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Fantasy Basketball Impact of the D’Angelo Russell/Andrew Wiggins Trade

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Feb 7, 2020

If you’re going to utilize the Twitter notifications feature, there’s no better day than the NBA trade deadline.

Woj bombs: check.

Shams: check.

Your phone may blow up with the constant vibrating, but it’s so worth it. This year, it happened again. After the Clint Capela deal was the headliner of the trade season, the Heat and the Grizzlies worked — and worked, and worked, and worked — to finalize a deal that sent Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill, and Jae Crowder to Miami for Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, and James Johnson.

Thankfully, though, there was a huge deal that went down on the deadline, which had been rumored to take place since the offseason, honestly: Andrew Wiggins and two picks were sent to Golden State for D’Angelo Russell, allowing the latter to play with his best friend, Karl-Anthony Towns.

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For fantasy, the arrow is trending up for Russell in Minnesota. First, he gets to play with KAT, and while there are no metrics to back it up, I’d like to think that you play better when you’re happy and excited. Golden State was limiting his minutes, in part because they knew they were going to trade him the second that Steph Curry got hurt, and it shouldn’t be much of an issue with Minnesota. 

Russell’s move to Minnesota from Golden State really isn’t going to impact his fantasy value much, but playing with someone like KAT and even Malik Beasley — who is likely to be his guard running mate — is an upgrade from what he was playing with in Golden State. 

On the year, Russell’s per 36 numbers are solid at 26.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, seven assists, 1.1 steals while shooting 48 percent from the field. He’s an average player when it comes to efficiency, as The Athletic did a great job showing in their discussion after the trade went down. The real impact that this move has is on Russell’s teammates. It’s going to elevate KAT, especially after his latest tirade, in which he voiced his lack of patience with the organization. A rejuvenated KAT is a dangerous KAT.

It also negatively affects Jarrett Culver, who, after the initial deal with the Denver Nuggets, looked to be a winner. It’s his own fault, really, as he just hasn’t made the most of the minutes that the Wolves have given him. Per Rotoworld’s Mike Gallagher, Culver is 8-for-28 in the paint in his last three games. That’s not good. He should still get run, but Malik Beasley and potentially Juancho Hernangomez are the only other two Wolves who could flirt with top-100 value the rest of the way with Russell on the ball. 

Moving on to Wiggins, there are a few ways that you can look at this. The first is that he’s moving from one bad team to another bad team, and with the Warriors still without Curry, Wiggins is going to get as many minutes and as many shot attempts as he can handle. The thing is, more shot attempts don’t exactly mean more fantasy production for Wiggins, who’s shooting just 44.4 percent from the field this year. 

The other way to look at it is that the Warriors are going to try their damndest to move Wiggins in the offseason, so while he may get a lot of run and minutes as a showcase, we could be looking at a shutdown situation later in the season. That’s not a situation you want to deal with during the fantasy playoffs. That alone causes him to lose value in Golden State. 

Lastly, when Curry does return, where does that leave Wiggins? Does he suddenly slide into the Harrison Barnes role with the Warriors as an average usage, average efficiency player? That’s fine, but all the more reason for the Warriors to move him in the offseason because that’s not max-player value.

With Wiggins in tow, the value goes up for Ky Bowman, too, as the real lone point guard on the Warriors. They inked him to a multi-year deal Thursday night, making him a backend pickup in 12-team leagues. 

The same goes for Damion Lee and Eric Paschall, too, but to a lesser degree. 

Zak Hanshew has you covered with a full list of winners and losers, but if you’ve read my bi-weekly category analysis pieces, you know what a great day it is for Christian Wood and De’Anthony Melton managers out there. Wood becomes the biggest winner of the entire trade deadline, and this is why he should have been stashed on your team for the past few weeks. 

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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