Henry Weinberg, Rolling line
Yahoo Sports Special Report
Welcome to the Atlanta Hawks themed article. There was no initial attempt to field three Eagles, but they are a team with a new rotation — a critical moment. Quin Snyder’s plans are starting to emerge, and the shift happening in Atlanta is a unique situation as most other teams are just trying to fit into their own mold.
Overall, players are still getting used to the rhythm, so it would be unwise to overreact and make hasty trades. Still, there are situations where being proactive is necessary, as the buying and selling window can sometimes be short:
Trade: Trae Young, Hawks
Whenever a superstar is in trouble like this, it’s worth looking into whether there’s anything that can be exploited. Young’s volume remains supreme. He has led the league in pick-and-roll possessions in each of the past four seasons — including in 2019-20, when he played in just 60 games. Last season, Young led the way with 1,916 possessions, while Jalen Brunson was second with 1,383. Even if Quin Snyder revolutionizes the offense, Young could still lead the league in sacks again.
This creates a great fantasy floor, which is important because Young still has some issues to address after his poor start. It’s a bad start, made even worse after a career-worst 2022-23 season. Young scored a season-high 24 points on Monday but was still 7-for-29 from 3-point range through four games. Assists are the ultimate commodity in fantasy, but if Young can be acquired without giving up three or four core players, acquiring the 25-year-old would be a coup.
Sticking with the Eagles, I’m buying into the stock that Jaren Johnson’s breakout is real and sustainable. The 21-year-old holds 49% of Yahoo league spots, but he’s far from a household name. Poaching Johnson as part of a larger plan feels realistic, and he’s a worthy addition in every format available.
Including the preseason, Johnson’s cumulative AST:TO ratio is 25:12. His connectivity is an advantage over De’Andre Hunter and Saddiq Bey. He’s a more versatile version of the athletic, power forward threat that John Collins was during his prime in Atlanta’s pick-and-roll scheme. Johnson’s three-point shooting percentage has been gradually improving, and if he’s still a league-average shooter in a larger sample, there’s no reason why he can’t earn Most Improved Player consideration.
On Monday, Vucevic lowered his buy-low viability en route to 24 points and 17 rebounds against the Pacers. Before that game, Vucevic averaged 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
The attraction is that he’s extremely consistent in his usage, his rebounding is overwhelmingly defensive (which is easier to explain than offensive rebounding), and he’s a multi-dimensional scoring threat for a Bulls team with surprisingly few scorers. Coby White and Patrick Williams started Saturday’s game against the Pistons and combined for zero points in 49 minutes.
Looking back at Vucevic’s strengths, his 26.4% rebound rate last season ranked 95th among centers. According to CleaningTheGlass, his current shooting percentage at the basket or beyond the three-point line has reached a career-high 68%. . It’s a shooting diet that favors efficiency, and even if he reintroduces plenty of midrange, the silver lining is that its usage will likely go up.
To be clear, I’m not recommending pushing for a trade for James, but I will explore the market and gauge interest. LeBron’s value is currently at an epic selling high. I can’t imagine the Lakers publicly stating their intention to limit him to around 30 minutes per game, but then immediately completely disregarding that plan. At some point, Los Angeles will monitor their workload more closely or start some load management games. James, meanwhile, looked fresh and playing well. The Lakers desperately need him, so the short-term prospects for James fantasy stock are very good.
Trying to pry Devin Booker or Domantas Sabonis away from current fantasy head coaches in exchange for James’ contract would be targets, while Donovan Mitchell and LaMelo Ball would be James super A top target for superstars to exploit.
James averaged 23.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game, shooting 57.1% from the field and 76.3% from the basket, which is slightly above average.
I’m downplaying Carter’s role in Orlando’s offense. Last year, the 24-year-old continued to improve year by year in his sixth NBA season, averaging career-highs of 15.2 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 52.5% from the field. It’s quality production, but I feel like it’s also emblematic of his ceiling as a player.
Carter shot only 32.6% on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season. He made up for his mediocre shooting percentage by shooting an outstanding 73.8% at the rim. However, until one of Franz Wagner, Paulo Banchero or Carter becomes an above-average shooter, Orlando’s spacing will be subpar.
Additionally, having healthy trade volume to gauge Jalen Suggs’ growth in the final year of his rookie contract will be crucial. I also expect a lineup with Paolo Banchero at center to gain experience throughout the season. Orlando is a deep team. Moritz Wagner is on the rise. He has been on the field 72 times, while Carter has only had 105 so far.
Carter is a fantasy asset with a decent floor and a decent ceiling, but there’s a fine line where he just falls flat. His 1.7 rebound rate (steal rate plus block rate) last season ranked in the 23rd percentile among all big men. He’s still a double-double threat every night, and his efficiency around the rim shouldn’t be overlooked, but if that’s impressive, it’s logical to look for selling highs.
In the first three games in Orlando, Carter averaged 8.6 points and 8.3 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game. He scored more than 20 points just six times in 2022-23 and had more than 12 rebounds just three times in 57 games.
Onyeka Okongwu and Jalen Johnson anchored the Hawks’ second-half frontcourt in Atlanta’s comeback win over Minnesota on Monday. I’ve expressed my admiration for Johnson, but his ability to handle defenses as a pick-and-roll man has partially replaced one of Capela’s key uses in the offense.
The biggest issue facing Capela is the positive impact Okongwu brings to the court. Okongwu is more capable of defending opponents at the rim than Capela, but he tends to get into foul trouble, which is a major obstacle to breakthroughs. The 22-year-old committed 4.9 fouls per 36 minutes last season and is averaging 7.5 fouls per 36 minutes so far in 2023-24.
For this reason, Capela is important to Atlanta’s rotation and depth, but if Okongwu improves, his ceiling will be in serious jeopardy. Relying on Capela for sustained fantasy production could prove difficult in the long run. I only had 2 points and 5 rebounds on Monday, but he still averaged 10.5 points and 10.8 rebounds in four games. He’s a candidate to sell now, or after a rebound in performance next week.