What a way to bring back Fantasy Basketball! The NBA Draft commenced last night jump-starting the off-season in style and in typical fashion the Los Angeles Lakers stole the headlines bringing in Russell Westbrook to showtime. The trade can’t be official until August 6, but when Adrian Wojnarowski tweets it out, it’s a done deal. What does it all mean for fantasy!? Find out below!
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The Russell Westbrook Trade
Los Angeles Lakers receive:
- G Russell Westbrook
- 2024 2nd-Round Pick
- 2028 2nd-Round Pick
Washington Wizards receieve:
- SF/pF Kyle Kuzma
- G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- PF/C Montrezl Harrell
- 2021 Pick no.22 (Flipped to Indiana Pacers)*
PG Russell Westbrook – Los Angeles Lakers
There are few players as polarizing as Russell Westbrook in fantasy. Especially in differing scoring formats. In certain points leagues, Russell Westbrook is a top-three pick and MVP performer but in standard 9-category head-to-head leagues which include FT% and turnovers, Westbrook can’t crack the top-50. It’s easy to look past some of those negative peripheral numbers when you’re the triple double-king, averaging 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists (career-highs in rebounds/assists) like Westbrook did last season. One thing is clear, wherever Westbrook goes, he finds a way to put up numbers. This will be his toughest task with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis running the show in LaLa land but lots of red carpets feature three-stars. His points may take a back-seat at times but look for Westbrook to potentially have one of the more efficient seasons of his career with better shot selection. Let’s not forget Westbrook averaged 27.2 PPG with James Harden in Houston so he’ll still get his numbers. 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists might be hard to match but another triple-double with definitely be in reach with the Lakers lack of depth. Watch out for less turnovers and better shooting percentages in Westbrook’s return to Los Angeles from his stellar UCLA days. Get your popcorn ready baby!
PLAYER STOCK REPORT: Stock slightly down in Points Leagues. Stock slightly Up in head-to-head
SF/PF Kyle Kuzma – Washington Wizards
The former All-NBA rookie member Kyle Kuzma has shown great glimpses throughout his career, but it was clear the 26-year-old couldn’t handle the pressure of Showtime and LeBron James’ demands. Now, the 4th-year pro will get his fresh start and gets a definite upgrade over his dwindling performances for the Lakers. Kuzma has struggled in back-to-back seasons averaging under 13 PPG. His 36% three-point shooting numbers to go along with his 6+ rebounds per game show he can be a useful fantasy option in Washington. Yes, Bradley Beal runs the show but as the projected SF starter Kuzma can flirt with his 16.1 PPG per-36 and crack the top-100 fantasy list once again. I expect a usage uptick and solid stats will follow being out of the limelight.
IMMEDIATE PLAYER STOCK REPORT: Stock is up.
G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, PF/C Montrezl Harrel – Washington Wizards
The rest of the trade include solid pieces in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrel heading to Washington. KCP will remain a waiver-wire player and someone to add if someone goes down in Washington where he can be a solid source of points and 3PM. Montrezl Harrell went from Sixth man of the year to a deeper reserve role with the Lakers averaging 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds. He’s in for a similar output manning the front-court with Thomas Bryant and Daniel Gafford and would need an injury to really flourish.
IMMEDIATE PLAYER STOCK REPORT: Stock remains the same.
– Keep an eye on who the Lakers bring in at SG. A new starting three-point specialist could be a solid fantasy contributor in this Lakers offense.
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