Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for Tobias Harris? Drop Draymond Green, P.J. Tucker?

While we are only into the third week of the NBA season, it feels like the Fantasy Basketball world has been turned upside down. Whether it's suspensions to Deandre Ayton and John Collins or significant injuries to players like Stephen Curry (hand) and Marvin Bagley III (finger), many Fantasy managers have been forced to question the current makeup of their squad.

As always, I'm here to help. Below are some questions that were submitted for this week's mailbag column. If you have a question that you'd like answered in next week's column, but sure to reach out to me on Twitter @rotomikebarner.\

Would you trade Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for Tobias Harris? - @WESYAP

This is a fun trade offer to dissect. Harris is clearly the more established player and he's off to an excellent start with averages of 20.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.7 3-pointers per contest. With Jimmy Butler no longer in town, the Sixers should continue to rely more heavily on him for scoring. Meanwhile, Gilgeous-Alexander looks like an emerging star for the Thunder with averages of 22.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.0 3-pointers per contest. His 25.2 percent usage rate is the highest on the team, ahead of Chris Paul, so he's clearly been one of the key cogs for their offense.

One key thing to note with Harris is that Joel Embiid has been sidelined for three of the team's six games. In the three games without Embiid, Harris has averaged 25.3 points on 16.7 shot attempts per contest. Across the three games with Embiid, he's averaged 15.3 points on 14 shot attempts. This trade is really close, so it might just come down to whether or not your team is lacking a guard or a forward. Context is everything when it comes to trades. In a vacuum, I'd lean towards Gilgeous-Alexander.

Would you drop P.J. Tucker for Ky Bowman or Bruce Brown Jr.? - @pedroreydoleo

I definitely wouldn't for Brown. His playing time is through the roof right now with Derrick Rose (hamstring), Reggie Jackson (back) and Tim Frazier (shoulder) out, but Rose and/or Frazier could be back any day now. Also once Blake Griffin (hamstring) returns, there will be fewer shots to go around.

Bowman, on the other hand, is intriguing. He's started the last two games with D'Angelo Russell (ankle) out, averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, six assists and 1.5 3-pointers. A lot of that was aided by him playing at least 37 minutes in both contests, but he was still productive. When Russell does return, Bowman may have played his way into an expanded role, especially with the depth issues that the Warriors have — and will continue to have. While Tucker has played well by averaging 10 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.3 3-pointers across seven games, his upside is limited. I wouldn't fault you for dropping him and taking a chance on Bowman if you need a guard.

I have Otto Porter Jr. and have been thinking if I should just drop him and stream his spot for players like Taurean Prince, Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, T.J. Warren, Isaiah Thomas and Larry Nance Jr. - @KneeJerKing

Given the myriad options to stream in Porter's place, let's make this more of an examination of Porter's performance rather than dissecting which are the best options to stream. He filled a gaping hole at small forward when he was acquired from the Wizards last season, averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.6 3-pointers per game for the Bulls. He also averaged 33 minutes per contest, which was up from 29 minutes a night when he was with Washington.

One of the reasons why Porter has been so Fantasy-friendly is not only because of his ability to contribute in multiple areas, but because of his efficiency. For his career, he is shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from behind the arc. However, he's shooting 38.5 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from behind the arc through the first eight games this year.
While something might be off with his health, he's also not likely to continue to struggle from the floor to that extent. I'd hold onto him for now and just put him on your bench until he shows signs of breaking out.

Should I drop Draymond Green for Tristan Thompson? - @OKharouba

This is certainly a question that I never expected to get. Green looked primed for a huge season with Kevin Durant gone and Klay Thompson (knee) injured, but the Warriors have fallen apart and Green is out with a finger injury. There is no solid timeline for his return, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him return within the next couple of weeks. As good as Thompson has been, he doesn't have the overall upside that Green does, so I'd pass on making this move.

This is my first year in a league where every player is on waivers and you place bids on a player. I'm unsure how I like this format a week-plus into the season. What are your thoughts on this and do you have a strategy on how much and when you spend? - @DagelsBagels

This process is known as Free Agent Acquisition Budget, or FAAB. Instead of just grabbing players off waivers whenever you please or by strictly following a waiver priority, you are given a set dollar amount at the start of the season to spend on free agents. When placing a claim, you have to enter a bid for the dollar amount that you will pay to claim that player.

I prefer a rolling free agent list, but I certainly see the downside with that. If you're not extremely active or up very late at night if you live on the East Coast, you can miss out on some key free agents. By using the FAAB process, it creates a more level playing field.
With regards to how to deploy your budget, a lot of that has to do with your team. Some people like to spend big early to grab the hot free agents or address a glaring need. However, at this point, the hot names like Kendrick Nunn, Devonte' Graham and Richaun Holmes have likely all been scooped up.

I'm not opposed to coming out firing with bids right out of the gate because you don't want to be left with extra money when the season is over. However, you also don't want to blow all your funds early and miss a chance on adding some key players around the trade deadline who are given more significant roles. If you didn't spend early, don't panic, there will still be plenty of opportunities to deploy your budget on the horizon. Don't be afraid to pounce on a player that you like, though.

Our Latest Stories