Fantasy Basketball Focus: Analyzing the Nets/Celtics Draft Day Trade

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There have been a number of transactions in the NBA since the Miami Heat won the championship and we shut the book on the 2012-13 season.  Dwight Howard decided to make Houston his home for the next four years, Josh Smith left the A.T.L. for the Motor City and Jrue Holiday, along with Tyreke Evans are now part of the revamped Pelicans.  These moves, among others, made early July very exciting for basketball fans, but nothing has topped the whopper of a trade that was completed on draft night.

In one of the bigger blockbuster deals in recent memory, the Boston Celtics traded future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (along with Jason Terry and three first-round picks) to the Brooklyn Nets for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans and MarShon Brooks.

May 3, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) drives the ball against New York Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni (9) in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

For Knicks fans, there are of course many BASKETBALL implications here, as this changed the landscape of the Atlantic Division, but all we’re concerned about are the FANTASY implications.  Am I right?  Since the Celtics are in a complete overhaul and are expected to try to continue to move players (i.e. Humphries, Wallace, Brandon Bass), I’ll focus on the fantasy outlooks from the Nets perspective.  Here is what to be expected from those involved in the trade, as well as other players that may be directly affected by it.

Paul Pierce:  Pierce’s overall scoring numbers should take a hit, but his other stats, namely 3pt% and assists, will benefit from the trade.  “The Truth” was the go-to guy in Boston, but he’ll likely cede a fair amount of shots to Joe Johnson and Deron Williams in Brooklyn.  Pierce is known as one of the better clutch performers in the game, but so is Johnson, so it should be interesting to see who ends up with the ball in their hands in the waning seconds of close games.  Pierce possesses great passing ability for a small forward and this will be a key fantasy asset for his owners.  Williams and Johnson make a lot of 3’s (317 combined 3PM last year) and Garnett and Brook Lopez have deadly mid-range shots, which should easily translate to a spike in Pierce’s already formidable assist numbers (4.8 assists/gm last year).  With the recently signed Shaun Livingston and Jason Terry as the only true experienced backups for Williams (second-year pro Tyshawn Taylor is the other), Pierce should have a large playmaking role in new coach Jason Kidd’s offense.


Kevin Garnett:  Kevin Garnett is an unselfish player.  He shows that on the court and this trade embellishes it even more.  Without him nixing his no-trade clause, this trade would have never happened.  He knows how to win, and he wants to win NOW.  At 37-years old, his playing days are nearing an end and he knew another championship run would not have come in Beantown.  I still don’t think the Nets are title contenders, but this trade definitely gives them a much better shot than they had two weeks ago.  The numbers he put up while in Minnesota are long gone, but as a Celtic his stats remained pretty steady throughout his tenure in Boston.  In the six years there, he averaged 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1 block and 1.1 steals per game, a very nice number for a power forward.  I expect those numbers to remain in those ranges, with a dip in his scoring.  With very little height in Boston last year, he was forced to play around 30 minutes a game, but with Lopez, Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche able to spell him, he’ll be able to get some added rest.  One of the more underrated of his stat lines is career 3.9 assists per game.  As a T-Wolf, he averaged 4.5 dimes per contest over 12 seasons, but that number dropped to 2.7 during his 6-year run with the Celts.  With more jump-shooting assets to distribute to, look for KG to get back up above the 3.5 to 4 assists.