Chris Paul‘s reported trade to Houston in exchange for Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and a protected 2018 first-round pick, causes a dramatic shift in the fantasy hoops landscape and impacts a number of top-50 players on both the Houston Rockets and the LA Clippers.
Paul’s arrival in Houston means a move back to shooting guard for James Harden, and you can count on his career-high 35.1 usage rate from 2016-17 falling back into the low 30s – where it was the previous two years.
Harden’s assists numbers from this past season (11.2 APG) are also set to take a plunge with CP3 in town – remember, Harden’s previous career-high was 7.5 APG – and as a result, Harden’s overall fantasy value takes a hit. ESPN Fantasy has had him ranked No. 2 on the top 150, right behind Russell Westbrook, but now that he’ll have to share the rock more, an argument could be made for players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis or Karl-Anthony Towns to be taken ahead of Harden.
Paul’s numbers should remain steady or even improve a bit with the assortment of scorers and shooters around him on a much deeper Houston team than the one he’s had in Los Angeles the past six seasons. You can count on 18-19 points, 9-10 assists and right around two steals a night from the star point guard.
The one big concern for Paul is his age; at 32, he is now considered past his prime in the NBA, and most every other point guard in NBA history — save for Steve Nash — has seen a sharp and steady decline following his 12th NBA season.
That’s where Paul is at now.
Don’t expect that to happen in his first season with the Rockets, but keep it in mind going forward that Paul turns 33 next May.
The Clippers were dominated by arch-rival Golden State in recent seasons, and that came with Paul, so now that we’re talking about Beverley replacing Paul at the point, this has the makings of a rebuilding season for the Clips.
Griffin may now be more likely to sign elsewhere or be moved in a sign-and-trade, and a return to Oklahoma to play for the Thunder is one of the long-rumored scenarios that could quickly gain traction in the days ahead.
Jordan was already rumored to be the subject of trade speculation leading up to last week’s draft – with the Phoenix Suns rumored to be one interested team – but the Clippers were said to be asking too much for the durable rebounder and shot-blocker.
If a rebuild is in fact the way owner Steve Ballmer is headed — which would fly in the face of what many anticipated heading into the offseason prior to the Paul news — then perhaps the Clips would consider dropping the asking price for Jordan and getting younger, less expensive pieces to build around.
Regardless of where Griffin and Jordan end up next season, though, both figure to retain the same fantasy value they had last season. ESPN Fantasy’s latest ranking has Griffin at No. 42 and Jordan at No. 47.
All in all, Paul to Houston means things will never be quite the same in Clippers Land, or in the fantasy hoops world as we’ve come to know it the past six seasons.