Numbers Game: The Impact of Trades on Assists
Numbers Game: The Impact of Trades on Assists

This article is part of our Numbers Game series.

The Kyle Korver trade got the fantasy world buzzing about possible trades, and how they would impact the fantasy landscape. The internet was instantly flooded with tweets and articles about players who might move, and which teams are likely to be involved. Every hint or rumor was followed by debate about potential fantasy implications.

Our own Ken Crites wrote about players whose fantasy value would be impacted by potential trades.

Following Ken's lead, I want to anticipate players whose value could change after potential trades. After discussing rebounds last week, I want to focus on assists this week. Can we use math and data to identify players who, if traded, might see a big change in their assists totals?

There's no "I" in "assist"

More than any other category, assists require teamwork. Assists require skill and court vision and the ability to read a defense, but assists also require the guy who catches the ball to make a shot. A good dish sets up a teammate for a better shot, but players don't get to choose their teammates. Some people are stuck passing to Robert Covington and Marcus Smart – and the greatest point guard of all time would have difficulty getting those two over 40 percent for a season.

While all categories are impacted by the players around them, assists are unique in this way. Even if his teammates don't box out, Giannis Antetokounmpo can just reach over everyone and get a rebound anyway. Raymond Felton has played

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Rikleen
Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball and was a nominee for the 2016 FSWA Newcomer of the Year Award. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living outside Boston.
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