Fantasy Mailbag: Exploring Paul George and Zach LaVine's trade value

Josh Lloyd
·5-min read
Paul George and Zach LaVine both boast strong trade value after string starts to their respective seasons. Pictures: Getty Images
Paul George and Zach LaVine both boast strong trade value after string starts to their respective seasons. Pictures: Getty Images

We are seven weeks into the NBA season and more questions seem to crop up each week than we can answer. But, here I am, to try and get to some of the questions you guys have, submitted via Instagram and Discord.

Should I panic trade Paul George for Zach LaVine? - @Yangsteven (Discord)

There are a couple of points to address here.

I’m a little worried about Paul George who is out with bone oedema in his foot/toe. That can take weeks or months to heal, depending on the location and severity.

WILD: Liz Cambage joins star-studded group of athletes in Caribbean party

NO WAY: Matthew Dellavedova rubbishes retirement rumours

Clippers coach Ty Lue says PG is day to day, but that is hardly definitive, so if you have Paul George, you should be a little worried.

Having said that, I want to address the valuations of players.

LaVine is outscoring PG this season. It’s only by one fantasy point per game, but LaVine is still outplaying George.

So, if you have a bloke who is injured and performing worse than the other guy, then yes, you absolutely should do it.

Don’t get swayed by name value and think that this is some sort of bad deal for you. It’s a win, even without the injury to Paul George.

Can you explain 2-for-1 trades and why the one receiving the two players often loses the trade? - @Gentil (Discord)

On the surface, people look at 2-for-1 trades and get excited about getting two players.

They look at the players’ averages. Player A (Avg. 40 fpts) is traded for Player B (avg 25 fpts) and Player C (avg 30 fpts). Great, B & C give me 55 fantasy points which is more than Player A’s 40. Easy win.

Not so fast, because in every uneven trade, there is more to it than meets the eye.

If you trade away Player A and get back B & C, you have to drop someone off your roster. So, unless your worst player averages fewer than 15 fantasy points, you are worse off.

But, even if that worst player averages say 13 fantasy points (53 fpts v 55 fpts) and on the surface, you gain two fantasy points, that isn’t real value. Because that 13 fpt player can be streamed with multiple waiver wire adds during the week, meaning you can get say six games off the wire at 13 points just by cycling through that spot.

On average, a player plays 3.4 times per week, so 3.4 times 13 fantasy points is 44.2 points, but if you stream in six games of that spot, it’s 78 fantasy points.

That level of streaming is equivalent to a single player averaging around 23 fantasy points. So, holding player A and streaming out your last roster spot for guys averaging 13 fantasy points brings you out on top and gives you a lot more roster flexibility. The ‘1’ side of a 2-for-1 nearly always comes out on top.

Will Dennis Smith Jr. have any fantasy value? - @masonmccaffe (IG)

If you have been distracted by the Super Bowl, there was a trade in the NBA today.

The New York Knicks sent Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Derrick Rose.

Rose is going to have an impact on both Immanuel Quickley and Elfrid Payton in New York.

How large that impact is, remains to be seen, but I think both are going to be drops.

As for Smith, well he will definitely have more value than he currently has. He isn’t playing for the Knicks and was going to head down to the Orlando G League bubble just so he could play.

Now, in Detroit, he is their backup point guard and if he shows anything could easily eat into Delon Wright’s minutes. It shouldn’t be hard to take over Saben Lee, who is the only other point guard on the roster.

At first, I expect Smith to play 15-18 minutes a night, which makes him only a deep leaguer guy, but if he gets things going, don’t be surprised to see him push to 24-26 minutes and maybe he could make an impact.

It’s a long shot because his NBA career has been terrible, but now he has a chance to play.

Who has more impact, rest of season, LaMelo Ball or Tyrese Haliburton? - @ryaanabbott (IG)

For as impressive as Haliburton has been, it’s Ball and it’s not close.

Ball is currently averaging 33 fantasy points per game. Haliburton is averaging 28 fantasy points. And that’s with Haliburton averaging 29 minutes and Ball averaging 27.

If LaMelo continues to start and play 30+ minutes a night, as I expect, he could touch 40 fantasy points a night, while Halibburton’s low usage game isn’t particularly suited to high upside fantasy value in points leagues.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.