We're in week 20 of the fantasy hoops season. If your league is like mine, this is the final week for trades before the deadline. If you're itching to make a trade or two, look no further! I present my 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Week 20 Buy Low-Sell High.
If you're new to my weekly segment, this article comes out every Friday. I go over players that I feel you should target or move on from. But not every player will be in the same tier. I divide them into groups to help you better understand who I would prioritize as a target. They are split into three sections: buy/sell of the week, main buy/sell targets, and other players to buy/sell.
As it is with most things, context is important. I normally determine my selections based on 9-category leagues, also called 9-cat. If you are in a points league, this may still help, but I cannot guarantee it. If you're unsure, or just have any fantasy basketball questions in general, you can reach out to me on Twitter @GreysonAdams907, or click the link here to get to my page.
Disclaimer: All statistics for the 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Week 19 Buy Low-Sell High were made before games on Thursday, February 23rd. Things may change in only a day! So be on the lookout.
2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Week 20 Buy Low-Sell High
Buy of the Week: LeBron James, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers
“LeBron James is expected to miss an indefinite amount of time… I’m told likely at least 2 or 3 weeks” @ShamsCharania with the latest on LeBron’s foot injury 🤕#RunItBack pic.twitter.com/nk2BpXx0Cd
— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) February 28, 2023
Lebron James was just hit with some major injury news. A foot injury is likely to keep him sidelined for at least three weeks, per Shams Charania. This is a major blow to rosters with LeBron, especially those that are right on the cusp of making the playoffs. This could be the difference between them making or missing. That also means this is the ideal time to trade for him if you have the luxury to do so.
James has been the best example we have of what a superhuman is. He's still an elite athlete at the age of thirty-eight. Father Time is starting to put up a fight; James has recently been missing more and more games as time goes on.
However, LeBron usually ends up beating his timelines to return. He spends more money on his body per year than some players will make in a season, and his recovery time is just faster than most. Combine that with the Los Angeles Lakers' need for wins coming to the end of the season, and I expect we see LeBron James pushing for a return.
If he does return after three weeks, it puts him in a prime position to be back for your fantasy playoffs, when you need him most. If you're a team that has clinched a playoff berth, trade for him now. There will be plenty of teams with the need for win-now players that are far less valuable.
Main Buy Target
Bennedict Mathurin, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers
Benedict Mathurin is actually better than Lebron 💀💀💀 pic.twitter.com/WbQmgPPTcJ
— WarriorsShowYo (@WarriorsShowYo) November 29, 2022
Mathurin is slowly making his way out of the Terrence Ross category of player. His rookie season has been a lot of scoring and not a lot of anything else, which has led to inefficient points and not much else. But he's slowly developing. Over the last two weeks, he's seen a slight bump in boards, assists, and steals compared to his season averages.
When it comes to his scoring, I also see an evolution. Over the last month, he's taking fewer shots, but scoring them at a higher rate. He's also decreased his turnovers per game from 1.8 to 1.6 (not much but it's something). It's clear that he's remaining aggressive, but the game is slowing down and he's playing smarter.
I would expect a strong finish from him. The Pacers aren't true contenders, so they'll want to get their promising rookie as much run as they can as the season closes. He's also better than LeBron so it's tough to not want to trade for him.
Other Players to Buy
Patrick Williams, PF, Chicago Bulls
Patrick Williams' defense in isolation clips. pic.twitter.com/oGVzgckVjE
— Swish Theory (@SwishTheory) February 20, 2023
Williams isn't a super flashy player, box score or otherwise, but I feel that he's important to the Chicago Bulls and can help your fantasy team. His last three games haven't been very impressive, averaging just 8 points (-2.1), 2.3 rebounds (-2.0), and 0.7 assists (-0.7). But there has been one constant: stocks. His defensive numbers have remained strong regardless of his other stats. The eye test also bolsters his argument as a great defender (see above).
He can be a cheap option for you to trade for to get some solid defensive stats to bolster those categories. He doesn't damage you in the efficiency categories and can have the occasional big game.
Sell of the Week: Deandre Ayton, C, Phoenix Suns
"It was real fun. I'm not going to lie."
Deandre Ayton on sharing the court with Kevin Durant in Durant's #Suns debut.
"Just being competitive. That's what really stands out." pic.twitter.com/878Dw6boV8
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) March 2, 2023
Ayton has been incredible recently, ranked tenth over the last month per Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball rankings. In that time he's averaged 22.7 points (+4.0), 10.5 boards (+0.4), and 1.1 blocks (+0.3) while shooting 65.7% from the floor (+6.6%).
Ayton has been a beneficiary of the trade that sent Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets, but with Kevin Durant now back, I'm expecting to see Ayton's numbers fall back to earth. We're already starting to see his efficiency drop again, over the past two weeks he's back down to 55.6% from the field.
Despite Durant making his debut for the Suns against the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night, Ayton still had a great game. This is the perfect scenario, as you can use this as further fuel to get him traded before the drop-off happens. You're probably wondering why I would say this if he still had such a good game. There's a little bit of context that should be provided.
Context Behind the Box Score
The Charlotte Hornets have one of the worst frontcourts in the NBA post-trade deadline. Don't get me wrong, I love Mark Williams. But both he and Nick Richards are very young and inexperienced. The perfect targets for a more experienced big to take advantage of via the nuances of the game. In addition, Ayton shot just 10 times from the field. That's his lowest number of shot attempts since December 30th against the Toronto Raptors.
Offensively, I don't think that Ayton's slice of the offensive usage pie will remain high enough to continue his current output. I would try to move him now at his peak value, as it is sure to drop soon.
Main Sell Target
Matisse Thybulle, SG/SF, Portland Trail Blazers
Thybulle has been a big beneficiary of the trade deadline, moving to Portland and getting a much larger role. Since the trade, he's averaged 2.3 threes (+1.7), 9.3 points (+5.9), 4.2 rebounds (+2.6), 1.8 steals (+0.8), and 1.7 blocks (+1.3). Thybulle is a brilliant defender. He flies around the court, so it's no wonder his stocks are high with his expanded role (30.3 minutes per game since the trade). However, Thybulle has always been known as an offensive liability, something that I don't believe has suddenly changed because of this trade.
During his career, Thybulle has been a below-average three-point shooter. His best season from deep came in his rookie year, where he shot 35.7% on just 2.4 attempts. Since the trade, Thybulle is shooting 53.8% from behind the arc. Unless Thybulle is the next big shooter in the league, this kind of efficiency won't last. Additionally, I don't believe he'll finish the season above 36% from three with his new team.
The biggest reason for Thybulle's limited minutes with the Philadelphia 76ers was due to his lack of offensive production. He was a liability that could be left wide open with little concern, allowing defenses to key in on better players. Further proof can be seen in the chart above, courtesy of Bball Index.
This chart shows us the shot-making and shot quality of every SG/SF in the league (minimum 600 minutes played this season). Thybulle is circled in red, and despite him getting very high-quality looks, he's at around the 25th percentile of players for overall shot-making. Not promising for his offense going forward.
Should he regress, Thybulle will likely be in the same type of scenario. It wouldn't shock me to see him lose minutes compared to what we're seeing now. His overall production on both ends would take a hit. With this being a likely scenario, I would sell him now, he won't ever be more valuable.
Other Players to Sell
Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers
Footwork master class from Kawhi Leonard. pic.twitter.com/ajRk40EDRz
— Joey Burton (@JoeyBurton) February 25, 2023
Kawhi Leonard has finally been playing basketball without a minutes-restriction, and we're back to seeing the old Kawhi. A dominant force on both ends, Leonard is ranked second overall over the last month in Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball rankings.
I'm not sure that I believe that he's a sell-high for statistical reasons, as he may continue to put up these stats to the shock of nobody. However, I am worried about him playing in every single game down the stretch. The Clippers have a very talented team, and if they're able to go on a winning streak, I could see Kawhi sitting games to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
There is no guarantee as to whether this will happen or not. Either way, you'd be getting elite value out of any trade that you make sending him away. You decrease your risk going into the playoffs, but It isn't a necessary trade nor one that I feel like I'd be forced to do. That's why he is in this category of the sells.
Josh Richardson, SG/SF, New Orleans Pelicans
Josh Richardson as a Pelican:
Game 1 - Ties career high in steals, plays most mins on team
Game 2 - Gets ejected
Game 3 - Starts https://t.co/6hKc195VHJ
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) February 24, 2023
Richardson had a dud recently against the Portland Trail Blazers. He played just 20 minutes, but before that, he was on a tear after being traded from the San Antonio Spurs over to the New Orleans Pelicans. He was averaging 3.2 steals per game and shooting the best from the field that he ever has. This obviously won't last in either capacity, but I still believe that you can add him into a trade using these box scores to help get the deal done.
That concludes my 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Week 20 Buy Low-Sell High. Be sure to check back in next week for the next edition!
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