NBA Preseason Notes
New Faces in New Places.
The big news on Saturday night was the shocking trade between the Thunder and the Rockets. This will have quite the fantasy effect on players involved in the trade and those on the teams receiving the new acquisitions.
To the Rockets:
James Harden: This may be the biggest shocker of all in the trade as Harden was a key player in the Thunder rotation that won the Western Conference last season and won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. He averaged 16.8 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game last season. Harden reportedly was looking for a long-term extension with the Thunder and will look to sign that immediately with Houston. He will slide into the starting shooting guard spot for the Rockets and will be paired with new acquisition Jeremy Lin in the backcourt. Look for his numbers to be similar to last season but may be a slight improvement with added minutes per game compared to his 31.4 he averaged in 2011-12.
Cole Aldrich: The former first-round pick out of Kansas saw very little playing time last season, averaging 6.7 minutes per game in only 26 games. Newly acquired Omer Asik is the starter at center and Aldrich will have to hold off Donatas Motiejunas for time on the floor.
Daequan Cook: Cook is a decent threat from the perimeter and mostly saw limited minutes off the bench on a talented Thunder squad. He will likely fill a similar role in Houston as the Rockets have long-range threats in Harden, Carlos Delfino, and Chandler Parsons already on the roster at his position.
Lazar Hayward: Hayward saw very little time for the Thunder last season and is joining a very crowded small forward rotation with the Rockets. Parsons, Delfino, Marcus Morris, and rookie Royce White all can play the position and will be ahead of him on the depth chart.
To the Thunder:
Kevin Martin: The big high-scoring shooting guard Martin is joining an already potent offense in Oklahoma City. Martin averaged 17.1 points per game with the Rockets last season across 40 games played. There is a good chance he could unseat Thabo Sefolosha as the starter but will probably see a reduced scoring average compared to his career with teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant taking the ball.
Jeremy Lamb: The rookie first-round pick from Connecticut followed teammate his teammate Martin to OKC. Lamb is a very skilled offensive player that someday will make another dangerous player for the Thunder to have for the long-term. He should backup Martin to start the season but it appears Lamb could be the future shooting guard for quite a while.