Early returns from deadline deals
Early returns are in on the players dealt on or around Thursday's trading deadline, let's take a look at how they performed during the weekend:
This merely provides a glimpse on how these players may be used and what the prognosis for their fantasy value is in their new digs. Early returns indicate that Thornton is a big winner by moving to Sacramento, especially while Tyreke Evans is sidelined. Jeff Green and Mike Bibby are clear downgrades, and the rest of the players either seem to be a relative wash or it's too early to tell. Baron Davis, Nate Robinson, Nazr Mohammed and Mo Williams still haven't played for their new teams, for differing reasons. Kendrick Perkins hasn't played yet for the Thunder because he's out 1-3 weeks with a sprained knee. It's not the knee that he had surgery on in the offseason, and he should be back and fantasy viable for the stretch run. But in the meantime, Mohammed could see big minutes as soon as Scott Brooks is ready to play him, as the Thunder are thin in the frontcourt.
Both Emeka Okafor and Marcus Camby returned this weekend, so feel free to get them back in your lineup if you were missing their contributions in rebounds and blocks. Gerald Henderson receives an uptick in value now that Gerald Wallace is gone in Charlotte. He was already earning 23.7 minutes per game this month before the trade, but played 33 minutes Friday and 32 minutes Saturday, starting at shooting guard. He doesn't shoot many 3s, but provides a little in the steals and blocks departments, averaging 0.7 steals and 0.5 blocks per game this month. He had 21 points with four rebounds and two blocks on Saturday, and his performance should continue to improve as he gets more run, making Henderson worth monitoring in deep leagues. Ryan Anderson continues to struggle since Brandon Bass returned to the Magic starting lineup. He played just four minutes on Friday, and in 27 minutes Sunday scored just six points on a pair of 3s and grabbed seven rebounds. He's hit double-digits in points only once in his past six games, and is looking like he's become more of a 3-point specialist than the player who was also contributing in points, rebounds and blocks in January and early February. If you need more than just the 3s, feel free to drop Anderson for a more well-rounded option. The Heat's big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh played a combined 120 minutes in the loss to the Knicks Sunday night. All three are averaging more than 36 minutes per game, and I wouldn't be surprised if coach Erik Spoelstra rested them a bit more down the stretch, both for the sake of their legs during the playoffs, and to get the Heat's atrocious bench more of a chance to develop. Either way, I could see all three taking slight statistical declines in the final month of the season.
Joakim Noah is feeling more and more confident with each game he plays since returning, and after Saturday's 17-rebound, 3-block effort in 33 minutes, it's safe to say that he's ready to help fantasy teams immensely down the stretch. He should wreak havoc on the Wizards' soft front line on Monday, so be sure to get him back in your lineup. A new point guard is the hardest position to assimilate into the rotation, so Kirk Hinrich has been coming off the bench for the Hawks thus far. Don't be surprised if he starts Monday against the Nuggets, as the Hawks obtained him for a reason and will want to get him as many reps with the first team as possible in gearing up for the playoffs. The Clippers should have Mo Williams available for their game against the Kings Monday, so we'll get an opportunity to see how he's utilized. He'll undoubtedly have value there soon, although the first game can be rough with a new team, so feel free to bench him for now until his role is defined.
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.