Thursday night’s Draft was as exciting as advertised. Some of the top prospects we’ve seen come around in a while found homes amongst the NBA’s 30 teams — yet, there were very few surprises, outside of maybe Aaron Gordon getting picked No. 4 overall by the Orlando Magic.
Those of us expecting some big trades to go down were also disappointed. There was really only one trade that didn’t involve a straight swap of picks or previously picked players, and that was D-League phenom Pierre Jackson getting shipped from NOLA to Philly for Russ Smith.
The big trade news around the league came a few days prior to the Draft when the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks announced a blockbuster deal that sent Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton from the Big Apple to D-Town in exchange for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two second-round picks, which ended up being Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
Now, how does this affect fantasy basketball owners going forward?
First, let me say that I’m new to the basketball crew at Razzball (I also do work on the baseball and football side of things), and let me also tell you that I am indeed a die-hard Knicks fan. Hey, quiet the laughter! But seriously, feel free to comment as much as you like and tell me how much you adore me and such. Also, I will accept gifts in any shape or form as payment for helping you win your fantasy league. If you’re gonna buy me some strippers, though, make sure to let me know first before you send them straight over to my house [editor's note - no promises.].
Anyway, here’s the lowdown on the deal from a fantasy perspective:
Tyson Chandler – Chandler is the biggest name here and his fantasy production should remain about the same. Age and injuries have caught up to him recently, forcing the 31-year-old center to miss 43 games over the past two seasons. Of course, when he has played, he’s played very well. His scoring has been dropping (11.3 ppg in 2011-12, 10.4 in ’12-13, and 8.7 in ’13-14), but you’re drafting him for his defense and rebounding, not for 20-point potential. Chandler won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2012 and his numbers were still on par with that last season. Expect him to return to the 10-point, nine-board, high field-goal percentage lines he was putting up last time he donned Mavs’ blue and silver.
Raymond Felton – It’s easy to make fun of Felton. I’m sure deep down even he would say it’s justified. He’s shown up overweight to camp and taken a lot of flak regarding his poor defense and laziness. Oh, and did I mention he just plead guilty to gun charges? The latter makes him a perfect fit in Texas! McDonald’s and NRA jokes aside, Felton was one of the worst starting point guards in the league last year, but he has shown the ability to produce for fantasy teams in the past. I see this as a fresh start in Dallas for the rotund roundballer. With Calderon gone, Monta Ellis should be anointed to a pseudo-point guard role and the Mavs may still re-sign Devin Harris, but if Felton can show up in shape, there’s no reason to think he won’t receive 30+ minutes per game. He won’t come close to the career numbers he put up in his first go-round in NY (17.1 points, 9.0 assists, 1.8 steals), but if he can land somewhere in the 11-point, five-assist range, as well as limit his poor FG%, Felton could have very sneaky late-round value in fantasy drafts.
Jose Calderon – Trading for Calderon was a great move for Phil Jackson and the Knicks. He’s as solid as they come for a point guard. He’s not gonna drop 35 points on a nightly basis, but he averaged a solid 11.4 points, 4.7 dimes, and 0.9 steals last year. For a point guard, he’s always been very efficient from the field (47.9 percent career field goals), is a fantastic free throw shooter (87.4 percent career), and drains threes (2.4 per game in ’13-14). He also plays mistake-free ball, having led the NBA with a 4.43 assist/turnover ratio last year. He’s the main pull here for New York in this deal and landing him has led to speculation that it will eventually mean the Gasol Brothers head to NYC (all three played together on the Spanish national team). In the triangle offense I can see Calderon having a big season, with possibly 13 points and nine assists per game.
Samuel Dalembert – There was talk of Sweet Sammy being cut as quickly as he was acquired, but it turns out he will stay in New York — for now. The Knicks need a center, and a decent defensive one at that, so it makes sense to keep him around. Even if the team is in a “rebuilding” year, they can’t very well roll Amar’e out there at the five every game. Dalembert will provide what he usually does: blocks, boards and decent percentages. If you’re drafting him it’s for his swat potential, though. Even in limited minutes the past few seasons, the 33-year-old Haitian has managed to average 1.3 rejections in just 19.6 minutes per game. He’s really only worth drafting in 14-team leagues or greater.
Shane Larkin – The second-year pro is an interesting one here. The Knicks will obviously give Calderon the bulk of the minutes at the point guard position, but somebody has to play backup, right? Yes, Pablo Prigioni is the guy they’ll likely turn to now, but his offensive potential is very limited. If the Knicks re-sign Carmelo Anthony, we know the ball will be in his hands a lot too, and Iman Shumpert, Lamar Odom and J.R. Smith aren’t shy about commanding the ball either. So where does this leave Larkin? I think a lot depends on the Melo situation, but if he leaves, Larkin will get a fantasy boost. If not, owners are best waiting things out and seeing if Phil makes some more moves or if an injury to another player forces the former Miami Hurricane to play more minutes.
Wayne Ellington – Fantasy non-factor.
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