As the trading deadline approaches, we got the a little movement on Tuesday as Tyson Chandler was traded to the OKC Thunder in exchange for Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith and some other meaningless crap (by fantasy standards).
This is a minor trade as far as fantasy repercussions, but here’s a quick breakdown:
Chandler has been ineffective and plagued by injury much of the season, missing his last 12 games with a sprained ankle and playing in just 32 of 51 games overall. He’s played about four minutes per game less than each of the last two seasons, but even his per minute numbers have not been pretty.
Chandler – a 62 percent “shooter” in each of the last two seasons – has a FG% of “only” .563 this season. He is averaging 9.6 rebounds per 36 minutes – well below the 12 he averaged in each of the previous four years.
While he has bounced back a bit in blocks (from 1.1 per 36 minutes last season to 1.6 this season), he has yet to regain form as an elite shot blocker. His first six seasons in the NBA he averaged 2.4, 2.1, 2.0, 2.3, 1.8, 1.8 per 36 minutes and those days may be gone forever.
The troublesome aspect is that Chandler’s offensive value had a lot to do with Chris Paul’s ability to get him the ball. Now, Chandler is playing with a lot of shoot-firsters and young chuckers.
You might think that the the Thunder’s 20th-best FG% may provide an ample opportuity for rebounds. But the Hornets are just a bit ahead of the Thunder in FG% and it didn’t help Chandler any this season.
Despite all that, Chandler is an intriguing second half sleeper who may have been forgotten about and even dropped in some leagues. He’ll rebound and block shots and shoot a high percentage, although on a minimum number of shots. The only risk is whether or not he can stay on the court.
Wilcox is also something of an intriguing option. The Thunder had a glut of big men that forced Wilcox’s minutes down to just 19 per game – his lowest mark since his days backing up Elton Brand on the Clippers.
Now, he has a chance at seeing 30 minutes per game. It’s been learned over the past few years that Wilcox will never be the player many expected. He’s not going to live up to that potential.
The good news is that his per minute numbers this season are in line with his career norms. With enough minutes he could regain the value he’s had over the past couple of seasons, which makes him an OK second or third center.
Wilcox is a career 53% shooter and could averaged around 13 points and seven rebounds per game. He doesn’t block nearly enough shots to make him a truly useful big man. But with all the centers that have went down with injuries this season, there are plenty of fantasy teams that could stand to benefit.
From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Although he mostly played power forward with the Thunder, Wilcox could move into a starting role at center for the Hornets.
Smith is expected to come off the bench and is not a fantasy asset.
In deep leagues, it’s worth keeping an eye on Hornets center Hilton Armstrong. There are lots of guys like Armstrong in the NBA, young big men with great per minute numbers who foul too much to stay on the court.
While I expect Wilcox will get a lion’s share of the time, this could be an opportunityfor Armstrong, who averages 10.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals per 36 minutes while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. Those numbers are reminiscent of Tyrus Thomas, who’s been doing quite well for himself lately.
It seems that for both of the main players in the deal have a great chance of increasing their value. Chandler’s biggest hurdle is his health while Wilcox’s demeanor just seems to wear thin on every team he’s been on. However, there are only about 30 games left in the season so both players only need to get their shit together for six more weeks.