The trade deadline passed without nearly as many rotation-shaking deals as we expected, but Fantasy owners seem to betting on Thomas Robinson to be one of the bigger beneficiaries given his move to Houston. Robinson is set to debut with his new team Wednesday (Feb. 27), so we have not yet gotten a glimpse of how he fits in with his new team.
Despite that, Robinson is the most-added player in CBSSports.com over the last week, with his ownership jumping from 14 to 48 percent since the trade. This could turn out to be a fantastically lucrative move for the Fantasy owners who have jumped on his bandwagon so early. There are signs that it is a very risky move, however, as Robinson is not guaranteed to see big minutes in Houston.
Robinson has tons of upside in the Rockets' fast-paced offense, as he fills a niche the team does not currently have. He is already a strong rebounder, averaging 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes and his athleticism could fit in extremely well for a team that likes to run and spread the floor as much as the Rockets. He shot just 42.4 percent from the field with the Kings, but the Rockets actually have a functioning offense, so I would expect him to improve drastically from that standpoint. If given the minutes, I think Robinson could approach a nightly double-double status if everything clicked.
Unfortunately, the Rockets are painfully patient when it comes to developing their young players, as talented young big men like Marcus Morris and Terrence Jones can attest. Robinson might make sense as a piece for the Rockets' playoff push, but the organization likely views him as a long-term building block, one they will move as slowly as everyone else.
The Rockets and coach Kevin McHale have embraced the spread pick and roll offense this season, so a lineup featuring both Robinson and starting center Omer Asik may be too cramped for their liking, at least while Robinson continues his development. He is shooting just 30.1 percent on jump shots this season, so the team might be hesitant to rely on him too heavily. They have already announced that Donatas Motiejunas will move into the starting lineup in the short term and it is not yet clear whether Robinson will be able to work his way into the starting lineup.
The Rockets are savvy enough to know Robinson's long-term development is more important than their push toward the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race, so they will not push him to take on a bigger role than he needs. Robinson's upside makes him worth a speculative look, but if he ends up buried like so many young big men in Houston have been in recent years, I would not hold on too long.
Most Added Guards
Carlos Delfino, Rockets: Delfino has been the short-term winner following the Rockets' trade of two rotation big men, as the team has switched to a much smaller starting lineup that spaces the floor incredibly well. Delfino made 13 three-pointers in three games in the starting lineup, but will return to the bench beginning Wednesday, with Motiejunas' ascension. That news kind of throws Delfino's status for the future up in the air, but I would expect the team to continue giving him solid minutes even off the bench. Delfino is an inconsistent player on a nightly basis who nonetheless has been pretty useful category-based formats this season. Unfortunately, I would not expect much improvement down the stretch, with him likely settling into the same 25-minutes-per-game role he has been in.(53 percent owned; +22 percent)
Beno Udrih, Magic: One possible winner of the trade deadline is Udrih, who goes from a crowded backcourt in Milwaukee to one that might actually require his services. The Magic are hurtling headfirst toward the lottery, so it is probably a stretch to say they "require" a 30-year-old, but they certainly might put him to use anyway. He has little upside long-term, but the Magic are currently dealing with an injury to starting point guard Jameer Nelson that could put Udrih to use with his new team. In his first two games with the Magic, Udrih put up 16 points and 16 assists total, while coming off the bench behind E'Twaun Moore. If Nelson continues to sit out, I could see Udrih being useful in deeper Fantasy formats. (19 percent owned; +16 percent)
Isaiah Thomas, Kings: So often, players see a spike in ownership thanks to little more than a random hot streak, and that could certainly be the case with Thomas. He is averaging 18.8 points per game in February, far higher than his season total, so this could just be a fluke that regresses quickly. I don't have much confidence in saying that, though, as Thomas emerged as an unlikely playmaker late last season and has consistently improved as his second season has gone on. Thomas has fought off all intended usurpers to his starting spot and has averaged at least 12.3 points per game in the last three months. The Kings are such a mess offensively (not to mention organizationally) that it might take a while for the players to settle into their roles. Thomas is averaging 33.3 minutes per game in February, and I would consider adding him in all remaining formats moving forward. (84 percent owned; +11 percent)
Most Added Forwards
Maurice Harkless, Magic: In Harkless and Andrew Nicholson, the Magic have created a real headache for Fantasy owners. Ever since Glen Davis went down with an injury, the two have both flirted with Fantasy relevance, with neither really holding on to their opportunities. Harkless has recently emerged as the more productive option of the two and he is getting minutes a bit more consistently. Unfortunately, the Magic complicated matters by adding Tobias Harris to the fold at the trade deadline, a 20-year-old who totaled 30 points in his first two games with the team. So far, Harris has taken more of Nicholson's minutes than Harkless', who has topped the 30-minute mark in both games since the trade. Harkless is averaging 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in the month of February and looks to have solidified his role. He is probably the best bet still available on your waiver wire. (63 percent owned; +29 percent)
Jeff Green, Celtics: Good luck making sense of Green, who followed up a career-best 31-point game against the Suns with a pair of stinkers on back-to-back nights earlier this week. Green has been playing a huge role for the Celtics recently, averaging 15.3 points per game in the last 10 games, so a pair of bad games should not scare you off too much. Green's ownership has been steadily increasing recently, but I would have expected the pace to quicken given how well he is playing. Fantasy owners might be waiting for the other shoe to drop with Green, who was a consistent disappointment to begin the season, but I think he is here to stay as a useful Fantasy option. Green has quit relying as much on inefficient mid-range shots during his hot streak, which indicates it might not be just a random hot streak. He is shooting 49.5 percent from the field over the last 10 games, scoring 153 points on just 105 shots with 65.7 percent of his shots coming from within five feet of the rim or beyond three-point range. His role has increased, but he is also doing more with each shot. If he can keep that up, I see little reason why Green should still be available on any waiver wires. (79 percent owned; +20 percent)
Michael Beasley, Suns: For a little while, at least, it seemed like Beasley was earning the trust of interim Suns' head coach Lindsey Hunter. And then this happened. Actually, Beasley's role was already fading before earning that response from his coach, but the look Hunter shoots him during that clip neatly sums up why Beasley is averaging just 12.2 minutes per game over the last five. The former No. 2 overall pick in the draft might look like an All-Star in workouts and pre-game warm-ups, but when the lights come on and the time for actual winning basketball comes around, it is not difficult to see why coaches have soured on him at every stop in his career. Beasley has been the most dropped player in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues, and for good reason. You cannot get off this sinking ship fast enough; even much-maligned Wesley Johnson is seeing more minutes than him now. (57 percent owned; -18 percent)
Most Added Centers
Jermaine O'Neal, Suns: Fantasy owners have been understandably slow to pick O'Neal up, despite his consistently solid production during the month of February. It is a small sample size still, but O'Neal is now averaging 11.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in 11 February contests, while pulling close to even with starter Marcin Gortat in playing time. O'Neal has played a total of 237 minutes in 11 February games, while Gortat has played 294 in that same span. O'Neal's recent track record is very spotty, but if I was in need of held at the notoriously shallow center position, O'Neal would be at the top of my list while he is playing this well. (20 percent owned; +11 percent)
Samuel Dalembert, Bucks: Eight days. That is how long Dalembert's re-emergence as a useful Fantasy option lasted. From his career-high 35-point game on Feb. 5 to his 17-point effort Feb. 13 against the 76ers, Dalembert was a moderately useful Fantasy option for all of four games. He has been pushed back to his spot on the end of the bench since, and he was suspended by the team for failing to show up to a function on time. According to reports, the Bucks are not looking to buy out the remainder of Dalembert's contract after failing to find a suitor for him at the trade deadline, which just about closes the book on Dalembert's Fantasy season. Barring another injury to Larry Sanders, Fantasy owners in the remaining 40 percent of leagues that still have Dalembert can go ahead and cut him loose. (40 percent owned; -22 percent)