Projecting the Mavericks' future fantasy value
POSTED: Dec 22, 2014 8:54 AM ET
The leading assist man in the NBA now resides in Dallas. How will his presence affect notable fantasy contributors on the Mavericks?
Let's start with the assist leader himself. Rondo will play more off-ball than he did in Boston because of Monta Ellis, which will lower his assists and points some. He will still dominate the rock at a solid rate, though, and the increased talent around him shouldn't make his drop in assists too drastic. In fact, the extra time off ball won't be all bad for his value as it should allow him to sneak in for some extra offensive rebounds (he grabbed 7.5 boards per game in Boston). Even with his field goal and free throw percentages at a career low, Rondo will remain an elite fantasy contributor in Dallas as he continues to rack up triple-doubles like no other.
Ellis dominated during his first game alongside Rondo, tying his season-high with 38 points (13 in the fourth quarter) to go along with four steals. Dallas placed Rondo in the middle of the Spurs' zone as Ellis got hot in the fourth, allowing Ellis to effectively dominate the ball as he has all season. After the game, Rondo talked about how he needs to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible to benefit the Mavericks' bounty of scorers. This mindset should allow Ellis to continue his torrid offensive pace as he averages 21.3 points (his highest mark since 2010-11), 4.6 assists and 1.6 steals on 47.4 percent shooting. However, don't be surprised by a dip in assists.
The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer is off to a slow start by his standards this season. He's shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 33 percent on 3-pointers, his lowest mark since his rookie season (1998-99). Despite these low (for him) percentages, Nowitzki is still putting up solid fantasy value (18.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 3-pointers and only 1.2 turnovers). Pick-and-pops with Rondo should help Nowitzki get more open looks and raise his percentages back to his career averages (47.6; 38.1). The poor shooting of Rondo could also help Nowitzki pick up some extra offensive rebounds to pad his stats even more.
The player with the most opportunity to benefit from the presence of Rondo could be Chandler, who is an ideal pick-and-roll partner for the dynamic guard. Expect to see even more alley-oops to the Mavericks' center, who is shooting an absurd 67.6 percent on the season to go along with 10.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. This resurgent season for Chandler should only get better with Rondo feeding him the rock.
Week 9 Schedule Breakdown
Four games: ATL, CHA, CHI CLE, DAL, DEN, GSW, LAC, LAL, OKC, POR, SAS
Three games: BKN, BOS, HOU, IND, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, SAC, TOR, WAS
Two games: DET, UTA
Pick 'Em Up
Shabazz Muhammad - 35% owned
You may have already missed your chance to pick up Muhammad off the waiver wire. But if he's still there, grab him. The second-year forward has scored 20-plus points in four straight games for Minnesota as he takes over the offensive reins with Corey Brewer (traded), Kevin Martin (wrist), Ricky Rubio (ankle) and Nikola Pekovic (wrist/ankle) off the floor. This solid point production along with low turnovers, good percentages and decent defensive stats make him a must-own standard league option until the Timberwolves regain their health.
Marreese Speights - 29% owned
The biggest thing holding Speights back this season has been minutes as he averages 12.1 points on 52.9 percent and 5.3 rebounds in just 17.3 minutes off the Warriors' bench. With Andrew Bogut (knee) down until at least January and likely longer, Speights becomes a low-end standard league option. (Even with David Lee (hamstring) set to return on Tuesday.)
Let 'Em Go
Corey Brewer - 32% owned
Brewer has been a decent fantasy option since late November as Kevin Martin (wrist) was sidelined in Minnesota. But that value is gone after being traded to Houston, where he will find limited minutes behind James Harden and Trevor Ariza. It's time to find a better wing option on the waiver wire (see Muhammad, Nikola Mirotic, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) if you haven't already dropped Brewer.