Occasionally, the NBA trade deadline is a kind of a dud … but not this year. After a noisy deadline, fantasy owners have some adding and dropping to do. Let’s get to it…
Buddy Hield, SG, Sacramento Kings, 45% owned
It’s basically impossible to argue that Sacramento maximized its potential return on DeMarcus Cousins, one of the league’s elite bigs and best scorers. But the Kings did what they did, largely because the team’s owner is infatuated with Hield. There is simply no way Hield won’t be featured by Sacramento over the final two months of the season — you don’t make a guy the centerpiece of a trade involving your best player, then limit his minutes. Hield hasn’t had a particularly impressive rookie season, as he’s shooting just 39.6 percent from the field. But he was of course a ridiculous collegiate player, averaging 25.0 PPG as a senior at Oklahoma while shooting 45.7 percent from distance and 88.0 percent from the line. Don’t expect defensive goodies from Buddy, but he will very clearly have the green light to shoot. Assuming he plays 25-plus minutes per night, you can count on threes, points and free throw percentage. Hield scored 16 in his Kings debut.
Next week’s schedule: MIN, BKN, UTA
Willie Cauley-Stein, PF/C, Sacramento Kings, 52%
Boogie’s departure leaves a massive hole in Sacramento’s frontcourt, obviously, and Cauley-Stein was able to fill it capably, at least for one night. He delivered a Cousins-like fantasy line on Thursday in a home win against Denver, scoring 29 points (14-for-22) and pulling down 10 boards. WCS isn’t exactly a versatile scorer with range, so we can’t expect him to flirt with 30 points too often. But there’s little question he’ll see a big jump in minutes. He should be a double-double machine over the balance of the season, while averaging something like 1.5 blocks and a steal per game. A player with that profile should be universally owned.
Next week’s schedule: MIN, BKN, UTA
Bobby Portis, PF/C, Chicago Bulls, 24%
Portis is a high-motor guy who rarely passes on shot attempts, and he rebounds reasonably well (10.7 per-36). He isn’t nearly as reliable or versatile as Taj Gibson, so the Bulls unquestionably got worse at the deadline. It’s clear enough that Portis is going to play serious minutes in March and April, however, now that Gibson has been shipped to OKC (in a fantastically one-sided deal favoring the Thunder). Portis played 26 minutes in Chicago’s home win against Boston before the break, and he scored 19 points and pulled down eight boards. He should see enough playing time down the stretch to assist fantasy owners. Nikola Mirotic remained a member of the Bulls beyond the deadline, because … well, because he’s not good. He’s a basketball plague who should never play for a competitive team. Let’s not speak of him again. Portis is the player to add, following the Gibson deal.
Next week’s schedule: DEN, GS, LAC
Justin Anderson, SF, Philadelphia 76ers, 7%
Anderson moved from Dallas to Philly in the Nerlens Noel deal, and he should see an immediate bump in minutes. The Sixers don’t really have any notable wing players ahead of him. Check Anderson’s career per-36 numbers: 14.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 1.1 BPG. He’s worth a deep league flier, just in case he plays his way into 25-plus minutes per night. Here’s a taste of the lefty’s game. Not a bad find for Philly.
Next week’s schedule: GS, at MIA, NY, DET
E’Twaun Moore, PG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans, 7%
New Orleans dealt Hield and Tyreke Evans to the Kings, then lost Omri Casspi to a broken thumb, so the team is running a little low on wing players. Moore had a quiet night in a start on Thursday, but he’s going to see plenty of run over the final weeks, and he’s a capable shooter with multi-position eligibility. If you’re playing in an 8 or 10-team league, you don’t need to race to the wire for Moore. In deeper formats, however, he’s a player of interest. Minutes won’t be a worry.
Next week’s schedule: DET, SA, at LAL