In Shaq-ramento, when Christmas carolers sing at your doorstep, if it’s deck the halls you must insist a free a Rudy Gay jersey! You better believe Sleep Train Arena is gonna deck their halls with Gay apparel. That is, if it has power. Zing! Last night, the Kings picked up Gay from the Raptors in a 7-player deal with a lot more fantasy impact than just the players involved. The Kings also picked up Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy, for the fewest letters in three surnames you could ever receive in a three-player haul. In return, Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes got exported to Canada. I hope they have winter wear! Instead of going over all of the impact in the open, it’ll be fettered out and we’ll focus on Gay at the top. Nothing changes. Brevity! Lots of shots, the Kings don’t become any better or worse, but get a good all-around player. The fantasy impact on Gay seems null. The trade overall I think it a win-win, both in real hoops and in fantasy. The Kings dumped guys that don’t really help their rotations for a star, and the Raptors break up their two high-volume shots guys with it not working. Plus the Raptors are looking to rebuild around the Luminescent Lithuanian. Then all sorts of fantasy optimism below, along with other action across the NBA over the weekend:
Isaiah Thomas - Easily the overall winner in the deal. Close to a top 50 player now. I had him in my top 50 in my rankings early in the summer before the Vasquez trade, and he’s played extremely well in his backup PG role. Then the Kings realized he’s better than Vasquez but didn’t want to hurt Greivis’ fragile ego. It’s like in high school, instead of breaking up, you just wait until their dad gets a new job then never answer a phone call/text/Facebook message ever again. IT2 is at close to 18/5 1.5 stl in 27 minutes a game right now, and should easily be in the 35/per range for some obvious optimism. Buy buy buy. But not like N’Sync. Or was that Backstreet Boys? Not even gonna fact check that…
Jonas Valanciunas - You know it was coming! The LL is back! My boyfriend last year and heading into this season is all the sudden looking at a glorious opportunity with the Raptors realizing he and a cheap DeMar DeRozan are the pieces to build around. A boring 5/6 last night, but this is going to turn around with some practice prep time. I know I know, Allen Iverson disagrees on any practice helping, but be damned! LL is my man!
Amir Johnson - Was on fire last night with some expanded offensive responsibilities. 14-17 32/10/1/2/2 in a near redonk rainbow line. I think this was a little more a fluke than new Raptors direction, but the trade should help immensely. Be sure he’s owned in your leagues.
Terrence Ross - I think another easy target as a big winner, but I’m hesitating a bit. Came off the bench again for just over 28 minutes for 11/3 and 2 stls in a win last night. I have a feeling they keep him in a high-energy 6th man role. Before you get all angry, his minutes should go way up and make him worth adding even in speculative 12-team adds. But not a must-add. We’ll see how the new line-up shakes out.
Landry Fields - Stole the start last night and decided to shoot like Gordon Hayward! Best in Show! Fields has two left feet! While Fields shot 0-6 and all labradoodles, he plays D and gives a vet presence ala Tayshaun Prince. He’s in line for a scrubby starter role, or as suggested last night, a Vasquez Kyle Lowry 1/2 backcourt with DeRozan slotting to the 3 could be a Raptors starting 1 through 3. Lots of options, but reminds us Fields is in there.
DeMar DeRozan - Sell sell sell. Sell like your orange concentrate futures like the Duke brothers. I know I liked DeRozan as a sleeper heading into the year, and I still like him now, but I think his perceived value with this trade will far exceed actual returns. As I quoted in pre-season ranks, DeRozan actually struggled before Gay got Toronto, with pre/post splits of 17.6 Pts at 43.5 FG% vs. 19.1 Pts at 46.4 FG% in the second half. It’s good to see the 3-point shooting improved like I thought it would, but past that, Gay was a big help to his game despite belief it will open up a bigger role for him. He’s not really a loser, I buy he’s close to his on pace stats, but the trade will open some owners’ eyes. Plus he’s off a rainbow line in a big win, going 26/5/5/2/2 against the “Welcome back Kobe!” Lakers. Look to sell for the big price, and I’m happy ROS returns should be right around my rank.
Derrick Williams - Still should start at the 4 with Gay as two combo 3/4 guys. They’re like the Waltz! If he’s been useful to your deep league team with his production in 5 Kings’ starts, I think he’s about the same post-trade.
Greivis Vasquez - While the variability of his outcomes remains wildly fluctuant, his minutes should remain fairly similar to what we saw in the PG-heavy California capital. After 25:50 a game in Sacramento, even as a backup PG/dual threat with Lowry in Toronto, he should get comparable minutes. Droppable if he was on the edge of your roster anyway, but if he was steady for you in SAC, hold steady as of right now.
Kyle Lowry - The PG of the future for the “oft-injured All-Stars” would conceivably get a minor reduction. That said, big night for him last night in 37 minutes going 25/5/8 with 3 steals. If anything, I’m actually happy as a Lowry owner with some better shots coming his way and someone to lessen his career-high 36:38 minutes a night, which were a huge red flag.
Kobe Bryant - Overshadowed! I don’t think I’ve seen this much overshadowing since the Shutter Island trailer had me guess the entire movie. 2-9 9/8/4 with a whopping 8 TOs that I imagine swung a few matchups this week. Luckily the 28 minutes were encouraging and nothing is pointing towards an off day next game.
Steve Blake - Kobe is like the D.A.R.E. Lion. “No more dimebags for you kids!” Brutal 3/3/4 game in 30 minutes shooting 1-6. In 10-teamers and stacked 12-team leagues I’m cutting bait, but I think this could still work in some sort of capacity. I love that a Rudy Gay trade can spurn so much optimism, yet a Kobe return is nothing but a funeral march…
Lakers Bench - I don’t know if any stat was pulled, but with 5 starters all not reaching double-digits, and 5 guys off the bench in double-digits… I mean, that has to be some sort of record or anomaly or something! Jodie Meeks, Nick Young, Shawne Williams, Jordan Hill and Xavier Henry all get double-digit points while the starters played like Ewing and Mugsy post-magic alien ball. No big takeaways, nice to see Hill go 11/8 even though off the bench, but this team is a mess until Kobe picks who he wants out there with him…
Pau Gasol - Said his ankle bothered him. Pulled the Gordon Hayward! “I would’ve gone 11-11 not 3-11 if not for this bum ankle!” Is it just me, or are NBA players using excuses too much? Sure injuries affect performances, but you don’t admit it! Sorry Razzball readers if this recap blows today, I have a blister burn in my left index finger! (Absurdly, is actually true! Tried to help my spatula flip a grilled cheese and got too much hot bread on my finger…)
Robert Sacre - Had some momentum as the starting Lakers C, and after a 11/5/1 game shooting 5-7 despite being in foul trouble on Friday, decided to disappear going 2/1 in 10 minutes last night. Look for the Lakers to go on a diet with reduced Sacre.
Tyler Hansbrough - Psycho T has a sprained Psycho Shoulder. I guess it was injured after the Raptors callously stayed at a Bates’ motel… “Are you… crazy?!” “No, but I did stay at a Bates motel last night!”
Victor Oladipo - RainbOladipo! …nOladipo… Tough 8/3/0/1/0 line shooting 2-11 with 2 TOs. Nothing more than a bump on a rook. Or a rook on a bump. That’s what I call it when cocaine cuts into my chess performance…
Glen Sauna Davis - If you missed the news byte before the season, apparently Davis was sweating out as best he could in saunas to rehab. As much as I want to make all sorts of bathhouse jokes, he went 18/6/3 last night, and while bumpy, has been fantasy usable even in deeper leagues. Lord help me, worth a look…
Patrick Beverley - Dude, Slim even broke up with him! It’s like being a 15-year-old girl and defending a cheating boyfriend to the rest of the cheerleaders. “I still think he’s sweet!” Wow, maybe the most effeminate player joke ever. “PBev is like Zima to my beer & titties!” Growl. 6/1/0/3/0 Friday night and 9/4/3/0/1 with two threes last night. If you’re confused with my opinions on him based on those first sentences, welcome to the club! I’m very cautiously and in-stringently holding. I think I made up “in-stringently”. Hopefully that sort of creativity will lend itself to PBev creating more stats.
Terrence Jones - Been a roller coaster, but the good kind. “What kind of roller coaster is a bad kind?” you may ask… Well, when you’re 6’7 and you barely fit in the effing seat and you roll over a hill slower than a tumbleweed you’ll know what I mean! Huge 16/13/0/2/5 in the Rockets win last night. Only had one big game in the 6 before the weekend, then 16/10/0/3/3 Friday and the big Sunday game. Worth another look in shallow leagues if anyone cut bait.
Paul George - Elite.
Khris Middleton - Was my open before the Gay trade! So you get two opens today! Even though this one was boring and glad I got some trading block spice… When Kate Middleton was preggers, was there a crown on the uterus? What was her maternity socks? Is she even the world’s most famous K Middleton? Oh wait, this is Razzball, not BBC! And the answer for us in fantasy hoops, is yes, who cares, and hell no! Answer to #3 is Khris Middleton, who has rampaged his way into Larry Drew/fantasy owners’ hearts with his out-of-nowhere stronghold on a Bucks starting role. This guy even went undrafted in our 20-team deep roster league! In more-or-less the only good decision I’ve made in that league thus far, I FAABed Middleton after his decent start. More appealing was his minutes than the production, but now it’s the numbahs doin’ da talkin’. On Friday night in an overtime win, KMidd went career-high for 29/7/2/2/1 on a ridiculous 22 shots, hitting 11 including four treys. He then cooled off on Saturday for 9/6/2 shooting 3-9, but again huge minutes at over 37. I think he can produce for you in deeper leagues, and even gets some looks in most 12-teamers. Sure Caron Butler looms for PT, but he’s old and the Bucks are developing. And by developing I mean young players, not health complications for the elderly. I think someone just threw a tomato at me for that joke. I’m still a little hungover from all the fantasy football disappointment… Alcohol doesn’t beat you when you have the second-highest points in the league that week!
Brandon Knight - I really don’t like the Bucks or Larry Drew, but love my KMidd and Knight, who had a nice 20/6/6 three steal game on Friday, including a big three that sent it to OT in the eventual W. Cooled off as well on Saturday for 10/6/3 only shooting 3-12. The FG% will suck, but the rest is yummy multi-cat. Venison-y.
John Henson – Unlike PBev who is fizzling like a white dwarf, Henson is exploding into a red giant with a huge Friday in the fantasy-friendly Wiz win going 19/17/4 in a Goromotaro flirt. Then 18/7/3 on Saturday night, with a block in each. And you love the PT. Must own in all leagues, my rankings reflected it and I’ve stuck by my tar heel all year!
Jordan Crawford - Had himself quite the weekend, going 22/8 then 23/7 on Fri/Sun. I’m still not totally a buyer, despite comparable minutes in stints with the Wizards, he’s on pace to obliterate his assists per. I don’t think he’s a half dime-bagger (5.3 asg right now).
Tim Hardaway Jr. - Got a start, and in 25 minutes went 8/2/1/3/1 in a nice multi-cat, non-ThraGNOF showing. The biggest downfall was the Knicks got blown out by a terrible Celtics team. Sorry Slim! I know this was your rebound guy, but I dunno. Maybe it can be me… If I play my cards right…
Jeffery Taylor - Has a left heel contusion. Was huge in his start on Friday, way outdoing Al-Farouq Aminu making me feel a little smart since El Burro is our resident mad genius. Told you Aminu has no idea what he’s doing offensively shooting 3-14! But you told me on Andre Drummond and like, everything else… Let me have this moment! If you’re in redonk deep leagues with daily streaming, Anthony Tolliver should get a decent start tonight in a fast-paced game against the Warriors should Taylor end up ruled out.
Martell Webster - Turned an ankle. Which means you can turn the page. Loved him for the past 3 or 4 weeks, and returns have been nothing but… awesome. Fantasy is reactionary, and I’m happy with the investment I put on him during this run.
Nene - Said on Saturday he was “suffering”. Yes, just a few days after Mandela died. Ok, ok, so that’s not really a fair leap and Nene probably had a translator botch something. Wait, that’s not the case? Maybe some new buzz words will help. One would be “I’m in ‘don’t play in fantasy’ condition tonight”.
Tyreke Evans - I was doing highlights for this game when Evans went down… did not look good. I’ve loved watching Evans pick up his game the past few weeks, but those darned kankles are hurting him… I can’t stand seeing sports injuries anymore and wish him an expedient recovery. But for fantasy, I honestly think he’s cuttable in 10 and 12-teamers with how bad it looked and his solidifying but still volatile role off the bench. Once he returns, and in my guesstimation it’ll be when Anthony Davis returns,he’ll be stuck behind a rut of playing time.
Luol Deng - Achilies MRI turned up negative. I took that to mean no injury, not that Deng had no Achilies. Very likely he misses at least one game, so stay tuned.
Taj Gibson - Taj A-Haul! 21/10 with a block on Saturday with Deng out. Playing as a must-own right now.
Enes Kanter - Huge 12/7/2/1/4 on Saturday, but I still feel like it’s a little flukish with Marvin Williams still hurt. Not that Williams is any good, but more that Tyrone Corbin loves tinkering. He’s a tinker-bell.
Jeremy Evans - Got a start on Saturday for 8/9 with a block, but fouled out in just over 29 minutes. I liked Evans and made a FAAB move on him in REL, but didn’t see him starting this soon and didn’t nab him. With Derrick Favors also out of the mix with a sore back, it feels more like a band aid start. Still, like Evans’ upside for this season and beyond.
Trey Burke - Remember when I said he’d take off! Well, didn’t shoot well at 5-19, but batted his eyes at a trip-dub of 19/10/7 on Saturday. I wish this finger injury never happened… My rank of him in the 50s would be looking awesome… Then again, this was a day after Corbin benched him for poor effort. I bet Jerry Sloan would bench Corbin for his coaching effort.
Tony Wroten - Of course I knew it was coming, of course I said Friday morning he was a solid pickup, and of course he torches my REL team with a near trip-dub on Friday for 21/8/9 then 20/5/1 on Saturday. #TradeMCW!
Next Game: I’m sure there’s a million things I missed in the wrap-up as it was a long weekend! There was NFL, college championships, and Amazon dropping in Breaking Bad season 5 via drone and my bottle of scotch. To say I hadn’t cut into either of those would be a lie! Plus I’m injured! I’ve got ORL @ MEM tonight for some in-depth NBA action. Hoping to see a RainbOladipo and some nice play from Jon Leuer, who I bid FAAB on in REL, but at the time of wrapping this up, am not sure if I landed him. I hope you all had a great week 6 and looking forward to another great week!