Fantasy implications of the Rondo trade

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
10:18
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After years of constant trade rumors and speculation, the Boston Celtics finally did it -- they traded Rajon Rondo. The deal became official Thursday evening, sending the four-time All-Star point guard to Dallas for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, along with a first-round pick in the 2015 draft and a second-rounder in 2016.

It's a good trade for the 28-year-old Rondo in that it takes him from a rebuilding team in the Celtics to a veteran Mavericks team with championship aspirations. But what will it mean for his numbers? And should we expect Rondo to be better or worse as he switches conferences?

Those questions will ultimately be answered by how quickly Rondo adjusts to his new team and his new surroundings, but there's certainly reason to believe the trade will translate to more assists:
  • Think about this: if Rondo was able to lead the NBA in assists per game (10.8) this season on a young Boston team with unproven and inconsistent shooters, what are his assist numbers going to look like when he is dishing to guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Monta Ellis?
  • Also, there's decent chance that the presence of Rondo will speed up the pace at which the Mavs play. They currently rank No. 9 in the league with 96.4 possessions per game on average, but with Rondo leading the charge in Boston the Celtics led the NBA in pace with 100.5 possessions per game.

Yes, more passing and less shooting could have a negative impact on Rondo's scoring, but it's difficult to imagine his points-per-game dropping too much lower than the 8.3 he was averaging in Boston this season.

Here are some of the other fantasy winners and losers in this deal:

Winners
  • Marcus Smart: It was difficult for Smart to carve out meaningful minutes while Rondo was ahead of him on the depth chart, but the rookie lottery pick should see his role and his playing time increase with Rondo gone. At 9-14, the Celtics aren't a serious contender this season and today's trade signifies that they aren't pretending to be contenders. With that in mind, there's little reason for coach Stevens to play Jameer Nelson more than Smart, who could even become the team's starting point guard in the near future.
  • The rest of the Mavericks' starters: A pass-first point guard who can push the pace, make creative passes and put players like Nowitzki, Ellis, Parsons and Tyson Chandler in position to score? That should equate to more production out of all of these players (and based on Rondo's shooting percentage, it also should mean more offensive rebound opportunities for Chandler).
Losers
  • Nelson: It can't be easy for a veteran like Nelson to go from a top team in the Western Conference to a young team that would be lucky to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, and now the 32-year-old could see his minutes diminish to Smart in the not-too-distant future.
  • Wright: He's an athletic big who runs the floor and shoots as efficiently as any power forward or center in the game. And he could potentially provide the Celtics with the rim-protector this team so desperately needs. So why do we list Wright in this column? Because it's going to be difficult for him to play consistent minutes in a frontcourt that already includes the likes of Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass. Any way you look at it, it's hard to envision him getting much more playing time than he did in his days in Dallas (18 mpg each of the last three seasons).
  • Boston's other big men: Any time Wright is on the court, it will mean that he's taking minutes that would have previously gone to Zeller, Olynyk, Sullinger or Bass. And less playing time means less opportunity, which is no good in fantasy.

Why have Cowboys been better on road? 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
3:33
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For all of the success that the Dallas Cowboys have had this season, their 10-4 record doesn't even guarantee them a playoff bid at this stage. On top of that, we have their perplexing records at home and on the road: 3-4 at home, 7-0 away.

While there may be deeper or more subtle issues that have impacted their home woes and road success, there are some seemingly simple explanations, too.

"One factor in the Cowboys’ performance in the four home losses was [Tony] Romo’s iffy status, a contrast to his Most Valuable Player caliber of play in the rest of the games," wrote Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram.
The Detroit Lions D has turned into one of the top outfits in the league under the direction of first-year NFL coordinator Teryl Austin. As is the case for many successful coordinators, Austin may generate some head-coaching interest during the offseason from teams that fire their current coach.

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Thursday rumor roundup 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
1:25
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The intrigue surrounding the potential deal of Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres continues to undergo more twists and turns than the Serial podcast. Thursday morning, the prevailing feeling was that while there were some reported snags in the trade, everything was still expected to be ironed out by the end of the day.

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Week 16 expectations for Colts WR corps 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
12:41
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So far during his first season with the Indianapolis Colts, Hakeem Nicks has been a complete non-factor. He has totaled just 287 yards and 4 TDs on 26 receptions and has yet to top 50 yards in a game. He did manage to score a key 22-yard touchdown in Week 15, though he ended up with just one other catch (also for 22 yards).

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Broncos overworking C.J. Anderson? 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
11:22
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In recent weeks, the Denver Broncos have saddled up RB C.J. Anderson, while taking it easy on QB Peyton Manning. We can debate why that is -- Sunday, he was battling an illness and a thigh injury -- but it's fair to wonder whether they might run Anderson into the ground before the playoffs even start.

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Market for Asdrubal Cabrera 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
10:34
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Multiple teams are now looking at Asdrubal Cabrera as a possible addition to their roster for the 2015 season. As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, "the Giants, A's, Mets, Cards and Twins (are) among teams to show interest in Cabrera, who could play 3B or 2B as well as SS."

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Could Rajon Rondo land in Big D? 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
10:30
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The Rajon Rondo rumors have been going on for almost two years and Wednesday came word from ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the Dallas Mavericks are pushing hard for the point guard.

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PIT: return of no-huddle vs. KC? 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
9:58
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Early on this season, the Pittsburgh Steelers often went to a no-huddle offense. But about a month into the season, they largely ditched it as a central part of their offense. Since then, they've had one of the more productive offenses in the NFL and have themselves in playoff contention in the AFC North chase.

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Braves stuck with B.J. Upton? 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
9:48
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Although rumors surrounding B.J. Upton and the Atlanta Braves' desire to send him packing this winter continue to make the rounds, it's beginning to look like there aren't going to be any takers for the outfielder and his huge contract.

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Corey Brewer back on the block 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
9:48
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Corey Brewer has been in the rumor mill for that last few months since a good number of teams are in need of a wing defender, but Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations/head coach Flip Saunders has publicly stated he's not willing to trade the swingman. Well, Saunders may be changing his mind, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst.

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Randy Foye's uncertain return 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
9:47
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The Denver Nuggets have been without guard Randy Foye for the last 12 games due to a torn right quadriceps and as of Wednesday he is still not sure when he might be able to rejoin the active roster.

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Free-agent pitcher Jake Peavy's last appearance for the San Francisco Giants was a memorable one -- and not in a good way -- as he lost Game 6 of the World Series, allowing five of the 11 batters he faced before getting the hook to score. However, that last appearance may not, in fact, be his last for the team.

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Crawford splits from Miller; downplays trade speculation 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
9:25
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December has not been a good month for agent Andy Miller as we have reports has he been dumped by Phoenix Suns guard Isaiah Thomas and now a player on the Los Angeles Clippers. According to Chris Haynes of Northeast Ohio Media Group, that player is Jamal Crawford.

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Spencer Hawes not out for the season 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
8:58
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During Wednesday's "First Take" on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith purportedly mentioned the Los Angeles Clippers will be without Spencer Hawes for the duration of the season. That was likely a slip up by Smith, if heard correctly, but it was enough for Hawes' financial advisor to make a call to his client.

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