Fantasy Basketball, Week 10
Should we expect a frenzy of trades in 2011?
by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach
Happy New Year! Honestly, I hope 2011 brings us a bevy of trades. And, I really do expect quite a few, but you can’t rely on a trade to happen. Don’t hang on to somebody because they might become valuable. Fantasy potential rests on a number of NBA benches this season (see “Andray Blatche 2009-10”). Rumors swirl, many without a trace of legitimacy, and the amount of trades that actually happen always pale in comparison. A Carmelo Anthony deal, however, seems as close to a sure thing as you can get. I just wish they would get on with it already. Once that happens, a lot of other players should be switching places as well. I’m going to rank the top five teams, other than the Nuggets, that desperately need to make a trade (for our sake):
1. Sacramento Kings – The frontcourt is a mystery. Paul Westphal has shuffled the lineup so much this season that I’m convinced Don Nelson has something to do with it. He can’t make up his mind. Samuel Dalembert, DeMarcus Cousins, Carl Landry, and Jason Thompson can all be valuable fantasy players but Westphal mixes it up so much that all of their production his hindered. Landry has the most starts (16), followed by Dalembert (15), Cousins (14) and then Thompson (12). Cousins is the most valuable fantasy player of the quartet, but he’s unreliable because of his attitude and shaky relationships with coaches. I like Landry as the best of the rest, but he appears to be the odd man out at the moment. He averaged 18 points and 6.5 rebounds in his 28 games with the Kings last season. Dalembert is extremely productive for spurts, but way too inconsistent. Couple that with Westphal’s inconsistency and I don’t want anything to do with him. Thompson missed four games because of a lacerated finger but returned Wednesday. He was inserted right back into the starting lineup but finished with one point and five fouls.
2. New Jersey Nets – In the beginning of the season we imagined Troy Murphy starting at power forward with Derrick Favors waiting in the wing. But Kris Humphries has come out of nowhere and taken the job, averaging 10.7 rebounds in his 25 starts. Many owners have cut ties with Murphy, who averaged double-doubles in each of the last two seasons. Avery Johnson is a stubborn little guy, so Murphy’s opportunity for success this season will probably have to be elsewhere. His name often pops up in the Melo-to-Nets rumors. Johnson’s priority is to get the third overall pick, Favors, into the starting lineup. On Sunday, Johnson told the Star-Ledger, “He’s got to give us a reason to start him… We need to see more consistency. He needs to dunk on three people in a night.” Murphy is clearly out of the picture here. I believe it’s only a matter of time before he’s moved.
3. Milwaukee Bucks – Corey Maggette, John Salmons, Carlos Delfino, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Chris Douglas-Roberts… really? You need all those guys? I know they’ve had their share of injuries so far, so the depth has helped, but come on. Delfino was the starter but has missed the last 23 games while suffering from concussion-related symptoms. His return hasn’t been announced, but it’s been declared that he will wear a protective helmet when he does. Maggette has averaged at least 16.8 points in each of the last eight seasons, but his playing time has been sporadic this season and is averaging only 10.6 points.
4. Houston Rockets – Kyle Lowry, Courtney Lee, and Terrence Williams could be starting for many teams. Lowry is still starting as Aaron Brooks continues to heal, which shouldn’t be much longer. Those who scooped Lowry when Brooks went down enjoyed averages of 11.6 points, 7.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 1.4 threes. Rockets’ General Manager Daryl Morey has said that you can’t have too many assets. He’s also been a very active player in the trade market during his tenure, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make another move. Another popular name in trade rumors is Yao Ming. If there is a taker out there for him, perhaps some of these other names could be included in the deal.
5. Detroit Pistons – There are too many egos on this team. Rip Hamilton should be the first one gone. They benched him recently and he wasn’t too pleased. Now, it looks like they’re trying to showcase Tracy McGrady for a trade. If he continues to get big minutes, there’s less to go around for Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon. They should be rebuilding and giving guys like Austin Daye, Greg Monroe, and DaJuan Summers more playing time to see what they can provide. You mean to tell me that no one is calling about Jason Maxiell? No contenders are interested in a tough, big man? Doesn’t Chris Wilcox do the same thing? That’s the thing with the Pistons, too many guys that do the same thing. Will Bynum even has game, but he has zero opportunity on this roster.
ON THE WIRE
Tracy McGrady – Started in place of Stuckey on Wednesday and lead the Pistons to a victory over the Celtics. T-Mac finished with 21 points, eight assists, four rebounds, and three steals. If he’s playing like that, I don’t see how the Pistons could afford to continue to bury him on the bench. Proceed with caution though, because you simply can’t trust him to be healthy for long.
Luke Ridnour – It’s been nine games now since Jonny Flynn’s return, and Ridnour has been able to keep the starting job. He’s been solid over his last five, averaging 16.2 points, 7.2 assists, 1.8 threes, and one steal. Flynn made some comments lately that he expects a trade to happen. So, it’s a good sign for Ridnour-owners that Flynn thinks it’s more likely that he’ll be traded than to win the starting job.
James Harden – In the last nine games he’s averaging 14.8 points, 1.6 threes, 1.2 steals, 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.8 turnovers, and about 27 minutes. He’s also hit 39 of 75 (52%) attempts from the field and 41 of 47 (83.7%) from the charity stripe. That’s efficiency that can’t be ignored.
Glen Davis – Big Baby is a nice, short-term option while Kevin Garnett is recovering from his leg injury. I could see this being a wake-up call for the Celtics to reduce the Ticket’s minutes the rest of the way. Davis could end up being a solid option in deep leagues even once KG returns.
Jordan Hill – Chuck Hayes, who’s started the last 19 games, is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. I believe Hill will be the one to capitalize. Brad Miller is also an option but Hill has been playing more lately. Hill recorded seven rebounds in each of the last two games and he can also be a good source for blocks.
Al-Farouq Aminu – He looked very impressive against the Jazz on Wednesday, going coast-to-coast for a two-handed flush and hitting a three on the next possession. He finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, and three three-pointers. His playing time is increasing, as he’s played about 30 minutes in each of the last two games.
Francisco Garcia – Worth keeping him on your radar as Tyreke Evans plans to eventually have a procedure on his foot that will keep him out for about a month. Sounds like it won’t happen until sometime around the All-Star break, but Garcia would likely have the greatest spike in value while Evans recovers.
Ed Davis – Lead the Raptors to victory in Dallas on Tuesday. The Mavericks were without Dirk Nowitzki and the Raps without Andrea Bargnani. Davis capitalized on his extra minutes, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, three blocks, and zero turnovers. Don’t rush to pick him up, but monitor his next few performances closely.
Chris Andersen – Finally, the Birdman has arrived! He’s averaging 10 rebounds through his last three games. When healthy, he can give you a significant boost in boards and blocks and it looks like he’s been healthy (and neon) lately.
Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter @Charles_Peach.