The NBA’s trade deadline talk centered around Anthony Davis, which resulted in dysfunction in Los Angeles and The Brow ultimately staying in New Orleans — a consequence that’s become clear was entirely intended.
Instead, we were left with a few other deals (Marc Gasol to the Raptors makes the Eastern Conference playoffs that much more intriguing, while the Kings are trying their best to end the NBA’s longest playoff drought — 12 seasons — by dealing for Harrison Barnes) but nothing too earth-shattering.
Still, there’s plenty of fantasy impact to examine after trade season has come and gone.
Dennis Smith Jr.
His game’s not ideal for nine-cat leagues, but Smith’s value has seen a big boost after getting traded to New York. He’s going to be the focal point of the Knicks offense over the rest of the season given the early indications (he played 40 minutes and attempted 25 field goals during his second game with New York). It’s obviously a small sample, but his Usage Rate with the Knicks (29.9) would rank top-20 this season, so Smith Jr. is looking at a massive opportunity with the move to New York.
He’s set to return to action after being out with a thumb injury since mid-December and gets a bump in value with the trade to Memphis. He should start and see a good chunk of minutes on a Grizzlies team now without Marc Gasol in its frontcourt. Valanciunas has been a top-25 fantasy player on a per 36-minute basis this season.
The big man has had his moments when given the opportunity this season and should see an increased one now after getting dealt to the Clippers, who no longer roster Boban Marjanovic or Marcin Gortat in the middle.
Zubac’s dealing with a finger injury, but it’s considered minor and he’s still available in more than 70 percent of Yahoo leagues. New teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is another freely available player (owned in just 33 percent of leagues) who gets a boost in fantasy value at the deadline, as there’s a big void to fill in L.A. with Tobias Harris now out of town.
He’s been traded to Washington, resuscitating some of his fantasy value now that his minutes should start climbing back up. Parker will likely trade some recent impressive efficiency (60.9 FG% over last nine games) for volume on his depleted new team (the Wizards have no Otto Porter Jr. or John Wall). Parker’s days of signing a big contract are finished, but he can remain useful for fantasy owners with the move to Washington.
It’s been a slower than expected process, but the sophomore is finally starting to break out as hoped as he’s been a top-50 fantasy player over the last two weeks. Over that span, Isaac has averaged 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks. While his offensive game remains a work in progress, he’s got a ton of nine-cat upside given how active he is on the defensive end.
The No. 6 overall pick should only continue to improve, as Isaac’s just 21 years old and is going to be fun to own for many seasons to come. His short-term usage should also increase with Mo Bamba injured and Jonathan Simmons traded to Philadelphia as well.
The trade deadline has passed and Davis is still in New Orleans, which is bad news for his fantasy owners. He’s physically fine to play after dealing with a fractured finger, but it’s unclear how much the Pelicans will want to risk him given that Davis has informed the team he won’t sign an extension, and they will almost certainly move him during the offseason. For his part, Davis says he wants to play, and he likely will, but with no incentive whatsoever for team or player, it’d be a surprise if AD finished out the year on the active roster.
The league would have been a lot more exciting had he been dealt Thursday, and his fantasy owners would certainly have preferred him to be suddenly motivated in a playoff chase. Even with James Harden’s historic stretch of 28 straight games with 30-plus points, Davis has still decidedly been the No. 1 fantasy player in nine-cat leagues this year, so his availability is a little important.
He’s in the middle of the best season of his life, averaging career-highs in ppg (20.9), True Shooting Percentage (60.5) and PER (18.72), checking in as a top-25 fantasy player. But he’s also enjoyed a career-high in Usage Rate (23.1), which is sure to take a hit now that he’s been traded to Philadelphia, as he’s now sharing the court with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler. The Harris trade meant the Sixers are going all in, and it sure looks like a great basketball move; just not one that will help out his own stats or his fantasy owners.
He’s missed time recently with a back injury that’s becoming increasingly clear is going to remain a lingering problem throughout the season. Lowry has shot just 35.5 percent from the field over the last month, when he’s been outside the top-75 fantasy players. He’s actually averaging career-highs in assists and blocks, but his output has been on a steady monthly decline since a terrific start to the year, and it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be 100 percent again until next season.
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