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Dwight Howard Traded to the Lakers and What it Means for Fantasy

The Dwight Howard saga officially came to an end Friday (at least until the 2012-13 season is over), and the four-way deal includes a host of players who will be relevant on draft day in standard leagues this year. Here's how I view the fantasy aftermath for key players on the four teams involved:

Lakers (receive Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark)

Dwight Howard - Andrew Bynum attempted 13.3 shots in 35.2 minutes per game last year, while Howard averaged 13.4 attempts in 38.3 minutes per contest. So at the very least, Howard should be just as effective offensively as he was last year (20.6 points per game, 57 percent shooting). Factoring in the reality that Howard has never played with a point guard with comparable vision and aptitude for running pick-and-roll sets as Steve Nash, it's quite conceivable that Howard actually sees an uptick in scoring and efficiency on the offensive end in 2012-13. Let's not forget that Nash helped Marcin Gortat become a stud fantasy center last year. The Nash/Howard pairing could mean that Los Angeles will be Lob City for 82 games this year instead of 41. Howard's physical dominance should keep him near the top of the league in rebounding, despite playing alongside Pau Gasol.

Steve Nash - Putting a point guard with Nash's abilities with three of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the league is a scary proposition. Yes, he's another year older, but he also won't have to exert himself nearly as much to help his team win games. He will be the preseason favorite to lead the league in assists, though he probably won't match the 12.5 points per game he averaged last year, since there will be stretches in games where he doesn't even look at the basket.

Pau Gasol - We saw Gasol take a slight step back last year with the emergence of Andrew Bynum as a legitimate threat in the post. Howard joining the ranks doesn't do much to change this. Look for Gasol to remain a top-25 player in fantasy for 2012-13.

Nuggets (receive Andre Iguodala)

Andre Iguodala - One of the reasons Iguodala is on the U.S. Olympic team is that he can coexist with any group of players because he doesn't need to have the ball to succeed. Given coach George Karl's fast-paced style Denver led the NBA in points per game last year at 104.1, compared to Philadelphia's 93.6 average and point guard Ty Lawson's ability to push the fast break, Iggy's scoring could very easily see a bit of an increase from the 12.4 points per game he averaged last year.

Wilson Chandler - The Nuggets lost a combined 29.4 points per game in Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington and Iguodala probably won't be accounting for more than half of that total. Look for Chandler to return to his pre-China form, when he averaged 16.4 points and 1.7 three-pointers per game in 2010-11. Danilo Gallinari and Corey Brewer are some other likely candidates to help pick up the scoring slack.

76ers (receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson)

Andrew Bynum - On one hand, Bynum broke out to be a fantasy revelation last year and still has plenty of room to improve. On the other hand, it was Bynum's first healthy season with a full workload. He's also notorious for being immature and there's no way of knowing how he'll react to being traded for the first time. He has first round fantasy talent with nobody on the 76ers roster to challenge him for touches in the paint, but there is significant injury risk here.

Jason Richardson - Look for Richardson to take over the role Jodie Meeks (who incidentally signed with Lakers on Friday morning) held down for the 76ers last year -- a spot up three-point shooter getting 25 minutes per game.

Evan Turner - Most people are noting that Thaddeus Young will be able to slide over to his natural position at the three, but that's not going to significantly affect his fantasy value. Turner, on the other hand, should see an uptick in playing time and overall involvement within the offense. He averaged 26.4 minutes per game in the regular season and 34.5 minutes in the playoffs. Look for the latter to be more of an indication of how he will be used in 2012-13, and if that happens, Turner may finally become the player the 76ers thought they were getting when they drafted him second overall in 2010.

Magic (receive Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga)

Arron Afflalo - What a haul! Believe it or not, Afflalo was the headliner of the package the Magic received for one of the five best players in the league. This Orlando roster is in complete disarray and Afflalo should get plenty of minutes and shots. While it might seem logical to expect a big production boost from him in Orlando, he actually played almost 34 minutes per game last year, so that number isn't likely to go up by much. While his 11.3 shot attempts per game from last year should increase, his efficiency (47 percent from the field last year) could take a hit.

Al Harrington - Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012-13 Orlando Magic leading scorer, Al Harrington! As crazy as it sounds, this is a very possible outcome of this four-team deal. He averaged 14.2 points in 27.5 minutes per game off the bench on a playoff team last year, so it's very possible that he significantly raises that total as one of the few competent scorers on a team with no identity. With Glen Davis as the only proven big man left on Orlando's roster, fantasy owners can also expect more than the 6.1 rebounds Harrington averaged last year.

Glen Davis - Davis' fantasy stock might have risen higher than any player on any of the four teams involved in this deal. With Dwight Howard in Los Angeles recovering from surgery this past postseason, Davis averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in Orlando's first round playoff series against the Pacers. Assuming he has a similar role now that Howard is gone for good, Davis will be a very valuable fantasy option in 2012-13.

James Anderson can be followed on Twitter @RealJRAnderson. He likes to tweet about the NBA, MLB, and the theory of relativity.

Comments

By: Kyle McKeown
On: 8/10/2012 5:49:00 PM
I'm really curious how Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless are going to fall into Jacque Vaughn's plans. They could be good sleepers.
 
By: nayfel
On: 8/12/2012 12:21:00 PM
Isn't the a chance that Afflalo and Harrington can still be moved, to help free up even more salary cap savings?
 
By: Kyle McKeown
On: 8/15/2012 8:41:00 AM
Nayfel. I think Harrington has a great chance of getting moved during the season. He simply doesn't fit a rebuilding team. They need his minutes to go to other places. However, saying that, the Magic may view him as a positive piece to have on the team. Look at the Pistons and Tayshaun Prince. He won't be there whenever they get good again, but he's there to usher in the new regime.
 

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