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Jahlil Okafor Unchained! What Does it Mean for Fantasy Owners?

Jahlil Okafor has finally been released from his Philadelphia nightmare and is on his way to join the Brooklyn Nets. Along with Okafor, the 76ers sent Nik Stauskas and a 2019 second-round pick for veteran forward Trevor Booker.

Many analysts see this as a win-win move for both teams. But we're not here to ponder over how these players' new teams are going to be impacted by the trade. We're here to talk about how it affects our fantasy teams.

So let's get cracking...

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Many mouths to feed in Philly

The 76ers have a very talented, but a very crowded frontcourt. Joel EmbiidDario SaricRichaun Holmes and Amir Johnson are now joined by an energetic veteran presence in Trevor Booker.

Joel Embiid is the 76ers cornerstone

The biggest star here is definitely Joel Embiid. Along with Ben Simmons, he is the focal point of Philadelphia's future and it's tough to see him being impacted by this trade. He should continue to play around 30 minutes per game, getting occasionally rested. His points in the 20s, double-digit rebounding and around two blocks per game along with decent percentages and dimes for a big should continue to impress his owners regardless of a new "usable" body joining his frontcourt.

Dario Saric's talent is undeniable

Although Dario hasn't played that well this season, he is still the player that finished in the top three of the Rookie of the Year running last season, with many basketball experts believing he should have taken the honors over Malcolm Brogdon. He is a very versatile player who can play several positions so his 28 minutes per game this year shouldn't be in jeopardy with the addition of Booker. Furthermore, Saric could do a lot better than he is doing currently so I wouldn't count out him carving out an even larger role as the season goes, even next to fantasy superstars Embiid and Simmons.

Trevor Booker's new home

If we take a look at Trevor's career, he's always been pretty consistent. He is in his eighth season now and he has seasonal averages haven't varied much. He has usually played around 20 minutes per game, scored 6-10 points, grabbed around 6 boards, had 1+ steals and blocks and between 1 and 2 assists and turnovers. His usually hits every other shoot from the field, doesn't take many threes and shoots the free throws at a 60% clip.

In his first game with the 76ers Booker has played, you guessed it, 20 minutes, scored 12 points, hit 4-of-6 from the field and all four of his free throws, grabbed 8 rebounds, had a block, two assists and two turnovers. If he had missed one or two of those free throws that would have been a vintage Booker stat line. Now Embiid did miss this game, but it was Trevor's first game with his new team. He should hold on to most of his value from Brooklyn.

 

Desperate times call for desperate measures

You really shouldn't use Richaun Holmes or Amir Johnson outside of really deep leagues, match up based streaming, DFS punts or in some rare case a specific punt team build. But if you are in such a situation it has to said that Booker's addition is probably going to hurt their playing time and along with that their fantasy value.

Richuan Holmes still has some upside, with him being a decent per-minute producer of rebounds and defensive stats with decent percentages for a big. Although, he did much better on the defensive end last season, it has to be said.

Amir Johnson is, similarly to Holmes, a good rebounder and defender on a per-minute basis with 12.6 REB, 1.5 STL and 1.9 BLK per-36 minutes this season.

Unfortunately for them, they are both playing around 15 minutes per game in the last month. And that number is doubtful to rise with Booker now in town so there isn't too much value to be found in either one at this moment. It's needless to say that would significantly change should Embiid go down again...

 

Brooklyn is in development mode

With their star backcourt duo (consisting of D'Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin) injured, it's difficult to imagine the Nets making the playoffs this season. It's more likely that they take the rest of the season to give their young guys a chance to develop into players Brooklyn's front office is hoping they can become. With the Nets having a history of benching their star veterans, like Brook Lopez a few years ago, it is quite possible they opt for a similar strategy this time around.

Nik Stauskas and Brooklyn's backcourt

I don't believe this trade was about Nik Stauskas and I don't see him making too much of an impact on this young and talented backcourt in Brooklyn. Especially when D'Angelo Russell returns from injury. The Sacramento Kings' 8th pick of the 2014 draft failed to meet expectations as he was compared to one of NBA's greatest shooters of all time, my fellow Serbian, Peja Stojakovic. He has played in just six games this season and has averaged less than a point in just seven minutes per game. Baring some unforeseen turn of events in Brooklyn, Nik can remain on your waiver wire, and the Nets' guards should keep their value regardless of him being acquired.

JAHgo unchained!

The #3 overall pick from 2015 has fallen off a cliff in Philly. After averaging 30 minutes a game in his first season, that number was down to just 23 last year and it hit the all time low this season with him playing in just 2 games. But the fact that Brooklyn was willing to give up a valuable piece in Trevor Booker (even though his contract is set to expire) to obtain his services gives us hope that Jahlil will finally get the chance to go back to his old ways.

Although he lacks some skills on both offense and defense to be counted as an elite big man talent, his career averages show us what we could expect if he can carve himself a role in the Nets' frontcourt. His 14.6 PTS on 51.0 FG% and 67.7 FT%, 5.9 REB, 1.2 AST, 0.4 STL, 1.1 BLK and 2.1 TO in 26 minutes per outing do make for an intriguing ad as he is still sitting on the waiver wire in almost half of the fantasy leagues. Okafor should see minutes at around the mid 20s, but with his rivals not being anything special, he could see his value explode in his new home.

No country for big men

There are four players left on Brooklyn's roster, with Booker's departure, who will compete for minutes with Okafor. Those guys are, in order of relevancy, Jarrett AllenTyler ZellerQuincy Acy and Timofey Mozgov. None of them had averaged over 20 minutes so far this season. Even a 6' 7" Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was playing minutes at the PF spot, and that shows us how little faith coach Kenny Atkinson has in his frontcourt.

RHJ could see an uptick in playing time with Booker gone, while all four big guys will probably take a back seat to Okafor.

Timofey Mozgov is virtually unrosterable, having played in just four games of the last 11.

Quincy Acy has been playing half of his minutes at the center spot, and with Jahlil in town he will shift more towards the PF role. It's difficult to imagine him getting enough minutes to warrant a spot on your roster.

Tyler Zeller has probably been the best guy to own from this lot, but Okafor's arrival will eat directly into his minutes. The 27-year-old will have a tough time to keep his playing time near the 20 minute mark and can be viewed as just a FG%, rebounds and defensive stat specialist in deep leagues.

Jarrett Allen is a 19-year-old rookie who has a similar skill set to a young DeAndre Jordan. Even though the modern NBA is shying away from old school center's, a guy like that will always be able to find value with plenty of teams. With Allen playing some PF, I could imagine him being on the court alongside Okafor, too. As Brooklyn falls down the pecking order in the Eastern Conference playoff race, Allen should see his minutes trend up.

 

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