Fantasy Hoops: Williams, Cousins, Hield

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Breaking Down The Trades: Part 2

The Lakers send Lou Williams to the Rockets for Corey Brewer and a future first-round pick.

Lou Williams was on the trade block all week and now that he’s heading to Houston, his fantasy value takes a hit. He still belongs on all season-long rosters, as he’s going to get a chance to contribute in high-powered offense. The Rockets rank second in the league in offensive efficiency and they’re fourth in PACE, so a reduced role doesn’t mean you’re dropping him.

Williams is having a career year in terms of efficiency. He’s hitting a career-high 38.6% of his 3-pointers this season and his true shooting percentage sits at 60.9%, which is also the highest of his career. His new teammate James Harden is one of the only guards with a higher player efficiency rating than Williams this season (Chris Paul, Westbrook and Isaiah Thomas are the only other guards with a higher PER).

Corey Brewer remains off the fantasy radar after the trade, but there’s a player on the Lakers who’s impacted by this trade. Jordan Clarkson should see his value rise considerably. Clarkson has played nearly 75% of his minutes alongside Williams this season and in fact, the two have played together the most minutes out of any two-man combination on the Lakers, per Williams led the team in usage rate this season and with him out of the picture, Clarkson could become a player worth rostering in every league.

Kings send DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and a first-round pick.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s obvious what’s being done out here. It’s a nightly basis. I hope the world can see now what’s really going on out here. It’s getting ridiculous. It’s really ridiculous. … Yes. This is ridiculous, man. Ridiculous,” DeMarcus Cousin said.

How did that get up there? That’s what Cousins said about the referees after a game earlier this season and not what he said about the Kings organization after he was traded. Coincidentally, it’s what many casual observers were thinking when the Kings traded him in the middle of the night on Sunday. We passed along notes and reactions on the deal from reporters and teams from around the league and you can find them here, here and here. Let’s get into what the trade means in the fantasy realm.

For starters, Cousins isn’t going to keep up his historic usage rate. His 35.8% rate ranks second in the league behind Russell Westbrook and it would rank ninth all-time if he ended the season at that mark (Westbrook’s currently at 42.4%, which would be the best mark in league history if he maintains that rate through the end of the year).

Anthony Davis currently ranks 12th in the league with a metric of 29.6 and while both he and Cousins will see a decline in usage, it shouldn’t impact their fantasy values too much. Cousins is still a top-15 player overall and Davis remains in the top-5.

For the Kings’ side of the deal, it’ll be interesting to see if they agree to a buyout with Tyreke Evans. If he remains in town, he’s worth keeping an eye on. His minutes have been limited because of an ankle injury, but he played nearly 52 minutes in his final two contests before the All-Star break. He’ll have a great opportunity in Sacramento should he be healthy enough to stay on the court.

Willie Cauley-Stein will see his fantasy stock rise the most from this transaction. He’ll get to roam the paint in the Kings’ new free-flowing offense and he’s worth adding in all season long leagues.

Darren Collison should also see a boost in value if he remains on the team. He’s rumored to be on the trade block, so he may be a sell-high candidate in fantasy right now, as it’s unlikely that his new role will provide him with as much opportunity as he’s seen this season.

Buddy Hield may not be worth rostering right now, but it’s easy to envision him taking on a major role within a few weeks. Hield got off to a slow start to the season, but he’s made 43.0% of his 3-pointers since the start of December and he’s begun to look like an NBA player. Team owner Vivek Ranadive loves Hield’s game and it wouldn’t be ridiculous for the team put him in position to showcase his offensive skills. I’d speculate that the Kings eventually start to funnel him the ball akin to what the Sixers did during Michael Carter-Williams‘ and Nerlens Noel‘s respective rookie campaigns.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through the All-Star break.

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