Fantasy Basketball Week 15 Mailbag: Trade Eric Paschall for Dejounte Murray? Make big deal for Kawhi Leonard?
Mike Barner delivers his Fantasy Basketball mailbag to help with lineup decisions and close trade calls.
While we have a couple of questions this week that apply to those playing in deeper leagues, we also have a doozy of a trade to break down.
If you have a question for next week's mailbag column, reach out to me on Twitter @rotomikebarner. Without further ado, let's get to this week's submissions.
Let's start off by talking about Murray, who has certainly had his ups and down after missing all of 2018 because of injury. He began the season in the starting five, but both he and the team struggled with consistency, which resulted in him being moved to the second unit. However, that change didn't last all that long. He's now started each of the last 21 games in which he has played, averaging 10.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals during that stretch.
Paschall came out of nowhere earlier this season to be more than a competent injury fill in when Draymond Green missed some time. In fact, he had an 11-game stretch in which he averaged 19 points, six rebounds and 2.3 assists a game. He then went through a brief rough patch, but has rebounded to average 13.3 points, six rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals across his last nine contests. I think Green will get shut down at some point, which should leave Paschall with plenty of minutes down the stretch. Since Murray has continued to struggle, I wouldn't make this trade.
We are clearly looking at three deep-league options here. Right off the bat, I'd eliminate Hutchison. I will admit, he's shown some impressive drives to the rim lately. However, his game is still very raw and he doesn't log a ton of minutes. Even with all of the Bulls' injuries, he's only averaged 7.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals across 20 minutes a night over their last seven games.
Kornet has gone from buried on the Bulls' bench to starting because of injuries to Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) and Daniel Gafford (thumb). He's had a few nice performances, but he's largely been underwhelming with averages of 9.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 3-pointers across their last seven games. However, if you need a center over a guard or a forward, adding him until Carter or Gafford returns is not a bad idea in a deep league.
If we are putting positional needs aside, Mykhailiuk is the player that I'd want out of this trio. He's taken on a more prominent role with the Pistons, averaging 29 minutes across their last 18 games. His averages of 13.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists aren't bad, but the stat that really stands out is his three 3-pointers made per contest. With the Pistons looking to trade away some of their veterans at the deadline, Mykhailiuk should continue to see increased playing time for the rest of the season.
Will Thomas Bryant return to early season form? - @slimmsoulpower
Heading into the season, Bryant was arguably the Wizards' second-best player behind Bradley Beal. He was given a heavy workload as their starting center, which enabled him to average 13.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and one block across their first 18 games. He also shot a stellar 54.9 percent from the field and a respectable 73.6 percent from the charity stripe. Unfortunately for him, though, he then missed the next 20 games with a foot injury.
With Bryant being out for so long, it's no surprise that the Wizards decided to ease him back into action. However, he didn't log more than 22 minutes across any of his first six games back. In fact, he played fewer than 20 minutes five times. Meanwhile, Ian Mahinmi averaged 25 minutes a night during that stretch. Luckily for frustrated Fantasy managers who had him on their roster, the Wizards played him 32 minutes against the Bucks on Tuesday. He responded with 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block. With the hope that he is finally back to his normal allotment of playing time, he's someone to definitely hold onto since he could have a great second half.
I saved the big trade question for last. Since we have such significant players involved here, I wanted to get more clarification on the league and team dynamic. This is a head-to-head league with weekly lineup changes. The team that would be acquiring Leonard and Graham is also punting field-goal percentage.
If this was a Roto league or a league with daily lineup changes, I would say make the trade in a heartbeat. However, weekly lineup changes and the head-to-head format makes Leonard and his load management situation less appealing. The Clippers have four more back-to-back sets this season, so Leonard is likely going to sit out at least four more times. One of those back-to-back sets is in the final week of March, which could be during the Fantasy playoffs in most leagues. On the plus side, the Clippers' final back-to-back set comes in their final five games, at which time most head-to-head leagues are likely complete.
The part about punting field goal percentage is key with Graham shooting just 37.5 percent from the field. While he has slowed down some, it's difficult to complain about him since he has still averaged 16.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 3.1 3-pointers across his last 10 games.
As close as this is to me, I'd make the deal to acquire Leonard and Graham. Leonard's load management system presents some risk, but it's not exactly like Butler is a pillar of health, either. He's missed six games this season and has played 59 and 65 games, respectively, the last two seasons. As good a season as Butler is having, his averages of 20.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.6 3-pointers can't match up with Leonard's averages of 27.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists, two steals and two 3-pointers.
Alex Rikleen breaks down waiver options who might be available in your league for Week 19.
Alex Barutha analyzes the schedule to help make lineup decisions for the first full week after...
Mike Barner delivers his Fantasy Basketball mailbag to help with lineup decisions and close...
Nick Whalen breaks down waiver options who might be available in your league for Week 18 and...
Alex Barutha analyzes the schedule to help make lineup decisions for the week after the All-Star...
With the All-Star break here, Mike Barner takes a look forward at the rest of the Fantasy season,...