Fantasy impact of Raptors-Hornets trade
The five-player trade that sent Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless from the New Orleans Hornets to the Toronto Raptors for Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks and David Andersen didn't drastically alter the landscape of the fantasy world, although it does have significant impact upon several players.
Jose Calderon's value rises considerably, as he had been coming off the bench in a timeshare with Jack and should now get the bulk of point guard minutes in Toronto. Bayless doesn't boast enough pure point-guard skills to get as many minutes as Jack was, and Calderon has the tools to be one of the better fantasy point guards in the league if he's getting starter's minutes. He can be a top-five assist guy, with good percentages and low turnovers, and should be added in all formats.
Jack's value takes a serious hit, as he goes from the starting lineup to backing up one of the best point guards in the league. Sure, he can slide to the two at times and will improve the actual Hornets' team, but his value drops in the non-actual world of fantasy hoops. Peja's stock should improve a bit, although he should still be relegated to a bench role and will split duties with Linas Kleiza as the Raptors' long-range punch off the bench. Sonny Weems continues to emerge as a valid starter (averaging 17 points per game in his past five contests, including another 16 Sunday night), so I don't picture Peja taking that job from him, although he should get more run than he was in New Orleans.
Pau Gasol had a perfect night Sunday, shooting 10-for-10 from the floor and 8-for-8 from the stripe, and finished with 28 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 blocks. His dream season continues. Shannon Brown had effective game off the bench, scoring 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting and three 3s in just 20 minutes. Despite the fact he doesn't get huge minutes, Brown has a skill set that translates well to the fantasy game and he has legitimate value, since he guns 3s, boasts good percentages and gets steals. Emeka Okafor is experiencing a resurgence in New Orleans, as he grabbed 12 boards against the Sacramento Kings and is averaging 11.2 rebounds per game in his past five contests. This just demonstrates what playing with a top point guard can do to a big man's value. His success should continue. Donte Green scored 15 points with 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and a 3-pointer Sunday, and has a multifaceted game that will translate into nice fantasy numbers if he can continue to get run. He's now started in three consecutive games, and even though this is his first double-digit scoring game, he's attempted 31 shots, 11 of them from 3-point land, in those three contests. For his career, he's averaging 0.7 3s, 0.4 steals and 0.5 blocks per game in just 17.8 minutes, numbers that translate nicely when given starter's minutes. Players who get both 3s and blocks are rare, so definitely keep Greene on your radar despite the fact he's only really had one good game since taking the starting job. Another part of Paul Westphal's lineup shakeup includes starting Luther Head over Beno Udrih. Head has scored in double digits with at least one 3 in each of the past four contests, and will have fantasy value in points, 3s and steals if he stays in the starting lineup. Udrih's value is falling seriously, as he's averaging just 23.3 minutes per game since the lineup shuffle. Although he's not worth dropping at this point, he's a player who was drafted to be a starter for fantasy teams. He should be on your bench right now until this all settles down.
The Oklahoma City Thunder face the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are allowing a league-high 109.9 points per game to opposing teams. This makes James Harden a great spot-start, as Kevin Durant is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle and could miss his third consecutive contest. The Phoenix Suns/Houston Rockets matchup should be a shootout, as it pits the second and fourth worst teams with regard to opponent points allowed. Start involved players liberally. The new-look Kings likely will struggle against the Utah Jazz, especially from downtown where the Jazz allow opponents to shoot just 29.1 percent from 3-point land, the lowest mark in the league.