Well, that was a “fun” trade deadline.
If you went to bed Wednesday night hoping to see some trade news involving names like Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony, I’d like to extend my sincere condolences.
For the second straight year, the NBA trade deadline came and went with a whimper as the “biggest” names on the move were the likes of Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner, Danny Granger, Ramon Sessions, Andre Miller and Gary Neal. While those trades are causing more of a ripple on the fantasy landscape than a tidal wave, there are fantasy implications that our own Aaron Bruski has covered from every angle here.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $120,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday night's games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $13,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Friday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Before moving on to Thursday’s game recaps, there is one injury nugget that popped up on deadline day. Just in case the owners of Derrick Favors needed another reason to hit refresh on his Rotoworld player blurb… Favors won’t be making the trip to Portland with a sprained right hip (which is a new, separate injury from his previous hip strain). He’s officially listed as day-to-day, but there is some worry that he could miss more than just Friday’s game. Enes Kanter will continue to start for the Jazz while Favors’ is out and will be a strong pickup if he’s available.
Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder
LeBron James – It looks like all the “Kevin Durant for MVP” talk has lit a fire under King James. In last night’s potential finals preview, LeBron shot a ridiculous 15-of-22 from the field on his way towards putting up 33 points, seven rebounds, three assists and four steals. James exited the game in the fourth quarter after taking a shot to the face as he attempted a dunk, but the injury to his nose doesn’t seem to serious as he was jokingly comparing himself to a certain Batman villain on Instagram after the game. The Heat don’t play again until Sunday, so we’ll consider LeBron probable for Sunday’s game against the Bulls. LBJ is averaging 34.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 3.2 steals over his last five games and looks poised to make a late charge for MVP (and possibly fantasy’s top player). Let the games begin!
Dwyane Wade – Speaking of superheroes, it was nice to see the old Flash again Thursday night as Wade posted an impressive line of 24 points, seven rebounds, 10 dimes, and three steals in 37 minutes. Wade owners will have to stomach their fair share of DNPs as the Heat attempt to keep him health for the playoffs, but nights like Thursday will certainly help make up for that.
Chris Bosh – Not to be left out, the Heat’s third musketeer shot 6-of-9 from the field and 11-of-12 from the line Thursday night on his way towards finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals, and one block. Bosh had been struggling from the field to start the month, so his owners have to be pleased with his 65.3 percent field goal percentage over the Heat’s last five games.
Kevin Durant – While Russell Westbrook’s owners have to be ecstatic about his return, Kevin Durant’s most likely don’t share their sentiment. The man formerly known as The Servant (for one day) still put up a nice line of 28 points, eight boards, three assists, and two steals Thursday night, but those numbers are a bit shy of the absurd stats Durant was routinely posting while Westbrook was out. Fantasy owners can take solace in the fact that they still own fantasy’s top player, but expectations need to be tempered a bit now that Westbrook is back.
Serge Ibaka – Like Durant’s owners, Ibaka’s owners can’t be all that excited about Westbrook’s return to the court. Last night’s line of 14 points, eight boards, one assist and one block will mostly likely be a low water mark for the big man going forward, but he’s a long shot to be the Top Five player that he was in Westbrook’s absence.
Reggie Jackson – Continuing on the Westbrook theme… It was nice while it lasted, wasn’t it? Jackson still saw 37 minutes of action in Wednesday’s loss (so don’t go dropping him yet), but his line of 3-of-7 from the field for nine points, three rebounds, five dimes, two steals, and one block is probably more representative of what Jackson’s owners will get going forward. That’s a respectable line that warrants a roster spot in standard leagues, but Jackson’s most productive days this season are most likely behind him.
Russell Westbrook – Last, but not least… “Why Not?” is back! After missing 27 games with a knee injury, Westbrook played 26 minutes Thursday night and shot 4-of-12 for the field for 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Those numbers will only get better as Westbrook acclimates himself to game action and his owners can look forward to owning one of the better point guards in fantasy basketball as long as he stays healthy.