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This is a pivotal juncture in the season to get ahead on moving players from squads that are losing playoff momentum. It's a case-by-case basis, hence why below you'll see the motivation to sell Jaren Jackson Jr. but eagerness to buy Jonathan Kuminga. However, at the end of the day, having guys who will contribute during the fantasy basketball playoffs is paramount, so that is a factor in mind throughout this article.
Trade away: Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
With Desmond Bane set to be sidelined for the next six-plus weeks due to a serious ankle sprain, it's the gutters for Memphis. I could see a whole youth movement coming on down the stretch, not that Jackson won't play, but that his workload will be monitored.
Jackson has been good and consistent in a lost season for Memphis. A seemingly underwhelming 44.7/33.3/83.7 percentage shooting slash is justifiable given his leap in volume. Jackson is averaging 15.9 shots per game, which is simply a lot for him. Defensive impact remains his calling card, which is an exhausting duty throughout the course of a game, and he doesn't have the deepest bag offensively — factors that make him unlikely to be super-efficient at high volume.
Therefore, his 21.2 points per game on 56.8% true-shooting rate — including a career-best 6.1 free-throw attempts per game — is respectable. That level of production is an attractive sell candidate. He is averaging 22.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.3 blocks across his last six games.
Notably, three of those games came in Ja Morant's (shoulder) final contests of the season. Team morale and overall offensive performance will likely drop from here, as will the mathematical nature of playoff relevance. While the youth movement could bring on morale, that simply isn't conducive to Jackson being a weapon for the fantasy playoffs, which is critical. He can be traded for weapons. Seek a manager in your league with two high-floor fantasy assets or two quality role players, even a role player plus Evan Mobley — who is a tier below Jackson’s fantasy pedigree. Jackson, plus another asset to hunt for a Darland Garland-type star, also has trade viability.
Trade for: Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
Ingram is amid a stretch of posting 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists on 40.6% shooting in 30.2 minutes across his last six games. His three-point stroke has abandoned him over that span, as he’s posted just 3-for-15 shooting from deep. His season-long clip rests at 34.1% on 3.7 attempts per game from beyond the arc, which is a serious dip from his 39.0% shooting at the same volume last year.
Ingram has always been an inconsistent three-point shooter, but his lack of floor spacing has never been as important or relevant as now, playing alongside a healthy Zion Williamson. Prior to the ongoing campaign, Ingram and Williamson had appeared in just 93 games together throughout three prior seasons. A relevant factor in Ingram's rest-of-season fantasy outlook is how well he can mesh in the offense alongside Williamson. This ties into the ever-present storyline of what the ceiling of New Orleans’ offense is when factoring in CJ McCollum’s on-ball/combo style as well. Ingram wasn't conducive to Team USA's offense this summer, so perhaps his production will suffer more than others in the current construct of the Pelicans.
I’m still buying on Ingram. His talent is supreme, and there are better days ahead. Recently, he’s been appearing on the injury report due to Achilles soreness, but he returned after a one-game absence last week, which indicates that the injury isn't being strictly monitored by New Orleans.
Ingram’s usage rate still ranks in the 96th percentile among all wings, per CleaningTheGlass, and his assist rate has remained consistent with prior campaigns. He is still a central component of running the Pelicans’ offense. He’s generating 1.049 team points per possession when initiating the New Orleans pick-and-roll, which ranks in the 76th percentile league-wide. He ranked in the 73rd percentile for that category last season. That subtle improvement is complemented by rim finishing climbing to a strong 64.7%, making his poor three-point shooting the only blemish on a strong offensive campaign. Ingram posted 25 games with at least 25 points last season. He has posted 14 such contests through 37 games this season, although he has yet to since Dec. 31. He’s due.
Trade for: Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors
Kuminga is peaking right now, despite being available in 53% of Yahoo leagues. Even though his holistic stock is in a weird place given the state of the Warriors season and his constant presence in trade rumors, I think most managers would be pretty complimentary of his fantasy performance thus far. He's coming off three straight games with 20-plus points and has posted double-digit scoring in 20 straight games. Kuminga is averaging 16.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.6 steals on a 56.2/35.1/73.7 percentage shooting line in 26.4 minutes per game over that span.
His current stretch of booms makes this a tough buy spot, so waiting until he returns to the aforementioned level of production is wise. Kuminga can also be viewed as a sell candidate if returning to the aforementioned level of production isn't desirable to you. He can definitely be packaged with another player to unlock an upgrade, but I’m fond of the floor he brings on a nightly basis. The Warriors’ rotation needs him badly, or if he’s traded to a new destination, it's logical to think that his new team would give him extended run. I find the outcome unlikely, but either way, it's conducive to fantasy relevance. To conclude: I like Kuminga as a fantasy asset. I'm interested in buying for his rest-of-season value when he cools off slightly, but I also view this very moment as a strong sell point.
Trade away: Tre Jones, San Antonio Spurs
Jones was coming off a career-best 30-point outing Friday entering Sunday’s contest. Somewhat anticlimactically, Sunday's contest yielded just six points (3-8 FG) and 12 assists in 30 minutes during a loss to Atlanta.
Jones’ past two weeks of games have been good, yielding 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.2 steals in 30.0 minutes per game. That being said, Blake Wesley continues to be loosely involved, and a 10-to-15 minute role for him down the stretch is logical unless he is flipped to a new destination. Jeremy Sochan also continues to log a sizable amount of possessions bringing the ball up the court, even when he isn't operating as the de facto/nominal point guard. Given his workload and performance, Jones is seemingly back at the helm, but these are factors that cap his ceiling, especially because he can't shoot and, therefore, lacks an off-ball presence. Jones is connecting on just 26.7% of 2.1 threes per game, which aligns with the 28.5% clip he posted on 2.3 threes per game last season.
Jones is a solid player with impressive floor general skills and rim finishing, but he’s at a strong sell point right now. Additionally, San Antonio is clearly interested in developing other pieces alongside him in the backcourt, which is justifiable given that Jones is a known commodity thus far. Leveling out around last year’s averages of 12.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists is realistic down the stretch.
Trade away: Norman Powell, Los Angeles Clippers
Powell, who is available on waivers in 53% of leagues, has been the epitome of a consistent scorer for the Clippers this season, but in terms of his credibility as a fantasy asset, he still offers nothing outside of points and threes. He boomed for 24 points (one rebound, zero assists) Sunday against Minnesota and has posted double-digit scoring in 19 of his past 21 games.
However, his 54.3% shooting over his last eight games, including 53.5% from beyond the arc, will regress. Given that his production is entirely reliant upon shooting, flipping him for a more well-rounded asset or including him in a package for a bigger piece would be a win.