Get ready to change the way you think about a lot of big-name players in fantasy basketball next season.
Where do we start?
Not only will Hayward suffer in terms of shots per game and scoring average, but so will Thomas, who finished third in the NBA in scoring (28.9 PPG) last season. Thomas goes from an early second-rounder to a late-second/early-third value.
The same can be said about Paul George, who goes from a mid-teens type of selection in Indiana to a 20-25 type of option in Oklahoma City. As someone quipped on Twitter following the news of the trade, the former Indiana Pacers star might have to start going by "PG-13 shots a game" now that he is teammates with Russell Westbrook, the NBA's leading scorer (31.6 PPG) and MVP last season.
Westbrook remains the top-ranked player on our ESPN Fantasy 150 rankings, but the addition of George translates to a lower usage rate, fewer shots and very likely fewer minutes for Mr. Triple-Double in 2017-18. Don't break the bank for Westbrook in auction drafts like you might have if the Thunder hadn't gone after another star in George.
While we're on the topic of superstars, we have to talk Chris Paul. The future Hall of Fame point guard remains a quality second-round value in Houston, where fantasy values are only boosted under Mike D'Antoni. Be aware, however, that Paul is set to enter his 13th NBA season at the age of 32 and has suffered through injuries each of the past two seasons. Realistically, Paul has one or two more seasons as one of the league's best at the position before he does what virtually every other point guard in NBA history has done at this stage in his career: start a steep decline. Factor this in if you have Paul in a dynasty league.
Paul's arrival in Houston does have a huge impact on James Harden, whose enormous 2016-17 season was topped only by Westbrook in real life and in fantasy. A move back to shooting guard for Harden means you can expect his career-high assists (11.2 APG) to return to the 7-8 range. Even if everything else remains the same as last season -- his scoring (29.1 PPG), his rebounding (8.1 RPG), his 3-pointers (3.2 3PG) and his steals (1.5 SPG) -- a smaller role as a distributor means a slightly lower fantasy value. He's still a good option at No. 2 after Westbrook, though.
Gobert's high shooting percentage and enormous impact as a shot-blocker and rebounder vaulted him into first-round territory heading into next season's drafts, and without Hayward, you can expect his shot attempts and scoring to rise from the 7.7 FGA and 14 PPG of last season.
Similarly, more offense can be expected from Indiana third-year center Turner, who made strides last season and saw his shot attempts rise to 10.7 FGA and his scoring go to 14.5 PPG. Not only does he have to make up for the loss of George, but he also has to take on more on offense because of the loss of Jeff Teague, the team's second-leading scorer. Turner is an above average face-up shooter for a big man and, at 21, has a chance to blossom as the lead guy in Indiana.
Of course, Victor Oladipo is now a Pacer, coming over in the George deal with OKC, and he will assume more of a scoring role in the state where he played his college ball -- starring with the Indiana Hoosiers -- than he did for one season in Westbrook's shadow. Oladipo gets a slight bump up in value after putting up 15.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.2 SPG and 1.9 3PG with the Thunder, and he is worth considering in the sixth round.
I mentioned earlier that Teague left the Pacers, and his new team in Minnesota is one that is suddenly so loaded with talent and scorers that there's a good chance they all eat into one another's production. We're talking about not only Teague but also newly acquired Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng and recent free-agent additions Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford.
Butler suddenly has to share the ball a heckuva lot more than he did as the main guy in Chicago the past few seasons, and he'll have a difficult time coming close to the 23.9 PPG and 6.3 RPG he averaged last season with the Bulls -- both were career highs.
Towns was right there with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo and New Orleans' Anthony Davis for the No. 3 spot on the top 150 prior to the addition of Butler. Now he makes more sense at pick No. 5 or later, with players such as Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James also in the mix.
Notice I didn't mention Ricky Rubio above. After eight seasons with the Timberwolves, he is taking the reigns as Utah's starting point guard. The problem is that without Hayward or any other consistent scoring threats in that Jazz offense, Rubio is going to have a much harder time finding players to finish his assists than he did all those years in Minnesota. Also, the Jazz have played at the slowest pace in the NBA each of the past two seasons, which doesn't fit Rubio's exciting style of play and means fewer opportunities for Rubio to accumulate stats.
Rubio takes the role vacated by George Hill, who signed with Sacramento, along with veterans Zach Randolph and Vince Carter. It's an interesting collection of young and old talents on the Kings' roster, and with the money it took to bring those three to California's capitol, you can expect each of them to play just as significant a role as they did the past season.
Rudy Gay won't be joining them, though, as he left Sacramento to sign with San Antonio, and that probably isn't a good landing spot for his fantasy upside. It will be interesting to see how coach Gregg Popovich uses Gay alongside Leonard (possibly at the 4), but in any case, there's a good chance that Gay -- who is coming off a season-ending Achilles injury -- won't be as featured as he was in previous years with the rebuilding Kings. Not only is Gay coming off one of the most serious injuries a basketball player can suffer, but he is also entering his 12th NBA campaign and will be 31 when the season starts.
Another veteran who is already 31, Dwight Howard should see a role similar to what he had in his one season with the Hawks. That homecoming soured fast in Atlanta, yet Howard remains a double-double threat who can block shots and force steals. Now on his fifth team, he's worth considering from Round 7 on in fantasy drafts.
Bouncing around the league, there are two other big-name players worth mentioning after the flurry of moves.
Paul Millsap is one of them. Now in Denver, his fantasy value remains right in that late-third/early-fourth-round range. His scoring won't be what it was in Atlanta, partially due to his being another year older and also due to the many scoring options in Denver. The 32-year-old power forward will make up for that, however, by giving the Nuggets another exceptional passing big man to pair with Nikola Jokic. Millsap's versatility in the frontcourt makes him just as valuable as previous seasons, even if his scoring ends up dropping a little from the 18.1 PPG of last season.
Blake Griffin is the other. Will he be better or worse without CP3 as his point guard? Consider this: Last season, according to nbawowie.com, Griffin had a 27.9 usage rate, averaged 1.13 points per possession and had a 56.5 true shooting percentage while Paul was on the court. When Paul was off the court, Griffin's numbers were almost identical (27.7 usage, 1.12 PPP, 56.6 TS%).
There are plenty of reasons to wonder how well Griffin will play next season. He's coming off a serious toe injury that ended his 2016-17 season prematurely, and more recently, he signed a five-year, $173 million deal to remain in Los Angeles. Oddly enough, Blake's health and drive after he cashed in for a big pay day loom larger than the loss of Paul.
The offseason is far from over, and as ESPN's Kevin Pelton points out, several impactful free agents remain on the market, but as you build your fantasy rosters next season, make sure you do so with a new outlook on the players mentioned above. Your success next season depends on it.