February 7, 2019, 9:09 pm
What’s up HoopBallers!
So most of you that read this article know I’m in college, which means I still go to class almost every day. I’m taking a Sports Marketing class this semester and the professor asked us, “If you could own a team in any major sport, what sport would it be?”
My mind automatically went to basketball and I figured everyone else’s would too but I was wrong. The first answer someone said was soccer, because they make the most money and the owner of Arsenal, Stan Kroenke, also owns the Nuggets and LA Rams as well. The next person said baseball and then lastly someone answered with football. Not a single person in the room said basketball except for me, which baffled me. We’re in trade deadline season right now and everyone can see how crazy it gets. People were more interested in refreshing Twitter trying to see what Woj and Shams would tweet than they were in watching the Super Bowl.
The NBA dominates social media around times like this and the offseason and just imagine being one of the owners in the thick of things. Do I envy Dell Demps right about now? No, but he also has one of the most interesting jobs in the world because the landscape of the NBA changes almost everyday. Just last night, unless you were awake around 2:17 AM EST, you went to sleep with Tobias Harris being a Clipper and woke up to him in a 76ers jersey. While all of us were asleep, the very dynamic of the NBA changed and now the 76ers have the third-best odds to win the championship.
Imagine what it was like for the owners of the 76ers and Clippers last night, wheeling and dealing while most people are drooling on their pillows. Sure you’ll make the most money owning a soccer team, you’ll probably have the least amount of responsibility owning a football team unless you’re Jerry Jones and I have no clue why anyone would even want to own a baseball team. Basketball is where it’s at, calling agents and owners and talking about what players are available and untouchable while dominating social media with calculated leaks to reporters really only happens in the NBA, and it doesn’t get any better than that.
Like I said before, things in the NBA can change in an instant.
For example, I wrote everything you just read 24 hours ago. Yes, everything you read before these two sentences was written 24 hours ago, which was Wednesday, February 6th. It is now Thursday, February 7th at 3:38 PM which means we’re 38 minutes past the trade deadline.
In a matter of 24 hours there have been at least 15 trades. Really think about that for a second. I was in the middle of writing the article yesterday and I thought to myself, “What’s the point in doing this now when half the league might be on a different team tomorrow.” I was about to just delete the whole article but I figured it would be cool to just leave it and pick back up once the trade deadline was complete, and look at us now. 24 hours ago Markelle Fultz was still on the 76ers, Marc Gasol was still on the Grizzlies and Delon Wright was still on the Raptors, but not anymore.
This edition of Stock Watch is going to be slightly different, in an attempt to fit in as many trade deadline winners and losers as possible I’m going write a bunch of shorter segments instead of three really long ones. Think of them all as “Honorable Mentions” if you must. Hopefully everyone enjoyed my little time-travel stunt and had a great Trade Deadline day. After all, it is like a national holiday for us basketball nerds.
With that out of the way, let’s get into this week’s Stock Watch!
Here are the “Stock Up” guys from last week with a little update on how their stocks have changed, with “Stock Up” meaning they’re still on the rise, “Neutral” meaning their stock hasn’t changed and “Stock Down” meaning they’re on the decline:
Paul George, SG/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder: Stock Up
Jahlil Okafor, C, New Orleans Pelicans: Stock Up
Rajon Rondo, PG, Los Angeles Lakers: Neutral
Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans: Neutral
Ante Zizic, C, Cleveland Cavaliers: Stock Down
Otto Porter, SF/PF, Chicago Bulls: With John Wall ruled out for the next year or so, the Wizards accepted their fate and have realized they aren’t winning any championships anytime soon. So, what so they do? They trade Otto Porter to a team who is actually on the come up with more young talent. Don’t forget, Porter was the third overall pick six years ago in the 2013 draft and he’s still only 26 years old. He’s definitely a key piece in the Bulls’ future plans or else they wouldn’t have taken on his monstrous four-yearr, $106 million contract that still has two more years left. That’s right, Porter doesn’t become a free agent until the summer of 2021 and he’s making $26 million this year, $27 million in 2020 and $28 million in 2021.
Chicago took a gamble on Porter and they are most definitely going to do everything in their power to make sure it pays off. Will Porter be taking more shots? Not necessarily but he’ll definitely be playing more minutes than the 29.1 he played in Washington. He averaged a career-high 14.7 points last season and finished as the 20th-ranked player in fantasy which only goes to show that he doesn’t need points to produce. He’ll have more young talent around him and a steady role on the Wizards so hopefully this change of scenery is exactly what he needs.
Dennis Smith Jr, PG, New York Knicks: Smith Jr. was apart of the trade that really set the whole trade deadline fever into motion. He feels as thought the Mavericks gave up on him too soon and Smith Jr. seems like the type of player to make them pay for that. In his first game with the Knicks he didn’t play too well but he hadn’t even practiced with the team and reportedly only knew three players. However, in his next outing he put up 25 points, five assists and six rebounds in 40 minutes.
Sure, the Knicks might be getting Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and/or Anthony Davis, or at least that what everyone seems to be saying, but that’s next season. As for now, they need to show Knicks fans that they didn’t trade the best player their franchise has had since Carmelo Anthony for nothing, and that’s where DSJ comes in. He’s still only 21 years old and the Knicks are clearly willing to play him big minutes. He doesn’t really have any competition when it comes to taking shots away from him as shown by the 25 shots he took in his most recent game. I’m not saying he’s going to be a top-50 guy or anything but he’s undoubtedly in a better situation than he was in Dallas and its not even close.
Ivica Zubac, C, Los Angeles Clippers: This one should be quick. Zubac will be heading over to the other basketball team in Los Angeles and he’ll reportedly be getting the starting job immediately. The Clippers just waived Marcin Gortat and traded Mike Muscala so the minutes are there at the center position. He’ll have to compete in the paint with Montrezl Harrell as neither one of them can really stretch the floor but he’s still worth owning in most leagues. JaMychal Green doesn’t seem as though he’ll be a problem for Zubac but if you’re really desperate and need big man help take a look at Green too, just in case.
Delon Wright, PG/SG, Memphis Grizzlies: Wright was looking a lot better before Woj announced the Grizzlies wouldn’t be moving Mike Conley. However, he still should get more opportunity here than he was getting in Toronto and is worth owning in all leagues in my opinion. The Grizzlies are clearly tanking and having an All-Star caliber point guard in Conley isn’t going to help that. I believe that there is a good shot they they shut him down later in the year and give Wright the keys and let him go crazy. He has a great stat set and is capable of putting up good value in just 24-26 minutes per game.
Markelle Fultz, PG, Orlando Magic: Literally any other situation than the 76ers is good for Fultz and he’s landed with the Magic. Now, the Magic aren’t known to be the best team at developing their young players but it’s worth a shot. They view this move as a low-risk, high-reward situation which means they fully intend on seeing whether or not Fultz is good. The Magic need a point guard and Fultz needs a team that believes in him so it looks like both sides came out well in this trade. Is Fultz worth an automatic pickup without seeing him play yet? No, not at all but he is trending up and I’m excited for his outlook now on a new team.
Tyler Johnson, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns: Johnson has finally gotten away from the over-crowded Heat team that had been weighing him down. He’s primarily a two-guard but the Suns need a point guard badly and they don’t seem to be able to pry Lonzo Ball away from the Lakers, no matter how much his father wants them to. Johnson isn’t the long-term answer for the Suns at the PG spot but he’s a decent short-term solution and I fully expect for Phoenix to see what he’s capable of. He’s not a must-own player but he’s worth a speculative add for owners who need some help at either guard position.
Dorian Finney-Smith, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks: With Harrison Barnes gone for good and Kristaps Porzingis presumably not making his Mavericks debut until next season it looks like Finney-Smith has secured a spot in the starting lineup, either at SF or PF. He should be in for big minutes and he’s shown that he can produce when given the chance. Another Maverick who’s in for an uptick in production is Maxi Kleber, who seems to have secured the starting center spot in Dallas. DFS is not a hot name but he does produce so if you’re in need of a center go give him a look.
Here are the “Stock Down” guys from last week with a little update on how their stocks have changed, with “Stock Up” meaning they’re still on the rise, “Neutral” meaning their stock hasn’t changed and “Stock Down” meaning they’re on the decline:
Paul Millsap, PF/C, Denver Nuggets: Neutral
Khris Middleton, SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks: Neutral
Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, Sacramento Kings: Barnes is a talented player but his rest of season outlook has definitely diminished with his move to Sacramento. The Kings have five players outside of Barnes that average at least 10.0 shots per game and they play the definition of team basketball. Barnes won’t be the preferred option and he can’t just chuck up shots as he pleases on a Kings team that is serious about making the playoffs this season. He’ll still be worth owning in leagues in my opinion but he definitely won’t be as good as his owners thought he would be when they drafted him.
Kenrich Williams, SF/PF, New Orleans Pelicans: Williams didn’t get traded, but neither did Anthony Davis and I doubt the Pelicans really don’t play him again for the entire season. Nikola Mirotic is on the move to Milwaukee but Jahlil Okafor will likely take some of his minutes. Don’t drop Williams just yet, but when Davis comes back there is a good shot you’ll have to.
Pascal Siakam, PF/C, Toronto Raptors: The arrival of Marc Gasol is going to take minutes away from both Siakam and Serge Ibaka but owners of Siakam will feel it the worst. He won’t be soaking up as many minutes as he is now and Ibaka will likely move down from the 28.2 minutes he’s at now. Siakam should still be a top-60 player but closer to the lower end of that.
Tobias Harris, PF, Philadelphia 76ers: The man went from hitting a game-winner for his team to being traded that very same night. Well, a ton of his fantasy value went out the window when he moved to the 76ers because they’re already so stacked with Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid. All three of those players have been known to be ball-dominant so I wouldn’t be surprised if Harris is the odd man out on most nights. He was a top-25 player on the season and he’s almost definitely going to fall out of that range. I still believe he’ll be inside the top-35 but it just sucks to see a guy who was finally starting to come into his own have to go and play second, or third or even fourth fiddle on the 76ers.
Well, that’s it for the deadline edition of Stock Watch. Of course this didn’t cover the winners and losers from EVERY trade but if you want that you can check out our fearless leader, Aaron Bruski’s, article here. If you want to chat make sure to hit me up on Twitter @najeeadams_ and have a great day everyone!