By Matt Buser
January 17, 2007
It took less than a month for Pacers coach Rick Carlisle to decide that a small lineup, with Al Harrington starting at center, was not going to work out as hoped. Fast forward six weeks, and now the Pacers have apparently decided that Al Harrington as a Pacer, period, was not going to work out. The Pacers and Warriors agreed on an eight-player trade on Wednesday, with Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and Josh Powell headed to Golden State in exchange for Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Ike Diogu, and Keith McLeod. Let's take a look at how this major trade affects fantasy values for both teams.
The Pacers should resort back to the small lineup, with Murphy playing the role that Harrington was supposed to. While Harrington is a more refined offensive player, Murphy is much more effective rebounder – over the course of their careers, Harrington has averaged 6.9 boards per 35 minutes while Murphy has averaged 10.2. Jeff Foster has been, as expected, a force on the boards since rejoining the starting lineup (9.8 per game in 25 starts), but he poses as little of an offensive threat as anyone in the league (5.1 points per game in 25 starts). Murphy has the ability to score inside and on the perimeter, rebounds at a similar rate, and should give Carlisle exactly what he's looking for – expect Murphy to once again become a nightly double-double threat with the Pacers.
Dunleavy gets to leave the team that made him a No.3 overall pick, where expectations of production to match that draft position still hang over his head. His numbers have never been terrible, but have never been great, either, and his fantasy value shouldn't change all that much in Indiana – Dunleavy is simply a consistently average player. He is likely to form a platoon with Danny Granger at small forward, and both players' production should hold fairly steady. Marquis Daniels is suddenly an intriguing player, as he makes the most sense to replace Jackson as the team's starting shooting guard. He's been a disappointment this season, but is a perpetual fantasy sleeper, with career per-35 minute averages of 13.4 points, 4.7 boards, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.7 steals. He has been used sparingly to this part of the season, averaging just over 15 minutes per game, but this is an opportunity for a much more prominent role. If he fails to capitalize, Dunleavy and Granger could both be looking at starting assignments. Diogu and McLeod's fantasy value don't figure to change much with the trade, as they will have the same roles with their new team that they did with their former.
The new-look Warriors lineup will be interesting to see in action, as they've replaced some square pegs with players whose styles are a much better fit. Obviously, Baron Davis will remain at point guard, and Andris Biedrins isn't going to get bumped by Harrington or Jackson. While Harrington is a lock, likely at power forward, the roles of Jackson, Matt Barnes, and Monta Ellis are a bit cloudier. Warriors coach Don Nelson has said earlier in the season that he likes Ellis as a reserve, so Jackson could replace Ellis at shooting guard, with Barnes remaining in the lineup as the team's small forward.
Harrington will be the second scoring option in Golden State as he was in Indiana, but will see a few more shots per night just due to the change in systems – while the nature of his production will remain unchanged, overall this trade should help Harrington's fantasy value a bit. As with Harrington, Jackson's role won't fluctuate much with the new digs, but his offensive numbers could improve with the freedom that Nelson's system allows. Ellis will revert to his splits as a reserve, so plan accordingly. Barnes, who has emerged as a Nelson favorite, doesn't figure to leave the starting lineup, but will lose a few looks per night to his new teammates – while his offensive production may slip, his overall line is where his true value lies, anyway. Jasikevicius is a good fit with the Warriors, but he's behind enough players in the rotation that he won't play enough to really make an impact on a nightly basis. Powell will remain an end-of-the-rotation player in Golden State, as well.
Matt Buser is a Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert. Follow him on Twitter. Send Matt a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007 3:31 pm, EST
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