by Will Overton
The Celtics have no intention of waiting for the trade deadline to get their deals done and they have definitely jumped the gun on the other sellers this season. Already a busy team, the Celtics made two more trades yesterday to make the weekend a little more interesting.
Let’s look at the two trades separately and what their fantasy impact is projected to be.
Brandan Wright Traded to the Phoenix Suns
This is now the third team this season that Wright will play for. Wright was dealt to Boston from Dallas as part of the Rajon Rondo deal. In fact he was thought to be one of the better pieces headed to Boston in that deal. Since arriving in Boston though he was never really able to put much together and he never really got much of a chance to make an impact.
In Phoenix it is thought that Wright will jump in as a depth option behind Markieff Morris and Alex Len alongside fellow big Miles Plumlee. Wright gives the Suns an experienced center option that they didn’t already have though. Len has been decent, but he’s so young and still quite raw. Meanwhile Plumlee has just been flat out disappointing this season. Wright will have to compete for minutes, but there is a chance he comes away with the starting center job at some point in time. Wright is definitely the best offensive option at that position right now for Phoenix with some very underrated post moves.
Meanwhile the Celtics get just a pick back in this deal and the only fantasy significance is that Wright clears a little room in the team’s big man logjam. It’s been Tyler Zeller starting lately, and that’ll continue still, but this might breathe a little life back into Kelly Olynyk who has been lifeless. Last night Olynyk played 33 minutes and scored 13 points, so maybe this was the start of a little revival for him.
The Grizzlies Land Jeff Green
As of this morning this deal is still working itself out, but it seems one way or the other the Celtics will be moving Green to Memphis. The only question left is whether a third team, presumably the Pelicans, will be involved. What we know for sure right now is that Green is going to Memphis and Tayshaun Prince and a first round pick are coming back to Boston. So for the purpose of this article that’s what we’re going to talk about. Chances are any extras added in won’t have a whole lot of fantasy significance.
For the Celtics sake this is another addition by subtraction situation for fantasy. Prince won’t really do much for this team, and he may well get waived at some point. At the same time if you take a guy out of the picture, especially someone as talented as Green, someone else is going to step up. I think we’ll see the value of Jae Crowder, Evan Turner and Marcus Thornton all go up with this deal. Crowder is the guy I absolutely want just because we haven’t seen his ceiling yet. Turner makes a nice add to though considering his ability to run the offense when he’s on the floor.
At first glance from a pure basketball perspective this seems like a fantastic move for the Grizzlies. Memphis is getting what they have been looking for, a semi-reliable scoring option on the wing who can knock down corner threes which should be plentiful with big men the Grizzlies have inside drawing so much attention.
From a fantasy point of view this might not sound like the friendliest deal for Green’s value at first glance. The Celtics kept up a pretty fevered pace most of the time which created a lot of extra possessions, the Grizzlies are one of the slower paced teams in the league. Green was also option number one in Boston on offense and in Memphis he’ll be part of a four headed monster of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley, where at best he’ll get the same amount of shots as them, and at worst he’ll be the fourth option on the team.
Here’s the good news for fantasy owners though…Green needed a change in a big way. Ever since the Celtics traded away Rajon Rondo, Green’s production has gone down the tank. In his last ten games he’s shooting just 37% from the field and averaged 12.4 PPG, five points below his season average.
In Memphis Green will be back playing with a real, proven, top level point guard in Conley. While Mike Conley is not Rajon Rondo from a playmaking perspective, he is a true point guard and a serious upgrade over the likes of Marcus Smart, Evan Turner and Avery Bradley who had been getting the ball to Green as of late. On top of this, Green is going to play with one of the league’s better passing big men in Marc Gasol. If Green can find his way to an open corner, or to the top of the key for a jumper, Gasol will find him.
At the end of the day Green may not get as many shots in Memphis as he was getting in Boston, but he should be getting much better looks and thus see his percentage go up. There are definite pros and cons to this move, but Green’s value should actually remain steady. He may average 16 PPG instead of 17.5, but he should shoot closer to 45% instead of 42%.