Fantasy Basketball: NBA Free Agent Frenzy Part 2
Same Player, different team, but same production? These are players that changed teams during the offseason and how it will affect their fantasy basketball production this season. In case you missed it, here is the first part of the NBA Free Agent Frenzy.
Isaiah Thomas PG, Phoenix- “All you need is love” is a great song by the Beatles, but it is also the reason why Thomas left Sacramento for Phoenix. The Kings made it clear that they didn't like Thomas, while Suns let it be known that they loved him. His fantasy value directly relates to what happens with Eric Bledsoe: If Bledsoe stays with Phoenix, than Thomas is a backup point guard who will play about 25 minutes per game, but if Bledsoe leaves, then Thomas starts alongside Goran Dragic and will produce numbers similar to last season (he averaged 20.3 points on 15.2 FGA and 6.3 assists per game). Assuming Bledsoe stays with Phoenix, then Thomas will go back to producing numbers he averaged in the 2012-13 season, which was 13.9 points on 10.5 FGA, four assists, and less than one steal in just over 26 minutes per game. That would make him a bench player in 10-12 team leagues and overrated heading into fantasy drafts.
Lance Stephenson SG/SF, Charlotte- “Born Ready” was ready to leave the Pacers for greener-ish pastures in Charlotte. Sir Lance-a-lot put up a lot of impressive numbers last season: He led the NBA with five triple doubles (there were only four other players in the NBA that had three or more triple-doubles, Noah & Curry had four, Durant & Love had three), averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game, and had a field goal percentage of 49. Kevin Durant, Nicolas Batum, and Joakim Noah are the only other NBA players that averaged seven plus rebounds and 4.5 plus assists per game last season. Gerald Henderson has been the primary shooting guard/small forward for the Bobcats/Hornets the past three seasons and has never averaged less than 14 points per game. Stephenson is a much better player than Henderson and should play about 34 minutes per game. This is a player that put up almost the exact same numbers of Nicolas Batum, but is going to be drafted a lot later than Batum in fantasy drafts. Be ready to draft “Born Ready” next season at a discount price.
Trevor Ariza SF, Houston- Had everything going his way last season as he averaged 14.4 points, 6.3 rebounds (a career high), 2.5 assists, 1.6 steals, and 2.3 three pointers made (also a career high) while playing 35.4 minutes per game last season. The good news is that he will play heavy minutes again this season, but the bad news is that he's unlikely to repeat those solid numbers. Before last season, Ariza points per game looked like this: 9.5 points in 2012-13, 10.8 in 2011-12, and 11 in 2010-11. He actually averaged a career high 14.9 points per game in his only full season with the Rockets in 2009-10. He rejoins a Rockets team that needs his defensive skills and long range shooting ability. However, his production will be inconsistent this season and will not reach the same numbers he put up last season. Expect 12-13 points, five rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 three pointers made this season. Those are average numbers because Ariza is an average fantasy producer.
Darren Collison PG, Sacramento- The Kings have D.C. and Ray McCallum as their ONLY point guards on the roster. That’s it! While I do expect Ray-Ray to get some playing time, I expect Collison to have a career year this season and play a career high amount of minutes. He has never averaged less than 10.4 points per game in his career and last season was the first time he didn’t average 4.8 assists or more per game (had 3.7 assists per game), but that was due to a career low in minutes played per game. Look for Collison to play almost 36 minutes per game, and his career “per 36 minutes” (means if he played 36 minutes per game in every game of his career) stats would look like this: 15 points, 2.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.4 steals, and a field goal percentage of 46.4%. Those numbers are similar to what guys like Jeff Teague and Deron Williams produced last season. His price tag won’t be nearly as high as those guys and will be a great sleeper pick come draft time.
Carlos Boozer PF, L.A. Lakers- The Booze cruise was stuck at the dock last season as he averaged 13.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and a 45.6 FG% while playing 28.2 minutes per game last season. Those numbers are his lowest per game average since his rookie season in 2002-03. The Lakers are going to be dreadful this season and despite the logjam at the power forward position with Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly, Ed Davis, and Julius Randle, Boozer will get a significant amount of playing time. Look for him to bounce back and average about 17 points and nine rebounds per game this season.
Omer Asik PF/C, New Orleans- The Rockets gave away Omer Asik and got practically nothing but cap space in return. Like the saying goes “One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure” and that could not be truer about the Pelicans getting the Rockets trash. He gives the Pelicans something they desperately needed: a big, tough center to play alongside Anthony Davis. He will rack up rebounds and possibly average double digit points per game as well. Those powers combined will make him a great source for cheap rebounds in fantasy leagues.
Spencer Hawes C, L.A. Clippers- Put up career high numbers in points (13.2), rebounds (8.3), assists (three), three pointers made (1.6), and minutes played (30.9) per game last season. The fact he made 1.6 three pointers per game is remarkable considering he never averaged more than 0.5 3PM per game in his career. However, he signed with L.A. Clippers this offseason, which means he will no longer be starting and will see a huge decrease in minutes played per game. While this was a great signing for the Clippers, this was a bad move for Hawes’ fantasy value. He will not get close to last season’s numbers unless DeAndre Jordan or Blake Griffin get hurt.
Paul Pierce SF, Washington- The Wizards had to find someone to fill Ariza’s spot on the roster and they went with “The Truth”. However, the truth is, that Pierce is old and is a shell of his former self. The Wizards also have Otto Porter, who still needs to improve his game dramatically before getting quality playing time, and Martel Webster, who is a great shooter and could see the most playing time out of all three of these guys. There is no way I would draft Pierce as I don’t believe he gets ample playing time and his numbers could be worse than last season (which were career lows in almost every category).
That is all I got for now, but there will be plenty of fantasy basketball content at the Fantasy Alarm this summer and an epic fantasy basketball draft guide is in the works as well. Feel free to holler at me on twitter @DaTrueGuru.