Mike Gallagher

Offseason Beat

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NBA Week in Review

Thursday, July 31, 2014

So apparently baseball does the trade deadline a little better than basketball. Thursday morning started off with a huge trade of Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester being dealt for Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and things didn’t really die down either. David Price? Crazy. That got me thinking: What the heck happened at the 2014 NBA Trade Deadline (excluding draft picks)?
Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen were traded for Danny Granger in the "blockbuster" deal of the day. 
Jordan Hamilton was traded to the Rockets for Aaron Brooks.
Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal were traded to the Bobcats for Jeff Adrien and Ramon Sessions of the Bucks.
Spencer Hawes was traded to the Cavs for Henry Sims and Earl Clark.
Eric Maynor was traded to the 76ers, Jan Vesely was traded to the Nuggets and Andre Miller was traded to the Wizards in a three-team deal.
And Byron Mullens was traded to the 76ers! Woo!
Basically, the biggest news of the day was that Russell Westbrook was returning from a 27-game absence on deadline day. It’s OK. The NBA has "@NBA" on their ball now. Here's a picture of John Wall with the new ball here, if interested.
Changing gears in the transaction realm, free agency started 30 days ago and yet we still haven’t seen two top-15 guys for their positions sign a deal yet. Restricted free agents Greg Monroe and Eric Bledsoe have yet to agree to terms, and Bledsoe even said the Suns are using the rules against him. He has a point, though.
A great example is the Hornets. They had their money tied up to Gordon Hayward and they basically couldn’t sign anyone else. Of course, it kind of worked out for them with Lance Stephenson agreeing to terms after Utah matched on Gordon, but that’s not the point.
The Suns are in the driver seat here. Only the 76ers have more remaining cap room than Phoenix and there really are no other teams who can propose more than Phoenix’s reported offer of $48 million over four years. Bledsoe is reportedly not happy with the Suns, but they should be able to mend the fence. Hopefully, they come to terms on a deal soon. It would be interesting to see if it’s a short-term deal and Bledsoe tries to cash in next year. After all, we only have one season to make our judgments and he does have two torn meniscus injuries on his medical chart.
As for Monroe, the Pistons may be keeping him on the back burner while they try to find a suitor for Josh Smith. The team just won’t have the resources to build a Stan Van Gundy-type team after investing so much money to their power forward. Plus, Andre Drummond will command a large extension in a couple seasons.

In case you missed it, I posted my top 12 rookies in redraft leagues for next season over the weekend. As you could imagine, I got trolled on Twitter, which is fine and it comes with the territory. I’ll admit excluding Doug McDermott from the top 12 is surprising, but let me explain:

If McDermott landed on a team that needed him, he’d arguably be the No. 1 rookie. He was arguably the most impressive player at summer league and his game of 31 points on 12 field goal attempts was easily the greatest showing of all. In fact, no player in the NBA put up more than 30 points on a dozen or fewer shots since James Harden did on Dec. 19, 2012.
However, his opportunity is almost non-existent. The Bulls are loaded at power forward and adding him to play there would be such a drop off to the back end of their defense. He’s going to have a tough time taking away minutes from Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic.
Mike Dunleavy probably isn’t untouchable at small forward, but don’t forget about Tony Snell, who also was a first-team summer league guy. Snell is a much better perimeter defense than McDermott could ever be, so don’t assume McBuckets sees a big uptick if Dunleavy gets hurt.
He’d have to post an extremely high usage rate with the second unit, especially because of how the Bulls will run a slow tempo.
Here’s a quick look at how I’d view the rest of the top 26:
14. Aaron Gordon (ORL, F) - His free throw shooting is a concern. At U of A he shot just 42 percent.
15. Dante Exum (UTA, G) - Give it a couple years.
16. Jordan Clarkson (LAL, G) - If the Lakers have a few injuries on the wing, it could get interesting.
17. Jordan McRae (PHI, G) - This might be a bit low because, you know, Sixers.
18. Zach LaVine (MIN, G) - The Mo William addition hurts him.
19. Russ Smith (NO, G) - He has a legit chance to be the backup PG.
20. P.J. Hairston (CHA, G) - Lance Stephenson should see a ton of minutes.
21. Shabazz Napier (MIA, G) - His career isn’t starting off to strong, failing to even crack 30 percent from the field at summer league.
22. Joel Embiid (PHI, C) - I’d say there’s about a 65 percent chance he’s shut down.
23. Mitch McGary (OKC, C) - His offensive skill set is probably the best of any OKC center.
24. Gary Harris (DEN, G) - He killed it at summer league, but he’s buried behind Randy Foye and Arron Afflalo.
25. Spencer Dinwiddie (DET, G) - I love his upside once he’s over his ACL injury from January.
26. Jordan Adams (MEM, G) - Too bad he can’t play small forward.
Love conquers all
Hey, there’s still some Kevin Love news. ESPN is saying it’s a matter of when not if for Love while CBS Sports is saying Wolves owner Glen Taylor is hesitant to deal his All-Star former. I think it’s clear he’s heading to Cleveland. That means he’ll lose a ton of shots and I would knock him out of the first round of fantasy drafts. I don’t see his efficiency going up all that much either.
I think we all know it’s going to be a Wiggins deal that will get it done, which would then boost Wiggins’ value. More on rookies below.
Marshall law
It's still a crapshoot on figuring out the Bucks rotation and we'll be watching every detail here. General manager John Hammond had some interesting comments on newly-acquired point guard Kendall Marshall last week. "He has tremendous vision, similar to the coach he's playing for," Hammond said. "He can throw over the top to bigs, he can throw ahead in transition and he also can penetrate and break down a defense.

We talked about this last week, but the more I think about it, the more I think he starts. Again, I still don’t know for sure what Jason Kidd is going to do. Things will definitely change in a couple months, but I’d consider him an early-late round target (pick 100 or later depending how badly you need a point guard).

Brandon Knight would slide over to shooting guard, which will hurt his upside.

Wall back
John Wall said his back was still bothering him as he accepted his Team USA invite this month. It’s a very minor thing, but it’s worth a mention because he wasn’t on record to having back spasms since November. That suggests he was playing through some pain.
Wall turned in first-round value last season in 82 games and I actually drafted him at 10 in a slow mock draft I’m doing today. It’s an eight-category league and have him as my No. 7 guy for that format.
Orange County Julius
This story will probably be in our top-five stories to follow (I don’t think that top five was in High Fidelity, right?). Anyway, coach Byron Scott said Julius Randle could wind up starting over Carlos Boozer at the power forward spot. It makes too much sense.
Even though he’s just a rookie, Randle looks to be a better passer than Boozer, which fits in nicely because the Lakers are going to do a vast majority of their scoring on the wings. He has a much better offensive arsenal and should be better around the basket, as well. Scott also said he’s going to preach defense, and that was something Boozer couldn’t even do well in coach Tom Thibodeau’s system. The Lakers are going to give up a ton of paint points again and I think Randle is an upgrade from Boozer. I have no real basis other than summer league, but Randle’s weak side help looks pretty solid. He’s not going to be elite or anything, just better than Boozer.
I’d look to take a chance on Randle in the last couple picks to see what happens.
Mo Williams, Mo Problems
OK, that’s not really the case, and maybe I just need to get my weekly quota of a Notorious B.I.G. references in there. The Wolves added Williams to be their second-unit point guard. I think it’s obvious Mo will have no problem staying in from of J.J. Barea on the depth chart after JJB turned in one of the worst seasons of his career. Williams could wind up as a low-end guy in standard leagues for his 3-pointers and assists.
The move also knocks rookie Zach LaVine out of the 14-team convo.
Jimmer's got some new moves
The Pelicans agreed to terms with Jimmer Fredette, so it's Jimmer Time in the Big Easy. As far as landing spots go, it’s probably the best place for him out of any possible outcome. The Pelicans do not have anything that resembles a backup point guard right now and it would appear that's where they want to try him out.
Russ Smith was spectacular at summer league and shredded perimeter defense. Obviously, he won’t be able to excel in that area in the big leagues, but we all said stuff like that about Isaiah Thomas in the early going.
I would definitely draft Russ Smith before Jimmer.
Super Cool Beas heading west?
Michael Beasley could head to the Lakers after working out for them on Wednesday. This needs to happen. He will likely be drafted in tons of mocks just to get a laugh.

Mike Gallagher has covered fantasy hoops for eight years and this season is his second with Rotoworld. You can find him on Twitter talking about a player's shots at the rim.

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