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Setting The Pick – Trade Deadline fallout

Cam Thomas Brooklyn Nets Cam Thomas - The Canadian Press

The 2024 NBA trade deadline was one of the quietest in recent memory.

No big superstars like Kevin Durant or James Harden switched teams as in seasons past.

The biggest name to move at the deadline this year was Bojan Bogdanovic.  That acquisition by the New York Knicks moved them into the fifth choice for the Larry O’Brien trophy on FanDuel.

While fans didn’t get the big splash they yearned for, plenty of opportunities exist throughout the association to cherry-pick from a betting perspective.

There are two primary ways I’d tackle player props moving forward:

For the teams that bought at the deadline, there could be opportunities for unders on both the incoming players and the existing team members who might see a drop in minutes.

For the sellers, there’s an opportunity in sorting out how their rotations and usage rates get divided up amongst the remaining players.

While New York made the most noise on Thursday, they will not be featured below due to the ambiguity of their roster. Six of their players carry an injury designation on top of the two new guys joining the team.


Brooklyn are sellers as expected

Earlier this week, I flagged the under on Brooklyn’s win total at 35.5.

I didn’t think they’d be buyers, and they needed to go 16-17 to clear that number at the time of publication.

The Nets shipped off Spencer Dinwiddie and Royce O’Neale, with Dennis Schroder as the only meaningful player coming to Brooklyn.

To me, it seemed like they were trying to gather whatever draft capital they could while clearing the deck for their core players.

Now that Ben Simmons is healthy and ramping up his minutes, Brooklyn likely wants a real audition from the former All-Star.

He’s only averaging 18.0 minutes per game since returning from a 37-game absence, but with the departure of Dinwiddie and O’Neale, I’m guessing they want him over 30 a night.

Brooklyn’s activity at the deadline also leads me to believe they are ready to commit to microwave scorer: Cam Thomas.

Since being re-inserted into the starting lineup at the end of January, he leads the team with 25.4 points per game and has jumped ahead of franchise star Mikal Bridges in usage rate.

While Schroder and Dinwiddie both qualify as point guards, the former Raptor is more of a facilitator than Dinwiddie.

Perhaps Brooklyn is comfortable letting Schroder run the offence on occasion, but they likely want the shots coming off of Thomas’ hands.

Their next game is against San Antonio on Saturday, the 7th-worst defence in the NBA.

The play: Simmons over rebounds and assists, Thomas over points


Utah thin out their rotation

The Jazz made two deals on deadline day, picking up one first-round and one second-round draft pick.

They sent Simone Fontecchio to the Detroit Pistons and Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji to the Toronto Raptors.

All three players they received in return are unlikely to play meaningful minutes considering Utah is still in re-building mode.

Before the deadline, the Jazz ran an unusual 10-man rotation where the team operated like two full hockey lines.

This how it previously looked:

Starters – Kris Dunn, Collin Sexton, Fontecchio, Lauri Markkanen, and John Collins

Reserves – Keyonte George, Jordan Clarkson, Agbaji, Olynyk, and Walker Kessler

On Thursday night, we got a sample of how their rotation minutes would be rebalanced.

Kessler moved into the starting five, while Taylor Hendricks and Talen Horton-Tucker re-entered their rotation, playing 18 and 14 minutes respectively.

Kessler is the biggest winner here.  I found it strange that he wasn’t already in the starting five.

With Fontecchio and Olynyk gone, there’s a void regarding front-court minutes.

Kessler’s jump in role and minutes is the most obvious, and I think FanDuel will adjust accordingly.

I’m not sure how long the window will be open, but I’d be targeting his rebounds, blocks and points.

The other player I’m sneakily monitoring is Dunn.

Utah is suddenly overweight on guards but of the four backcourt regulars, Dunn is the most capable of defending up in size.

The 2016 5th-overall pick came into the NBA as a defence-first guard and, even at 6’3”, is capable of holding the line against opposing wings.

He’s quietly been one of their most impactful players since January, owning a 4.5 net rating (second on the team behind Markkanen).

He’s averaged 17.9 minutes per game on the season but if he gets closer to 24 mpg moving forward, I’d consider his defensive production against turnover-prone teams.

The Play: Kessler over rebounds, blocks and points, Dunn over steals and blocks


Dallas bulks up

The Mavericks are wise to maximize their championship odds while Luka Doncic plays in Dallas.

He’s a generational talent that deserves to have a team built around him like LeBron James would.

By acquiring PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford at the deadline, the Mavs added two well-fitting frontcourt players to team up with Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

From a player prop standpoint, I don’t think this changes anything for Dallas’ two superstars.

In the immediate future, I think there could be some cannibalism for Gafford and rookie Dereck Lively III.

Assuming these two exclusively stagger at the centre position, they’ll finish the season playing fewer minutes than before the deadline.

They both averaged 26 minutes a game previously but will now have to share 48 minutes at the centre position.

From a team standpoint, it’s highly beneficial for Doncic and Irving to have a rim-running big man the entire game.

Betting-wise, I think both will see a regression in their statistical production unless one clearly outplays the other.

For now, Gafford could see a short-term uptick while Lively remains out of the lineup with a broken nose.

The play: Gafford and Lively under points and rebounds