Fantasy

Fantasy Basketball: Analyzing the impact of the James Harden megadeal

The Houston Rockets have traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, but you already know that by now.

The megadeal set the NBA world on fire on Wednesday and we're still digesting the aftershock of it today.

With Harden now teaming up with offensive superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, how will that impact the trio's fantasy value? What about the other players who were involved in the deal?

Take a look at the team-by-team breakdown of the biggest fantasy winners and losers from the Harden trade.

Position designations and availability/owned percentages are based on ESPN Fantasy Basketball.

Brooklyn Nets

Fantasy Basketball Winners

DeAndre Jordan, C: Jordan lost his starting role to Jarrett Allen but will retain it after the 22-year-old was sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Harden deal. Jordan is available in 64% of leagues and should see an uptick in playing time. In his first game returning to the starting lineup, Jordan showcased his fantasy value with nine points (4-4 FG), 12 rebounds and two blocks in the team's win over the New York Knicks.

Bruce Brown, SG: The Nets sacrificed a lot of their depth in the Harden deal, so other players on the roster are going to have to step up. Brown, who was a late fantasy bloomer for the Washington Wizards before last season was put on pause, appears to be one of those players who will take on a bigger role. In the game against the Knicks, Brown made his case for more minutes, going for a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds in 30 minutes. He is available in nearly 98% of leagues and is worth putting on your watch list for the time-being.

Fantasy Basketball Losers

The Big Three: While it's hard to call Durant, Irving or Harden a "fantasy basketball loser," this deal is bound to have an impact on each player. There will be games where each one of them erupts for ridiculous performances, but the odds of them maintaining the numbers they've posted to start this season are unlikely. Why? Durant (31.5%), Irving (30.4%) and Harden (29.3%) are all high-usage players who need the ball in their hands to operate. (That Harden usage number is uncharacteristically low, too). This isn't to say run and trade any of these players immediately; it's more to prepare you for some nights where only two of them get it going while the third star takes more of a back seat.

MORE: How will Harden fit alongside Durant and Irving?

Houston Rockets

Fantasy Basketball Winners

Christian Wood, PF/C: Wood has already been a fantasy standout performer to start the season, averaging 22.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. Even though Wood and Harden had established a connection on pick-and-rolls, I still expect Wood's value to increase because of more opportunities to put up bigger numbers. All-Star point guard John Wall is still more than capable of finding Wood in similar situations as Harden did and, at times, I'd expect Houston's offence to be run through their newly acquired free agent big man.

John Wall, PG: This one is self explanatory. No Harden means Wall has the keys to the offence in Houston and it's his show to orchestrate moving forward. With averages of 18.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds already, I wouldn't be surprised to see that turn into 22-7-6 over the next week or so. Double-doubles will start flowing in because of an increase in assist opportunities, and Wall should see his fantasy value steadily on the rise.

Fantasy Basketball Losers Uncertainties

Victor Oladipo, SG: Making an exception for Oladipo here, because I'm not ready to call him a fantasy basketball winner or loser as a fallout of the trade. Oladipo was posting 20.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game in Indiana, and that was playing an evenly distributed team brand of basketball. You would assume that would mean his value would go up with the Rockets because more shot attempts should be available, but he's no longer playing alongside offensive threats like Malcolm Brogdon or Domantas Sabonis. While Wall and Wood are still solid offensive players, Oladipo could draw more focus from opposing teams in Houston, which is why I'm leaving him as an "uncertainty" in the aftermath of this deal. Just hang tight on Oladipo and see how this one plays out.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Fantasy Basketball Winners

This trade didn't have much of a positive impact on the Cavaliers from a fantasy standpoint.

Fantasy Basketball Losers

Jarrett Allen, C: Allen was starting to come into his own after taking over the starting centre role in Brooklyn, averaging a double-double of 11.2 points and 10.4 rebounds to go with 1.6 blocks per game. Now playing alongside (or even behind) rebound-eater Andre Drummond, those numbers are bound to deflate. The Cavaliers also have Larry Nance Jr., who has been solid to start the season, so it has become quite the crowded frontcourt in Cleveland following this trade.

Larry Nance Jr., PF/C: Nance has been averaging 34.8 minutes per game this season and he's been productive, posting 10.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and a league-leading 2.4 steals per game. If the Cavs elect to start Allen and Drummond, that will move Nance to the bench, which could affect his minutes and his production. If Cleveland decides to continue to start Nance and bring Allen off the bench, it could still have an effect on Nance's rebounding numbers if they're playing alongside each other or, again, his playing time if he's subbing in for Nance.

It will be an interesting situation to see how this frontcourt plays out from a fantasy perspective.

Indiana Pacers

Fantasy Basketball Winners

Caris LeVert, SG/SF: Last season we got a taste of what LeVert is capable of as a No. 1 option with both Durant and Irving sidelined. We got another small sample of that this season when LeVert went for 22 points and 10 assists against the Philadelphia 76ers, followed by a 43-point outburst with six assists and five boards against the Memphis Grizzlies when Durant and Irving were out of the lineup again. Now that LeVert is headed to Indiana, he should be treated much more like a No. 1 scoring option. While Brogdon and Sabonis have been incredible this season, it shouldn't come as a surprise if LeVert is treated like the go-to scorer in due time. This is a unique opportunity for LeVert to take on a bigger role while still having talented players around him so all of the defensive attention won't be on him.

Fantasy Basketball Losers

This trade doesn't have much of a negative impact on the fantasy-relevant players in Indiana. While Brogdon and Sabonis may see the slightest decrease in scoring, they still do so many other things that it won't diminish any value whatsoever.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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