Anyone catch that Knicks-Heat game last night? It certainly felt like a playoff game. The atmosphere was unbelievable, and that game-saving block on LeBron James by Amare Stoudemire was pure gold for this Knicks fan. I'm sure fantasy owners were happy about that block as well. After all that's why you're here, for fantasy basketball news, right? Last week was a crazy week with regards to the trading deadline. I touched on a bunch of the trades last week, and we actually have more to discuss as some trades have strongly impacted starting rosters. This was definitely one of the craziest trade deadlines in recent memory. Big names like Gerald Wallace, Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony found new homes. Every team in the NBA plays at least a three-game slate this week, so there should be plenty of fantasy goodness going on. Keep reading for moves to make this week...
Players affected positively from recent trades:
Marcus Thornton SG, Sacramento Kings - I mentioned the trade to the Kings when rumors were swirling on the internet. The trade did in fact take place, and Thornton is now the starting SG in Sacramento. He should post strong numbers in three-pointers and steals and should average 30 minutes or so. I'd recommend picking up Thornton and starting right away unless coach Paul Westphal (a favorite in fantasy circles) tinkers with his minutes.
Chase Budinger SF, Kyle Lowry PG & Chuck Hayes PF/C Houston Rockets - Budinger started to log more minutes even before Shane Battier was shipped out of town to Memphis. Budinger erupted for 30 and 27 points in a recent two-game stretch and will provide solid stats across the board as the starting SF. The Aaron Brooks for Goran Dragic trade with Phoenix cemented Lowry as the team's PG. Dragic may steal some minutes, but he's best-suited for a backup role as he learns the offense. Hayes, the team's starting Center, prospers with Lowry running the show. Brooks, as talented as he is, is more of a pure scorer. The big rebounder may end up averaging a double-double with a few blocks/game from this point forward. All make for great options going forward. These three plus Courtney Lee and Luis Scola should make for a formidable Rockets Team. I like all as fantasy factors.
Gerald Henderson SG, Charlotte Bobcats - The trade of Gerald Wallace for Joel Przybilla and draft picks (Really MJ, you needed a washed up aging Center??) freed up minutes for the aforementioned Henderson. Prior to February 27th against Orlando, Henderson was playing pretty well and often, even going for 22 points and 5 rebounds against a staunch Bulls defense on Feb. 15th. With Gerald Wallace out of town, Henderson has been anointed the starter, and the former Duke product makes for an intriguing pickup.
Mo Williams PG, Los Angeles Clippers - Williams becomes the Clippers' starting PG as he was dealt for the over-weight and injured Baron Davis. Williams was already averaging 7.1 assists per game for a terrible Cleveland team, and I would expect those numbers to go up from here. Williams is also an excellent three-point shooter and should hit at least 2 per game if healthy. 15.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG and 2.0 3PG seems like a reasonable expectation for the remainder of the season. I'd rank the guards involved in the trade as 1. Williams 2. Ramon Sessions 3. Baron Davis.
Chauncey Billups PG, New York Knicks - the "throw-in" to the Carmelo Anthony trade is off to a tremendous start helping the Knicks knock off the Heat in one of the season's most exciting games. Mr. Big Shot is a devastating 3-point shooter and is one of the best free-throw shooters in the league. He moves to an up-tempo offense that saw Raymond Felton previously put up a career season. I'd expect Billups to at least duplicate Felton's numbers in the short-term.
Serge Ibaka PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder - The big man becomes the starting center as newly-acquired Kendrick Perkins is out with a strained MCL. Ibaka was already a complete monster in the blocks category. With additional minutes, he should supply even more blocks and double-digit rebounds in an Oklahoma City offense that loves to score.
Three Players negatively impacted by the recent trades:
Tony Allen SG, Memphis Grizzlies. I have been pimping Allen for weeks, and the moment he receives a starting nod, the Grizz go out and trade for fan-favorite Shane Battier. Coincidentally enough, Battier plays the same positions as Allen. Allen, Battier and Sam Young should all split minutes (it has already started - check out Saturday's game log: Spurs 95, Grizzlies 88). Expect the offense to revolve around Zach Randolph as the three SG/SF prototypes will negatively impact each other's stats.
Jeff Green SG/SF, Boston Celtics: Green becomes Paul Pierce's backup. Good for real-life, but not so good for fantasy. His minutes will be limited.
Aaron Brooks PG, Phoenix Suns: Brooks can't catch a break; he now is backing up one of the league's best point guards, Steve Nash. Until Nash leaves Phoenix, Brooks should see some minutes when Nash needs a breather. Brooks is shaping up to be a one-year wonder.
I'll touch on pickups in Wednesday's article, but if for any reason these players are free agents in your league, please pick them up immediately: Serge Ibaka, Greg Monroe, Marcin Gortat, D.J. Augustin, Kris Humphries, Mo Williams, Kirk Hinrich, Chase Budinger, Ramon Sessions.
Lastly, before you set your lineups tonight, please note that the Spurs' Tony Parker strained his calf in last night's game and will be out for the next 2-4 weeks. Other key injuries to note: SG Eric Gordon of the Clippers is NOT expected to play tonight; rather he will play in Wednesday's game. I'd roll the dice on him despite the injury. Marcus Camby returned to action for the Blazers as LaMarcus Aldridge was injured. I'd keep Aldridge active as the injury appears minor.
Best of luck this week.