Is It Time To Trade For Trae?

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Matt Stroup
·8 min read
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With next Thursday’s NBA trade deadline and the Yahoo default fantasy trade deadline (March 26th) drawing near, this week’s column will be fantasy trade-centric. The eight players discussed here are notable trade targets to consider, many of them capable of returning early-round value, and many of them playing better right now than their season-long numbers would suggest.

Are they all players who have completely bottomed out in value, thereby meaning you can get them for next to nothing? Not at all. In fact, many of these guys are already playing well, as I just mentioned.

However, in every case, I think there’s a potential loophole to take advantage of in trade discussions, and I will tell you why I think that in each case right now.

Trae Young

Season rank: 47th (per BasketballMonster.com) — 25.9 ppg / 4.1 rpg / 9.4 apg / 0.8 spg / 2.5 3s

Last month: 48th — 26.0 ppg / 4.4 rpg / 9.4 apg / 1.0 spg / 3.0 3s

Loophole: Turnovers, improved shooting

You can’t spell Rayford Trae Young (his full name) without TRADE FOR (RAY) YOUNG, and I want to officially apologize for starting the column this way. It just happened. I will understand if you close this tab immediately.

Attempting to move past it, as you can see, Young’s last month looks pretty similar to his season-long ranking on the surface, but Trae has been shooting it better lately (46.2 percent the last month vs. 43.3 on the season), and if you take turnovers out of the equation, he’s been a top-20 player (18th overall) the last 30 days. He has also had a couple low-scoring games recently (14 and 13 points) in easy victories as the Hawks finish up an extremely soft part of their schedule. With games coming up against the Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Nuggets and Suns, high-volume Trae is going to be needed.

Add it all up, and now looks like a pretty interesting time to send an offer.

Coby White

Season rank: 165th — 15.5 ppg / 4.7 rpg / 4.8 apg / 0.5 spg / 2.3 3s

Last month: 142nd — 15.1 ppg / 4.8 rpg / 3.5 apg / 0.6 spg / 2.1 3s

Loophole: Recent slump, loss of starting job

Coby White has lost his starting job, scored four and nine points in his last two games, and there’s a feeling here that all is lost. During Friday’s podcast, Ryan Knaus was so frustrated with White that he was thinking about dropping him.

The reason not to, and the reason to target him in fantasy trades, is that he’s shown himself to be both explosive and wildly streaky during his brief NBA career. This is a guy who earlier this season had a five-game stretch where he scored 36, 14, 9, 22 and 0 points. He also closed on quite a hot streak last season, putting up 26.1 ppg, 4.4 apg and 3.9 3s over his final nine games.

Jamal Murray

Season rank: 43rd — 20.7 ppg / 4.1 rpg / 4.7 apg / 1.2 spg / 2.6 3s

Last month: 9th — 24.5 ppg / 4.0 rpg / 5.2 apg / 1.4 spg / 3.5 3s

Loophole: Quiet games recently + ceiling is higher than some might think

Like Trae Young, Murray has had a few quiet games recently (12.0 ppg on 34.0 percent shooting over his last four). Unlike Young, Murray has still been a top-10 player over the last month. You aren’t going to sneak up on anyone given the heater that Murray was on as recently as late February, but if you can deal for Murray at something close to his season-long ranking of 43rd, you have a chance to easily win out in overall value the rest of the way.

Lonzo Ball

Season rank: 57th — 14.2 ppg / 4.2 rpg / 5.6 apg / 1.3 spg / 3.0 3s

Last month: 35th — 15.0 ppg / 3.7 rpg / 7.0 apg / 1.4 spg / 3.4 3s

Loophole: Early slump dragging down season-long stats

Lonzo’s season-long ranking is still being held in check by bad shooting and adjusting to a different role to start the season — he averaged just 11.9 ppg and 4.4 dimes on 38.7 percent shooting through his first 10 games. It was so bad early on, that I would have loved to see Lonzo get traded out of New Orleans. At this point, I’d rather have him stay.

Bottom line (and recurring theme): Take advantage of that season-long ranking if you can. Lonzo is simply better and his ceiling is notably higher than 57th.

Robert Covington

Season rank: 46th — 8.5 ppg / 6.6 rpg / 1.6 spg / 1.2 bpg / 1.9 3s

Last month: 21st — 10.5 ppg / 7.7 rpg / 1.5 spg / 2.0 bpg / 2.3 3s

Loophole: Early slump + low scoring

First of all, it’s kind of amazing that after all the Covington-related frustration, he’s all the way up to 46th overall on the season. And with that said, this is another spot where you aren’t going to sneak up on anyone.

The opportunity we need to try to capitalize on with Covington is the scoring. And I’d be transparent about it in trade talks that I’m willing to take the hit with Covington’s points and deal away a player who scores a lot more (and does less) to get those steals and blocks. Because as good as Covington has been in both of those areas lately, his points (last six games: 7-13-9-19-9-10) may still be causing some headaches. That’s how you still have a potential chance to get this extremely valuable player onto your squad.

Draymond Green

Season rank: 87th — 6.2 ppg / 6.3 rpg / 8.5 apg / 1.5 spg / 0.7 bpg

Last month: 24th — 8.5 ppg / 7.8 rpg / 8.9 apg / 1.6 spg / 0.9 bpg

Loophole: People may be eager to trade him

I didn’t draft Green anywhere. Quite simply, I wanted no part of the experience. And after seeing him get ridiculously hot in February (including a seven-game stretch where he averaged 12.3 assists), my immediate thought was: If I had this guy on my roster, I’d be trying to unload him ASAP.

Sometimes, there’s value in being the person who’s willing to trade for that player. The manager who drafted Green thinks they’re unloading a potential headache. There’s a chance they’re right. And in that transaction, there’s potentially something to be gained. Also, it’s possible that said manager has been attempting to deal away Green for a while, got frustrated, and gave up. Suddenly, you send an offer for Green, and at first glance, it looks even better than it is.

Taking all that into consideration, along with the huge discrepancy between his numbers lately and his season-long stats, I think Green is somehow both a worthwhile player to trade away and trade for.

Josh Richardson

Season rank: 109th — 13.3 ppg / 3.2 rpg / 2.7 apg / 1.0 spg / 0.4 bpg / 1.6 3s

Last month: 57th — 14.8 ppg / 3.8 rpg / 2.7 apg / 1.4 spg / 0.6 bpg / 1.8 3s

Loophole: Boring season-long numbers, recent defensive surge

Richardson’s season-long numbers could not look much more bland. In fact, just last week in this column, I was talking about how boring he is as a fantasy option. But lately, we’ve seen some glimpses of a long-awaited spike in defensive production. Over his last seven games, Richardson is sitting at 1.7 spg and 1.0 bpg (with 1.9 3s). He’s a guy you might be able to get included in a multi-player trade who has more potential upside than what he’s shown for the majority of the season.

P.J. Washington

Season rank: 77th — 12.6 ppg / 6.3 rpg / 2.8 apg / 1.1 spg / 1.2 bpg / 1.5 3s

Last month: 26th — 15.4 ppg / 5.8 rpg / 2.4 apg / 1.3 spg / 1.1 bpg / 2.3 3s

Loophole: Low points and boards, a couple recent duds

I love Washington’s combo of steals/blocks/3s, and for trade purposes, I love that it’s accompanied by some pretty bland-looking numbers in points and rebounds. As we’ve seen the last month, PJW has a little more ceiling than just being a 12 and 6 guy (after all, he dropped 42 in a game a few weeks ago). And with that in mind, Friday may not be the ideal day to send a Washington offer when he just had 18 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and three triples against the Lakers, so wait for his next dud or two (he had 10 and eight points in his last two games prior to Thursday), then make the move.

For more on some recent trends, including the fast rise of Kevin Porter Jr. and some rare explosive numbers from Jakob Poeltl, check out the latest podcast episode right here: