Found October 28, 2012 on
Give Me The Rock:
Oklahoma City Thunder
As reported just about everywhere at this point, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension with James Harden, decided their relationship just wasn’t going to work out and traded him to the Rockets yesterday.
The Thunder get Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and a number of draft picks for Harden, while the Rockets will also get Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward and Daequan Cook (yay!)
The obvious question that comes out of this trade is: What does it do to Harden’s fantasy value? Based on 1) the amount of assets that Houston sent to acquire Harden, 2) the Rockets’ current lineup, and 3) the fact that Houston sent over 2 of its 3 shooting guards in the trade, I think it’s safe to assume that they did not acquire James Harden to be their 6th man and he will instead be the guy they build the future around.
That of course is good news for Harden in terms of fantasy. He’ll go from third banana on the Thunder to the first option in a lineup that features Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson and Omer Asik. The only negative thing I predict is that his efficiency will likely drop on the Rockets, specifically his FG%. According to Basketball Reference, Harden’s usage rate on the floor last season was 21.6%. This compares to 31.3% for Kevin Durant and 32.7% for Russell Westbrook. Harden also attempted about 7 less shots per game than either Durant or Westbrook. Generally, as usage increases, efficiency declines because players are forced to take more shots and be less selective with the shots they attempt.
If we give a bump in minutes to Harden for the season up to 34 a game and assume that he’s a slightly more important part of the Rockets offense than he was in OKC (and that is conservative looking at their rotation), his revised projection for the season comes out at: 20.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 2 threes, 46% FG and 89% FT. But I could also imagine a scenario in that offense where he goes absolutely beast mode and averages 25+ points a game.
The increase pushes him from a solid second round pick to a guy to think about picking up at the back end of the first. Our revised projection would put him at 0.76 WARP per week, good for 10th in the league.
For the Thunder, I have not seen anywhere if the team has decided if Martin will be installed as the team’s starting SG, or if they will continue to run Thabo Sefolosha out there and Martin will take over for Harden in a 6th man role. Either way, this trade actually doesn’t effect Martin’s fantasy value all that much – at least compared to what we were predicting for him this season. The trade does remove any hope that Martin returns to his 24 ppg scoring ways – so if you were really bullish on Martin this season its time to revise that down – but we were predicting only a modest improvement from last season’s disaster. We also had him averaging nearly the same minutes as Harden got with the Thunder last season (around 31.5), so our projection of 17-18 points and 2 threes a game for Martin doesn’t change all that much.
The trade also seems to remove Jeremy Lamb from the equation, at least for this season.
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