The Secret Winners Of The NBA Trade Deadline: Six Players Benefiting From The Moves Their Teams Made

We naturally tend to think of trades in terms of the players who were traded. But there is another side to these transactions, where a player suddenly receives additional minutes and opportunities after his teammate is sent elsewhere. We saw big names like Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic and Lou Williams traded ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, so it’s worth looking at the players who now benefit from some of these moves.

As we see in the NBA all the time, players who have been buried in the bench or labeled as role players can often change their perception if given the opportunity, and addition by subtraction sometimes leads to better performance. With that in mind, here are six players who should benefit from having their teammates switch on the deadline.

Wood was in the middle of an All-Star caliber season when he was forced to miss more than a month with an ankle injury. When he returned, the Rockets had lost 17 games in a row, challenging for the worst record in the league. The team has continued to lose after his return, and Wood’s frustration manifested itself when he complained about his lack of touches late in the game in a close loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I’d like to be more involved in offense down the stretch,” Wood said after firing just two shots in the fourth quarter in the loss to OKC. “They often leave me in the corner and take me off the offense, and that takes me out of my rhythm.”

Victor Oladipo was one of the main reasons for Wood’s lack of participation at the end of the games. Oladipo’s fourth-quarter usage rate of 32.8 led the team, with Wood also trailing John Wall and Eric Gordon with a 22.8 usage rate in the final frame. With Oladipo in Miami, Wood should have many more opportunities in times of crisis. His isolation efficiency hasn’t been great, but he certainly has potential in that area late in games with his speed and shooting ability.

The Rockets’ net rating is 10.9 points per 100 possessions better with Wood on the floor, and he could soon emerge as the undisputed number one offensive option for the first time since joining Houston.

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Williams, one of the league’s most tantalizingly talented greats, will likely become the Celtics’ full-time starting center with Daniel Theis traded to the Bulls. Williams has the look of a rim runner and shot blocker because of his length and athleticism, and he does those things very well, but he also has an incredible ability to make plays and passes. In his first start of the season in Friday’s 122-114 win over the Bucks, Williams dished out six assists, the most of his career, along with seven points, nine rebounds and five blocks.

Boston is ranked 24th in the NBA in assists, so getting Williams more involved with the starters should generate more open looks for the league’s 13th offense, and will provide much more rim protection than Theis. Williams is in the 82nd percentile, allowing 0.92 points per possession around the rim, according to Synergy Sports Technology. It will be fun to see him on both ends as he becomes one of Boston’s biggest players down the stretch and into the playoffs.

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It’s safe to say that when the Clippers signed Kennard to a four-year, $ 64 million extension shortly after trading him for him last offseason, they weren’t expecting 7.9 points in less than 20 minutes per game. At times in the last month, Kennard has completely dropped out of the rotation. Part of the reason for Kennard’s limited production was his positional firing with Lou Williams, who was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Rajon Rondo at the deadline. With Williams out of the picture, Kennard should become one of the top scoring options in the bench unit, with Rondo potentially providing him with more open looks.

Kennard’s shooting hasn’t been a problem – he’s fifth in the NBA at 47.8 percent from 3-point range and he’s in the 91st percentile with 1.36 points per possession in catch-and-shoot scenarios, according to Synergy, but he’s just taking six field goal attempts per game. The volume should increase with Williams elsewhere, now that Kennard has the freedom and confidence to shoot at a much higher rate.

He showed his skill in a recent 21-point comeback against the Hawks, becoming the first Clipper in history to score 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists in less than 20 minutes.

“I’m very happy Luke Kennard is ready because of the way he’s played the last four games he’s played,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said after the win over Atlanta. “It has definitely been won, something has been won.”

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Alexander-Walker, one of the few young and exciting guards for the Pelicans, struggled to find consistent playing time when JJ Redick was active. With Redick traded to Dallas, Alexander-Walker should fill in at the backup guard position and not have to worry about losing his rotation spot if he makes a mistake. He has been solid as a backup starter with Lonzo Ball out, and New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy recently explained that Alexander-Walker generally plays better when he knows he’s going to have big minutes, a sentiment Alexander-Walker was very supportive of. agreement.

“You’re not really looking over your shoulder,” Alexander-Walker said, via “You can play, in a sense, without conscience, because you are only thinking about the game. You are not thinking about what can happen if you make a decision that does not turn out as you expected.” I’m trying to trust myself so even when I don’t start, I can still get off the bench and provide effective stuff. ”

Since March 4, when Redick was injured, Alexander-Walker is averaging 13.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists on 38 percent shooting from three points. He has also been excellent defending the pick-and-roll all season, allowing just 0.618 points per possession according to Synergy, which is in the 96th percentile. His length and activity can help a Pelicans defense that has been in the part. bottom of the league throughout the season.

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Steve Clifford is basically Old Mother Hubbard after the departure of Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, so Okeke will have all the career he can handle as the Magic look to the future. A rookie in a red jersey, Okeke has been a solid contributor from the bench for most of the season. In his first start after the trade deadline, Okeke scored 22 points, the most of his career, with 9 of 15 shots, including 4 of 6 3s, in 37 minutes.

Okeke is shaping up to be a stretch four prototype, currently in the 98th percentile with 1,527 points per possession in catch-and-shoot situations, according to Synergy. His next step will be to take advantage of his shooting ability to take advantage of the hard closures by putting the ball on the ground and reaching the basket, an area in which he has struggled so far but shows potential.

If Okeke can continue to develop into the final months of the season, a core of him, Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz and Wendell Carter Jr. is a decent starting point for rebuilding Orlando.

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As is the case with most second-round picks, Lee has struggled for minutes during his rookie season, stepping in occasionally when injuries hit the Pistons hard. He’s certainly capitalized on his opportunities, scoring 12.6 points and 3.9 assists per game on 59 percent shooting during a seven-game stretch from late February to early March with Delon Wright out of the lineup.

With Wright now traded to the Sacramento Kings, Lee should be able to compete for more consistent minutes. Killian Hayes, the No. 7 overall pick last November and the presumptive point guard of the future in Detroit, is still reeling from a torn labrum in his hip, and at this point it might not make much sense to bring him back to the top. -of-the-season-bound for the lottery. Lee will be in the mix with Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Jackson and the newly acquired Cory Joseph for minutes, though it’s hard to imagine Joseph will see a lot of playing time considering he’s probably not in the Pistons’ future plans.

Lee’s lack of shooting will limit his effectiveness, but he has demonstrated his ability to penetrate and foul: He made 10 free throws, the most of his career, in Friday’s loss to the Nets.

In a relatively small sample size, Lee is in the 96th percentile for overall offensive efficiency, including assists, with 1,454 points per possession according to Synergy. He’s definitely worth the Pistons giving him a hard look in a few extended minutes to close out the season.

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