Eric Bledsoe made it clear that he wanted out of Phoenix when the season started, and although it took the Suns a couple of weeks to find the right deal, he got his wish Tuesday.
The Suns will send Bledsoe to the up-and-coming Milwaukee Bucks, while Phoenix will receive Greg Monroe, a protected future first-round draft and a second-round selection in return, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While not a terrible haul for a player whom the entire NBA knew had to be moved, the deal does create some jams for both teams — the Bucks’ backcourt and Suns’ frontcourt.
Here’s the fantasy basketball breakdown from both sides:
WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE BUCKS
The Bucks are a young team on the rise, so acquiring Bledsoe makes a ton of sense from a basketball standpoint. Giannis Antetokounmpo already is one of the NBA’s best players, and Milwaukee still has to see what it has in Jabari Parker (a No. 2 overall pick in 2014) when he returns from the second ACL tear of his brief pro career.
But the big question here is simple: What does Bledsoe’s acquisition mean for The Greek Freak’s fantasy value? We’ll find out soon enough, but there are a couple of ways this could go. Assuming the Bucks are smart about this, they won’t want to take the ball out of Antetokounmpo’s hands. That means keeping him at point guard and sliding Bledsoe over to shooting guard. Bledsoe can be a terrific scorer off the ball, but he also has point guard instincts when creating off the dribble. It will make Milwaukee’s offenses much more potent.
If that’s how the Bucks opt to play this, Antetokounmpo can remain at a much similar value to the elite status he currently maintains. Bledsoe should just give Antetokounmpo some help on the wing while taking away value from others.
Khris Middleton currently is the Bucks’ second option and now can share the duty of helping carry the load with Bledsoe. Middleton’s value should see a minor hit with Bledsoe in the mix, but he still should be the starting small forward and play big minutes. Expect his usage to drop, though. Bledsoe was the lead dog on a Phoenix team that liked to play fast, so moving to Milwaukee, where Antetokounmpo runs the show, likely won’t help his value. Look for Bledsoe and Middleton to both settle down around the $6K to $6.5K range on DraftKings.
Now we get to the players who really would take a hit with Bledsoe’s arrival. Milwaukee likely will opt to scatter Bledsoe’s minutes so that he’s the starting shooting guard and also the backup point guard. He should take over either Malcolm Brogdon or Tony Snell’s starting role (likely Snell’s), which will lower both of their fantasy outlooks for the season. Expect Malcolm Brogdon, reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, to maintain a large role, though, as the Bucks still will want to feature him plenty. Like Middleton, Brogdon’s value should only take a slight bump, while Snell could go from playing 30-plus minutes per night into more of a Matthew Dellavedova-type reserve role. That means playing roughly 20 minutes per night, while Dellavedova could move out of the rotation. Dellavedova’s fantasy value, if he had any to begin with, likely is nonexistent.
Now, some Milwaukee players actually could benefit from this deal. With Monroe shipped out, the frontcourt now belongs to John Henson and Thon Maker. With Monroe sidelined because of a calf injury the last four games, we’ve had a peek at what this rotation should look like. Henson is averaging 26.5 minutes and 25.5 DKFP, while Maker has been the backup, posting non-relevant fantasy numbers. Thought to be temporary, Henson’s jump in value should last for the season.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE SUNS
Well, Bledsoe hardly played this season, so we don’t need to waste your time explaining how this will work. Mike James will remain the beneficiary at point guard, although he’s not really a secret anymore in the DFS community. Tyler Ulis will play in the backup role he’s had thus far.
Furthermore, Devin Booker and T.J. Warren still are the studs in Phoenix. Make no mistake about it: Their value will be unchanged as well. Keep riding them.
Where it gets interesting is this unnecessary amount of bigs that the Suns now have. Outside of Booker and Warren, the Suns really want to get minutes for their young prospects, meaning Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and Josh Jackson should continue to see similar roles. Maybe one of them will take a tiny hit, but that really goes against what this team’s goal should be. Wait and see here, but don’t plan on Phoenix limiting any of these kids.
Where value really will be lost is among the veteran centers. Alex Len played ahead of Tyson Chandler on Monday night and, given his age and draft position, could be in line to play more this season. The Suns have no business also rostering Chandler and Monroe, which means one — or both — of these guys will wind up very limited. Chandler and Len will continue their usual rotation since Monroe still is about a week away from returning from injury, but when he does, I’d want no part of the Suns’ centers. We’ll have to wait and see how it shakes out, but Len should have the highest upside, with Chandler and/or Monroe becoming valueless.
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.