions this season. And the deals that do have fantasy implications will probably hurt the players involved more than help them.
Start with Steve Blake. Just last week, Blake (21% owned) was one of the recommended pick-ups in this column, as one of very few relatively healthy players in the Lakers’ backcourt. But now he’s headed to Golden State, where he’ll serve primarily as backup to Stephen Curry. Blake will retain some fantasy value. A versatile veteran, he’ll likely log some minutes as Curry’s backup and some in the backcourt alongside Curry. But that role probably doesn’t earn him as many minutes as he was seeing in Los Angeles. With Blake in Oakland, the “healthiest/most productive Lakers guard” title goes to Kendall Marshall (60%), who becomes a quality play in almost any format.
MarShon Brooks (1%) could be an interesting short-term play. Brooks hasn’t logged much playing time since his rookie year with the Nets, and he’s been traded twice this season. But with both Kobe Bryant and Nick Young recovering from injury, and the Lakers getting desperate for healthy bodies, Brooks could have a nice opportunity to contribute, and he seems a good fit for Mike D’Antoni’s offense.
Like Blake, Evan Turner (83%) will lose a lot of his fantasy value as a result of a trade. Turner has been the top scoring option for the Sixers this season, but with the Pacers he’s destined to come off the bench and probably won’t have a major role until he picks up the nuances of Frank Vogel’s defense.
Turner’s departure will create an opportunity for someone in Philly – but the question is who? General manager Sam Hinkie really stripped the frontcourt down to virtually nothing, sending Turner to Indy and Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen to Cleveland. In return, Philadelphia brought back future draft picks and several players (Danny Granger, Earl Clark, Henry Sims) that will probably never suit up for the Sixers. Turner’s minutes and scoring chances will likely go to Tony Wroten (9%) and James Anderson (10%), while Arnett Moultrie (2%) and possibly the newly-acquired Byron Mullens (6%) take over for Hawes and Allen in the frontcourt.
New Brooklyn Net Marcus Thornton (41%) also gets a downgrade. He’ll provide the Nets some much-needed scoring punch off the bench, replacing the generally ineffective Jason Terry. But with Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston and Paul Pierce in the mix, Thorton might have a hard time carving out big minutes initially. Of course, that situation could change in a hurry, especially if Pierce or Williams is sidelined for any length of time.
There will be more roster changes in the days ahead, as buyouts and free agent signings will shape teams for the stretch run and playoffs. The Sixers are expected to buy out most of the players they acquired at the deadline, and the Magic have already parted ways with Glen Davis. Danny Granger (55%) could end up with a contender like Miami or San Antonio, while Davis (26%) could land with the Clippers or Nets.
More picks for this week:
Tobias Harris (73%) and Maurice Harkless (30%): Big Baby’s buyout should clear up frontcourt minutes for Orlando’s forward tandem of the future.
Patty Mills (33%): Has been a very effective weapon off the bench for the Spurs, picking up some of the slack created by Tony Parker’s extended absence.
Anthony Bennett (30%): He’s got a long way to go before he escapes the “worst number one pick ever” talk, and he’s still struggling to make shots, but his rebounding has improved significantly during the Cavaliers’ recent hot stretch.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. (20%): Should see a big uptick in minutes for the next 2-3 weeks, as Iman Shumpert will be sidelined with a sprained knee.
Aaron Brooks (2%): With Ty Lawson hurting, the Rockets have been forced to start Randy Foye at point guard. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the deadline acquisition takes over that spot pretty quickly.
Jordan Hamilton (1%): Minutes will take an immediate hit with the move from injury-riddled Denver to the Rockets, but he seems to be nice fit as a stretch forward on that team and could end up with a significant role before the year is out.
Jan Vesely (0%): Vesely might be worth a look. With Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee out for the year, the Nuggets have no shortage of frontcourt minutes available.