Adam Levitan

The Daily Dose

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Thomas Robinson's Neighborhood

Friday, February 22, 2013

I didn’t add Thomas Robinson in any leagues Wednesday because I was frozen by confusion. Why in the world would the Kings give up on the No. 5 overall pick in the draft without ever giving him a chance to play? A salary dump? They’re only saving a few million bucks. That should be pocket change to an NBA team. Because he’s struggled offensively so far? Who wouldn’t struggle on the dumpster fire that is the Kings’ roster and coaching staff?

A day later, I really regret not pulling the trigger. The Kings are apparently just that dumb and cheap. They didn’t know something about Robinson the Rockets didn’t – they just dropped the ball. And Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, the sharpest GM in the game today, doesn’t drop the ball. He’s set things up nicely for his gift-wrapped acquisition, unloading both starting power forward Patrick Patterson and backup Marcus Morris.

“For us, it was obviously for Thomas Robinson,” Morey said when discussing the trade. “He is a very high-upside guy, plays with high energy, runs the floor, can rebound. He’s athletic. He is a guy that has potential to grow into a top-level player.”

If Morey thinks this highly of Robinson, he’s going to get all the burn he can handle from coach Kevin McHale. Expect 28-30 minutes nightly with elite rebounding numbers and the upside for more.

Buried under the trades that Orlando made Thursday is the status of Jameer Nelson’s knee. He’s been diagnosed with a strained patella tendon and will be reevaluated on Saturday. Newly acquired Beno Udrih is a poor bet for fantasy value if Nelson and Arron Afflalo are healthy, but an injury would really open things up. It’s a situation to keep a close eye on.

As for the trade, the Magic’s starters gained some rotation stability. J.J. Redick was playing 31.5 minutes per game and taking 11.6 shots a night. Udrih and Tobias Harris will eat up some of that production, but this is a complete rebuilding process in Orlando. The young core they’ve built (Moe Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, Nikola Vucevic, Afflalo) are going to get all the burn they can handle.

For our purposes, the player most owners still have a shot at is Moe Harkless. He won’t get any more minutes now that Redick is gone because he was already playing 34.2 a night over the last nine games. What he will get is a chance to touch the ball more and not have to worry about getting squeezed out of the rotation at any point. During this nine-game stint, Harkless is averaging 10.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks. His length and activity on defense is really intriguing.

Bang it here for Aaron Bruski’s excellent team-by-team recaps of the trade deadline. I’m just going to give a little context on three situations:

1. Josh Smith stays put: The Bucks’ final offer was reportedly Beno Udrih, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ekpe Udoh and a protected first-round pick. Understandably, Hawks GM Danny Ferry decided to pass and make his move this summer when he’ll have perhaps the most cap room in the league. He could re-sign Smith, who said he’s open to that. He could also go after Dwight Howard. Either way, it’s a best-case scenario for Smoove’s owners as his fantasy value is at its peak in Atlanta.  

2. Jazz stop the music: Utah’s decision to stand pat is a lot more confusing. They had two impending free agents in Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson that should have been attracting interest as a difference-making rental. But GM Dennis Lindsey said he didn’t even get any offers that made him think. So now we go forward with the status quo: Starter’s minutes for the Sapper and Big Al, 21-23 for Derrick Favors and 12-14 for Enes Kanter. I still think owners that stashed Favors made the right play – it’s just fantasy variance (bad luck) that comes with the territory.

3. Takes bad shots, will travel: We got a ton of questions asking if Jordan Crawford should be snapped up. I don’t see it. He’s going to come off the bench behind Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee, and then will fight for shots with Jason Terry. It’s the old Leandro Barbosa role of roughly 20 minutes a night. "We don't have that wild card off the bench. And I'm hoping [Crawford] gives us that,” coach Doc Rivers said.

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Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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