- Guy Lake
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The trade many of us have been waiting for finally happened. We all knew Ricky Davis was not going to end the season in Minnesota, now it turns out he won't even start it there. With the youth movement in full effect, the two potential starters who didn't seem to fit were Ricky Davis and Mark Blount. They were, to borrow an expression, old and in the way. Now they are off to that place that loves the old and in the way: Miami, Florida in exchange for Antoine Walker, Michael Doleac, Wayne Simien and a conditional first-round draft pick. Let's take a look at how all this will shake out for fantasy owners.
Ricky Not Rickety
To be fair, Ricky Davis really isn't all that old. He's 28 and in his physical prime. He is joining a team that, at the moment, is a mess. Dwyane Wade is still recovering from shoulder and knee surgeries and will miss at least the first two weeks of the season. The team was 0-7 in the preseason and was in desperate need of some offensive spark. Ricky Buckets, as we all know, loves to score.
Some might worry that the "volatile" Ricky will hurt the Heat's chemistry, but I do not. He was a solid teammate on the Celtics and the T-Wolves, and neither Pat Riley nor Shaquille O'Neal will allow much nonsense from Ricky. Initially, look for Ricky to fill Wade's role on the team. He is clearly not Wade's equal, but Ricky can create his own shot as well as pass to open teammates. He has averaged five-plus assists over the past two seasons combined. The Heat are also in need of 3-point shooters with Jason Kapono gone and Jason Williams and Smush Parker the best remaining threats from deep. Ricky drained 39.7 percent from outside the orbit in 2006-07 and will have the green light in Miami. I expect big numbers from Ricky to start the season. When Wade returns Davis will slot into the third scoring option that Pat Riley has been looking for -- Jason Williams was not the answer there. The best move for aggressive owners may be to hold Ricky for the first few weeks of the season then move him as his points are better than 20 per game and his value is maximized. If you hold tight, I like him to pretty much repeat what he did last year with the T-Wolves, but with more 3-pointers made and a lower percentage from the field.
Blount is relegated to backup duty in Miami. He is a capable scorer and has a nice shooting touch, so he fits a need for the Heat. He is an upgrade on Doleac and, because of this, he may hurt Alonzo Mourning's value a bit. Blount will not equal his value of a year ago. He will share minutes with both O'Neal and 'Zo and though both are well past their prime, I do not see Blount getting close to the 31 minutes he averaged last season. He will score when he is in, but remember this guy is to rebounds what Walker is to the South Beach Diet.
Speaking of 'Toine, you can officially consign him to the dustbin of fantasy history. It is painfully clear he is no longer "Employee No. 8" who has averaged 18.0 points and 7.9 rebounds in his career. He will not fill Davis' role as the No. 1 option on offense. In fact, he probably won't even start on this team. The Wolves didn't trade for Walker to have him stand in the way of their younger players. Walker is poison to your percentages and there is no reason to have him on your teams.
Who Benefits in Minny?
The young guys are going to get more run in Minnesota. The starting lineup should look something like this to start the season: Al Jefferson at center, Craig Smith at power forward, Ryan Gomes at small forward, Corey Brewer at shooting guard, and Randy Foye at the point. The biggest beneficiaries are Smith, Gomes, Brewer and Rashad McCants, who will see significant minutes at shooting guard. Brewer will slide between the 2 and the 3 and provide owners with good defensive numbers and inconsistent shooting. Smith is definitely worth drafting now. With minutes in the high-20s, I like him to average around 12-13 points and eight rebounds per game. Essentially, he becomes Udonis Haslem without the good free-throw shooting. Gomes will remain the solid glue guy he is but with more minutes. McCants is now a nice end of draft pickup for 3s and scoring.
All in all, more fantasy value was created than lost in this deal as previously marginal players on Minnesota became draftable, while the players who lost value (Blount and Walker) were unlikely to be drafted to begin with.
Guy Lake analyzes the trade that sent Ricky Davis to Miami and Antoine Walker to Minnesota.