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Hoops Lab: NBA Hoops Lab-Week 20

Andre' Snellings

Andre' Snellings is a Neural Engineer by day, and RotoWire's senior basketball columnist by night. He's a two-time winner of the Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

The Hoops Lab

By Andre' Snellings
RotoWire Staff Writer

Breakout candidates 2: Trade targets

The last segment of the fantasy season is upon us, with most leagues either just past or else rapidly approaching the trade deadline. While I talked a couple of weeks ago about breakout-candidate free agent pick-ups, today I'll use sabermetrics to look at potential trade targets. These players are rotation contributors that are likely on someone's team in your fantasy league, but because their play has been even better than generally perceived, and they have a legitimate chance to get more minutes down the stretch, they make good trade targets.

Just like before, I will use the Wins Produced stats over the first 41 games from and the current Roland Rating from to look for my trade targets. The Wins Produced stat is calculated based on how much a player's stats have contributed to his team's wins, and the Roland rating is a composite stat that takes into account a player's net Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and the team's net +/- value when he's on or off the court.

I used more stringent criteria to look for my trade targets than I did my sleepers two weeks ago: Wins produced/48 minutes (WP48) > +0.18 and/or Roland Rating > +3.0, minutes played between 30 percent and 70 percent of the total available at their position, and situations with a legitimate shot to play more minutes for the remainder of the season. Don't worry so much about the statistical details here, just know that most of the NBA players that fit these numerical criteria are impact players, so if a player is doing it in fewer minutes, perhaps that's a sign that he's ready to break out with more opportunity.

Wally Szczerbiak CLE, WP48 = .055, Roland Rating = +6.7 (Seattle)
Szczerbiak always shoots 50 percent from the field, 80 percent from the line and 40 percent from the 3-point line. Because his shooting is so consistent, his roto value is tied entirely into whether he gets enough minutes/shots to make those percentages meaningful. Despite the fact that he comes off the bench, Szczerbiak is depended upon to be a primary non-Lebron scoring option for the Cavs which means that he should be a valuable roto commodity down the stretch.

Rafer Alston HOU, WP48 = +0.078, Roland Rating = +3.5
Alston has been playing surprisingly well for months now, mainly under the radar. Now that Yao Ming is done for the season, Alston is locked into the second option role for the Rockets and should continue to put up strong numbers.

Devin Harris NJ, WP48 = +0.135, Roland Rating = +4.4 (Dallas)/+15.5 (NJ)
Harris was the centerpiece of the Jason Kidd trade for the Nets, and he has experience playing a two point-guard lineup from his days playing next to Jason Terry in Dallas. These two things suggest that Harris should be given plenty of minutes and opportunity in New Jersey, where the presence of another good young point guard in Marcus Williams should not be enough to prevent Harris from getting his numbers.

T.J. Ford TOR, WP48 = +0.170, Roland Rating = +4.4
Ford has the misfortune of playing with one of the best young point guards in the league in Jose Calderon, but don't forget that Ford is also one of the better young guards around. As Ford regains his health and confidence he's too good not to get minutes, and the Raptors offense is wide-open enough that both guards could end up playing near 30 a game. Since Calderon has driven down Ford's trade value, Ford should make a good trade target.

David Lee NYK, WP48 = +0.219, Roland Rating = +4.5
The Knicks are a mess, but it isn't Lee's fault. He showed last season that he can put up consistently big numbers when he gets the minutes, but he has not gotten those minutes this season. I would not be surprised if either Zach Randolph or Eddy Curry shut it down early as each have had issues staying motivated this season, and if that happens I want to be the one that owns Lee when he finally gets the chance to start.

Beno Udrih SAC, WP48 = +0.091, Roland Rating = +3.2
Udrih became a roto favorite earlier in the season while Mike Bibby was hurt, and he regained that attention after Bibby was traded. Some may still feel he's a fluke, but his strong Roland Rating suggests to me that he has the chops to finish this season strong.

Situations to watch

Bobcats Swingmen: The Bobcats swingmen have all been taking advantage of extra minutes and responsibility with Gerald Wallace (concussion) sidelined. Over the last week, Jason Richardson is averaging 32 points with seven boards and three assists, Jared Dudley is at a near double-double with almost 13 points, 10 boards and almost three combined steals/blocks per, and Matt Carroll is posting almost 15 points and seven boards.

Veteran odysseys: Sam Cassell, Brent Barry, P.J. Brown, Theo Ratliff, and Juan Dixon are just some of the veteran players that are moving onto contending rosters in hopes of adding a ring. None of this crew generate the fantasy attention that they once would have, and in fact most should be looking at only back-up roles. Cassell and Barry are the only ones of the group that should even be on your fantasy radar, and even they don't deserve a roster spot in most leagues. Barry has some value as a 3-point role player, but Cassell is not likely to play enough minutes to produce roto numbers unless Rajon Rondo gets hurt.

Quick Hits

Mike Dunleavy Jr as The Man: Dunleavy has averaged more than 28 points, four boards and four assists per over the last week as he has stepped up his game to become a legitimate number one option for the Pacers.

The Captain is Back: Stephen Jackson has returned with a vengeance from the ankle injury that sidelined him for two games at the end of February. He has averaged 23.4 points, 6.0 boards, 3.6 treys, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in five games since getting back on the court.

Big Man from Down Under: Andrew Bogut is rightfully hidden by the big shadows cast by draft-mates Chris Paul and Deron Williams, but quietly the big Australian is developing into the strong center that the Bucks hoped for. Bogut is averaging 18.3 points on 58 percent shooting from the field, 13 boards, 4.3 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per over his last four games.

New Additions

Rashad McCants: McCants is coming off of the bench for the Timberwolves these days, but he is averaging 16.8 points, 2.8 boards, 2.3 assists, and 1.8 treys per over his last eight games.

Kendrick Perkins: Perkins has been on fire lately, pulling down 13.7 boards along with 13.3 points, 3.7 blocks and 3.0 assists per game over the last week.

Jared Dudley, Matt Carroll: As mentioned above, Dudley and Carroll make great short-term adds while Gerald Wallace is out. Dudley is more of a scorer/rebounder while Carroll is a long-range threat, but both can help fantasy teams while they are getting minutes.

Article first appeared 3/7/08

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