Every season, NBA teams mix and match rosters to try to fit their competitive needs. This season was no different, as many teams unloaded players to clear cap space and/or receive more production from their roster spots. This week, we take a look at five players who have been traded in a post-trade deadline analysis.
NBA Trade Deadline Analysis
Elrid Payton (Phoenix Suns)
After Elfrid Payton was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Phoenix Suns, his production surged. Albeit he’s only played 12 games for the Suns, so it’s a minor sample size. However, he looks to be a perfect piece to construct a young core for a hopeless Suns team.
Payton is averaging close to a triple-double in his time in Phoenix. The Suns have been in desperate need of a ball handler as Devin Booker is more of a scorer than a facilitator. Payton may be a rental, as he becomes a free agent this summer. However, the rebuilding Suns may have found another piece to become a contender in the West, should they decide to hold onto Payton.
Emmanuel Mudiay (New York Knicks)
Emmanuel Mudiay came to the New York Knicks in a bit of a precarious situation, with rookie Frank Ntilikina not developing as quickly as they had hoped. They acquired Mudiay to get a player capable of penetrating to the basket, something the Knicks desperately needed. After he fell out of the rotation in Denver, the Knicks were hoping to get a revitalized Mudiay, benefiting from a new team. This has not happened thus far.
Mudiay is shooting a career-low from the field with the Knicks, at just 36 percent, and he’s only shooting 17 percent from three-point range. He’s under contract for just one more season. If Mudiay’s shooting struggles continue, it will be interesting to see what the Knicks do about their point guard position going forward. Trey Burke is an interesting piece and Ntilikina is being experimented with at the two-guard spot. Many questions remain about the future of the Knicks’ point guard spot.
Tobias Harris (Los Angeles Clippers)
The journeyman forward hasn’t been able to stay on the same team for very long. Tobias Harris has become one of the main scoring options for the Los Angeles Clippers alongside newly minted team member Lou Williams. In his 15 games with the team, Harris is averaging a career-high 20 points per game. Harris is a talented young player under team control for one more year. Should Harris continue to produce, a contract extension this summer is very possible. The Clippers are definitely trying to find a new identity after the departures of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. One thing is for sure: L.A.’s potential playoff bid will rely heavily on Tobias Harris.
Jae Crowder (Utah Jazz)
Jae Crowder was supposed to be a key piece to the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ title run. That was until their general manager traded away half the team in order to shake things up. Crowder ended up in Utah and has instead become a very important piece to their playoff hunt.
After the departure of Gordon Hayward, the Utah Jazz looked vulnerable to a lost season. However, with the rise of star rookie Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz are hungrier than ever to remain a playoff contender. Crowder has shined since joining the Jazz. His 14-point average matches a career high and he’s scored double-digit points in every game since joining, except for one. Most notably, he made a career-high six three-pointers in a win against the Memphis Grizzlies last Friday night. Crowder is under team control for two more seasons. At age 26, he’s hitting the prime of his career and will look to help the Jazz’s recent success continue in the West.
George Hill (Cleveland Cavaliers)
George Hill was brought into Cleveland after the failures of Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose to become established point guards on the team. Hill had a career season last year with Utah, which led him to sign a multi-year deal. After this season, Hill has two more years left on his contract, which will pay him almost $20 million a year.
After joining the Cavaliers, Hill has struggled to find a rhythm with his new team. In 12 games, Hill is shooting almost career lows in field goal and three-point percentage. His assist numbers have not changed much since going from the Sacramento Kings to the Cavaliers. This is surprising since he’s playing alongside one of the greatest scorers in the history of the game, LeBron James. If Hill can’t start producing, the Cavaliers will struggle to return to the NBA Finals. Hill’s value to the team diminishes with each mediocre performance.
Embed from Getty Images