2017 Fantasy Basketball Draft Prep: Catch up on the wild offseason that saw Chris Paul, Gordon Hayward, and Paul George switch teams
Did you miss everything that happened in the NBA this summer? Don't worry, we have everything you need to know about a wild offseason.
The 2017 NBA offseason will go down as one of the busiest and most drama-filled in NBA history.
With a number of elite players changing area codes this summer, the landscape of the NBA has become even more star-centric. While it may be cliche to say the Warriors have changed the way teams are built, it's tough to argue against that notion, as teams like Houston, Denver, Oklahoma City and Minnesota each scrambled to add All-Stars to already-strong rosters in hopes of mounting a challenge to Goliath out West.
An offseason of shake-ups will undoubtedly entail major on-court ramifications, but what does it mean for Fantasy players? Below, we'll take a look at several of this summer's most notable moves and analyze the impact they'll have on the Fantasy basketball landscape.
Chris Paul to Houston
Still arguably the best pure point guard in the NBA, Paul made it known early in the offseason that Houston was his preferred destination. He'll now team with last season's MVP runner-up in an offense that boasts two of the league's best passers.
Both players will have to sacrifice touches, but it's Harden who could see a more dramatic drop in the assists category, as he's the more natural option to shift off-ball when Paul is on the floor. That said, Mike D'Antoni will likely stagger Harden and Paul's minutes to ensure at least one is on the court at all times, so Harden will still have plenty of opportunities to run the offense.
On the other side of the trade, the Clippers may have lost the best player in the deal, but they gained the depth they'd lacked throughout Paul's tenure. Los Angeles brings in one of the NBA's best defenders in Beverley, along with Williams, who has served as an ace sixth-man for most of his career. Both will be major factors right away, while Dekker, who came into his own last season after missing most of his rookie year, has the makings of a promising long-term asset on the wing.
Gordon Hayward to Boston
Hayward leaving Utah was the worst-kept secret in the NBA last season, and his arrival in Boston marks a new direction for the best regular season team in the East. With the Celtics, Hayward's role likely won't change drastically, and the transition should be eased by his familiarity with Brad Stevens.
While the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas swap shook up the top of the East, the Celtics essentially swapped one high-usage point guard for another, so the impact of the deal on Hayward's offensive responsibility figures to be minimal. If anything, he could get more assists with Irving serving as the tip of the spear.
Paul George to Oklahoma City
After a rough start to last season, George returned to elite status over the second half of the year, but he'll face perhaps the most difficult challenge of his career adjusting to playing alongside Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook has (sort of) made it work with another high-usage, superstar wing in the past, but just how willing the reigning MVP will be to scale back his own offensive role after a historic season remains to be seen.
Even if George spends less time as an initiator, playing alongside Westbrook -- by-far the best teammate he's ever had -- should mean fewer double teams and more open looks as a spot-up shooter. Oklahoma City was one of the worst outside shooting teams in the NBA last season, and George -- a 41.8 percent shooter on catch-and-shoot threes -- should be a major boost, as should Patrick Patterson, who arrives as the replacement for Taj Gibson.
Kyrie Irving to Boston
On the surface, the two best teams in the East swapping key pieces may have been the biggest shake-up off the summer, but from a Fantasy perspective, neither player's value should be greatly impacted.
Irving goes from one excellent basketball situation to another, and while he's no longer playing in the shadow of Lebron James, he'll have plenty of talent around him in Boston. Irving will likely take on more ball-handling duties, though he'll have to concede possessions to Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, all while the Celtics attempt to develop a pair of promising young wings.
Meanwhile, Thomas is well-equipped to fill Irving's shoes in Cleveland, though his scoring figures to take a hit given James' tendency to function as the Cavs' pseudo-point guard. Still, Thomas is overqualified as an off-ball threat, and the presence of James, not to mention Kevin Love, should mean far fewer double-teams than Thomas was faced with in Boston.
Crowder, another key piece in the trade, may ultimately come off the bench for Cleveland, though it's certainly a possibility that he could unseat J.R. Smith at shooting guard. Either way, Crowder will be the Cavs' sixth man, at worst.
Dwight Howard to Charlotte
The Howard redemption tour stops in Charlotte after one mostly forgettable season in his hometown. It wasn't that Howard played poorly -- he was one of the league's best rebounders and still protects the rim at a high level -- but it was simply another bland year for a player who struggles to make an impact as a secondary option.
Dwight Howard: MVP Candidate is far in the rear-view, but he'll take over the starting role in Charlotte and should be among the top double-double threats in the league. However, his woeful free throw shooting will once again hinder his value in certain formats.
Jimmy Butler to Minnesota
Was George or Butler the biggest heist of the 2017 offseason? Either way, the Timberwolves added an All-NBA-caliber player to what was already one of the best young cores in the NBA. Butler's fit alongside Karl-Anthony Towns should be seamless, but how he meshes with Andrew Wiggins will ultimately determine the Wolves' ceiling.
In dealing Butler, the Bulls officially hit the reset button and will likely plummet to the bottom of the East. Even after a disappointing rookie season, Dunn still has some potential, and LaVine could put up big numbers as the No. 1 option once he returns from a torn ACL. At that point, Dwyane Wade will likely be out of the picture.
J.J. Redick to Philadelphia
The 33-year-old will no longer benefit from Chris Paul threading cross-court passes, but Redick is what he is at this point: a hyper-efficient three-point specialist who also hits close to 90 percent of his free throws.
Allen Crabbe to Brooklyn
Like Redick, Crabbe does one thing very well, and that's make shots that count for three points. In Brooklyn, Crabbe will almost certainly step into a starting role, but he's unlikely to be more than a one-dimensional Fantasy commodity.
In bringing in Mozgov alongside Russell, the Nets took on a burdensome contract, but picked up a high-upside guard who never quite fit in Los Angeles. While Russell won't be handed a starting job, it's hard to imagine Brooklyn not giving him every chance to succeed.
Mozgov, who was shut down for much of last season, will also be in a much more advantageous Fantasy situation. He'll be the clear starter for the rebuilding Nets, with unpolished rookie Jarrett Allen looking like the primary backup.
On the other side of the country, Lopez will no longer be the featured option on offense, but he'll play alongside an excellent passer in Lonzo Ball, so while his opportunities may decrease, Lopez should still be an efficient scorer at the center position.
Paul Millsap to Denver
Millsap turns 33 in February, but he's been one of the league's most dependable forwards and should be a perfect fit at power forward next to Nikola Jokic. Expect Millsap's production to remain fairly constant, though the hope is that he'll become a more efficient outside shooter after hitting just 31 percent of his career-high 3.5 attempts per game last season.
Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson to Minnesota
Teague is a difficult player to gauge as the projected fourth option on offense. His scoring will likely wane, but he should be a consistent source of assists and three-pointers -- 38.0% 3PT over the last two seasons -- to go with strong free throw shooting.
Ricky Rubio to Utah
In Utah, Rubio projects to step in as the unquestioned starter, so his numbers should remain relatively constant. However, despite being one of the league's best assist-men, Rubio remains an inefficient shooter (career 37.5% FG), who's shown minimal improvement from beyond the arc.
Rajon Rondo to New Orleans
The 31-year-old will join his fifth team in four seasons, and while he's burned Fantasy owners before, it's easy to talk get talked into his potential as a multi-category producer.
While the Clippers will undoubtedly struggle to replace Chris Paul, his departure opened the door for the team to bring in the depth it lacked throughout his tenure. In addition to the haul the Clippers got from Houston, they added one of the best players in Europe in Teodosic, as well as Gallinari, whose recent injury struggles have impacted his effectiveness.
Both players are gambles in their own respects but should play significant roles for a team that has no plans to fall out of the top-half of the Western Conference. Teodosic will need time to adjust to the NBA game, but he's already a world-class passer and has been on NBA radars for the better part of the last decade.
Health will be the key for Gallinari. When he's on the court, he's a productive scorer and three-point shooter, but he's missed an average of nearly 24 games over the last three seasons, and he enters training camp recovering from a fractured thumb suffered in a fight during an exhibition in Europe. Not a great sign.
Avery Bradley to Detroit
Marcus Morris to Boston
Morris enters a better basketball situation in Boston, but his touches will likely decrease playing alongside a trio of All-Stars. Bradley, on the other hand, could be featured more in Detroit, though at this point in his career he's probably maxed out his utility as a scorer. Keep an eye on Bradley's rebounding numbers this season after he put up career -- and perhaps unsustainable -- numbers in that category in 2016-17.
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