Who would win a Melo-Love fantasy trade?
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a rotating panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic. Today’s contributors are ESPN Fantasy’s Jim McCormick, Joe Kaiser and Kyle Soppe.
On Wednesday, when asked about Carmelo Anthony-for-Kevin Love trade buzz, LeBron James said, “I have no reaction … We can’t play fantasy basketball.” Fair enough — let’s leave playing fantasy basketball to the experts. Who would you rather have in a Melo-Love fantasy trade right now? How much would their fantasy values change if the Knicks and Cavs actually consummate the rumored trade proposal?
Jim McCormick: I value Love a good bit more than Anthony at this stage. Their numbers are incredibly similar in regard to shooting percentage, scoring, assists and defensive rates, yet Love is averaging 44.5 percent more rebounds, which offers differentiation in value. We net greater 3-point volume with Love, and we can consider them similar in their respective injury risks.
I can envision some improvement in efficiency for Anthony as Cavalier, if we assume fewer contested shots on a team with two superstar offensive forces in James and Kyrie Irving, affording him spacing he hasn’t enjoyed outside of Olympic play. I don’t project a sizable shift in his counting stats, and his utter lack of defensive upside precludes me from getting very excited about Anthony’s fantasy ceiling.
That said, I think the greater boon in this hypothetical goes to Love, as he could enjoy an uptick in usage and shooting volume for New York. Anthony has averaged 3.2 more field goal attempts per game than Love this season, while the Knicks’ patchwork frontcourt depth chart past Kristaps Porzingis could afford Love an uptick in rebounding opportunities.
Joe Kaiser: I’d rather have Love than Anthony in fantasy leagues right now, even with Melo scoring like it’s 2005 as of late, and if the two players were traded for each other in real life, I think it’d only give more weight to Love as the better fantasy option. Plus, Anthony is averaging 34 minutes a game this season at the age of 32, and with the Knicks spiraling in the standings, there’s always the chance…