The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and now we’re left to pick up the pieces and determine who’s trending up or falling behind in fantasy basketball. While we didn’t see any seismic shifts in the fantasy landscape, moves were made that will impact your rosters.
Let’s dive into the biggest winners and losers after the deadline.
Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Washington Wizards
Mr. Bagley is the most unexpected, surprising and unlikely winner at the trade deadline in recent years. Maybe ever?
Anyway, Daniel Gafford’s departure frees up all of Bagley's center minutes. While he gets eligibility at PF, too, consider it a bonus because, according to Cleaning the Glass, he’s actually logged zero minutes at PF since joining the Wizards.
He’s currently on the IL with a back injury, but if you play in a league where you can stash players in IL, he is worth picking up. Since joining the Wizards, he’s averaging 15.5 points with eight rebounds, shooting 61% from the floor. He’s available in 67% of Yahoo leagues, so I would scoop him up immediately for the opportunity ahead.
Bennedict Mathurin (SG/SF) and Aaron Nesmith (SF/PF), Indiana Pacers
Mathurin hasn’t been a reliable fantasy player, but the tide is rising. With Buddy Hield gone, Mathurin has a stronghold on the SG minutes and will likely play backup SF minutes behind Aaron Nesmith. Mathurin is only averaging 26 minutes a night, so with the additional boost in minutes, we should see his production look similar to his rookie campaign. With a 24% usage rate with Hield off the floor this year, I’d add him in 12-team points and category leagues for his scoring and threes.
Nesmith has been a top-80 player in nine-category formats since Christmas and has started the last 21 games for Indy during that span. Hield wasn’t necessarily a threat, but he was getting the majority of his minutes at SF and SG. Could Nesmith’s minutes get to over 30 per game with him out of the way? If so, he should be rostered in more than 59% of leagues.
GG Jackson (PF) and Santi Aldama (PF/C), Memphis Grizzlies
Jackson has short- and long-term appeal, as his skill set reminds me of Jabari Smith Jr. — a stretch-four who can create his shot and generate blocks. I’ve been encouraged by his development this season (he’s only 19 years old), and his 22% usage rate playing under 20 minutes shows that he’s getting touches. GG’s versatility has been getting him minutes at small forward, power forward and center, so with Xavier Tillman Sr. and David Roddy being dealt, more minutes should be available for him to play. He’s not a must-add right now, but I’ve added him to my watch list, especially if the Grizzlies continue to lose and be without their core players (except for Jaren Jackson Jr).
Aldama wins by the sheer nature of the Grizzlies' underwhelming frontcourt situation. He’s been injured a bunch, but he’s having the best statistical season of his three-year career, too. The question is whether he can stay upright long enough for fantasy managers to have the confidence to stick with him.
He’s averaging 1.4 stocks, so he does contribute defensively, which is nice, along with offering some potential as a low-end double-double player. He has four double-doubles this year, and in the seven games he’s played more than 30 minutes, he’s posted a solid 17.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.0 stocks per game. I’d add him in 12-team leagues now and pray he’s not the next victim of a long-term injury in Memphis.
Cody Martin, SG/SF, Charlotte Hornets
Martin’s role has been expanding lately, and the Hornets' moving on from Gordon Hayward firms up his place in the rotation. He’s been a top-100 player over the last seven days, and with LaMelo Ball (ankle) still out, Martin has taken over some much-needed playmaking for Charlotte. Over the past five games, he’s averaged six assists per contest, along with 11 points and four rebounds. Dare I say he’s looking like a better-shooting version of Jeremy Sochan? Either way, he should be added based on his recent performances. He could still start at SF when Ball returns, too. If you believe in Grant Williams — well, I don't know what to tell ya.
You might be thinking, where's Ausar Thompson? He's a good streaming option with Beef Stew sidelined, but Monty Williams is destined to shatter fantasy managers' dreams of what could be once Stewart returns.
Dereck Lively II, C, Dallas Mavericks
Injuries haven’t helped his case, but Dallas adding another center like Daniel Gafford is far from ideal. The Mavericks have similar attributes: athletic rim runners who can rebound well and protect the rim, but Gafford is a more-established version of that prototype. Lively’s rostered in under 60% of leagues because he’s been inconsistent, and now that the Mavs have introduced a timeshare, I’d expect his value to go down.
I have Gafford stashed in IL right now, and I’ll wait and see if he’s worth keeping. However, if he loses his starting role, he’ll likely be a drop candidate.
Josh Giddey, SG/SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder
Gordon Hayward’s arrival is an indictment of Giddey’s lack of offense all season long. Hayward hasn’t played much over the past couple of months but he’s been a productive fantasy asset whenever he’s healthy. I'm not expecting him to replicate his 15/5/5 numbers in 25 games this year, but his shooting alone makes him a better fit for OKC’s current roster.
I’m not dropping Giddey yet, but I'm concerned about acquiring another 6-foot-8 player who is a willing facilitator but can revert to being a catch-and-shoot guy. Giddey’s been a disappointment this season, so give it a few games; if the results don’t change or worsen, you know what to do.
Kelly Oubre Jr., SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers
Oubre’s been an OK fantasy player this season, ranking 126th in per-game value across the season. However, he clearly wasn’t doing enough for the Sixers since they went out and traded for another SG/SF in Buddy Hield. The Sixers coveted a knock-down three-point shooter for some time, and now that he’s arrived, I think it’ll reduce Oubre’s role and output for the rest of the season.
Currently, Oubre is benefiting from the absence of De’Anthony Melton, who’s been out with a back injury since mid-January. Oubre's started at SG in his place, but with Melton's return from a back injury on the horizon, plus adding Hield to the equation, Oubre’s value is getting squeezed.
When healthy, the Sixers' starting lineup likely won’t feature Melton and Oubre Jr. So at this point, Oubre Jr.’s minutes are looking like they’ll go from 30 to mid-20s when Melton returns. And looking at his splits when seeing less than 30 minutes is not desirable. He’s helped fantasy managers in points, threes and steals, and while I expect he’ll remain a fixture of Nick Nurse’s rotation, I’m struggling to see where his upside lies with more competition on the wing.