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Early Fantasy Impact of the Big NBA Trades

With the NBA off-season in full swing and the first batch of major trades under our belts, let’s take a look at the early fantasy impact of said trades. As free agency is yet to begin and things may change, we’ll focus on the top-level fantasy players who seem to be unlikely to be moved from their new roles. Isn’t change exciting, by the way?! Could you ever have imagined Marcus Smart in Memphis or Chris Paul in Golden State?

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Winners and Losers of Huge NBA Trades

Bradley Beal, SG – Phoenix Suns

8-cat rank 9-cat rank
GP per game total per game total
2020-21 Washington Wizards 40 44 164 70 196
2021-22 Washington Wizards 50 37 90 47 114

The former All-Star Beal joins current All-Stars Devin Booker and Kevin Durant in an attempt at an NBA superteam. Going from the first choice on offense in Washington to, presumably, third in Phoenix has to be great for Beal’s efficiency. So look for an improved FG% and more three-pointers made. Beal’s points per game have fallen from a peak of 31.3 three seasons ago to 23.2 last year – perhaps a slight bump to mid-20s sounds about right. The big worry, of course, is the games played column. Last 4 years he’s played 57, 60, 40, and 50 games, which is awful. Once upon a time, Phoenix used to be known for rehabbing injury-ruined careers, maybe that can happen to BB too. For the 2023-24 NBA fantasy season, Beal is a high-risk, high-reward pick. Proceed accordingly.

Jordan Poole, PG/SG – Washington Wizards

8-cat rank 9-cat rank
GP per game total per game total
2020-21 Golden State Warriors 76 46 28 56 33
2021-22 Golden State Warriors 82 92 46 152 95

Jordan Poole gets his own team, obviously, as he should. This will be great for his stats. The Wizards have a Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis-sized hole to fill in the points column and JP will be the bricklayer to fill said hole. Look for career highs in minutes played, points, three-pointers, free throws, and turnovers. Poole is a great free-throw shooter so a repeat of the 2022-23 shooting from the field shouldn’t be assumed. There may have been extenuating circumstances affecting his play. I have Poole as an early sleeper candidate – as much as someone of his profile can be a sleeper.

Chris Paul, PG – Golden State Warriors

8-cat rank 9-cat rank
GP per game total per game total
2020-21 Phoenix Suns 65 22 20 19 19
2021-22 Phoenix Suns 59 48 70 39 58

In what is perhaps the final chapter of Chris Paul’s NBA career, he finds himself playing for the Warriors in San Francisco. Is the fit good or bad?! In theory, CP3 with the ball with Steph and Klay running around in circles sounds good but is that what’s going to happen? Or will Paul play limited minutes with the starters and mainly keep it on the straight and narrow with the reserves? And take a step down in minutes and games played as you’d expect for a 38-year-old? The latter seems more realistic to me. I wouldn’t draft him before the late rounds. And even then, he’ll likely cause a headache with missing games.

Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C – Boston Celtics

8-cat rank 9-cat rank
GP per game total per game total
2020-21 Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards 51 25 57 16 47
2021-22 Washington Wizards 65 14 13 13 11

As seen from the numbers above, Porzingis has always been an elite fantasy player. Injuries notwithstanding. His per-game numbers are unlikely to change from the previous years so it’s all about staying healthy. If he can do it, he can win a fantasy season for you.

Derrick White, PG/SG – Boston Celtics

8-cat rank 9-cat rank
GP per game total per game total
2020-21 San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics 75 89 55 83 54
2021-22 Boston Celtics 82 103 54 79 38

Derrick White is undoubtedly the big winner of the Marcus Smart trade. With Smart out of the way, White is almost guaranteed to start and end the games for the Celtics. He could easily exceed 30 minutes per game over a season for the first time in his career. Particularly if Malcolm Brogdon misses time due to his forearm injury. As Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the two ball-dominant players on the wings for the Celtics, it’s unlikely for White to see an increased role in running the C’s offense. Rather, the expected increase in his stats will come from increased minutes played.

Tyus Jones, PG – Washington Wizards

8-cat rank 9-cat rank
GP per game total per game total
2020-21 Memphis Grizzlies 73 207 158 173 131
2021-22 Memphis Grizzlies 80 162 106 147 92

Many have said that Tyus Jones is too good to come off the bench in the NBA and here the Wizards are taking that theory to the test. In 2021-22, Jones ranked as a top 20 fantasy player in games where Ja Morant didn’t play. He’s not going to be a top-20 player going forward but will likely provide mid-draft rather than late-draft fantasy value. Jones should expect to get an increase in both role and minutes for the 2022-23 Washington Wizards. The main thing holding his stats back would be a team full of inexperienced bad shooters, which the Wizards look like will be so far into the off-season.

Marcus Smart, PG/SG – Memphis Grizzlies

8-cat rank 9-cat rank
GP per game total per game total
2020-21 Boston Celtics 71 75 61 87 71
2021-22 Boston Celtics 61 106 120 130 138

Marcus Smart will be expected to replace two players on the Grizz this upcoming season – Ja Morant as the point guard and Dillon Brooks as the guy who shoots too much even though he probably shouldn’t. For the first 25 games that Morant will miss, expect great numbers from Smart. If Tyus Jones played as a top-20 player last year without Morant, so can Smart. Maybe shouldn’t expect top-20 but it’s reasonable to think that the first 25 games will be Smart’s best of the season. At least from a fantasy perspective.

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