Week 17 Rebound & Rant: Trade Deadline Tankapolooza Edition!
Another year, another disappointing NBA trade deadline. The NBA is gradually turning NFL-like with its conservative approach to player swapping. Where's the big "Charles Barkley to Phoenix" deal?
Similarly, don't you hate being in a fantasy league where owners won't make trades? It's just plain boring. Fans bemoan teams for "making a trade to just make a trade", but shouldn't that be encouraged in fantasy leagues? Why play if you are not willing to roll the dice? Heck, just give me a reason to care about Sacramento box scores, please.
But I can't criticize all NBA teams. Some of our favorite tankers did a nice job of shedding aging talent. In some cases, I'm not sure why they waited until the deadline, but better late than never.
Davis Finally Dropped
I never understood why Orlando kept Glen "Big Baby" Davis on the roster this season. At least they dumped him at the deadline with a buyout. Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless, and Nikola Vucevic (duh) are legitimate building blocks that need minutes. And Davis isn't exactly a role-model. He's earned his Big Baby nickname, as this TMZ-posted hotel security video proves (see below). I'm going to guess that Davis' room service nacho cheese was a tad too cool:
Harris is the real curiosity in Orlando. He's a bit of a tweener, lacking post-up moves to play the four, yet a bit slow to play the three. But as anyone who picked him up last year (after the Bucks-to-Magic trade) can attest, he can fill up a box score. In his 27 games in Orlando last year, most of which he started, he averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.0 three-pointer, and 1.4 blocks per game. That's sweet. This year's team isn't as desperate for his scoring, but Wednesday's win in Philly was encouraging. All five starters (Harris, Harkless, Vucevic, Jameer Nelson and Victor Oladipo) played 29+ minutes and took 13 to 19 shot attempts each. Now is the time for Magic coach Jacque Vaughn to let his three young bigs settle in as starters and play major minutes.
For all of you Big Baby fans (both of you), Davis saw five minutes of action in his Clippers debut Wednesday. Minutes will be scarce behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
(Side Note: Before RW, I spent 10 years at a prominent single-serve coffee company. In my last year, we received a letter from Big Babby's agent saying he was anxious to lend his name to our beverages. We found this amusing and were tempted to inquire about a "Glen Davis Extra Baby Fat Hot Cocoa." Please leave any other Davis drink ideas in the comments.)
Goodbye Jan Vesely Era
In Washington, the great Jan Vesely Era has finally come to a close. You can now begin your "Who Is A Worse GM: Wes Unseld, Michael Jordan or Ernie Grunfied" debate. This trade attempts to clean up two of Grunfield's mistakes: drafting Vesely with the sixth pick in 2011 and signing Eric Maynor to a two-year deal this offseason. For those who don't follow the Former Bullets, 37-year-vet Andre Miller came to Washington, Vesely went to Denver, and two second-round picks and Maynor went to Philly.
If Washington didn't have such a bad track record with first round picks (I'm looking at you, Kwame Brown), the Vesely bust would really stand out as bad. Back in October, management announced they would decline Vesely's fourth year option. That made sense – Vesely's body of work includes career numbers of 3.6 points per game and 40% from the charity stripe. He also tends to panic when no one is guarding him – a rather rare NBA trait. Don't believe me? Watch this horrible shot posted on Vine by a frustrated Former Bullets fan:
I can't tell for sure, but I think that's coach Brian Shaw standing up and muttering "Good Lord that's atrocious" to himself. Shaw then substituted himself for Vesely.
Big ups to Shannon McKeown for the Vesely video tip. Deadspin also put together an amusing gif .
If you need assists in a deep league, pick up Andre Miller now. The Former Bullets bench is woefully thin and hot-seat coach Randy Whitman is anxious for veteran help. (You are not surprised to hear Nene is hurt, are you?). Miller's minutes should go up from the 15 he played Wednesday.
Giant Pile of Second Round Picks and Very Few Players
By shedding Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen, the Sixers now have eight second round picks over the next three years, including five in 2014. That may be useful, though I don't know how you put that on the cover of your media guide. Poor Thaddeus Young – he is surrounded by MCW and no other talent. Kudos to GM Sam Hinkie for going all in on the tanking.
But in fantasy-land, we just care about the new 76ers' lineup. The "winners" on this sinking ship seem to be James Anderson and Henry Sims. (It sure isn't this year's Philadelphia season ticket holders.) I put sarcastic quotes around the Anderson and Sims winner tag for one reason: field goal percentage. Both have career shooting percentages of 42%. Of course, beggars can't be choosers, and if you need some counting stats, both of these guys will get upticks in minutes and shots. Anderson is very streaky, though his season field goal percentage has gradually crept up to a respectable 45%. He's shooting well in January and February after a rough start.
Sims, the second-year 6-10 player out of Georgetown, is the bigger enigma. With Byron Mullens (yes, Byron Mullens) as the only semi-legit center on the roster, Sims will suddenly get plenty of minutes after appearing in only 22 games prior to being shipped to Philly. A consistent nine rebounds, nine points and 1+ block a game are within his reach for the rest of the season.
Free Agent Pick-Ups?
Please start with the ballers I mention above. But here are some more ideas:
Kent Bazemore (LAL): I feel like I suggest a new Laker every column. I like the Steve Blake for Bazemore move made by LA. The Lakers need to gamble on youth, and Bazemore fits the profile. He's averaging 17.3 points and 1.5 treys a game in his first four contests as a Laker.
Timofey Mozgov (DEN): He's only owned in 16% of Yahoo leagues, despite playing 22 minutes per game. He'll be Denver's starting center for the foreseeable future, so give him a try.
Jerryd Bayless (BOS ): Notice his 29 point, five three pointer effort on Wednesday? I had him here in my last column – so now I'm really just bragging. I don't think anyone gets this far in my columns, anyway. (If I'm wrong, I dare you to leave a comment).