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NBA Storylines: Early returns on players, teams that made trades

A month after the trade deadline, here's a closer look at which in-season roster changes have been most impactful.

Daniel Gafford is a strong defender, but Dallas’ overall defense has not improved since trading for him.

It’s been four weeks since what was a pretty quiet trade deadline.

Of course, it was a relatively quiet deadline because bigger names were traded in the weeks leading up to it.

Here are some notes and numbers on some players and teams that made moves between late December (Raptors-Knicks trade) and the deadline.

1. New Mavs are up … and then down

Additions: Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington

It was all good less than two weeks ago. The Mavs won their first four games (beating the Thunder and Suns along the way) with Gafford and Washington in uniform. But they’ve since lost five of six and rank last defensively since the All-Star break by a wide margin.

  • The Mavs are one of three teams — the Grizzlies and Heat are the others — without a lineup that’s played at least 100 total minutes. The current starting lineup (with Washington at the four) has played 86 minutes thus far, and it’s scored a super-efficient 132.3 points per 100 possessions. But the Mavs are just 3-5 in the eight games it played together, and it had a rough defensive night (43 points allowed on 29 possessions) against Indiana on Tuesday.
  • Washington is shooting a career-low 32.1% from 3-point range this season, including 18-for-58 (31%) with the Mavs. That latter mark breaks down to 9-for-23 (39%) off passes from Luka Doncic and 9-for-35 (26%) off passes from everybody else.
  • Gafford ranks third with 4.25 steals + blocks per 36 minutes among 263 players who’ve played at least 750 minutes. That rate in Dallas (4.19) is down just a tick from where it was in Washington (4.26), but among their rotation regulars, the Mavs have been at their worst (minus-5.4 points per 100 possessions) with Gafford on the floor.

The struggling Mavs will now play a team going in the opposite direction, hosting the Miami Heat (who’ve won 11 of their last 14 games) on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT).

2. Knicks hoping to get healthy

Additions: OG Anunoby, Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks

The hope is that, at some point, we’ll be able to judge the Knicks’ trades with a healthy roster. For now, they’re just trying to survive without Anunoby and Julius Randle.

  • The Knicks are 12-2 with Anunoby in uniform, including 11-1 when Randle and Jalen Brunson have also been available. They’ve outscored their opponents by 24.5 points per 100 possessions (with great numbers on both offense and defense) in 285 minutes with all three on the floor.
  • The Knicks ranked first defensively (104.1 points allowed per 100 possessions) in that 12-2, four-week stretch with Anunoby in uniform. With both Anunoby and Randle both out, they’re 7-9 and rank 24th defensively (117.5 allowed per 100) over the last 16 games.
  • Both Bogdanovic (51.9%) and Burks (39.6%) have seen big drops in effective field goal percentage from their time with the Pistons, with Burks’ mark being the second worst among 173 players with at least 75 field goal attempts since the trade deadline.
  • The Knicks have been outscored by 18.3 points per 100 possessions in 267 total minutes with Bogdanovic and/or Burks on the floor, scoring an anemic 98.8 per 100 in the 128 minutes that they’ve been on the floor together.

The fifth-place Knicks have three games left on a stretch where they’ll have played eight of nine at home, and they’re three huge games regarding the standings. They’ll host the fourth-place Magic (who’ve won 13 of their last 16 games) on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass) before playing two games against the seventh-place Sixers, who they lead by one game.

3. Pacers treading water with Siakam

Addition: Pascal Siakam

Though he’ll be a free agent in July, the Pacers’ January trade for Siakam wasn’t just about this season, which is good, because the results have been underwhelming thus far.

  • The Pacers are 11-11 with Siakam, including 8-9 when Tyrese Haliburton has also been available. They’ve been outscored by 1.2 points per 100 possessions in their 412 minutes on the floor together.
  • Siakam’s true shooting percentage with the Pacers (59.5%) would be the highest mark of his career. He’s shot 48.2% from mid-range and 38.8% from 3-point range, up from 40.5% and 31.7% in his 39 games with the Raptors this season. But he’s seen a huge drop in free throw rate, from 35.8 attempts per 100 shots from the field with Toronto to just 22 per 100 with Indiana.
  • The Pacers rank 23rd defensively since Siakam’s arrival, up slightly from 27th prior. Opponents have shot just 47.6% on shots he’s defended with Indiana, lower than the expected field goal percentage on those shots and down from 52.6% (much higher than the expected rate) in his time with Toronto this season.

The Pacers’ second-ranked offense will face the league’s No. 1 defense on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, League Pass), having lost by 18 in Minnesota in December.

4. The Heat are hot, though Rozier is not

Addition: Terry Rozier

The Heat have the league’s third-best record (11-3) over the last 36 days, though it’s hard to say that Rozier has had a big role in the run.

  • Rozier has an effective field goal percentage of just 43.7% with the Heat, the fourth-worst mark among 204 players with at least 100 field goal attempts since his first game with Miami. It’s down from 57.4% with the Hornets, with equally large drop-offs in the paint (from 55% to 44.9%) and outside the paint (from 52.6% to 42.9%).
  • The Heat have outscored their opponents by 2.6 points per 100 possessions (good defense, worse-than-average offense) in 248 minutes with Rozier, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo on the floor together. Their last three games have all been within five points in the last five minutes and those are the three Heat players who have been on the floor for every clutch minute over the three games.
  • Rozier ranks second on the Heat in time of possession since his arrival but has had the ball for 4.8 minutes per 36 minutes on the floor, down from 7.3 per 36 in his 30 games with the Hornets.

The surging Heat are 6-1 on the road (with only a six-point loss in Denver) since Feb. 1, but have a tough back-to-back coming up, visiting the Mavs and Thunder on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

5. A few more

Some more notes on players who were traded at the deadline …

  • RJ Barrett has an effective field goal percentage of 60.7% with the Raptors, up from 47.8% with the Knicks. He’s seen dramatic improvement both in the paint (from 49.3% to 61.2%) and outside the paint (from 45.8% to 59.3%), also seeing a big jump in the percentage of his shots that have come inside (from 57% to 72%).
  • Patrick Beverley had his best game with the Bucks on Monday. He started and finished their win over the Clippers, picking up 12 points, nine rebounds and four steals, and making some big plays late. But overall, Milwaukee has been outscored by 9.8 points per 100 possessions with Beverley on the floor, with that being the worst on-court mark among Bucks who’ve played at least 100 minutes since the deadline.
  • Gordon Hayward ranks ninth on the Thunder in minutes (15 per game) since joining the rotation after the All-Star break and has shot just 10-for-31 (32%) with his new team. The Thunder have been outscored by 15.5 points per 100 possessions in his 120 total minutes.
  • Buddy Hield has shot 41-for-97 (42.3%) from 3-point range with the Sixers, the best mark among 25 players with at least 75 3-point attempts since the trade deadline. But the Sixers have scored just 105.7 points per 100 possessions in 145 total minutes with Hield, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris on the floor together.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on X. 

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