October 25, 2019, 6:05 pm
What’s up Hoop Ballers, and welcome to this season’s first edition of Stock Watch! If you’re new around here it’s basically an article where we go over who’s trending up and down in the realm of fantasy hoops. We’ll talk buy-low, sell-high, buy-high and all of those good things throughout the year and I can’t wait.
Since we’re very early into the season and most teams haven’t even played two games yet, the sample size for a lot of these guys is small. However, I’m hoping that there’s at least one diamond in the rough somewhere in this article that maintains great value all season. There will be some misses (actually, a lot of misses) and some hits (more hits than misses though) from this article over the course of the year so just rock with me and we’ll all be hoisting that trophy at the end of the season.
I do have a question for the readers though, how many leagues are all of you in?
Personally, I’m only in two and one of them is really just for fun. My “home league” is a six-man points league where we all just basically drafted our favorite players and everyone’s team is stacked. The other is what I’m going to consider my main league this season, it’s a 12-man 9-cat league with members of the Hoop Ball staff. The funny thing is, we all split ourselves up into three leagues last season and this year the top-four from each league all got placed into the same league, as did the middle-four and the bottom-four.
Guess what league I’m in.
If you said the one with all of the top-four from last season, you have entirely too much faith in me.
I am indeed in the league with the bottom-four of last season, but don’t worry, I plan on being King of the Losers this year. I don’t feel too bad though because I’ve actually got a couple of great guys down here with me like Dan Besbris, Josh Millman and Hunter Jacobs. Fun fact, Hunter and I actually go to the same university and we’re in my home league together so I look forward to smoking him in both leagues, as I usually do.
So with all of that said, I bet you’re probably wondering what my team looks like (keep in mind I had the 12th pick):
Guards: Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell, Jimmy Butler, Fred VanVleet, Dennis Schroder, Tyler Herro, Eric Gordon
Forwards: Kevin Love, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonathan Isaac, Tristan Thompson, OG Anunoby
Centers: DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol
As you can see, I’m really counting on a Kevin Love resurgence year and I’m probably going to lose rebounds, field goal percentage and blocks most weeks. I’m not totally in love with my team but the good thing is that I know exactly when I made my mistake. I had the first pick of Round 4 and after already taking Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Jaren Jackson Jr. I decided to select D’Angelo Russell. D’LO is my favorite player so it was very hard for me not to pull the trigger but I took him over guys like Kristaps Porzingis, Bam Adebayo and Clint Capela.
By the time my pick came back around the best big men on the board were Kevin Love and Al Horford so I figured I’d shoot for upside with Love. My team isn’t perfect, but we’ve got some things cooking and we’re currently up 9-0 after a 50/8/7 atomic bomb out of Kyrie, a 34/5/7 line out of Freddy VV, 11 & 18 out of Love and 16 & 11 out of Tristan Thompson.
So from my perspective I’ve got the best team in the league, hands down. Right?
Don’t answer that. Let’s get into this week’s Stock Watch!
Derrick Rose, PG, Detroit Pistons
If Sixth Man of the Year was decided right now, it would be a very tough call between Sweet Lou Williams and Derrick Rose.
Coming into the season Rose’s ADP was 127 and right now he’s sitting pretty as the 95th-ranked player in 9-cat leagues. He skyrockets all the way up to top-70 value in 8-cat leagues, coming in as the 64th-ranked guy when turnovers are out of the equation. He’s putting up 22.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists on 63 percent shooting from the field in 25.9 minutes while also knocking down 91.7 percent of his free throws. Rose is also attempting 13.5 shots per contest right now which is the most of anyone on the Pistons not named Andre Drummond.
So, the golden question is: “Will this continue?”
The answer, unfortunately, is no.
I’m all for the Derrick Rose redemption season but the numbers he’s putting up just aren’t sustainable. For one, Reggie Jackson is only playing 17.9 minutes per game because he’s dealing with some back issues right now. I’m not saying Jackson is anything special but they’re not paying him $18 million this season to be out there for less than 20 minutes. Granted, Jackson’s contract expires at the end of the year and there’s a good shot he’s not on the Pistons when the clock strikes 12:30 AM on February 7th of this season’s trade deadline. However, as long as he’s on the team the Pistons are likely going to use him more than Rose.
That’s not the only thing working against the former MVP though, right now he’s attempting the second most shots on the team but there’s no way that lasts when Blake Griffin returns. Griffin has attempted at least 16.7 shots in each of his last two seasons with Detroit and there’s no reason for that to change now. Right now Griffin is set to miss at least the first five games of the regular season because he’s dealing with hamstring and knee issues, but once he returns he’s going to reclaim his throne as top dog in Detroit.
Then there’s just the flat out numbers that Rose is putting up. He’s never shot higher than 48.9 percent from the field in a single season so the 63 percent that he’s shooting now is bound to regress. Not only that, but he hasn’t averaged more than 4.7 assists since the 2011-2012 season so that’s going to make its way down too. Now of course, the turnovers will decrease and he likely won’t finish the season attempting 0.5 triples but regardless, the level of production he’s putting up right now just won’t last.
He was the 107th-ranked player in 9-cat leagues last year on a Timberwolves team where he played 27.3 minutes, attempted the third-most shots on the team and had his best season since 2016. As much as none of us want to admit it, he’ll likely miss time at some point during the season too which will only decrease his value.
I’m not saying that he won’t be a top-100 guy, because he could be. However, right now he’s shooting the absolute lights out and people in more casual leagues might think that the old D-Rose is back. If you can use that to get a more reliable top-70 guy out of them like Kelly Oubre Jr. or Josh Richardson I’d pull the trigger.
Kendrick Nunn, PG, Miami Heat
That’s what everybody was saying before he came out and 40-bombed the Rockets in the preseason. However, the undrafted rookie out of Oakland had been putting up dazzling numbers since this summer’s preseason where he averaged 21.0 points, 6.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds on 55 percent shooting from the field on his way to earning First-Team honors.
Nunn started for the Heat on Wednesday and put up 24 points, three assists, two steals and one triples in 27 minutes of action. Everyone had assumed that Nunn was only in the starting lineup because Jimmy Butler missed the game for personal reasons but Erik Spoelstra later confirmed that Nunn will continue to start even when Butler returns.
So you’re saying that there’s a starting point guard for a fringe playoff team that is capable of scoring in bunches just sitting on the waiver wire? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
Nunn is currently the 35th-ranked player in fantasy and while that’s likely the highest he’ll be all season, there’s no reason why he can’t finish as a top-120 guy this year. Outside of Jimmy Butler, the Heat don’t really have another reliable source of offense so why can’t Nunn be that guy? He absolutely can be and somehow he’s still available in 76 percent of leagues.
Think about it — Butler has never averaged more than 16.5 shot attempts in a single season but let’s just say he has the best scoring season of his career and puts up somewhere between 18 and 20 shots per game. Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo will be somewhere around nine each and Justise Winslow (I’m not buying the breakout season) will be sitting between 12 and 15 shots per game.
In total, if we add in about eight shots for Tyler Herro, that’s only 61 shot attempts for the Heat as a team and last year they attempted 88. I think that everyone believes that they’ll be better than last season but even if they stay at 88 shots per game as a team, that still leaves a whopping 27 shots between Kelly Olynyk, Chris Silva, Derrick Jones Jr., Meyers Leonard, Duncan Robinson and Nunn. If Nunn accounts for a shade under half of those and shoots at least 45 percent from the field there’s absolutely no reason he can’t be a top-120 guy with the upside for even more.
If you’re lucky enough to find him out there on your wire, run and go grab him because he could be a potential league-winner. Remember I talked about those diamonds in the rough earlier? He’s one of them.
PJ Washington, SF/PF, Charlotte Hornets
One of the darlings of the preseason, PJ Washington kept the hype going by dropping 27 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and seven triples in the Hornets’ season opener vs. the Bulls. He was absolutely electric and went 9-of-17 from the field while going 7-of-11 from deep.
It’s no secret that the Hornets are a bad team and therefore, they will have many shots to go around. Washington’s 37.6 minutes were a team-high and his 17 shot attempts were second to only Dwayne Bacon. He’s got “breakout” written all over him and if he’s somehow not already owned in your league, go grab him now. He’ll be playing big minutes for a team that is perfectly fine with not winning much of anything.
This was supposed to be Terry Rozier’s team and when it’s all said and done he’ll probably finish the season having attempted the most shots of anyone on the Hornets, but Washington won’t be far behind him. He’s not a guy that will give you many assists, blocks or steals but he should provide points and a decent number of rebounds from the forward position and will be locked into double-digit shot attempts all season.
His arrow is point straight up with no signs of coming down anytime soon. He’s owned in just under 60 percent of leagues so go check your wire ASAP.
This year in the “Honorable Mentions” section I’m going to quickly recap a couple of guys who are trending up and let you know if I’d buy, sell or hold onto them. So let’s get into it.
Kyrie Irving, PG, Brooklyn Nets: Not much to say here, a 50/8/7 line with zero turnovers on in his debut game for the Nets and there’s more where that came from. He won’t average 50 all season but I could see Kyrie in the running for scoring champion this season on a Nets team that’ll need him to put up loads of points and will only go as far as he takes them. He’s motivated and that’s a scary sight. I must say though, if I owned Kyrie (which I do) I’d go hit up the Steph Curry owner and see if they’re interested in a potential swap after Steph’s sub-par opening night.
Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks: He’s coming off of one of the best games of his career, dropping 38 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, one steal and six triples on 52.4 percent shooting. He’s currently the 9th-ranked player in fantasy even with six turnovers. Unfortunately though, he’s not going to shoot 60 percent from beyond the arc and 52.4 percent from the field this season. In fact, you should consider it a win if he even manages to get to 45 percent this year. He’s going to be jacking up shots all year long and they won’t always be playing the Pistons, so Young is a huge negative regression candidate. Even with that, he’s in a prime position to put up big lines all year long and that means nothing but good things for fantasy owners. I’m only selling Young if someone is willing to cough up a locked-in top-25 guy like Jimmy Butler.
Devonte Graham, PG, Charlotte Hornets: Graham severely outplayed Terry Rozier on Wednesday, putting up 23 points, four rebounds, eight assists, six triples and only one turnover in 27.3 minutes. He also shot 77.8 percent from the field and was a crucial cog in the Hornets beating the Bulls. It was good to see coach James Borrego roll with Graham down the stretch over Rozier due to his horrific shooting night because there could be many of those in store for Rozier. However, Charlotte did dump $58 million over three years into Rozier and they plan on getting every penny out of it. Graham will be one of the most valuable backups in the league this season and a must-add if Rozier goes down but for now he’s only an add for a team that’s weak at PG.
Verdict: Buy if PG-needy
Luke Kennard, SG, Detroit Pistons: Kennard came out and dropped 30 against the Pacers in his first game but followed it up with an inefficient 13-point dud on Thursday night. The good news is, he doesn’t have much competition and he’s the best shooter they’ve got on their roster. He’s attempting 12.5 shots per game in 29.7 minutes and that’s good enough for top-50 value right now. Unfortunately, I just don’t trust what we’re seeing from this Pistons team until Blake Griffin gets back. I’d sell Kennard high right now to an owner who needs triples and believes that he’s ready to take that next step.
Tyus Jones, PG, Memphis Grizzlies: I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Jones, especially after seeing him struggle to get consistent minutes behind Jeff Teague in Minnesota although he was probably the better player, at least for Minnesota’s timeline. He’s got new life in Memphis and he’s the most experienced point guard they’ve got on their roster despite being only 23 years old. He tied Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. for a team-high in shot attempts with 12 in their season opener and should be able to carve out consistent minutes all season long. Plus, the Grizzlies are going to struggle to score and Jones might be able to alleviate some of that. Maybe this is just the fan in me talking, but I’d hold onto Jones if I own him and give him a shot if he’s on my waiver wire.
Bam Adebayo, C, Miami Heat: Hassan Whiteside is finally gone and Bam Bam can finally come out and play. He only played 24.1 minutes in Miami’s season opener but it was only because he got in foul trouble and he wasn’t needed down the stretch because they had already pulled away from Memphis. Coach Spoelstra is content with Adebayo bringing the ball up court off a rebound and they want to keep the ball in his hands as much as they can. The Butler-Adebayo pick-and-rolls should be incredible and he’s in for a big breakout season. The man double-doubled with 14 points and 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes, that should tell you something.
I’m buying Adebayo in every league that I’m in after this “down” game. Hopefully his owner thinks that Kelly Olynyk is going to limit his upside and you can pry him away at a discount. He’s got the potential to be a top-45 guy with the upside for much more.
Verdict: Buy, Buy and Buy some more
Marc Gasol, C, Toronto Raptors
Gasol had a horrible game to start the season, putting up six points, four rebounds and one assist on 2-of-9 shooting in 31 minutes. The 7-footer should’ve had a much better game considering Derrick Favors was who the Pelicans deployed to guard him. He likely won’t be playing 31 minutes most nights either, as Serge Ibaka will take some of that away from him and the Raptors just aren’t looking to run their 34-year old center into the ground.
His value severely dipped after being traded to Toronto last season and he was barely inside the top-100 during his time there. He played 24.9 minutes and put up 9.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists on 46.5 percent shooting. Sure, Kawhi Leonard is gone now and some more shots have opened up but Pascal Siakam will take on most of those and Gasol just doesn’t have much upside. It’s too early to give up on him but after he has a good game this season I’d try and sell-high immediately.
LeBron James, SF, Los Angeles Lakers
The King was outright embarrassed on his home court by Kawhi Leonard on Opening Night. He seemed a step too slow, his shot wasn’t right and for stretches of the game he looked—dare I say—lost out there. James finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, one steal, one block and one triple on 7-of-19 shooting in 36 minutes. He also coughed up five turnovers and a couple of them were down the stretch, costing the Lakers the game.
He’s sitting as the the 100th-ranked player in fantasy right now but there’s absolutely no way that it lasts. Call me crazy, but I believe in the whole “Revenge Season” narrative that James is going with. For the first time in 14 years he missed the playoffs and had to sit on his couch and yell “Taco Tuesday” while Leonard sliced and diced the Warriors, the team that has tormented him for the last four years. On top of that, the Klaw then disregards him and comes right to the Clippers, will be playing on his homecourt on a nightly basis and is constantly being praised for taking his crown away.
This season means something for James, possibly even more than any of the past 14, have and for that reason I’m buying LeBron in every league I’m in.
Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards: Beal had a really bad shooting night on Wednesday, putting up 19 points, six rebounds, nine assists and three steals on only 28 percent from the field and 67 percent from the line. He’s in for some serious positive regression in both of those categories and is a dark-horse to lead the NBA in scoring. The Wizards are absolutely horrible and will be relying on Beal to carry the load each and every night. Most owners took him with a top-12 pick in drafts and I still believe he’ll end up cashing in on that decision.
Lonzo Ball, PG, New Orleans Pelicans: Coach Alvin Gentry sat Ball in favor of Josh Hart down the stretch of the season’s opening game vs. the Raptors and Hart delivered a double-double. Sure, his shot looks to be better and he’ll have more opportunity now with Zion Williamson missing time, but Ball just isn’t the kind of player that’s going to take 12-15 shots per game. The Pels are deep and Gentry plans on using that depth to his advantage, especially with Williamson out until at least December.
Ball will have his flashy plays and spectacular passes but he’ll really only be good for assists and rebounds this year. His percentages tank you, he might not play more than 26 minutes per game and he still hasn’t finished a season with more than 52 games played. I’m letting someone else take on that headache and you’ll undoubtedly be able to find someone in your league that believes in Ball this season.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this season’s first edition of Stock Watch and if you have any feedback or comments for me feel free to shoot me a tweet @najeeadams_. Meet you right back here next week!