The NBA offseason never sleeps, which means, in turn, that the fantasy basketball offseason is equally active. NBA teams attack the market to sign big name free agents, package trades to bolster their rosters/clear cap space, and sign rookies. Although some teams have strengthened their squads, their new signings could lose fantasy value, while opening opportunities for other players.
Gordon Hayward, SF, BOS
Gordon Hayward made the jump from Utah this offseason to link up with Isaiah Thomas and last season’s top seed in the Eastern Conference, Boston Celtics. Hayward is coming off a career season in which he averaged 21.9 PPG, 3.5 APG, 5.4 RPG and 15.8 FGA. His new teammate, Isaiah Thomas, was last season’s third highest scorer in the NBA (28.9 PPG) and ranked fifth in usage rate among players who played at least 1,000 minutes. Hayward shouldn’t be drafted until after Round 3, while Thomas’s value is now late second/early third-round.
Paul George, SF, OKC
In a surprising switch to Thunder, the former Pacer forward has liked up with last years MVP, Russell Westbrook. George hit a high in PPG (23.7) and FGA (18.0) last season, but I don’t expect him to receive nearly as many looks alongside the triple-double monster, Westbrook. Westbrook led the league in usage rate, which I doubt will change. George is still an elite talent and provides quality fantasy production; however, his draft stock should hover around the mid-20s.
The Timberwolves had one of the youngest rosters in the NBA last season (an average of 25.7 years old), but were unable to compete for a playoff spot finishing well under .500 (.378/31-51). Despite a poor winning percentage, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine (before being sidelined by a torn ACL), Gorgui Dieng and Ricky Rubio all provided fantasy value. Minnesota has made noise this offseason by trading for Jimmy Butler in exchange for a package that included Zach LaVine. They were also able to ship Ricky Rubio to Utah, while signing veteran guys like Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford. The Timberwolves have evolved into a team with a balance of youthful talent and veteran leadership. Butler will be forced to move the ball more, challenging his chances of repeating last season’s 23.9 PPG. Towns remains an elite player, but I would refrain from taking him in the top-5 despite his production last season.
Rudy Gobert, C, UTA
Rudy Gobert illustrated his dominance as an NBA center last season, posting 14 PPG, 12.8 RBG, 2.6 BPG and a .661 FG%. Gobert finished behind only Karl-Anthony Towns in center ranking as Utah’s second option. With the departure of Gordon Hayward and acquisition of Ricky Rubio, one of the leagues most prolific dime droppers, Gobert should see his 7.7 FGA increase from last season. With Rodney Hood expected to fill some of the void left by Hayward, Gobert’s offensive production will grow. Gobert heads into the 2017-2018 season as a late first-round pick.
Myles Turner, C, IND
In a similar situation, the young center out of Indiana, Myles Turner, is poised to have an even better fantasy season. Turner made a leap last season, putting up 14.5 PPG and 10.7 FGA, while playing alongside Paul George and Jeff Teague. Both George and Teague have moved on, leaving a huge opportunity for Turner to become the primary offensive option for the Pacers. Indiana acquired Victor Oladipo from the Thunder who could provide relief for Turner. Expect Turner to be off the board in the late third or early fourth-round.
Victor Oladipo, SG, IND
As previously mentioned, Victor Oladipo has landed in Indiana, playing for his third team in five seasons. He’s proven himself as a talented wing player with a career average of 15.9 PPG. He posted that exact average last season (second lowest of his career), playing alongside Russell Westbrook. Expect Oladipo’s 13.9 FGA to heavily increase now that he is Indiana’s top wing scorer. Oladipo should be taken in the middle of Round 7 with high upside due to increased touches.