March 25, 2021, 7:10 am
Wednesday night gave us our first taste of the upcoming NBA Trade Deadline, an amuse-bouche of things to come. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. In fact, I was more than disappointed as I figured there would be much more trades that would take place. In the end, the lack of transaction action between teams only provided a foretelling of big things in store for us all – a sign that teams are currently burning the phone lines (digitally speaking, of course) as they wheel and deal through the night and the hours to follow.
Hello! I’m Erik Ong, an editor here at Hoop Ball, welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Daily Dish.
The trade we’re talking about was between the Kings and Pistons. The Kings send Cory Joseph, a 2021 second-round pick via the Lakers, and their own 2024 second-round pick to the Pistons in exchange for Delon Wright.
I was like, “What? Why? OMG! Deloooooon! Noooooo!”
First of all, jumping into the fantasy basketball ramifications of the move, GMs invested in Delon Wright (I have two Wright shares myself this season) just got screwed. From starting point guard for the Pistons, Wright is now looking at backup duty for the Kings in what already is a crowded backcourt with the likes of surging Rookie of the Year candidate Tyrese Haliburton taking minutes at both guard spots. At the moment, due to the absence of Marvin Bagley III, who has a fractured left hand, Haliburton has joined De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield in a three-guard lineup. There’s a small chance that the Kings decide to use Wright as the starting SF and to allow Haliburton to come off the bench, but that’s up in the air as of now. Besides, we’re talking about coach Luke Walton here, who has not understood or made sense of the Kings from Day 1. Regardless of whether Wright winds up as a starter or not, compared to his free-rein gig back in Motown, Wright will see far fewer touches and get far less usage – probably pulling down his fantasy value outside of the top-100 in 8/9-cat scoring.
Joseph, he never really mattered, at least not to people playing in 18-team leagues or shallower, so there’s not much to look into there. The void left by Wright in Detroit will likely be filled by Dennis Smith Jr., who has successfully and consistently found a way to fail miserably on every team he’s been on since he was drafted ninth overall by the Mavs in 2017. Yeah, no, he’s a headache you do NOT want to deal with. He’s just a placeholder anyway, at least until Killian Hayes (right hip) returns
Add(s) of the Night
Alize Johnson, SF/PF. Brooklyn Nets
This is a very speculative, very aggressive, and very optimistic recommendation. Johnson is currently on a 10-day contract with the Nets but made a huge splash tonight in his debut with 23 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two steals in 33 minutes.
Yes, the Nets were without their key stars, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden – plus the guy who’ll be cleaning their lockers, Blake Griffin.
Seriously though, Johnson is worth a look in deep leagues, considering he was stellar in the 2020-21 G League bubble, where he posted averages of 16.6 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game for the Raptors 905 through 15 games – averages not much unlike what he dropped tonight.
He last played in the NBA for the Pacers, where he presumably didn’t get a fair shot to prove his worth and earn enough minutes to shine. The Nets this year, on the other hand, are searching for answers in the wake of the loss of Jarrett Allen, whom they had to give up as part of the deal that allowed them to acquire James Harden.
Coby White, PG, Chicago Bulls
White has been outside of the top-200 in 9-cat over the last two weeks, compared to Tomas Satoransky, who took his starting job and has been a top-135 player during that same span.
White is not worth holding in leagues shallower than 14 teams anymore. At least not given the current road that the Bulls decided to take. White is averaging 10.8 PPG, 1.8 3PG and 3.2 APG on 35.9% shooting from the field.
Hamidou Diallo (right groin strain) was still unable to make his debut for the Pistons, but we saw the return of sharpshooter Wayne Ellington (right adductor strain), who came back firing in full-auto mode, going for 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting with four 3s.
Malcolm Brogdon (sore lower back) and Myles Turner (ankle) made their returns after a one-game absence.
The Celtics were without Rome Langford and Tristan Thompson, who were both out due to the league’s health & safety protocols. Jayson Tatum (illness) returned to action and produced 18 points and a full line.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (left knee sprain) returned to action and led the Bucks to a 121-119 win via quiet 13 points in his first game back. P.J. Tucker (left ankle sprain) was also available and played. Both Bryn Forbes (right toe sprain) and Rodions Kurucs (abdominal strain) were out.
The Nuggets were without Gary Harris (left adductor strain) and Monte Morris (left quad strain).
Patrick McCaw (left knee swelling) was the only one on the injury report for the Raptors which meant that OG Anunoby, who sat out their last game for rest purposes returned tonight and actually played quite well.
Cody Zeller (left shoulder bursitis) was available and played 16 minutes off the bench. He scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Victor Oladipo was not with the Rockets due to personal reasons – which might have been code for “he’s going to get traded for sure.” Kevin Porter Jr. (right quad soreness) missed this game but is reportedly nearing a return as he was doing shooting drills extensively before the game and was going to progress to sprinting afterward.
Garrett Temple was available for the Bulls but got a DNP-CD.
Both Collin Sexton (right hamstring soreness) and Taurean Prince (left shoulder strain) were out for the Cavs tonight.
Jordan McLaughlin (reconditioning) returned for the Wolves. Josh Okogie was out due to health & safety protocols.
Darius Bazley (left shoulder contusion) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (right foot plantar fasciitis) were both absent for the Thunder.
Mo Bamba (right toe sprain) was available for the Magic but did not play. Terrence Ross (sore right knee) was still out. Chasson Randle (sore left groin) was available but played just three meaningless minutes.
The Clippers were without Serge Ibaka (lower back tightness) and Patrick Beverley (right knee soreness) but they didn’t miss them much as they totally clobbered the Spurs, who were missing Rudy Gay (left foot soreness) and Lonnie Walker IV (right wrist soreness).
Danilo Gallinari (left knee contusion) was questionable but ended up playing for the Hawks in a loss to the Kings.
The Nets were without everyone that mattered in fantasy, namely Kevin Durant (hamstring), Blake Griffin (injury management), Kyrie Irving (personal) and James Harden (neck). In addition to those four, Landry Shamet (right ankle sprain) was also out tonight.
What to with SGA?
This is a very player-specific bit of advice and is something that won’t resonate with everyone reading this article but it IS something that is weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of GMs who have shares of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
He’s been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and has been projected to miss “a significant amount of time.” Plantar fasciitis is a sneaky and nagging injury whose only cure aside from some strengthening physical therapy is rest. The recovery time varies from person to person. He could be out for weeks or months.
It’s a tough situation to be in, and yet the solution isn’t complicated at all. Exit your SGA position. Make offers. Try to trade him away. Get what you can because you’re definitely NOT getting a full-value return in exchange.
A friend of mine was “lucky” enough to offer Gilgeous-Alexander to the current top seed of his league and he was able to receive Chris Boucher. That right there is an example of a steal given the uncertainty of SGA’s timeline. On the top seed’s part, there being no IL slot was something he had the luxury of being able to slog through over the next couple (or several) weeks that Gilgeous-Alexander remains on the sidelines.
Also, before I forget, Ty Jerome is worth a pickup in most leagues due to his increase in usage for the duration of Gilgeous-Alexander’s absence.
Now, where were we? Ah yes, SGA. As I said, take what you can if you’re NOT a top-seeded team, because he will be gone for a while. Now if your league has an IL slot and it’s vacant, then fine, you can sit on him if the offers or counter-offers you’re getting do not really spark joy (in a Marie Kondo kind of way). But if you DO NOT have an IL slot on your roster, then definitely, absolutely, take what you can via a trade and run for the hills. It may not the advice you want to hear but it’s the advice that makes the most sense. We’re playing in a difficult season now, with many injuries piling up aside from the threat of COVID-19 and its associated missed games due to league “health & safety protocols.” So we cannot afford dead weight. Not now. Not if you want your team to have a chance at making the playoffs.