2021 Fantasy Basketball: Gary Trent Jr.

by Michael Gorman
2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Week 5 Waiver Wire

Gary Trent Jr. was selected in 70% of Yahoo Fantasy Basketball drafts prior to the NBA season tipping off, with an ADP of 131. He is entering his first full season with the Toronto Raptors and has SG,SF position eligibility. He was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, 37th overall, and turns just 23 years old in January, entering his fourth NBA season.

While his value has been kept afloat thus far by a very high steals rate (14 steals in five games), look for Gary Trent Jr. to continue to improve and become a more consistent shooter as the season goes on. Especially for those in leagues with 12 or more teams, Trent's playing time and usage rate point to the conclusion that he’ll have a strong season for the Toronto Raptors.

Last season, Gary Trent was a fantastic waiver wire add when C.J. McCollum went down with a fractured foot for the Portland Trail Blazers. Trent averaged around 19 points and four three-pointers per game on top of a strong free throw percentage and low turnovers,

Trent Jr. was perfect for those who punted blocks or punt rebounds build. Unfortunately, McCollum’s return to the lineup struck down Trent Jr.’s value, which was only further limited by a mid-season trade to the Toronto Raptors. 

Buoyed by his strong points and three-pointers output, Gary Trent Jr. was a top-70 player when he was hot. Especially important to note is his scoring. It’s incredibly rare to find a borderline 20 ppg scorer so late in the draft. 

2021 Fantasy Basketball: Gary Trent Jr.

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He'll have every opportunity to shine

https://twitter.com/GTJxRaptors/status/1452977925997924357?s=20

His numbers when starting as opposed to off the bench strengthen his story. For his career, he averages 17 points per game as a starter, compared to 7.6 points per game off the bench.

Last year, between the Blazers and Raptors he averaged 18 points per game as a starter in nearly 35 minutes compared to 10.4 points per game off the bench. And he did that with a turbulent role.

Trent Jr. entered the 2021-22 campaign with a starting spot in the rotation and a leading offensive role on a team that won’t have two of their biggest pieces from last year — Kyle Lowry (sign and trade) and Pascal Siakam (injury - torn labrum).

While the team added highly touted rookie Scottie Barnes and grizzled veteran Goran Dragic, neither of them are expected to be starters.

With his shiny new three-year $54-million contract, Gary Trent Jr. looks to be a primary beneficiary of the massive hole left by Lowry and Siakam and given his ability to capitalize on opportunity in the past, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t expect him to step his game up another level this season. 

It’s his fourth season in the league, and he’s been able to increase his scoring output with every consecutive season. 

Gary Trent Jr.'s career mirrors that of other improved players

Taking a look at other similar players that made big jumps in news roles, we can see new destinations for scoring wings tend to bode well for increased numbers almost across the board. 

See Zach LaVine’s progression over his career. After his first season with the Chicago Bulls, LaVine took a huge jump developmentally. His efficiency jumped, going from 38.3% from the field to 46.7%, which caused a seven-point increase in his points per game output.

We can see a similar trend when looking at Malik Beasley’s numbers when he moved from a deep Denver Nuggets roster to the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Both of these players was traded out of less-than-ideal situations from a usage standpoint and saw massive jumps in their scoring numbers (points, field goal %, three-pointers) as a result. Both of these players became reliable top-100 players after their trades. 

Seeing that Gary Trent Jr. left a situation where he had an inconsistent role and will be rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup on the Raptors, he'll have plenty opportunities to take another step in his career and as an impact Fantasy Basketball player.


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4 comments

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