Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! Trades in the NBA usually have a domino effect, so after two massive trades this week, hopefully that’s a sign that we’re in for a busy deadline. There are a ton of fantasy implications with the two trades that we saw, so let’s ask the Rotoworld hoops crew who the biggest winners and losers are from these transactions. I’ll start us off…
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
The big winner has to be Terrence Ross. After being stuck behind DeMar DeRozan and DeMarre Carroll in Toronto, Ross is now potentially looking at a starting role in Orlando as his competition for minutes consists of Mario Hezonja and Jeff Green, assuming Aaron Gordon shifts to the four. Ross recently turned 26 years old and still has plenty of life left in his legs, so I’m penciling him in for a role of 30+ minutes a night on the rebuilding Magic. He has per-36 minute averages of 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.9 triples, so I’m taking a flier on him in all standard leagues.
Norman Powell is another winner if you ask me, as he should get the bulk of Ross’ 22.4 minutes that he left behind in Toronto. The second-year wing has produced almost every time he’s seen extended minutes this season, and he poured in 17 points with three triples and three steals in 28 minutes on Wednesday. Ross is the better add right now and Powell is more of a deep-league flier, as I’m still waiting to see what the rotation looks like once Patrick Patterson and Serge Ibaka are both active. He’ll need to steal some of Carroll’s minutes if he wants a big workload, but there’s no reason why that can’t happen.
Aaron Gordon is an obvious winner. He’s the only true power forward on the roster with Ibaka gone, and he’s become a lock to see 30+ minutes a night. We’re still waiting for Gordon to turn his elite athleticism into fantasy production, but he’s never had a better chance to produce than he does now. This roster is built to run and Gordon should benefit from that, so there’s no chance I’m leaving him on the wire in a standard league.
Jusuf Nurkic is back! After rotting away on the Denver bench, Nurk Alert looked rejuvenated in his Portland debut on Wednesday, racking up 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with seven rebounds, one assist, one block and three steals in just 21 minutes. He’s always been a per-minute monster, and while his shooting percentages and turnover rate have always been a problem, he should get a lot of easy looks in Portland if Wednesday was any indication. His competition for minutes went from Nikola Jokic to Ed Davis and Meyers Leonard, so there’s so much reason for optimism.
Serge Ibaka goes from being a focal point of the Orlando offense to the third or fourth option in Toronto. His 3-point shooting and blocks will always be his bread and butter, but an obvious dip in points will ultimately hurt his value.
Don’t let Mason Plumlee’s workload on Wednesday fool you, as the Nuggets were missing several bodies including Kenneth Faried. I still think Plumlee comes off the bench after the All-Star break and I see his minutes capped around 28 even if he logs a few minutes next to Jokic, but he should do just enough to warrant ownership in standard leagues.
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Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)
Orlando Magic: Rob Hennigan hasn't exactly made magic by turning Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo & Domantas Sabonis into Terrence Ross and a late 1st-round pick.
Serge Ibaka: The big man finds himself in a significantly better situation in reality, but his usage is likely to take a hit as he plays behind Kyle Lowry & DeMar DeRozan. Ibaka's arrival in Toronto prompts major questions regarding the roles of Lucas Nogueira, Patrick Patterson, Jared Sullinger and Jonas Valanciunas as well.
Toronto Raptors: I thought the Raptors would have to give up a little more to Orlando in order to grab Ibaka, but Masai Ujiri struck again at the perfect time. Despite nothing guaranteed regarding Ibaka's future, it feels like a good bet that he'll remain in Toronto for the long haul.
Portland Trail Blazers: Neil Olshey traded away a player he had no intention of paying in Mason Plumlee in exchange for another draft asset—the Blazers now have three 2017 first-round picks—and to take a flier on the talented Jusuf Nurkic. Those picks will be especially valuable as currency to improve the ceiling of this group with a ton of money owed to Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Evan Turner & Allen Crabbe going forward.
Jusuf Nurkic: Nurkic gets new life in Portland after being banished from the kingdom in Denver.
Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)
I agree with Jonas on Ross and Gordon. Ross is averaging just 22 minutes a game this season (his lowest since his rookie year), but in games where he has played 25 or more minutes (18 games total), he has averaged 12.8 ppg, 1.1 spg and 2.3 treys.
As for Gordon, he didn't exactly explode Wednesday night sans Ibaka (11 points, six boards and a block in 32 minutes), but Orlando scored just 79 points against the Spurs. In his one other game without Ibaka this year, Gordon dropped 28 points. He may not fully blow up, but some improvement the rest of the way seems highly likely.
Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)
I think you guys have covered the big winners and losers in-depth, but I'll also add the bevy of backup forwards and centers in Toronto to the loser list. Patrick Patterson, Lucas Nogueira, Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam and Jared Sullinger have all had intermittent flashes of fantasy promise this season due to injuries across the front line. However, we have to assume that Serge Ibaka will be a permanent fixture in the starting lineup, which will substantially reduce the number of available minutes for this crew of backup bigs.
On the flip side of the coin, Jeff Green and Mario Hezonja may emerge as winners. With Aaron Gordon (thankfully!) moving back to power forward, significant minutes at small forward are up for grabs. Yes, Terrence Ross will likely get the first crack at the starting gig, but Green and Mario should be able to make a case for an increased role as well. We are all aware of Frank Vogel's inexplicable love for Green, who started and played 35 minutes on Wednesday.