Kevin Durant is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, which means he has the chance to bolt from the Oklahoma City Thunder. During the years, there have been rumored connections to his hometown Washington Wizards and, among other spots, big-market locales like the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.
However, this week in a rich-get-richer scenario, he was connected directly to the reigning champion Golden State Warriors. Per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, "If Durant leaves the Thunder, the Warriors are the significant front-runners to sign him."
So what would be the fantasy fallout if Durant actually joined that trio of players?
Let's start by looking at the stats each player has posted this season:
Obviously, Green racks up his fantasy stats as a non-scorer, so his usage rate runs low. We'll get to him in a minute. First, let's examine the impact on the usage rates of Durant, Curry and Thompson.
The good news for both Curry and Durant is that the Thunder have proven that you can in fact have a statistical beast running the point alongside Durant. Russell Westbrook's 32.2 usage rate this season ranks No. 3 in the league, one spot above Curry.
Clearly, Curry and Westbrook have different styles of handling the point, but they have been taking a similar amount of shots from the field and free throw line this season (18.6 FGA, 7.1 FTA per game this season for Westbrook).
The point being that there is enough room for both Curry and Durant to maintain scoring deep into the 20s if they were to play alongside each other, particularly since the Warriors run at a pace (101.9) well above that of the Thunder's (99.1). And good luck trying to defend that pair.
The biggest fantasy downside would come to Thompson. He would have to take a significant hit in his usage rate with Durant capable of doing everything he does, but better. He has been averaging more than 18 field goal attempts in the past two months, which would not be remotely reasonable if he were playing alongside Durant.
Because Thompson doesn't do much else in his box score, it's his high-volume production that separates him from other true 2-guards who aren't ball-distributors. If he were taking 12-13 shots per game -- and averaging something like 15-16 points and three 3-pointers per game -- he would be nothing more than a classic 3-point specialist and not a top-25 fantasy asset.
Green would be the most interesting player in this hypothetical. He benefits greatly from playing alongside elite outside shooters like Curry and Thompson, because they open up huge lanes for him to do his thing, either as a scorer in the paint or dishing to another player. Imagine what sort of lanes he would have if Durant were in the mix, too.
Basically, he would see next to no defensive pressure, because opponents would have to load up on Curry, Durant and Thompson. Even if his scoring dipped from 14.5 PPG closer to 10-11 PPG, he would make up for that in fantasy terms by owning the glass and piling up plenty of steals and blocks.
You could also make a case that Green might end up dishing out even more assists playing alongside Curry, Durant and Thompson. Of players who have attempted at least 500 shots this season, that trio accounts for three of the top five true shooting percentages (Curry is No. 1 at 68.2; Durant is No. 3 at 63.4; Thompson is No. 5 at 60.5).
Consider that Green is averaging 14.5 PPG, 7.4 APG and 9.5 RPG this season. Would it be completely outlandish to think that he could average a triple-double for a season working off Curry, Durant and Thompson?
A year or two ago, it surely would have seemed crazy -- but you could say the same thing about his current production and the notion of having a pair of players on the same team who are averaging 4.9 and 3.3 3-pointers per game.
Getting back to Durant and Curry, let's consider their non-scoring stats.
Even though they would have plenty of opportunities to pile up dimes in an up-tempo offense with so many shooters, I would expect their assist production to dwindle at least some due to Green's aforementioned prowess in that regard, and the fact they'd share touches with each other. We've already seen that with Curry, whose assists per game has slipped each of the past two seasons.
We also probably wouldn't see Durant's rebounds creep past 7.0 per game, unless the Warriors chose to use him regularly at the 4 in a (mind-blowing) small-ball lineup.
The biggest fear from a fantasy standpoint may be this lineup crushing opponents with such regularity that both Curry and Durant end up sitting out the fourth quarter of most games. Of course, Curry has been doing that often this season, and he still is No. 1 on the Player Rater by a country mile.
In the end, although they would leave some upside on the table by playing alongside one another, Curry, Durant and Green would continue being elite fantasy players, while Thompson would slip into a 3-point specialist role, though an elite version of that.
All of that said, the fantasy junkie in us wants max stats from the best players. So an ideal situation from that perspective would have Durant joining a team where he completely dominates touches, leaving Westbrook in Oklahoma City dominating touches there and Curry, Green and Thompson owning the touches for the Warriors.