Welcome to another edition of the weekly RotoWire NBA Mailbag! Some interesting questions were submitted for this week's mailbag column, including a trade involving two of the biggest names in fantasy basketball.
Let's get right down to business and try to provide some answers.
Sabonis is coming off of the best season of his career in 2020-21, when he averaged 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.2 steals. He also shot 53.5 percent from the field and 73.2 percent from the free-throw line, so the only areas in which he didn't stand out were blocks (0.5 per game) and three-pointers (0.8)
Sabonis was aided last season by the Pacers dealing with a ton of injuries. They have been in better shape this season, which was contributed to his points and assists falling to 17.5 and 4.0 per game, respectively. He's still dominated the glass and been an asset with his shooting percentage, so to say that he's a disappointment would be a stretch, for sure.
With that being said, getting Harden for him is a haul. His 28.0 percent usage rate is on par with his 28.4 percent mark with the Nets last season, but his scoring average is down to 21.0 points per game because he's only shooting 41.6 percent from the field. He shot at least 44.0 percent in each of the last five seasons, so he could improve in that area as the season wears on. Add in his stellar averages of 8.0 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.7 three-pointers and there really isn't much to complain about his game – other than his average of 5.0 turnovers. I say make the deal.
Two of the most exciting young players in the league here. Bamba has emerged up front for the Magic, thriving in several areas with averages of 10.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.4 three-pointers per game. He's played well alongside Wendell Carter Jr., so he should remain a key member of the Magic's starting five for the remainder of the regular season.
As good as Bamba has been, Murray is my choice between the two, and it's not even that close. He's in the midst of a breakout campaign for the Spurs, averaging 19.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8.1 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 three-pointers per game. Seeing as Bamba is a big man, some might think he'd provide an edge over Murray from the field, but he's shooting just 45.0 percent, compared to 44.6 percent for Murray. With Bamba increasing his three-point attempts, these two could remain close in that category moving forward.
Covington has been a disaster since joining the Trail Blazers. He only had an 11.5 percent usage rate last season and has followed that up with an 11.3 percent usage rate this season. The result has been averages of 8.5 points and 6.5 points, respectively. I'd argue that, when you factor in his averages of 4.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 40.3 percent shooting from the field, he's someone to even consider dropping, despite what he can provide on defense.
A lot was expected from Stewart heading into this season, but his playing time hasn't increased significantly enough, checking in at an average of 25 minutes per game. While he's still had some juicy fantasy nights, his overall averages of 7.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks are nothing to write home about.
Since I think Covington is a borderline drop candidate, this question comes down to, would you rather have Stewart or Williams? Despite his injuries, it's Williams. He's seen his playing time increase to 30 minutes per game, and he's cashed in with averages of 9.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. He's even shot 73.6 percent from the field. That seems like an absurd number, but across his first three seasons in the league, he's never shot worse than 70.6 percent. All of those numbers are career-highs for Williams. He's the guy I'd want.
Is Kelly Oubre Jr. a drop or a hold for points leagues? - @gregallerston
Joining the Hornets wasn't an ideal scenario for Oubre's fantasy value. He finds himself on a team with a lot of depth on the wing, and that was even the case before we found out Miles Bridges would be one of the year's biggest breakouts. As a result, Oubre has only averaged 27 minutes per game – down from his average of 30 minutes per game with the Warriors last season.
The result of Oubre's limited role has been averages of 15.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.9 steals. His 2.7 three-pointers per game are big for roto leagues, but they're not that important in a points scoring format. It would likely take an injury to Bridges or Gordon Hayward for Oubre to take on an expanded role. Hayward does have a checkered injury history, so that happening is not out of the question.
If you're in a 10-team league, dropping Oubre for immediate help isn't a bad idea. However, in leagues deeper than that, he might be worth holding onto. It will be difficult to find more appealing options on waivers.