I am back after a long lay off to take a look at some of the players you should be targeting for trades in your respective fantasy basketball leagues.
Timing is everything and the stars are aligned for you to make a play in your league on a few guys who haven’t lived up to expectations so far this season.
Not everybody on this list is struggling mightily but owners could have some dissonance after drafting some of these guys high or from setting unrealistic expectations on their players
If any of these players are on below 500 teams in your league, that definitely enhances your chances at making a play. Take a shot on trying to get the following guys.
Playing Hard to Get:
These are some of the elite guys in the league who owners are not going to give you any bargains on but are worth inquiring about just the same:
Josh Smith- His points, rebounds, and assists are slightly down from last year with his turnovers slightly up. Owners probably expected more with Joe Johnson out of the way. He wont come cheap but should be even more of a monster later in the season.
Blake Griffin- He has started to figure it out over the last 6 games or so but still is not averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds. Currently at 18 & 9. The buy low time has probably passed but its still worth inquiring.
Dwyane Wade-His name screams overpayment for some but his numbers have been ugly and he is an injury risk. I just don’t believe that he will finish averaging under 20 points per game (currently 19.3) and I surely don’t think he is done as many are saying he is.
DeMarcus Cousins- He is kind of like Griffin to me where I think he has started to figure things out. He is a maniac but a productive one when he stays on the court. He started slow last year too so don’t be afraid to make a move if his owner is frustrated.
Pau Gasol- He is battling knee tendinitis but could return this week. That injury and not playing with Steve Nash have been the excuses for his poor play. I think he will be better after getting some rest but if he is traded from the Lakers he could return to monster status on his new team wherever that may be.
Middle of the Road:
These are guys who were likely selected in the middle of your drafts and have struggled to find consistency.
Goran Dragic- I expected a little more from him in Phoenix but I think Coach Gentry is somewhat to blame. Dragic never has the same guys running with him on the court nightly as Gentry tweaks the lineup every game. If Gentry is let go and he very well could be, look for Dragic to find consistency.
Anthony Davis- His injury probably has most owners very frustrated but he too should be back this week. That said one has to wonder if the under-weight Davis will have an injury prone career. Still New Orleans needs him on the court as they have been 2-9 without him. When he played he was surprisingly productive for a rookie 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Who couldn’t use that?
Paul Milsap- As I type this he is have a nice game against the Lakers. The depth of Utah’s frontcourt seems to be a bit of an issue for him. He could get moved to give Derrick Favors more time which would likely skyrocket his value in most scenarios. That said nothing is imminent but he should be better than he has been to start the season.
Andre Iguodala- He has been really bad at times this season and of all the guys on the list I am most hesitant about recommending him. His points are slightly up but his assists are down with turnovers up as well. The Nuggets are still finding an identity and Iggy should find his on that team as the season progresses.
Roy Hibbert- He came out and said he wants to be the best center in the league over the weekend. Take that for what it’s worth but the fact that he isn’t dominating with Granger sidelined concerns me. He still blocks a lot of shots (3.1 per game) and his offense has to improve from the 9.8 points per game he currently averages.
Jeremy Lin- His minutes over the last week have been inconsistent and James Harden has become the team’s primary play maker. I am not sold on him at all but he might be the easiest guy to get mentioned here.
Brook Lopez- Brooklyn is being extra cautious protecting Lopez from returning too soon. A scared owner might be worried that his foot trouble could linger like it did last season. Make a low ball offer for one of the games most underrated centers.
The Bargain Bin
This group of players probably were still drafted in the middle to late rounds but are not performing anywhere near the level owners had hoped.
Manu Ginobili- While the Spurs enjoy a flashback year from Duncan, they have seen Manu regress slightly. The most frustrating thing is that the Spurs have been without Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson yet Ginobili isn’t producing at a very high level. The Spurs have a history of finishing strong and I think Manu will be part of that when he gets his act together come season’s end.
Marcin Gortat- He has admitted that he misses Nash as would any pick and roll big in the NBA. That said he is also a victim of Gentry’s inconsistency. He could be dealt so that the Suns can save money as their season clearly isn’t going anywhere. He currently averages 11 points and 8 rebounds down from the 15 and 10 he averaged a season ago. He will get better.
Rodney Stuckey- I don’t know what has happened to this guy over the last two years. Who knows if he retakes the starting shooting guard position from Kyle Singler. If Singler hits the rookie wall Stuckey should jump in assuming he can stay healthy. Still he is a talented combo guard who should improve on his currently shabby numbers of just 10.6 points per game.
Chris Kaman- The fact that he isn’t a double double machine with Dirk out is concerning. Health is always a concern with him as well but I think he will actually thrive when Dirk returns becoming a garbage man deferring to Dirk and Mayo. That should translate to more rebounds and higher shooting percentages assuming he can stay on the floor.
The Walking Wounded:
This is a group of injured players who are likely to return by the end of the month. Owners who have held on this long might not be willing to part ways, but its your job to find out.
Amar’e Stoudemire- When he returns he might become a reserve. It might not be as bad as it sounds as that would make him the feature scorer on the Knick’s second unit. He is aiming for a return on Christmas and his workouts have been intense from all reports.
John Wall- I think he is a ways off and the Wizards have no reason to rush him back after such an abysmal start. Once he is back he will boosts you in the scoring, assists and steals categories. I just don’t think that will be till the very end of the month.
Dirk Nowitzki- He is reportedly getting close to a return and was seen shooting on the court last week. His return has taken longer than expected which may mean his owner is tired of waiting. He isn’t the same Dirk from even two years ago but still has more than enough value to help your squad.
Ricky Rubio- He is probably the closest to returning and could make his debut as early as Wednesday. The time to make a move has most likely elapsed.
Steve Nash- The Lakers are looking for him to return to be the savior of D’Antoni’s offense. Those are lofty expectations and those same expectations should not be expected from his owners. Still the Lakers are an offensive juggernaut and Nash should return to be a major part of it.
I will be back in the coming weeks with a list of players that are overachieving and that you should be looking to move while the getting is good. Until then good luck and feel free to shoot me any questions or to let me know players I might have missed.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com