Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kevin Garnett Officially Traded to Celtics

So it's now official - Kevin Garnett is a Boston Celtic. This gives the Celtics what is potentially the best 'top 3' of any team in the NBA. Below are some of the top trios in the NBA today:

-Dallas: Nowitzki, Howard, & Terry
-Phoenix: Marion, Stoudemire, Nash
-San Antonio: Duncan, Parker, Ginobli
-Washington: Arenas, Butler, Jamison

In my opinion, the Celtics lucky trio is the top combination right now, but they're not spring chickens, so they'll need to win NOW.

Let's take a look at the potential fantasy impact to the players involved in this multi-player deal.

To Boston:
Kevin Garnett - He'll continue to be Kevin Garnett, no matter where he's playing. This means he'll still justify a top 10 draft pick, and this move may even give his career an uptick, especially if the Celtics are winning.

I expect Garnett's PPG to stay constant or even come down a bit. He'll no longer need to be the #1 option on offense, which will allow him to see statistical improvements in other areas of his game, specifically in assists. He also has a great shooter in Allen & a great all around scorer in Pierce to help open up the floor. He'll continue to be one of the top rebounders in the NBA, and he'll still produce in steals & blocks as well.

To Minnesota:
Al Jefferson - He was the key player in this deal for Minnesota. He had a breakout season in 2006, averaging 16 PPG, 11 RPG, & 1.5 BPG. What's really scary is he'll only be 22 when the season starts...He'll continue his improvement this season with Minnesota, as he'll be counted on to score more this season than he did in Boston. He'll potentially be a 20-10 guy, but I expect minimum production of 18 PPG, 10 RPG, & 1.5 BPG. He, along with Randy Foye, are the building blocks of the new Timberwolves. He'll be a beast, and he's getting better.

Gerald Green - He's a bit of a wild card in this deal. Some people think he's the next coming of Tracy McGrady; while others think he'll be a solid shooter but nothing more (OK, he's a great dunker too). He improved last season, as he had an opportunity to play when Pierce was injured; although he still only helped fantasy teams in points & 3s. His rebound, assist, steal & block totals were...um...rather unimpressive. He'll also have to compete for playing time in Minnesota, as they drafted Corey Brewer in the first round this year, and they also have Ricky Davis, Rashard McCants, Ryan Gomes, Craig Smith, and Trenton Hassell all looking for time at SG, SF, & PF. He is still very young (21), and he has impressive upside, but I don't think this will be his breakout season. He should get steady playing time & his value goes up due to the trade, but he'll be mainly be helpful for 3's this year.

Ryan Gomes - I've always liked Gomes, as he's one of those steady but unspectacular guys. He's really a PF with the height of a SF, but he seems to know the game very well & he puts himself in the right place at the right time to make plays. I don't think he'll ever be a superstar as a pro, but he'll make his way into Minnesota's rotation & get regular playing time this year. I think his value goes up in Minnesota, and he's a great guy to have on your bench or at the back of your lineup in deeper leagues.

Sebastian Telfair - Well, I guess he didn't have his breakout season in Boston. Although he's still young, he's had opportunities on two different teams but has yet to prove he has what it takes to be a consistent starter in the NBA. He'll likely back up Foye in Minnesota, and I don't see him having much fantasy value this season.

Theo Ratliff - He's been around a long time...and he has a big salary that's coming off the books at the end of next season; he was also the only player older than 24 that was sent to Minnesota as a part of this deal. He's now 34, but due to injuries, he isn't a fantasy contributor anymore.

Other players impacted by this trade:
Rajon Rondo - He's going to enter 2007 the same way he finished 2006, as the Celtics starting PG. He's a great defensive player, who will likely be in the top 10 in the NBA in steals this year. He'll also earn plenty of assists dishing to the trio, and he's also a solid rebounder for his size. Don't expect him to put up too many points, but he might average low double figures.

Kendrick Perkins - As of today, he's the man in the middle in Boston. He'll get boards & block some shots, but that's about all (and that's all he's going to be asked to do).

Tony Allen - He'll be a backup to both Paul Pierce & Ray Allen, but as long as he recovers fully from last season's injury, he should put up decent numbers. He was actually on fire last season when he got injured - to the tune of 20.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.4 APG, 4.0 SPG, 0.8 3PG, 58.5% from the field & 80% from the line over a 5 game stretch in January before his injury. He's proven that, when he's healthy, he can put up very impressive numbers; so if Allen or Pierce go down with an injury, he should be able to fill in nicely.

Ricky Davis - His value will still be stellar, but it's probably going to be a little lower post-trade, since Minnesota now has something like 37 swingmen that will all want playing time (I think they're mirroring the Atlanta Hawks model). He'll again put up solid numbers, and should be a steady mid-round pick in fantasy drafts.

I'll be back with some more baseball news over the next few days.

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