The NBA continues to consistently provide news and intrigue through both positive and negative storylines. Michael Beasley became a must-own player this week with the unfortunate downfall of Kristaps Porzingis. Meanwhile, the NBA trade deadline came and went without a number of big names moving, most notable of which were Tyreke Evans and DeAndre Jordan. Still, the moves that did go down have fantasy, ramifications and that will be the focus of this week’s article.
Before diving in, there are a few situations worth briefly speaking about that require more of a wait and see approach. Isaiah Thomas is highly owned and things can’t go much worse for him than they did in Cleveland. That said, the arrow is pointing up on him, but that’s because there’s really no other way for him to trend.
Two new additions to the Cavs will be detailed below, but I will be closely following how Rodney Hood fits into the rotation and what role they will have in the offense. Hood appears to be the better fantasy asset, but that situation remains the most unclear after the trade deadline. I
f you have the roster space 0ne or both may warrant a stash for the time being.
The trade of George Hill came just in time to save his fantasy value as he has seen his minutes dip to just over 20 per game for the month of January. Now, he will be relied upon by the Cavs to be their starting point guard. Hill’s per 36 minutes are not spectacular as he’s averaged 14 points, four boards, four assists, and a steal. While it’s unrealistic to expect Hill to log 36 minutes a game, he will see an upgrade in pace as the Cavs play a good deal faster than the Kings. More importantly, the overall offensive context is much better with the Cavs who own the fifth best offensive rating as a team in contrast to the Kings who have the worst offensive rating in the league.
Larry Nance is another beneficiary from joining the Cavs as the team is currently exceptionally thin in the front-court after their series of trades and the absence of Kevin Love. Like Hill, Nance had fallen out of favor with his former team and has seen his minutes slip. Unlike Hill, we have a big enough sample of Nance getting minutes this season to set reasonable expectations regarding his fantasy production. Though he’s not a flashy scorer, Nance contributes across the board bringing positive fantasy value with his defensive stats and field goal percentage.
The only negative comes from his free-throw percentage, so be aware of that prior to picking him up. Other than that, in the absence of Kevin Love, Nance should be able to produce well-rounded stat-lines that will be useful to fantasy owners in all league sizes.
New York Knicks
Emmanuel Mudiay hasn’t lived up to his draft status as the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft, and had fallen out of favor in Denver. As a result, he was averaging just 17.9 minutes per game this season. However, he should now have the chance to get on the court more as a member of the Knicks.
While Mudiay hasn’t broken out, he has shown improvement in each of his three seasons, as highlighted by this tweet from Tommy Beer of RotoWorld.
Emmanuel Mudiay has seen his eFG% and PER increase in each of his first three seasons:
2015-16: 9.9 PER
2016-17: 10.9 PER
2017-18: 12.5 PER
He's also just 21 years old. He'd be a junior in college if he didn't enter the draft in 2015
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) February 9, 2018
Although the Knicks are somewhat crowded in the back-court with Jarrett Jack and Frank Ntilikina already manning point guard, it would make sense for the Knicks to limit Jack’s minutes in favor of developing the young talent on their roster. That should give Mudiay a chance to see the floor and is worth a stash as a result.
With the Magic moving on from Elfrid Payton and not adding any NBA talent in return, D.J. Augustin is another point guard to target as he should be in line for big minutes down the stretch. He fully illustrated what kind of fantasy line he is capable of producing on Thursday night against Atlanta, scoring 18 points despite shooting just 5-for-14 from the field. He also added nine assists and two steals, showing he is capable of producing across multiple categories
. His per 36 minute averages, 15.5 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.4 steals, indicate that his performance on Thursday would be on the high-end of what is expected, but with minutes Augustin should continue to produce.
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