Draft-day trade fallout
Garnett, Pierce lose value in Brooklyn; Holiday deal to New Orleans hurts Vasquez
The 2013 NBA draft was entertaining from the jump: From the Cleveland Cavaliers shocking us by selecting Anthony Bennett first overall, to Nerlens Noel falling to the sixth pick, to Bill Simmons' reaction to the Boston Celtics trading away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for a package centered on future first-round picks, it did not disappoint.
Three deals involving non-drafted players impacted the landscape of the NBA on draft night, and fantasy owners know that a player's circumstances -- role on his team, type of offense, competition for playing time -- are the primary determinant of fantasy value. Here's a breakdown of the three major trades that occurred on draft night and the winners and losers:
Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, Celtics: He struggled mightily in Brooklyn, with his scoring average dropping to 7.7 points per game on 39.7 percent shooting. He never fit into the offensive system and wasn't worth a roster spot on fantasy teams by December, despite his average draft position of 80.2. Now he should start alongside Jeff Green in Boston and have more freedom to play his style of game without three other superstars soaking up the touches and dominating the ball. His 3-point shot is broken; he was just 13.5 percent from behind the arc on two attempts per game after the All-Star break last season. Hopefully he scraps that aspect of his game and focuses on what he does best: moving off the ball, scoring in transition, and providing energy on both ends of the floor. Rajon Rondo should find him on plenty of backdoor cuts and fast breaks instead of finishing himself as Deron Williams or Joe Johnson often would in Brooklyn. Crash attempted just 6.6 shots per game last season, a number sure to increase on a Boston team that will need his offense, so he could easily get back to his days of 15 points and seven boards with stellar defensive numbers. He's back on the fantasy map indeed, and once again worth a mid-to-late round pick.
Jeff Green, SF/PF, Celtics: Green was stellar statistically in the second half of the season, averaging 17.3 points on 49.3 percent shooting from the floor and 79.8 percent from the stripe with 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 3s, 1.1 blocks and 0.8 steals per game after the All-Star break. He now he appears primed to be the team's primary scorer with a hefty load to shoulder; Garnett and Pierce averaged a combined 26.7 shot attempts per game last season. Green's field goal percentage is almost sure to fall as opposing defenses key in on him, but he could legitimately average 20-plus points per game on this rebuilding team that boasts little firepower. He provides decent peripherals as well and could flirt with two 3s and more than a steal and a block per game if he gets minutes in the mid-to-upper 30s. Overall, Green's aggregate stats will increase, and despite a likely dip in efficiency, he's worth a fifth- or sixth-round pick and has a chance to outperform that position.
Jared Sullinger, PF, Celtics: Sully played well in limited minutes for the Celtics last season, and as always, his value will be contingent upon his health, as he had surgery in February to repair a lumbar disc in his balky back. But he's a focal part of their rebuilding plan and averaged 14.5 points, 14.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per-48 minutes as a rookie assimilating to the league and playing in a front court dominated by Garnett. Now he's primed to play as many minutes as he can handle, and likely will see time at power forward and center, and have a chance to average nearly 10 points and 10 boards with a steal and a block per game with a strong field goal percentage. This trade made Sullinger go from a fantasy afterthought to nice late-round gamble, but doesn't change the fact he's risky due to his history of back issues.
Kris Humphries, PF, Celtics: The Celtics primarily acquired him for his expiring contract, but Humphries had played himself out of a job in Brooklyn and will have a chance to see more frontcourt minutes in Boston. He's an excellent rebounder who averaged double-doubles in both the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons, but isn't likely to be part of the Celtics' long-term future as they rebuild around Green and Sullinger. Still, it's a better situation for him than in Brooklyn, and with 20-25 minutes per game, Humphries could average eight boards with a nice field goal percentage. He's not draftable, but it's worth monitoring how the Celtics use him early on, as he could help teams in need of rebounds if he's earning considerable run.
Jason Terry, SG, Nets: The Nets' bench doesn't boast much depth, and Terry should have a chance to shine as the sixth man and backup to both guard positions. The pressure of filling Ray Allen's shoes and his inconsistent role with the team destroyed Terry's value last season, but he still averaged 10.1 points, 1.6 3s and 0.8 steals per game in a disaster of a campaign. He won't return to his Sixth Man of the Year form, but backing up Deron Williams and Joe Johnson should provide him with the ability to put up much better stats, and his assist numbers should increase with all the weapons at his disposal in Brooklyn. He'll be worth a late-round pick simply because he has the potential to average over two 3s per game with four assists and a steal if he gels in Brooklyn.
MarShon Brooks, SG/SF, Celtics: As mentioned previously, the Celtics lost the bulk of their offensive firepower by dealing away Garnett and Pierce, leaving plenty of open shots open for Brooks. And he loves taking shots. He was mired behind Joe Johnson and averaged just 12.5 minutes per game last season after his breakout rookie campaign in which he averaged 12.6 points, 0.8 3s and 0.9 steals per game. His points per minute were almost identical to his rookie campaign last season -- he simply didn't get enough run to produce, but that shouldn't be the case in Boston. Whether it's starting at shooting guard or being the "instant offense" guy off the bench, Brooks should average 12-15 points with a three and a steal per game in his new role. He possesses upside in the scoring department (he averaged 24.6 points per game his final season at Providence), making him worth a late-round selection.
Kevin Garnett, PF/C, Nets: KG's numbers shouldn't dip too dramatically, but last season he averaged the fewest minutes per game since his rookie campaign and shot under 50 percent from the floor for the first time since 2006-2007, indications that his statistical prowess is on the decline. He'll provide the intangibles the Nets will need to succeed with that many superstars and a rookie head coach in Jason Kidd, but I wouldn't be surprised if his stats dipped into the 13 points and seven boards per game range instead of 14 and 8.
Paul Pierce, SG/SF, Nets: Pierce's value takes a much larger hit, as playing alongside ball-dominant guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson will make it difficult for him to average 14.2 shot attempts per game. His assist numbers were inflated from playing point-forward after Rajon Rondo went down in January (Pierce averaged 6.8 dimes per game in February, a number he won't sniff with Williams and Johnson in the mix), and overall his offensive production will decline. The silver lining is that he should be more efficient offensively, and after shooting 43.6 percent from the floor and 38.0 percent from behind the arc while doing the heavy lifting last season, he should see both of those numbers increase with more open looks, plus he won't have to create his own offense nearly as much in Brooklyn. But I expect a drop in points and assists, and I see Pierce, who finished No. 26 on the Player Rater, likely falling out of the top 40 fantasy players.
Brook Lopez, C, Nets: Lopez was superb last season, averaging 19.4 points on 52.1 percent shooting with 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. His numbers shouldn't suffer drastically, but with more mouths to feed in Brooklyn, his usage rate will likely diminish. Hopefully, Garnett will have a positive influence upon his rebounding and defensive skills, but best-case scenario, Lopez comes close to matching last season's stats and almost surely won't outperform them.
Jrue Holiday, PG, Pelicans: Holiday averaged 17.7 points, 8.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 3s and 1.6 steals in his breakout campaign for the Sixers last season, and his career is on an upward trajectory regardless of the city in which he's playing. This is a relatively lateral move for Holiday. He will assume the starting point guard role in New Orleans and have better weapons in Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, who'll take some of the pressure of opposing defenses off him. His scoring might dip a bit, and he could see his minutes diminish slightly with a capable backup in Greivis Vasquez behind him, but I still envision 8-plus assists, 4-plus rebounds and improved 3-point shooting. He finished 27th on the Player Rater last season, and should once again find himself in the top-30 and worthy of a third- or fourth-round pick, especially given his upside. At 23 years old, he's just scratching the surface of his potential and demonstrated considerable improvement in his fourth season.
Greivis Vasquez, PG, Pelicans: He was one of the most improved players in the league last season, averaging 13.9 points, 9.0 assists and 1.1 3s per game. Now Vasquez will be relegated to a backup role, something he's better suited for, and likely average 4-6 assists per game off the bench, much like Jarrett Jack and Nate Robinson did last season. Unfortunately, he goes from surefire fantasy starter to a guy you grab with one of your final picks if you need assists, and is perhaps the biggest loser among the players impacted by draft-day deals.
JaVale McGee, C, Nuggets: We're in for a fun ride with this one. McGee was limited to 18.1 minutes per game last season. Now he looks primed to potentially average 30 or more minutes per game for the first time in his career. He's a dominant shot-blocker who should rival Serge Ibaka and Larry Sanders as the top swatter in the game. If he can keep his head on straight, he could average 13-15 points with double-digit boards and three blocks per game as the starting center in Denver. His career 58.3 percent mark from the stripe is painful, but is somewhat offset by his 54.2 percent from the floor and those gaudy block numbers. Due to his upside alone, if things are looking good for him in the preseason, McGee is worth a sixth- or seventh-round pick that will anchor your team in blocks and provide sound rebounding and field goal percentage.
Ed Davis, PF/C, Grizzlies: He was a legitimate fantasy starter before the trade that sent him to Memphis last season, as he averaged 13.9 points on 54.7 percent shooting with 8.1 boards and 1.0 blocks per game for Toronto in 13 January contests. Now he's the clear backup to Zach Randolph, and should see a bump in minutes compared to the 15.1 per game he averaged with Memphis last season. He's not worth drafting, but could find himself on the fantasy radar if Z-Bo struggles or gets injured.
Darrell Arthur, PF, Nuggets: Arthur goes from fighting Davis for backup minutes to being the likely backup behind Kenneth Faried in Denver. He'll still have to battle Anthony Randolph for those minutes, though, and doesn't boast a dynamic-enough skill set to be fantasy relevant unless he's starting, something that won't happen unless Faried goes down. Still, this is a slightly better situation for him, as Randolph poses less of a threat for minutes than Davis did in Memphis.
Kosta Koufos, PF/C, Grizzlies: He was a pleasant fantasy surprise last season starting for the Nuggets, where he shot 58.1 percent from the floor. That ranked him as the 15th most helpful player in field goal percentage on the Player Rater. Now he'll be backing up Marc Gasol and likely see his minutes dip into the upper-teens. Kuofos doesn't provide enough rebounding or blocked shots to have an impact with diminished minutes, and he is no longer worth drafting in fantasy leagues.
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