Denver Nuggets vs. Orlando Magic
- Denver made a couple of moves on the margins. One was to shore up their backup center spot with the acquisition of Thomas Bryant. While that may help the Nuggets a smidge, it has no bearing in the fantasy realm. Bryant was a hot pickup when he took over the starting center role for a few weeks in LA, but he won’t get enough clock to matter behind Denver’s two-time MVP. Meanwhile, Denver shipped off a disgruntled Bones Hyland, opening up a backup point guard slot. Ish Smith filled in last night (technically as the backup to the backup with Jamal Murray sidelined) and scored 0 points with five assists. The main beneficiary will probably be Bruce Brown, who has been quite useful in spurts this season. Brown (56 percent rostered in Yahoo! standard leagues) has done a little bit of everything, but may get a couple more shots and assist chances if he gets the ball in his hands a bit more. Sliding into the starting lineup last night, he finished with a quiet seven points, three assists, two steals, and a block. He’s still a solid pickup in the almost half of leagues he’s out there in.
- Orlando’s one swap at the deadline was to send out one of their flotilla of big men for buyout candidate Patrick Beverley. In other words—womp womp. The most intriguing name on the roster remains Jonathan Isaac, but the Magic will be in no rush to drastically increase his workload. Still, Isaac (19 percent rostered) can be a Hail Mary streamer for defensive stats. He needed just 11 minutes to compile three swipes and a swat on Thursday, despite not hitting a shot from the field.
Phoenix Suns vs. Atlanta Hawks
- Phoenix fired the biggest round at the deadline, trading for a future Hall-of-Famer who’s still playing at an MVP level, giving the Suns four outstanding players to rally around, However, they had to send out several key rotation pieces to swing the deal, leaving ample opportunity for someone to pick up the loose change. Torrey Craig fits the bill from a lineup construction standpoint as a low-usage, defense-first option, but that’s not helpful for our purposes. Damion Lee (seven percent rostered) came into the night leading the league in three-point shooting, and should lead the bench in scoring going forward. He made just one of his nine triple tries against the Hawks, scoring 12 point and turning it over four times in 25 minutes. Josh Okogie (two percent rostered) made the case for more work, delivering an efficient 25 points off the bench on 9-of-17 shooting, with three assists, three steals, and a block to boot. Okogie has been in and out of the rotation all season, but on nights he’s gotten big minutes he has produced. He’s worth a flier as a guy who can get boards and stocks, with upside for points and treys if he’s hot like he was last night.
- No major overhaul for Atlanta, but the Hawks did acquire Saddiq Bey without touching any of their rotation pieces. Every team needs big wings who can shoot, and that’s exactly what Bey (80 percent rostered) can provide, but he’ll do so in a reduced role from the one he enjoyed in Detroit. That will probably be enough to make him a cut candidate, as his value was built on volume, and it will probably also drag down Bogdan Bogdanovic (68 percent rostered), who was already scuffling before this trade. Bogey made just two of 12 shots in the win over the Suns, with two assists being his only other non-goose-egg on the evening. A good move for the Hawks but no joy for fantasy managers.
Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets
- Chicago surprisingly stood pat at the deadline, deciding to languish on the path of expensive mediocrity. Outside of their Big Three, fantasy value has been tough to come by for the Bulls. The next best bet is Alex Caruso (40 percent rostered) who is basically just a steals specialist. He managed one in 30 minutes off the bench last night, while also grabbing seven boards and making all four of his foul shots to score six points. He can round out the end of your bench if you don’t need help anywhere else, or you can stream him for stocks if you so choose.
- Sorry if you missed the run on Cam Thomas (up to 78 percent rostered), who scored 20 points yet again. The Nets now have an army of 3-and-D wings to complement their…wait, what’s that? They have no stars left? Guess that means Thomas and fellow new (old-?)-comer Spencer Dinwiddie will feast on shots galore while setting their teammates up for three-point opportunities. Keep an eye on how the rotation shakes out. If he gets the requisite minutes, Dorian Finney-Smith could still be a useful asset. He notched nine points last night in 35 minutes, hauling in nine rebounds as well (45 percent rostered).
Milwaukee Bucks vs. LA Lakers
- Milwaukee added a playoff-hardened vet to their collection of wings with the acquisition of Jae Crowder—who ought to be left on the wire for now. Who knows where Crowder is at conditioning-wise, but once he ramps up and carves out a role, it’s probably curtains for Grayson Allen‘s fantasy value too. With the wing rotation getting more diluted, an expected reduction in Allen’s minutes—even a slight one—pushes him out of even the streaming conversation outside of very deep leagues. Allen received a start against the Lakers, attempting all 11 of his shots from beyond the arc and connecting on four of them (19 percent rostered) in 28 minutes played.
- The Lakers took a chainsaw to their roster, completely reshaping it on the fly with several incoming pieces expected to factor heavily into the rotation. While we wait to see exactly how the new recruits will be deployed, LA’s sudden depth of competent players likely signals the conclusion of the Dennis Schroder renaissance. Schroder had regained some of his mojo since assuming a starting position with the Lakers, and shined brightly last night against the Bucks. He amassed 25 points on 10-for-17 from the field, while handing out 12 assists against zero turnovers in 34 minutes of action. Was it enough to keep his healthy supply of playing time coming? Probably not (32 percent rostered).