Early fantasy returns from Andre Drummond, D'Angelo Russell, and more top names who moved at the NBA Trade Deadline

Yahoo Sports

By Nick WhalenRotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Nearly three weeks have passed since the NBA trade deadline, which saw players like Andre Drummond, D’Angelo Russell and Andrew Wiggins land in new cities. While the All-Star break fell in the middle of that stretch, we now have at least a few games on which we can evaluate how the moves have impacted fantasy basketball.

So with that in mind, let’s take a tour around the league and play a quick game of Stock Up or Stock Down: Post-Deadline Edition.

Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers

Initially, Drummond going from one middling Central Division team to another looked to be a lateral move, but the early returns have not been positive. Drummond posted double-doubles in each of his first three games with the Cavs, but he’s averaging just 24.4 minutes through five games, down from 33.8 per game in Detroit.

He bottomed out with just six points and six rebounds against Miami over the weekend before following up with 13 points — on 5-of-14 shooting — and six rebounds in Monday night’s rematch. For now, the Cavs appear content to allow Drummond, Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance to share minutes relatively evenly. But it’s been Nance who’s actually played the most of the three since the deadline.

Unless the Cavs buy out Thompson before the Mar 1 deadline, Drummond’s value will likely remain depressed through the fantasy playoffs.

The verdict: Stock Down

The Andre Drummond trade was one of the more surprising from the deadline. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
The Andre Drummond trade was one of the more surprising from the deadline. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors

Early on, Wiggins was one of the biggest fantasy surprises in the league when he averaged 25.3 points on 47 percent shooting over his first 15 games. But Wiggins’ gradually regressed as the season wore on, looking more like the inconsistent player we’ve seen over the last several years. 

In Golden State, Wiggins has mostly been the same player, but through five games he’s shot the ball more efficiently both from the field (49.3%) and from three (47.7%). Throw out Sunday’s 3-of-16 shooting performance against the Pelicans and those numbers look even better. 

Perhaps most encouragingly, Wiggins looks to be more engaged defensively. Since donning a Warriors uniform, he’s averaging 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. In his debut on Feb. 8 in a narrow loss to the Lakers, Wiggins had five steals — two more than his previous season-high and just the ninth time all season that he recorded at least two steals. A few nights later, he had four blocks in a loss to Phoenix, also a season-high. 

Considering the healthy talent around him, Wiggins’ situation may not have improved all that much from a pure basketball perspective. That said, simply shifting from a dysfunctional organization to one of the most well-run in the league should continue to aid in what may have been a long-stalled development process. 

The verdict: Stock Up

D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves

Russell has missed two games since being dealt to Minnesota, so we’re working with only a four-game sample size. For the most part, Russell’s per-game numbers have remained steady, though he’s raised his assists production (8.5 APG) by about 2.0 per game since the trade. Russell’s scoring, rebounding and defensive numbers are virtually unchanged, as is his nightly workload (33.0 MPG).

So, for now, it’s a bit of a wash, though the obvious caveat is the fact that Karl-Anthony Towns — the driving force behind getting Russell to the upper midwest — has only played in one game alongside his close friend. That was a 137-126 loss to Toronto on Feb. 10 — Russell’s debut — when the pair combined for 55 points. Russell did not record a single rebound in that game and had five assists compared to six turnovers.

For fantasy purposes, Russell operating as the unquestioned engine of the offense may be for the best. Towns’ eventual return shouldn’t have much of an effect on Russell’s minutes load, but it could mean a drop in half-court responsibilities. Working with a one-game sample is inherently flukey, but Russell’s usage rate alongside Towns (24.1%) was by far his lowest in a Wolves uniform and his fourth-lowest number of the season.

The verdict: Stock Up (for now)

Marcus Morris, Los Angeles Clippers

Morris was living the good life in New York, putting up nearly 20 points per game on a career-high 24.3% usage rate. The Knicks may have been losing games, but Morris was having the best fantasy season of his career. Now a member of the Clippers, Morris has retained a starting role, but his usage rate has sunk to 17.3%, with averages of 10.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 block and 1.4 made threes per game.

Morris has topped 30 minutes three times in five games, but the Clippers were without Paul George in one of those, and George exited after just 15 minutes in another. A lopsided blowout of the Grizzlies on Monday may not have provided the best template, but with George and Kawhi Leonard healthy, Morris saw 24 minutes of action and finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Morris is still rosterable, but there’s a reason his Yahoo roster-rate has plummeted since the break.

The verdict: Stock Down

Robert Covington, Houston Rockets

The acquisition of Covington officially flipped the switch for the Rockets’ full-time small-ball attack. Houston is 5-2 since the trade, and Covington has been fully unleashed as a three-and-D threat. Locked into a starting role, Covington is averaging 31.7 minutes per game, about 2.5 more per game than what he played in Minnesota.

While Covington’s scoring, rebounding, assists and steals numbers are relatively unchanged, he’s been a significantly better shot-blocker and three-point threat in Houston. Through seven games, he’s blocking 2.6 shots per game, an incredible number for a true wing, and he’s recorded 15 blocks over the last four games alone (3.8 BPG).

In that same span, Covington is launching 9.5 threes per game. And though he’s hitting at just a 31.6% clip, he’s still providing fantasy managers with 3.0 makes per contest. Covington has attempted at least 10 threes in three of seven games with the Rockets — something he did just eight times in 48 games with the Wolves.

The verdict: Stock Up

Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves

For the full season, Beasley is barely a top-250 player in eight-category Yahoo leagues. Trim that time frame down to the last two weeks, and he jumps into the top 70 overall. So, yes, going from an inconsistent reserve in Denver to a 34-minute-per-game starter in Minnesota has done wonders for Beasley’s value.

Through six games, he’s averaging 21.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 4.2 made threes while shooting better than 43% on nearly 10 attempts per game. He’s topped 20 points in four of those contests, including a 28-point, six-rebound, three-assist performance against Charlotte just before the break. Since joining the Wolves, Beasley’s usage rate has only jumped by about 4.5 percentage points, but his minutes and field goal attempts have nearly doubled. The palpable boost in confidence has resurrected his three-point percentage — up to 37.9% for the season — and even dragged his field goal percentage over 40% for the first time since early January.

The verdict: Stock WAY Up

Gorgui Dieng, Memphis Grizzlies

For the better part of the last few years, Dieng has been defined by his contract. The more than $17 million he’s owed next year remains an albatross, but Dieng has had multiple stretches of productive play this season amid injuries to those above him on the depth chart.

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In his first two games in Memphis, Dieng played only 26 total minutes off the bench and wasn’t pinging any fantasy radars. But he played 21 minutes against the Lakers on Friday and finished with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double. Then, he produced the same line Monday night against the Clippers, adding four blocks and a steal in 28 minutes.

At the time of the trade, Dieng looked like he’d slot in as the third center, but with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke both injured, Dieng could be in line for a 25-plus-minute role — especially if Clarke, who exited Monday’s game with a hip injury, ends up missing extended time. Filling in for an injured Karl-Anthony Towns earlier this season, Dieng averaged 12.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks in 26.5 minutes over a 15-game span from Dec. 18 through Jan. 15.

The verdict: Stock Up (for now)

Shabazz Napier, Washington Wizards

Monday night’s season-high 27-point effort aside, Napier moving from Minnesota to Washington has been a drag on his fantasy value. Napier wasn’t winning you any leagues, but in the wake of the Jeff Teague trade, he’d emerged as a reliable source of points, steals and, especially, assists as the full-time starter in Minnesota. He went from one bleak roster to another, but through seven games in D.C., Napier has topped 20 minutes only twice, with the Wizards continuing to favor Ish Smith.

Maybe Monday night’s performance did something to change that, but until Napier sees a consistent bump in minutes, he’s best left on waivers.

The verdict: Stock Down

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