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Weekly Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Ball is Life

Much will be happening in the league over the next few weeks. I am sure you are as excited as I am to see what happens this trade deadline, after deals like OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakim, and Terry Rozier. It seems like the Eastern Conference continues to get shaken up, while the West is staying relatively dormant. This week’s mailbag will discuss the arms race in the East, and aim to evaluate hidden fantasy potential among the big news. We will also discuss the West’s potential to do some trading as well. Essentially, who could stand to gain the most and the least in the next few weeks?

Weekly Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Ball is Life

Do you think there are any other players that are going to be affected by the trickle-down of the Pascal Siakim and Terry Rozier trades in the Eastern Conference? – Arun

Yes. Let’s take a look at those previous trades first. Due to the Anunoby trade, Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson have both had better fantasy outputs. Donte DiVincenzo has come onto the scene. Quentin Grimes has had some moments. A few teams have yet to make any moves. The Cleveland Cavaliers have not had trades. Similarly, neither have the Milwaukee Bucks or Philadelphia 76ers. Expect that to change.  The Atlanta Hawks have been mentioned to make a deal for Dejounte Murray. Let’s evaluate some spots.

First, if the Cleveland Cavaliers make a move, expect a slight decrease in counting numbers across the board but higher boosts in efficiency. Adding an additional scorer tends to have that outcome.

Second, the Milwaukee Bucks, just like the Cavaliers, may also be in the market. Now that they have Doc Rivers, it is hard to gauge if they change anything. They still need defensive wing help, so keep an eye out for a three-and-d player that will take fantasy potential away from players like Brook Lopez or Khris Middleton.

The Philadelphia 76ers could move Tobias Harris, but the addition of any similar type of player should not add or take away from their high fantasy producers. That player may perform better than they did on a previous team.

Finally, the outlook on the Hawks may change drastically. The two point guard experiment was never going to work, but another wing/forward type player would completely open up the offense for players like Trae Young. However, it would take away from Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Why are Damian Lillard’s numbers down this year while Giannis Antetokounmpo’s are nearly higher? – Tyler

So, Damian Lillard has been back and forth on the stat sheet over the last three years. There has been a constant: when Lillard has a down year, he takes more mid-range jumpers. His mid-range attempt percentages are up by nearly double, and his percentages are down dramatically. I think these are playing a major role in his overall viability, and having another shooter should help that. We will discuss the Doc Rivers effect, but I do not think that will help the shot selection a ton.

As far as Giannis goes, he’s great, and 29 years old. He’s stopped taking as many threes, so everything is just flowing with him offensively. For their relationship, there is a good dynamic between the two except for Dame’s bad midrange shooting.

How does Doc Rivers affect the player outlook on the Milwaukee Bucks? – Ryan

Rivers has a better relationship with his players, so expect them to tighten up a little bit on their offense and defense. If Damian Lillard can get away from the midrange as previously discussed, his fantasy viability may return to its former glory to some extent.

I am not saying he is a better coach, but he could be better for the team than Griffin was.

Whose fantasy stock would be boosted the most in the Western Conference with some of the prospective trades? Whose would lose the most? – Evan

Depending on which way each team goes, I have a few ideas.

Watch out for Jonathan Kuminga. He’s been up and down the entire season, with sporadic increases in minutes due to player injuries this season. I think if a player like Andrew Wiggins gets traded,  Kuminga would be next man up. Same with Brandin Podziemski. Both would get much-needed shot opportunities.

Dereck Lively II would get less opportunity to continue his outstanding rookie season if the Mavericks added more firepower to their already good team. With Pascal Siakim off the board, it does not look likely but there is always a chance. Whoever is part of that trade though, look for them to get the “playing with Doncic” boost.

The Portland Trailblazers’ young talent would all get a huge boost if Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon were traded. I am keeping my eye on Shaedon Sharpe in particular to take another leap like he did earlier this season. The 20-year-old has had some really outstanding flashes resulting in high-output weeks but has not had any consistency. I like a lot of the young talent Portland has put together, so buying them now while they are down could pay rather large dividends. I know some other rebuilding teams that would love to have that kind of firepower.

De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis may retain the same output as they currently have, but players like Keegan Murray may take hits with additions around the main two. The Kings need to retain any momentum gained from last season to have a chance in the playoffs. I would sell someone like Murray now after he’s gained significant fantasy viability this season.

As always, leave some questions in the comment section!

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