Welcome to the latest edition of the NBA Minutes Watch column, a series in which I will break down changes and updates to the rotations of all the NBA teams over the course of the season.
This column will come to you every Monday, but I am going to do something different this week. Given that the rotations of several teams have changed thanks to the massive amount of trades at the trade deadline, let’s check out the fantasy impact of those trades on the minutes of the players involved.
Kings Get: Andre Miller / Wizards Get: Ramon Sessions
The Winner: Miller would seem to be the winner here, as he will get pretty solid run for an up-tempo Sacramento squad as opposed to languishing behind John Wall in Washington. If Darren Collison continues to be hampered by injuries in the second half, Miller could wind up playing 20-25 minutes a night, and this is a significant upgrade from what he was playing in Washington.
The Loser: Sessions gets a massive downgrade here. He won’t see many minutes as John Wall’s backup, and he will lose even more time once Bradley Beal returns in the near future. Unless Wall goes down, Sessions will not be a fantasy factor on FanDuel over the last couple of months.
The Winner: Isaiah Canaan could be one of the biggest fantasy beneficiaries of this year’s trade deadline. He goes from a crowded backcourt in Houston to being the starting point guard on a fantasy-friendly Philadelphia team that is without Tony Wroten for the rest of the year. The 76ers also traded away Michael Carter-Williams (more on that later). Canaan will be a bargain bin buy on FanDuel until his price catches up with his new role.
The Loser: McDaniels loses out on significant opportunity here. He will become a role player in Houston, stuck in the rotation behind Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer. He is not going to be a fantasy option, barring a significant injury in Houston.
The Winner: There isn’t a clear-cut winner here, as the teams exchanged several role players. Robinson will have a chance to carve out some value in Denver, as it can’t be any worse of a scenario than what he faced with Terry Stotts as his coach in Portland. Even so, it’s going to be hard to figure out who the biggest beneficiary is from a minutes standpoint until we see the players get some games under their belt for their new teams.
The Loser: It seems pretty safe to say that Arron Afflalo is the biggest loser in this deal. He goes from a starter with a heavy role in Denver to a bench player who will see around 24 minutes per game going forward. In fact, that’s exactly how many minutes he played in his first game for Portland. He will be competing for time with starters Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum, both of whom generally play heavy minutes. This is not an ideal situation from a fantasy perspective.
The Winner: Isaiah Thomas is likely foaming at the mouth with his new opportunity in Boston. It’s only a matter of time before he takes on a starting role for Brad Stevens, and he should be the highest-usage player on the team going forward. The Celtics desperately need some scoring punch, and Thomas can provide it. Expect him to hit 30+ minutes on a regular basis and be a solid fantasy contributor in Boston.
The Loser: There isn’t really a loser here. None of the other players were seeing big minutes for their former teams, and maybe a change of scenery will help them crack the rotations on a more regular basis for their new squads. From a team perspective, the Pistons acquiring Tayshaun Prince really makes no sense. So, I’ll give the losing grade to Detroit here.
The Winner: There are two big winners here in Reggie Jackson and Enes Kanter. Jackson will immediately step in as the starting point guard in Detroit, and the Pistons are currently fighting for a playoff spot in the woeful Eastern Conference. He has always been a high usage guy when given the opportunity as a starting point guard, and he should be a big time fantasy asset down the stretch. Kanter will also see a nice boost playing for a better team in a less crowded rotation up front, and he has proven his worth already with two huge games right out of the gate for the Thunder. Both Jackson and Kanter should see 32+ minutes regularly for their new squads.
The Loser: D.J. Augustin is definitely the biggest fantasy loser from this deal. He has gone from the starting point guard in Detroit to Russell Westbrook’s backup in Oklahoma City. He may play together with Westbrook on occasion, but Dion Waiters is also in the fold in that backcourt. It’s a crowded situation, and Augustin will likely see a dip in minutes from 32-35 down to around 18-20 nightly. That’s not a good fantasy outlook.
The Winner: Goran Dragic is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this year’s trade deadline. He was unhappy with the guard-dominated system in Phoenix that forced him to play off the ball a lot, and it’s clear that Dragic was uncomfortable playing alongside Eric Bledsoe. He should get plenty of chances to create in Miami, especially with Chris Bosh out for the season. He should play 34-36 minutes per game and be a very solid fantasy option once he gets acclimated with his new teammates.
The Loser: Norris Cole may wind up being the worst off as a result of this deal once the Pelicans get fully healthy. When that occurs, they will have Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, and Eric Gordon as their three primary guards. That will squeeze Cole down to the teens in terms of average minutes, and that doesn’t bode well for his fantasy totals.
The Winner: He wasn’t directly involved in this deal, but the biggest beneficiary here is probably going to be Alex Len. The Suns are now committed to him as their full-time center, and he will no longer be splitting minutes with Plumlee. If the first two games are any indication, Len will see an increase from around 22 minutes per game to around 32-36, and the production should follow. This is a classic case of a trade having a big impact on a player who wasn’t directly involved in the deal.
The Loser: Both point guards involved in this deal might get slight fantasy downgrades moving forward. Knight will lose some ball-handling duties with Eric Bledsoe around in Phoenix, and we saw that negatively affect Goran Dragic in the past. In addition, Carter-Williams will go to a less fantasy-friendly system in Milwaukee, and Jerryd Bayless will compete for minutes. Both guys will still get ample playing time, but there’s some cause for concern with both of them.