2020 NBA Offseason: Pelicans Land Adams, OKC Gets Horford
James Grande analyzes the fantasy implications for Al Horford and Steven Adams as they'll both be suiting up in 2020-2021 with new teams!
It was a rough 2019-2020 season for Al Horford as the fit in Philly wasn’t nearly as good as everyone anticipated it would be. He was even playing more power-forward, which has always been his natural position. The same can be said for Steven Adams in Oklahoma City as he battled health issues and limited playing time as well. Both have found new teams to call theirs with Horford heading to Adams old stomping grounds of Oklahoma City while Adams teams up with head coach Stan Van Gundy in New Orleans.
Al Horford Traded to Oklahoma City
Before Steven Adams was traded, this trade wouldn’t have meant as much for Horford’s value in fantasy basketball, but that has changed with Adams now out of town. Oklahoma City’s current stable of big men other than Horford are Mike Muscala , Deonte Burton , Aleksej Pokusevski (first-round pick) and Vincent Poirier, so it’s safe to say Horford will see the floor plenty.
Horford’s points per output took a hit last year in Philly scoring under 12 PPG for the first time since the 2008-’09 season, his second in the league. His other numbers didn’t fall off, however, as he was as steady as ever in the rebounds (6.8 RBG) and assists (4.0 APG) categories. Maybe the connection is the fact he attempted the most three-pointers of his career with 283; 27 more than any prior season. 27 isn’t a big gap, but he played 15 less games last year than he did when he took 256 three’s. So yeah, it would’ve been a wide gap.
In Oklahoma City, there’s an opportunity for Horford to get back to his old ways and shoot more elbow jump shots or shots in the lane because there is no Joel Embiid impacting him on both areas of the floor. When you look at Oklahoma City’s current roster and break it down, Horford is likely the second-most reliable scorer they have, which says a lot about where they’re going to be in the Western Conference standings. Horford has a fantastic chance, even as he gets older, to be a very productive fantasy producer. He averaged 17 FP/game in standard ESPN category formats last year and he could very well be closer to 20 with the current roster construction in OKC.
The departure from Philly doesn’t give anyone on the 76ers roster that much extra fantasy value. There is a chance we see an uptick in rebounding from guys like Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons , but nothing major. Maybe a couple of extra shots on the perimeter for guys like Harris, Shake Milton and Seth Curry , but nothing to move the needle. Tobias Harris would be the one guy I’d think sees a small increase, but he was already a top-50 option last year as is.
Steven Adams Heads to New Orleans
With Derrick Favors departing to Utah, there was a need at center for the Pelicans and that’s where Steven Adams enters the fold. Despite seeing just 26.7 MPG last year, Adams was extremely productive averaging 10.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and a career-best 2.3 assists per contest in his final season with the Thunder.
Adams is a bruiser and is someone who sets a lot of picks each game. He was involved in the pick-and-roll 22.5% of the time last year according to NBA.com, and was a 68.9% shooter on those plays. Hopefully with Jrue Holiday gone and a new head coach in place, the Pelicans rely on the PnR more, because Lonzo Ball was involved in PnR just 26.4% of the time, which doesn’t even rank in the top 100 of players with at least ten minutes [er game and ten possessions per PnR. This could be a detriment to Adams’ fantasy value.
What could be even more of a detriment is the fact that the Pelicans are loaded with talent, especially up at the top and they dominate the usage and counting stats. Adams finished 19th in FP/game last year on ESPN leagues amongst all players with center eligibility. He’s going to have a tough time finishing in the top-20 this year with a much more complete roster.
We mentioned it above, but with Adams leaving OKC, Al Horford is the clear cut number one beneficiary for fantasy value. He’s going to be in the PnR with Shai-Gilgeous Alexander A LOT this year and we know Horford’s ability to drift to the perimeter after setting a pick and knocking down some shots. The Thunder could offer some late-round fantasy value with guys like Lu Dort, Trevor Ariza (if he’s not traded again) and Aleksej Pokusevski, but that’s a big question mark.