Just because Rudy Gay’s basketball stock is on the decline doesn’t mean that your fantasy stock should plummet with it. The league’s greatest critic of advanced analytics was recently traded to the Sacramento Kings, who will become his third NBA team in two seasons. For the Toronto Raptors it was little more than a salary dump.
In exchange for Gay, the Raptors received the rights to super-sized point guard Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes and major salary cap cushion. Sacramento, for their part, got the volume shooter along with Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray.
As your all-things-fantasy-sports guage, XN Sports aims to look at how the trade impacts both teams on the fantasy side.
From Bankable Backup To…? – With Vasquez north of the border, Isaiah Thomas can now prove that he’s more than the league’s most bankable backup point. Some doubt looms that he’ll continue to be as effective as he has been – he ranks third among point guards in Player Efficiency Rating – in the starting lineup. The notion is that he’s better able to play his best game against bench units.
But the 24-year-old has been an offensive weapon late in games when opposing teams’ best players are on the court anyway. If given more time to play, and factoring Gay’s ball-hogging ways, the young guard could very likely see his numbers rise somewhere between what they are now (17.8-4.9-2.3-1.4, 1.5 three-pointers made) and their per-36 minutes projection (23.3-6.4-3.0-1.9, 2.0 three-pointers made). That would put Thomas in the top-10 ranked point guards and somewhere in the top-50 ranked players.
Kyle Lowry Could Get Shipped Too – With Vasquez in tow, Lowry is now considered a trade chip himself. It’s still too early to draw conclusions on where he might end up and how that will affect his playing time but it might be a good time to sell high on Lowry as he’s played good ball recently. For the time being though, whether he does get traded or not, he’s a top-60, top-65 fantasy player.
Gay Continues To Be Gay – With a scenery change there’s always the prospect that a player will be able to put any woes behind him. For Gay, it’ll be the horrendous 38.8 percent shooting he’s posting for the year. And even if he turns that around, he’s also averaging a career-high 18.6 field goal attempts per game. Other than his freshman year, he’s never averaged anything less than 16.0.
With his skillset, rebounding ability, and athleticism, if Gay were to limit himself to 12 field goal attempts per game, he’d fit nicely into this young, high-energy squad. But Gay has been Gay in Memphis and beyond. Sacramento will be no different. In all likelihood, Gay’s fantasy stock should only drop a notch or two, if even that. But he might bring down the fantasy relevancy of a few Kings as a result.
Which Brings Us To Derrick Williams… – In our analysis of the Derrick Williams-Luc Mbah a Moute trade, which preceded this Gay deal by a week or so, we predicted D-Will might see a nice boost in stats in Sacramento. His 31-point showing against the Mavs is a sign we got it right. But what happens when Gay arrives? Presently, the Kings are averaging 84.4 field goal attempts as a unit. If Gay keeps up his field goal rate at 18.6, he’ll be take 22 percent of Sacramento’s shots. A few satellite talents, like Williams, might get stunted as a result.
Jonas Proves He’s Not A Second-Year Bust, Maybe? – Many, including XN Sports, had high hopes for the Lithuanian big. But he’s been largely inconsistent and has not been able to make the sophomore leap some of his contemporaries have. His per-36 numbers for this season are worse than what he posted as a rookie. Never a good sign.
Still, you can’t expect Jonas Valanciunas’ game to flourish when there’s three shoot-first, chuck-at-all-costs wing players not feeding him the ball. With Gay gone, and another distributor in Vasquez now a Raptor, Valanciunas might see a nice jump across the statline. Keep watch.