Working the Wire: Winners, losers from deadline trades
The trade deadline has come and gone, and although this season lacked the blockbusters we've become accustomed to, there were enough smaller deals that figure to change the fantasy landscape for the teams that were active at the deadline.
Before we get into the fantasy implications of the completed deals, keep in mind that the Jermaine O'Neal-for-Shawn Marion trade is old news by now, so we won't be covering that. And since this is a fantasy column, I also won't be discussing irrelevant fantasy players or salary-cap implications in the following capsules (apologies to Chris Mihm, Malik Rose and the free-agent class of 2010).
I don't see the values for Drew Gooden or Andres Nocioni changing much in Sacramento. Gooden could get some decent run (if he's healthy), but remember, this team is in full rebuilding mode and will be giving Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes every opportunity to mature during the final few months of the season. In fact, given the unstable nature of Gooden's injury, I'd probably put either Thompson or Hawes on my roster before adding Gooden.
Rashad McCants couldn't cut it in Minnesota, but he's still just 24 years old and he does have plenty of talent as a scorer and 3-point shooter in the league. Don't be surprised if McCants emerges as a sleeper candidate in Sacramento as the Kings go into full youth-movement mode down the stretch.
Chicago Bulls: After everything was said and done, the Bulls sent Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni, Larry Hughes and Thabo Sefolosha packing and added Brad Miller, John Salmons and Tim Thomas to the lineup. What a mess this is going to be.
Brad Miller figures to be the big winner here, but he will still have to contend with the improving duo of Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas in the paint. I like Miller a heck of a lot more now than I did in Sacramento, but I'm still not jumping for joy about this. I guess we could call it cautious optimism. Both Noah and Thomas take a hit in value here, but the extent of that hit remains to be seen. Hold on to both of them for now, but be ready to bail if they return to their inconsistent ways with Miller in town.
I am a huge John Salmons fan, but this deal didn't do him any favors. He should still see 30-plus minutes per game, but I don't think there's enough ball in Chicago to satisfy Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich and Salmons. If I had to guess, I'd say Hinrich and Salmons will take the biggest hit in fantasy value, but I'm not particularly excited about anyone in Chicago right now. It's just too crowded with similarly talented players for any one player (other than Derrick Rose) to separate himself from the pack.
Houston Rockets: When I first saw the Rockets traded Alston, my initial reaction was to run to the wire to grab Aaron Brooks. But then I realized the Rockets were also getting Kyle Lowry back in the deal and suddenly I wasn't so sure. I still grabbed Brooks, but this point guard situation in Houston isn't as clear-cut as some may think. It's funny, about half of the people I've talked to believe Aaron Brooks will start, and the other half think the job will belong to Kyle Lowry. Both groups have solid arguments; Brooks is a better shooter and scorer, but Lowry is the better all-around player at this stage in their careers. Both possess a fair amount of upside if handed the job outright, but I'm afraid we could be looking at a dreaded time-share until head coach Rick Adelman decides on a winner. If I had to choose between the two, I'd take Brooks for now, if only because he already knows the offense and won't have to go through the same growing pains Lowry will, being on a new team.
I actually see Wilcox as a mini-sleeper here, as the Knicks could certainly use his toughness in the frontcourt. Wilcox is an agile big, so he can get up and down the court in D'Antoni's system, and although he can't shoot a lick, he is a fantastic dunker and finisher on the fast break. It remains to be seen how D'Antoni will use him, but Wilcox certainly has some upside and those in deeper leagues should consider him, as he'll likely put up 10-12 points and eight rebounds while shooting 50-plus percent from the floor.
Oklahoma City Thunder: The Tyson Chandler deal fell through, but Oklahoma City still managed to score a nice little find in shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha. Thabo is a top-notch defender and should step right into the starting lineup for the Thunder. He won't provide much on the offensive end, but those in deeper leagues looking for a boost in steals should consider scooping him up off the wire. Sefolosha has averaged 9.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game in 40 career starts.
Ryan Gomes, SF/PF, Timberwolves (9.0 percent owned): Gomes opened our eyes in the second half this past season when he saw increased minutes and averaged 14.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.7 3-pointers with terrific percentages after the All-Star break. With Al Jefferson on the shelf for the remainder of the season, Gomes should have no problem duplicating or besting those numbers the rest of the way. He's already gotten off to a great start without Big Al by averaging 17.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 3-pointers and a steal in his past five games.
Andray Blatche, PF/C, Wizards (4.2 percent owned): After missing nine games with a knee injury, Blatche returned to action Tuesday to post a solid 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals in 27 minutes. The injury came at a bad time for Blatche, as he was just starting to come into his own with 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.4 blocks in the 10 games prior to the injury. Now healthy, Blatche once again looks like a quality fantasy option. The 14-42 Wizards don't have much else to play for this season, so why wouldn't they go with the talented but raw 22-year-old as their starting center the rest of the way?
Marquis Daniels, SG/SF, Pacers (37.5 percent owned): Mike Dunleavy is already on the shelf with a knee injury, and news that Danny Granger could miss up to three weeks with a torn tendon in his foot should give Daniels new life in Indiana. For those that forgot, Daniels averaged a cool 16.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 0.5 3-pointers and a steal in the month of November, and those numbers should certainly be within reach with both Dunleavy and Granger missing in action.
Jarrett Jack, PG, Pacers (14.8 percent owned): Jack, like Daniels, will benefit from the injuries to both Dunleavy and Granger in Indiana. Averaging a versatile 14.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 3-pointers in his past five games, Jack should be able to continue his recent hot streak at least until Granger returns (and potentially longer).
Nick Collison, PF/C, Thunder (45.9 percent owned): Now that Tyson Chandler isn't coming to Oklahoma City and Chris Wilcox is headed to New York, the Thunder have few options but to roll with Collison as their starting center the rest of the way. Collison isn't going to light the fantasy world on fire, but he should be able to average around 10-12 points and 8-9 rebounds while providing solid percentages for the remainder of the season.
Roger Mason, PG/SG, Spurs (29.3 percent owned): The Spurs used to be a ghost town for fantasy value whenever one of the big three went down with an injury, but the acquisition of Mason this past summer has changed things a little. With Manu Ginobili expected to miss two to three weeks with a stress reaction in his right ankle, Mason will see more minutes and shot attempts in San Antonio. He's still just a specialist for points and 3-pointers, but he'll likely average 14-15 points and 2.5 3-pointers per game during that stretch.
Antonio McDyess, PF, Pistons (10.8 percent owned): At 34 years of age, McDyess no longer has the bounce in his step to block shots, but that doesn't mean he can't be a valuable fantasy contributor. Recently inserted into the starting lineup, McDyess has been a beast on the glass with three consecutive double-doubles for the Pistons. In his past five games, he's averaging 11.4 points and 11.4 rebounds, so McDyess should be added by anyone in need of rebounding help for the stretch run.
Anthony Randolph, SF/PF, Warriors (0.4 percent owned): This may be a long shot, but Randolph has impressed with his play as of late with 10.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in just 17.0 minutes in his past four games. That's some serious per-minute production there, folks, and if Randolph can build on this streak, he just might find himself with some extra minutes from head coach Don Nelson. Don't bother giving him a look in shallow fantasy formats, but definitely keep an eye on his minutes in deeper formats, and feel free to stash him away as a young, high-upside flier in keeper leagues.
Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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