Detroit traded away almost all of their depth at small forward, and added Jose Calderon to an already crowded backcourt. Memphis, a perennial playoff contender, traded away their top scorer to solidify an already suffocating defense. Toronto added a huge contract to a financially-strapped and underachieving team. In addition to all of this confusion, we are left wondering how this may affect our fantasy basketball teams as we begin the playoff stretch.
Many have discounted Toronto, who sit at 11th place in the east with a 16-30 record, but the Raptors may have just made a statement that they are going all-in for a playoff push. The addition of Rudy Gay gives Toronto a formidable starting lineup and a go-to scorer. Toronto, who is only 6.5 games out of the playoffs with half of the season still left to play. may have smelt blood in the water when the 8th place Boston Celtics lost Rajon Rondo for the remainder of the season.
Gay’s fantasy numbers should increase as he goes from one of the best rebounding teams in the league to one of the worst. His rebounding prowess will be called on to compensate for seven-footer Andrea Bargnani’s shortcomings on the glass. Toronto will also use Gay as their featured scorer, with Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan as secondary threats on the offensive end.
This move by Memphis shows that they plan on winning primarily with defense. Adding Tayshaun Prince now gives Memphis elite defenders all over the court. Prince will fit more comfortably in a fixed role on offense rather than having to act as a leading scorer. However, with their old leading scorer now gone, Memphis will have to count on scoring from a committee of capable offensive players.
While neither Zach Randolph nor Marc Gasol are recognized as elite scorers, they make up a proven front court. More emphasis will now be placed on the front court to provide offense with a backcourt that now lacks identity or a true scoring threat. Mike Conley should put up slightly higher scoring numbers, while Jerryd Bayless has an outside shot to become fantasy contributors.
Detroit added Calderon specifically because he is an expiring contract. Calderon bumps Detroit’s brightest young star out of his natural position. Brandon Knight has struggled as a floor general, averaging just a 4.3:3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. Detroit will use this as an excuse to try Knight as a shooting guard, which should allow his scoring ability to flourish. Rodney Stuckey gets bounced to a sixth-man role and his fantasy value takes a hit.
Trading Prince and Daye left Detroit extremely thin at small forward, but Jason Maxiell could slide over to allow the emerging Andre Drummond to start. Keep an eye out for Drummond who could have significant fantasy value if his production continues.
Overall the biggest fantasy gainers from the trade are Gay, Drummond and Randolph, while the biggest fantasy losers are DeRozan and Stuckey.