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Category Strategy: Deadline Decisions

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

Let's say for a second we're not talking fantasy but real-life basketball. If you're starting a real-life basketball team tomorrow and had to do a snake draft based solely on the next three years, how high would you take Carmelo Anthony? I'm not totally convinced the Knicks made out with acquiring the ex-Denver Nugget. Let's start back at the beginning.

Melo will always hold a huge place in my heart, likely because, for an alleged amount of money, I had the Orangemen over Kansas in the 2003 finals. For the record, Syracuse beat No. 1 seed Oklahoma, No. 1 seed Texas and No. 2 Kansas that year en route to the championship. Not an easy road to say the least. Carmelo was named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player and finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the championship game.

Carmelo then went third in the 2003 NBA draft, which was a sick draft (speaking early picks). As a refresher, LeBron James went first, Carmelo Anthony third, Chris Bosh fourth and Dwyane Wade fifth. Notice anything about three of those first five picks? For the record, it was a weird draft as after the first 16 picks, there were a bunch of foreign picks in the first two rounds who never panned out.

The Nuggets went on to make the playoffs each year they had Anthony. He's scored 33 points in one quarter and has the size (6-foot-8) and agility to beat defenders a number of ways. He's easily the best player that will be traded this deadline, and I can't fault the Knicks for going after him. A prolific scorer, Carmelo has averaged at least 25 points in five of his last six seasons and will be in another up-tempo system. Anthony will wear No. 7 in New York since Earl Monroe's 15 is retired. Expect an extension to be announced soon.

Now let's get to my hesitancy in the Knicks acquiring Carmelo. First, he'll likely sign the an extension, which will tie up a ton of cap room between him and Amar'e Stoudemire for the Knicks. Carmelo has never had a great reputation as a defender, and I'm not sure he's such an elite player to be banking all that money on him. While the Knicks gave up some expiring money over the next season and a half, they also gave away a bunch of draft picks that could have been fruitful (Landry Fields was 39th in the 2010 draft). Finally, Carmelo has missed at least 13 games in each of the last two seasons.

In the end, time will tell how this trade works out, and I'm almost positive there is dealing to still be done by Denver. It bears repeating to keep a close eye on any trades that could impact your fantasy team between now and mid-day Thursday. OK, enough Anthony trade talk, you'll be tired of it by week's end if you weren't already.

If Demar DeRozan is upset about props being used for the dunk contest, how mad should Serge Ibaka be? Ibaka only had possibly the longest dunk (he's 7-foot!) ever recorded and got only a 45?


Each week we'll look at players who have received increased minutes. An uptick in minutes doesn't always translate into improved fantasy stats but at the very least offers some players to put on the radar.

Patrick Patterson, F, HOU
In the smallest of sample sizes (Tuesday night), Patterson scored 20 points and grabbed five rebounds in only 22 minutes. Trade speculation is swirling around Houston, which could impact Patterson's playing time. Often forgotten after John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, Patterson was an important cog in the Kentucky machine last year. He got his degree in only three years and was the 14th overall pick in the 2010 draft, so the pedigree is there. At the very least monitor his situation in the upcoming days.

Corey Brewer, F, NYK
Another speculative add, Brewer has good fantasy prospects if he sticks with the Knicks. Only a season ago he averaged 13 points a contest and could put up respectable numbers across the board with 24-plus minutes in New York. Only 24, he's the type of player who could thrive in Mike D'Antoni's system.


Each week we'll look at certain players who can help your fantasy team in the nine categories most leagues use. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a certain category, there's no guarantee they will contribute in other areas.


Jerryd Bayless, G, TOR
Here is another huge overreaction on my part to the Association's return to business after the All-Star Break. Bayless had 11 points (all from the charity strip) and 10 assists Tuesday, despite playing only 21 minutes. The reason I bring Bayless up is the cellar-dwelling tendencies the Raptors have these days. At 15-42, they sit at the bottom of the Atlantic Division but, fortunately, don't get as much negative press with the Cavaliers having such a poor season. Don't be surprised to see Toronto rest the oft-injured Jose Calderon down the stretch and give Bayless a little more run.

Rebounds and Blocks

Samuel Dalembert, C, SAC
Here's what I wrote in the comments section last week:

"I'd also keep an eye on Samuel Dalembert. He's gotten more run with the Cousins drama lately and seems to be more aggressive on the offensive end. If I was a team in need of some backup/center help, I'd be calling the Kings in the next couple of weeks (say a team in South Beach)? Purely speculation on my part, but I think it makes sense."

Dalembert got 31 minutes Tuesday and had a monster game 18 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. This was partially due to playing against a team weak in the paint and in a game that was a blowout, but luckily that helps and doesn't hurt in fantasy. I don't know how Dalembert, 29, fits into the Kings' future plans so don't be surprised to see him moved before Thursday's deadline.


Always check your league's eligibility rules to make sure a player qualifies.

Darko Milicic, MIN
Now eligible at power forward