Fantasy Basketball, Week 18
The trade deadline winners and losers.
I was hesitant to label the ‘08-‘09 season as abnormally injury plagued, but losing Amar’e Stoudemire to sudden retina surgery has shifted the balance to a place where recovery is no longer an option. The injury was made worse by the fact that he was exploding under Alvin Gentry, who was poised to revive the run-n-gun ways of the D’Antoni era. It also seemingly came out of nowhere since STAT just had two of his best games. Damn the Clippers and their insistence! Why are they challenging dunks anyway?
The hits keep coming as Kevin Garnett is now lost for the next 2-3 weeks with a muscle strain in his knee. I expect him to use the full recovery time just to ensure a solid healing process. Mike Dunleavy is experiencing pain in the same knee that kept him out at the start of the season, and I’d imagine we’ve seen the last of him this year. Finally, a stress fracture will keep Manu Ginobili in street clothes for 2-3 weeks down in Texas.
The French have a term, C’est la vie which roughly translates to “that’s life,” but I prefer to label these developments as a swift kick in the nuts. The injury list is a mile long and will only continue to grow as teams begin to go all in for the Blake Griffin grand prize. The only positive here is more than likely everyone in your league is affected in some form or another, and the waiver wire has now become more important than ever.
The trade deadline has come and past, and it’s yet another example of why fantasy basketball is a great thing to be involved in. While the majority of NBA fans are whining and whimpering that no big names changed addresses on Thursday, the fantasy hoopsters realize there’s plenty of implications directly related to deadline deals that will directly effect league titles:
Larry Hughes – He had totally fallen out of the rotation in Chicago, but it doesn’t mean he wont get run in New York. Hughes isn’t a knockdown shooter, but he can handle the ball, and the Knicks are shorthanded until 2010. If you’re a patient fantasy owner and don’t mind waiting for him to get into D’Antoni game shape, he’ll pay dividends down the stretch.
Chris Wilcox – Much of what I said about Hughes also applies to Wilcox. He could be a nice source of points and rebounds once he gets into running shape for D’Antoni. Knicks fans will remember he was the man the Garden coveted the year they traded for Antonio McDyess. Wilcox’s pro career hasn’t been what we all expected thus far, but I think this is a good situation for a revival, and I’ve rolled the dice on him in leagues where I could afford to be patient.
Rafer Alston – The Magic made this deal so Alston could take over the team and run the offense in the absence of Jameer Nelson. He’s played for Stan Van Gundy in Miami, and essentially broke through his street ball typecast and made a NBA name for himself. Alston’s offensive options have improved and his production should also increase. He shouldn’t be available in any leagues.
Aaron Brooks – Even though he was completely left out of most NBA analysts breakdowns of the Rafer Alston deal, he could be the big fantasy winner here. Brooks has shown the ability to score points and run an offense and was really coming on even with Alston playing ahead of him. He knows the system in Houston, and that’s primarily why I’m not worried about him losing time to Kyle Lowry.
Spencer Hawes – His owners have been waiting all season for Brad Miller to be dealt, and now that it’s happened, the youth movement has officially begun in Sacramento. I don’t expect tremendous numbers from Hawes, but he should be worth starting the rest of the way and playing over 30 mpg. This year for the Kings, that’s reason enough to own him.
Francisco Garcia – John Salmons’ departure has opened the door for Garcia to start for Sacramento. Increased minutes means increased production, and Garcia should be owned in all leagues going forward.
Andres Nocioni – In his first game with the Kings, Nocioni played 30 minutes and dropped 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. While there’s nothing spectacular about that stat line, it was his first game with the team and he has the potential to play a large role and fill up the box.
When there are winners, inevitably there’s got to be some losing that follows. The benefit of no premiere names being dealt in the deadline is that is cuts down on players falling out of rotations, but in the case of John Salmons and Joakim Noah, there will be some ill-effects.
Salmons was putting up solid numbers for a bad Kings team, and Noah was feasting on rebounds with Drew Gooden sidelined in Chicago. Salmons will now be forced to split time with Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng at the 2 and 3 positions and his production will take a hit. Noah shouldn’t be deemed useless with Brad Miller back in Chicago, but his production is due to fall off. I’m advising owners stay patient with Salmons, and attempt to package him in a trade, while Noah’s production needs to be closely monitored going forward.
As I mentioned earlier, trades weren’t the only news affecting the wire situation recently. Injuries played a large role as well. Consider these players if they’re still available:
Matt Barnes – Amar’e Stoudemire’s absence has created a void at the forward spot in Phoenix. Barnes will be one of the main beneficiaries, and should be considered in all leagues.
Kendrick Perkins – Garnett’s injury should improve Perkins rebounding and scoring numbers over the next 2-3 weeks. If he’s sitting on the shelf in your league and you’re in need of points, blocks, and rebounds, he should be added right away.
Leandro Barbosa – The trickle down effect of the Amar’e injury has already reached Barbosa. With the Suns now in need of a more potent scoring core, and Alvin Gentry looking to run, it’s go time for Barbosa who laced up his track shoes for 41 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists on Friday. There will be moments of inconsistency but he should be owned in almost all leagues at this point.
Roger Mason – Manu Ginobili’s injury puts Mason back in the role he was in at the start of the season with the Spurs. He’s a knockdown shooter and will be a tremendous source of trey balls over the next few weeks. Although scoring is certainly his niche, he also has the ability to fill in with rebounds and assists. Though he’ll never be confused with a fantasy stud, he’s been one of the waiver wire surprises of the year.
Marquis Daniels – Similar to Roger Mason, Daniels started the season strong as Mike Dunleavy’s injury replacement. It’s not deja-vu, it’s a recurring knee injury for young Dunleavy that’s once again made Daniels a must own player in fantasy leagues.
Antonio McDyess – If you can ignore his miserable effort against the Cavaliers last night, he had recorded three straight double-doubles before that. The 24 points and 14 rebounds he put down on the Bucks is enough to make him a hot fantasy pickup in all leagues. The Pistons are struggling so it’s possible that changes may occur, but McDyess is well worth an add at this point.
Although no one’s going to confuse anyone on this list for 1st round fantasy studs, there’s plenty of players here who will help teams in all sized leagues. I’m here to help with your questions and comments, just leave them below. Thanks for reading and stay on point with the waiver wire.