How will Gay trade affect Thomas?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As long as Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins can avoid punching each other out for control of the basketball, Gay's fantasy value should remain exactly the same after being traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Sacramento Kings Sunday night.

The question is: will the same be true for point guard Isaiah Thomas?

With Greivis Vasquez going to Toronto in the deal, Thomas will now move into the starting lineup and won't have to deal with a timeshare.

He has averaged 17.8 points, 4.9 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.5 threes with excellent shooting percentages despite playing a shade under 28 minutes per game off the bench this season.

However, fantasy owners expecting a massive uptick in production should pump the brakes.

As the top player on the Kings' second unit, Thomas was able to dominate the ball.

He has a usage rate (the percentage of a team's offensive possessions that a player uses while on the court) of 28.2 percent, up there with some of the top stars in the league.

For example, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and LeBron James have usage rates of 31.3 percent, 30.6 percent, 30.4 percent and 30.1 percent, respectively. Gay's usage rate with the Raptors was 30.1 percent.

Guess who currently has the No. 1 usage rate in the NBA. If you said DeMarcus Cousins, you win. His usage rate is 35 percent, three percentage points higher than No. 2 Russell Westbrook.

Thomas will be joining Gay and Cousins in the starting lineup, so predicting his production going forward is not as simple as looking at his per-36-minute averages of 23.2 points, 6.3, 3.0 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 2.0 threes per game.

That's because his shots and free-throw attempts per game aren't going to increase from 12.6 and 5.6 to 16.4 and 7.2 now that he'll be playing the majority of his minutes with Gay and Cousins.

We already know that in a contest to see who can shoot the ball most, it's impossible to out-gun Gay. DeMar DeRozan tried, and he still came up one shot per game short. Meanwhile, nobody's been crazy enough to come between Boogie Cousins and the rock yet.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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