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Fantasy spin: Breaking down Russell Westbrook-John Wall trade

We go over what the Russell Wesbtrook-John Wall trade could mean for the Wizards and Rockets from a fantasy basketball perspective.

Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in game one of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 NBA season is around the corner and some major pieces have been moved in a blockbuster trade ahead of the season opener. The Houston Rockets have sent Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall and a 2023 first-round pick. Both star guards could shake things up for their new teams. Let’s go over how each side could be affected from a fantasy basketball perspective.

Fantasy basketball

Washington Wizards

Bradley Beal averaged a career-high 30.5 points per game with John Wall out of commission and should see his scoring drop off with Westbrook in the fold. Beal ranked fifth in usage rate (33.8) among players who played at least 50 games while Westbrook ranked sixth (33). The ball will be out of Beal’s hands more now that Washington has a full-time point guard rather than a merry-go-round of short-term fixes. He should remain the top scorer but don’t expect him to match the career-high 6.1 assists per game he averaged in 2019-20 with Westbrook flirting with a triple-double every night. Washington has enough firepower to not lean on Beal so heavily. I expect Westbrook’s assist numbers to rise now that James Harden isn’t his backcourt partner, but his scoring should take a dip.

Houston Rockets

It’s hard to see Harden’s scoring ascending to another level but he could score 30 points or more per game for a third straight season. Harden has a career average of 9.2 assists per game and hasn’t dipped below 8.0 assists per game in six seasons. We don’t know what to expect after a year on the shelf for Wall, but his playmaking ability should open up a Houston offense that’s gotten better in the frontcourt by adding Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins. I don’t expect more than 20 points per game from Wall, but a double-double average should be within reach. Houston has had one of the most dynamic offenses in the NBA in recent years and could take a step forward as a team this upcoming season.