It turns out all the Magic talk of them being aggressive held up. Tuesday brought the first big deal of the month with Tobias Harris being shipped to Detroit for Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings. Let’s break down who this affects:
Tobias Harris hasn’t been great this year, especially on offense. His usage rate has dropped 3.4 percent this year compared to last year while his turnover rate is similar. In other words, he’s taking 3.0 fewer shots and 0.5 attempts at the line this year. Harris’ true shooting percentage is only down 0.1 percent from last year, which is encouraging considering he’s at just 31.1 percent from 3 this year — he was up to 36.4 percent last year.
The Pistons run Reggie Jackson in a pick-and-roll more than anyone, so that should help Harris get more open 3-pointers. Although, that hasn’t been the problem with Harris being open on 137 of his 147 attempts this year.
He basically slots right in to Ilyasova’s 28 minutes per game and a few more, too. After an adjustment period, expect Tobias to slightly improve.
Brandon Jennings definitely gets an improvement. Despite coach Stan Van Gundy saying he wanted to play Jackson next to Jennings, he almost never did. Jennings was playing just 18 minutes per game and now he’ll have a chance to start. Coach Scott Skiles will probably have him split minutes at the point. That right now isn’t enough to grab him, but the Magic are likely going to get more deals done. Grab Jennings now and see what happens, assuming you have something to cut.
Ilyasova should be in a similar scenario for his minutes. He was already starting to lose some minutes because the Pistons wanted to get Stanley Johnson more run, so this might actually be a positive. A new start isn’t a bad thing, so he’s a hold right now.
So who else does this affect?
Aaron Gordon. He’s already been freed in the starting lineup, but now he’s the best forward on the roster and it isn’t really close. Earlier in the season, Gordon was Harris’ backup at power forward. The Magic had a tweak to their rotation and moved both to small forward on Nov. 25. Up until about a month ago, it would stay that way, but Gordon has been set free. His scoring hasn’t been great, but he definitely can be a double-double threat with 1.0 steals and blocks. He should be a must-start player going forward.
Mario Hezonja also looks like a winner. He has some work to do when it comes to adding stats, but he could be decent on defense with more chances and less garbage time. He’s more of a 14-team guy, but he could be good for 12 points with 2.0 treys and some other stuff. He’s also a 94.4 percent shooter from the line on the season and he’s made 47.3 percent from the field in his last 10.
Assuming Evan Fournier isn’t dealt, he’s also set for a nice rise in playing time. He’s coming off a 28-point game and the days of him being under 20 minutes should be over. Again, he could be traded.
The Magic may wind up dealing guys like Victor Oladipo, which may seem more likely. Chances are he should be fine as an early-round player no matter what team he’s on. It would be best for him to stay in ORL, especially with Tobias gone now.
The biggest loser of this might be Elfrid Payton. He now has competition for minutes and he could be bumped to the bench. It’s still make sense to hold him to see what the Magic do at the deadline, but he might be a cut candidate this weekend.
Things are a little clearer in Detroit. As said above, Tobias slots right into Ghostface Ilya’s minutes, which means there is only about five minutes to account for — Ilyasova played 28 minutes, Tobias played 33. Stanley Johnson has been a mild success as a shooting guard, so you might think Kentavious Caldwell-Pope plays 35 minutes instead of 37. The same could go for Marcus Morris at 36 bumping down to 34. Stanley shouldn’t take a big hit here and I’d still prefer him over Morris right now. The Pistons are also going to need a backup point guard or else Steve Blake might get in there. How about University of Michigan’s Trey Burke? Either way, the backup point guard won’t play much.
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Chris Bosh could be out for the year
Bosh is a very valuable piece for Miami’s offense and his defense has improved as well. What’s worse is the Heat really don’t have anyone like him on their roster to fill the void.
Bosh plays 34 minutes per game and they are basically going to go to four guys. Justise Winslow should take on the biggest share with the way the Heat run Luol Deng at the four so much. The problem with adding Winslow is that he does so little. Even if he did get 36 minutes per game, his per-36 averages are just 7.4 points, 6.6 boards, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 0.6 treys on 41.8 percent from the field. No thanks.
Bosh plays a lot of center, which is why Hassan Whiteside’s playing time has been down at times. With Bosh out, Whiteside should see more consistent run. He is starting to see more minutes in the fourth quarter these days, so he should be able to hit the 30-minute mark going forward — he’s at 28.2 per game. Of course, Whiteside will need to avoid a trade situation affecting his value.
Gerald Green, Luol Deng and Amare Stoudemire are all likely to play more. STAT won’t play more than 20 minutes consistently, so he’s not a great option. Green and Deng are probably the best two pickups here with Deng being the better add. He’s getting more shots and he should play a lot of minutes at the four now.
Dwyane Wade also boasts a whopping 36.7 usage rate in his 511 minutes when he’s not next to Bosh this year. As long as he’s healthy, Wade should be able to improve on his value right now. Although, the Heat were running a lot of Bosh-Wade PNRs, so it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts in that regard.
Courtney Lee to Charlotte, Brian Roberts to Miami, and P.J. Hairston and Chris Andersen to Memphis
Courtney Lee basically slides right into the role left by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Nicolas Batum will log most of his minutes at small forward while Jeremy Lin will be a combo guard. Lin is still a more appealing pickup right now, but Lee’s value should go up slightly in a system better for shooters.
Lee moving out makes Jeff Green, Matt Barnes and Tony Allen more reliable. All should be owned in that order with Green looking great right now.
Brian Roberts will be the third point guard again and isn’t worth owning in most leagues.
We talked about all the other trade rumors in Tuesday’s podcast, so check that out here: