Fantasy

Fantasy Basketball: What are the fantasy implications of the moves at the NBA Trade Deadline?

The 2020-21 NBA Trade Deadline has passed and a number of different players are changing locations.

There were 17 deals done at the deadline, meaning there are a lot of players that will be impacted in the Fantasy Basketball world as a result.

Which players will be better off in a new situation? Which trades freed up opportunities for players on the waiver wire? Who should you add to your watch list as these new roles develop?

We'll answer all of those questions below, ordered by players that are likely rostered, players to check your waiver wire for and players to add to your watch list.

Fantasy Basketball implications from NBA Trade Deadline

Likely Rostered

Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls: No need to sweat if you're a proud owner of two-time All-Star centre Vucevic. This deal shouldn't impact his stellar fantasy season at all, as the Swiss big man will be surrounded by more talent than he has all season. Playing alongside Zach LaVine, the Bulls will have a Fantasy Basketball super-tandem in Chicago. This deal may decrease the value of Thaddeus Young though, as there will be fewer frontcourt minutes to go around. Don't be surprised if Lauri Markkanen's value takes a slight dip as well.

Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets: Gordon's career-high 4.2 assists per game may take a hit, but he should thrive as a cutter and shooter next to one of the league's best passers in Nikola Jokic. Brought on to make an impact as a defender, you may even see an increase an steals and blocks from Gordon. This change of scenery might affect his usage, but he should still retain a similar fantasy value. This trade does, however, make Paul Millsap no longer worth consideration as a streaming option. It could also have a slight impact on Michael Porter Jr.'s playing time depending on what head coach Mike Malone does with the starting lineup, but MPJ will surely still maintain fantasy value as a scorer and rebounder.

Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat: It's hard to gauge exactly how the Heat will use Oladipo, but I'd expect his scoring to stay the same while his assist numbers will decrease. He's likely to take a starting backcourt spot from Kendrick Nunn, who will now have to fight for playing time with Oladipo, Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro. Nunn's fantasy worth should dwindle to strictly a streaming option, while the Heat's crowded backcourt will likely create parity amongst those four guards. If you own Oladipo, Dragic or Herro, be prepared for some nights where individual players get less run because of the backcourt situation.

Norman Powell, Portland Trail Blazers: Powell had the greenest of green lights with the Raptors and now playing alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, he might not get as many looks. This isn't to say drop Powell - he'll certainly still remain fantasy relevant as a scorer in Portland - but lessen your expectations compared to what he was doing recently with Toronto.

Evan Fournier, Boston Celtics: Fournier was catching fire before this deal and he'll still remain roster-worthy in Boston. While shots might be harder to come by when he's sharing the floor with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker, Fournier's predominant role will be a microwave scorer and playmaker for the second unit. He may not maintain the career-high 19.7 points and 3.7 assists per game that he averaged with the Magic, but he's filling one of Boston's biggest needs in a bench scorer and he'll have plenty of opportunities to keep his numbers hovering around those averages.

Check the Waiver Wire

Robert Williams, Boston Celtics: Spawning off of the trade that sent Daniel Theis to the Bulls, Williams should become the Celtics full-time starting centre. If he is still available in your league, add him immediately. Williams has been on a tear as of late in a limited role off the bench, averaging 11.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks over the last seven games. Playing starter minutes, don't be surprised if Williams is comes up just shy of his per-36 averages of 16 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks per game. Also as a result of this deal, Tristan Thompson should once again become a viable streaming option once he returns to action.

Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors: With Trent expected to fill Powell's role verbatim in Toronto, he's certainly worth an add if he's still available in your league. Trent is already enjoying a career-year averaging 15.0 points and 3.0 3-pointers made per game while shooting 39.7 percent from deep, and that was playing alongside scorers like Lillard, McCollum and Carmelo Anthony where some games, shots can be hard to come by. He should see more looks with the Raptors and, playing in Nick Nurse's defensive scheme, I could see Trent getting above one steal per game.

Wendell Carter Jr. and Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic: Carter started to become a drop candidate when his playing time fell off in Chicago, but he should assume Vucevic's role as the Magic's starting centre. If the 21-year-old is available in your league, add him immediately as he'll again provide a source of points, rebounds, blocks and double-doubles, especially with the current state of Orlando's roster.

Which, speaking of, give Ross a look as well. A knee injury has held Ross out of the last couple games, but once he returns, there is no one to prevent him from shooting as many shots as he'd like. He'll become one of the highest usage players on this team and could become a staple on fantasy rosters for a playoff push because of his endless opportunities.

Kelly Olynyk, Houston Rockets: This version of the Rockets have already produced a few diamond-in-the-rough fantasy players such as Kevin Porter Jr., Kenyon Martin Jr. and Jae'Sean Tate, and those players are all worth consideration if they're available in deeper leagues. Now you can add Olynyk to that list, as he should receive enough playing time to become more than just the streaming option he has been all year in Miami. The Canadian centre can give you a little bit of everything - points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and 3-pointers - and Houston has plenty of minutes to go around.

Add to your Watch List

RJ Hampton and Chume Okeke, Orlando Magic: Hampton being traded to the Magic was one of my favourite fantasy-impacted moves of the day, as the 20-year-old guard is now free to receive a significant minutes boost in Orlando's thin and injury-riddled backcourt. If you have the roster space, give Hampton a spin next time you need a streamer. Otherwise, place him on your watch list until his role is revealed.

As for Okeke, the rookie forward was already starting to play more even before Gordon was traded. Now that Gordon has been moved to Denver, Okeke should become a full-time starter with the Magic and could provide a spark in multiple different categories as a streaming option in deeper leagues.

George Hill, Philadelphia 76ers: Hill was a solid fantasy reserve last season playing for a contender in the Milwaukee Bucks, and I see a similar fate for him as a member of the 76ers. Keep Hill on your radar as a source of points, assists, steals and 3-pointers.

Dennis Smith Jr., Detroit Pistons: Smith became fantasy-relevant when the Pistons backcourt became plagued with injuries earlier this season. Now that Delon Wright has been traded to the Sacramento Kings, Smith should retain his fantasy value until rookie guard Killian Hayes returns to action. Give Smith an add to your watch list, because he can fill up the stat sheet if given the playing time.

Nemanja Bjelica, Miami Heat: This is a deep cut for deeper fantasy leagues, but depending on Bjelica's role with the Heat, he could have some value. Think similar to what Olynyk's value was when he was with Miami this season, and Bjelica could become a streaming option if given the minutes.

Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchinson, Washington Wizards: And these are even deeper cuts, but both young players worth keeping an eye on. Gafford is an athletic centre who could work his way into significant minutes given how thin the Wizards are at the position with Thomas Bryant out for season and Mo Wagner traded to the Celtics. He hardly played in Chicago due to a crowded frontcourt, but minutes are much more available for the 22-year-old in Washington.

As for Hutchinson, he didn't have many opportunities in Chicago, either. The former No. 22 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft has the speed and athleticism to fit in nicely next to Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. If he carves out a role for the Wizards, he could have a streaming impact as well.

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