By Matt Buser
December 19, 2006
Allen Iverson's fantasy owners can breathe a sigh of relief – his trade-demand-turned-inactive-list-stint won't end up resembling the Ron Artest saga of last season that lasted almost six weeks. The Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to a trade involving the disgruntled superstar. The deal: in exchange for Iverson, the Nuggets sent Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and two 2007 first-round draft picks to the 76ers. While this isn't the multi-team, fantasy-pendulum-swinging blockbuster that some anticipated, it certainly isn't without its fantasy repercussions. Let's break down the Fantasy Fallout from the deal:
Iverson joins a Nuggets team that will be without Carmelo Anthony until January 20 and J.R. Smith until January 8. While those two are out, Iverson will unquestionably and completely dominate the ball, affording him almost limitless opportunities to score or pass at his discretion in the team's up-tempo offense. While he will be running with a short-handed group that will include the likes of Eduardo Najera, Linas Kleiza, and Yakhouba Diawara playing prominent roles, Iverson will be playing like he's got something to prove, in particular to his former employers, and the next few weeks should be a bonanza for Iverson owners.
That dynamic obviously changes once Anthony and Smith return from their suspensions. What is worth noting is that the Nuggets average the most field goal attempts in the league as a team – yes, even more than the Phoenix Suns – at 85.2, so, in general, there will be enough shots for everyone to go around. Iverson will be asked to change his mindset a bit, as he is replacing a pass-first point guard in Miller, but he wasn't brought in to re-invent his game. He should flourish in the high-octane Nuggets offense with Anthony, a big change from the two-man half-court game that he and Chris Webber ran in Philly. It's hard to imagine Iverson and Anthony both maintaining 24-plus field-goal attempts per game, but each player is likely to see a slight bump in assists as a result of both players being able to pass more. Iverson's efficiency should improve (field goal percentage and turnovers), as should Anthony's (assist-to-turnover ratio), so both players' overall fantasy impact will remain fairly constant. Smith's line should resemble his December splits going forward – his value to fantasy teams, even more than it has been, will be predicated on how often his three-point shot is falling. Marcus Camby and Earl Boykins will see short-term spikes in their fantasy value, but that is due to their increased usage while Anthony and Smith are sidelined.
Without question, the players who stand to gain the most fantasy value as a result of this trade are on the 76ers roster. Andre Iguodala becomes option No.2 in the Philly offense and is gaining, as mentioned, a pass-first point guard in Miller as his running mate. In the eight games that AI2 has played without AI so far this season, he's averaged 18.3 points, 6.8 boards, 5.4 assists, all above his overall season averages. With the addition of Miller, this should be Iguodala's time to shine. Miller himself could see a slight decrease in assists now that he's leaving the Nuggets offense, but his minutes should slightly increase, and his overall fantasy line will remain fairly unaffected. Chris Webber suddenly finds himself without the Iverson-level competition for the ball, and should see an uptick in his per-game fantasy production – of course, C-Webb's health remains the X-factor in that equation. Willie Green also becomes a viable fantasy option in just about every league format. He should remain as the starting shooting guard, and he's averaged 18.4 points and 1.4 threes in his five starts so far this season.
Matt Buser is a Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert. Follow him on Twitter. Send Matt a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006 5:40 pm, EST
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