February 17, 2019, 1:19 pm
What’s up HoopBallers!
It’s All-Star Break time, which is honestly one of my favorite parts of the year. We all get to sit back and watch as the players all go out and put on a show. My favorite part used to be the dunk contest but now it’s kind of hit or miss and I’ve found myself really getting into the 3-point shootout. My favorite one in recent memory was back in 2015 when it was Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson in the finals and Kenny Smith was screaming “Who’s the best shooter in Golden State!” while Steph was shooting. Steph ended up smoking everybody in that round and winning but still, I remember going crazy in my room like yelling along with Kenny.
The Skills Challenge has never really been that exciting to me, the only thing I really remember from it was Chris Paul missing a wide open layup back in the 2011 Skills Challenge. I remember absolutely dying of laughter because I was watching it with my friends which of course always makes things funnier. Then there’s the dunk contest, which I said earlier was hit or miss. When it’s a good dunk contest though, it easily has the potential to be one of the most memorable things of the entire NBA season. Everyone remembers the Zach LaVine vs. Aaron Gordon dunk contest and my most memorable one is the Blake Griffin jumping over the Kia edition because that’s something that people really only did in NBA 2K video games.
With that being said though, I hope everyone enjoys their All-Star Break!
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:
Otto Porter, SF/PF, Chicago Bulls: Stock Up
Dennis Smith Jr, PG, New York Knicks: Stock Up
Ivica Zubac, C, Los Angeles Clippers: Neutral
Delon Wright, PG/SG, Memphis Grizzlies: Stock Down
Markelle Fultz, PG, Orlando Magic: Neutral
Tyler Johnson, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns: Stock Down
Dorian Finney-Smith, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks: Stock Down
Avery Bradley, SG, Memphis Grizzlies: Bradley was someone that I didn’t talk about in last week’s Trade Deadline Stock Watch and that’s because I figured he’d just continue to be mediocre, well I will admit I was wrong. Bradley has had some sort of career resurgence on the Grizzlies and even coach J.B. Bickerstaff seems to love him. He’s the 66th ranked player over the past week and putting up 18.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steal and 2.0 triples on 58.1 percent shooting in 30.4 minutes. Bradley is the only player on the team to average 30 minutes in that time span and he’s also got a team-high in points and shot attempts.
Out of nowhere Bradley has become the Grizzlies’ hottest player and “go-to guy”. Who knows if he’ll be able to keep this up in the second half of the season but I definitely went and added him on both of my teams because the Grizzlies are tanking and who better than Avery Bradley to lose you some games. There’s a ton of opportunity in Memphis and he seems to be in the coach’s good graces so go out and give Bradley a chance.
Robin Lopez, C, Chicago Bulls: Does anyone know what’s gotten into this man, because I don’t. He went from being a surefire buyout candidate to being a top-80 player over the past week. Wendell Carter Jr. is most likely out for the remainder of the season so the starting job should belong to RoLo for the rest of the year. He’s averaging 18.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on 67.4 percent shooting in 25.3 minutes. He’s not a big rebounder but he’s taking 11.5 shots per game and he can be a tremendous shot blocker when he gets going so I’d recommend scooping him up and seeing how this goes, at least while he’s hot.
Dion Waiters, SG/SF, Miami Heat: Waiters is another guy who came on right before the All-Star Break and although he’s still outside the top-100 over the past two weeks, he’s showing some potential. He’s putting up 16.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 4.0 threes on 45.3 percent shooting in 33.4 minutes over the past four games. It seems like his minutes restriction has been lifted and the 33.4 minutes are the second most on the team behind Josh Richardson. Waiters is attempting 13.3 shots per game which is the third-most in that time span of any Heat and when he’s shooting well he can look unstoppable. His value might take a hit when Goran Dragic returns but so will everyone else’s. I’d give him a look if you need some guard help.
Lauri Markkanen, PF/C, Chicago Bulls: Yes, there are two Bulls on this list with Markkanen being being the better of the two. He’s definitely not available in many leagues but if you own him I’d suggest hanging onto him. He’s the 10th ranked player over the past two weeks and he’s averaging 25.3 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 threes on 49.0 percent shooting in a team-high 36.2 minutes. The minutes restriction is clearly lifted and he looks to be the Bulls’ best player right now. People seem to forget how good he was last year and he’s showing everyone that he might’ve been worth trading Jimmy Butler for two years ago. Bobby Portis is also gone so he has virtually no competition for minutes and he should be in for a huge finish to the year. He’s attempting the most shots on the team while also playing the most minutes which is a great combination for most players.
Mitchell Robinson, C, New York Knicks: Enes Kanter is gone and DeAndre Jordan isn’t in the Knicks’ future plans, which means all systems go for Robinson. He’s only playing 21.8 minutes over the past week and yet he’s the 27th-ranked player in fantasy and putting up third-round value in that time span. The Knicks are firmly dedicated to tanking in the hopes of getting Zion so after the break I predict they play Robinson more minutes and he’s easily got top-25 upside if he’s getting 28-30 minutes per game. He’s averaging 11.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks on 69.7 percent shooting. Really think about that, he’s averaging 3.2 blocks in 21.8 minutes. That’s absolutely insane and just proves that he has the potential to be an absolute monster for years to come. He’s only owned in 47% of leagues so I would suggest absolutely bolting to go and add him right now because even if he doesn’t get a ton more minutes, he should still be able to maintain top-45 value.
Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Orlando Magic: Isaac has finally come around and the Magic have finally let him loose. It sucks because I dropped him about a week before he came on and I’m going to regret it for the rest of the season. I also dropped Pascal Siakam before he turned it on so clearly I just don’t have the best judgement this season. Isaac is playing exactly like the player owners drafted when they took a risk on him in the later rounds because they knew how much upside he had. He’s the 14th ranked player over the past week with averages of 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 2.5 triples on 51.0 percent shooting in 28.6 minutes. If you held onto him or picked him up after he was dropped then you’re a genius and you deserve the production he’d giving you right now.
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:
Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, Sacramento Kings: Neutral
Kenrich Williams, SF/PF, New Orleans Pelicans: Stock Up
Pascal Siakam, PF/C, Toronto Raptors: Stock Up
Tobias Harris, PF, Philadelphia 76ers: Neutral
Ivan Rabb, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies: Rabb was one of the hottest free agents around for a good little while and people (including myself) thought he’d be able to sustain season-long value with Marc Gasol leaving town…. and then the Grizzlies got Jonas Valanciunas. Yes, coach J.B. Bickerstaff has said that Rabb will continue to start but he’s playing 16 minutes compared to Valanciunas’ 22 over the past three games. Over the past week Rabb is outside of the top-200 and he doesn’t look like he’ll be able to break loose again anytime soon. If Valanciunas or Jaren Jackson Jr. were to get injured he’d definitely be worth owning but as of right now he’s a firm drop for me.
Caris LeVert, SG/SF, Brooklyn Nets: Now I know LeVert is a fan favorite but hear me out, he might not be able to get back to the same level he was out before he went down, at least not this season. When LeVert went down, he was THE guy on the Nets. He took whatever shots he wanted, he was the closer and he was the leader for the Brooklyn Nets. Well, that’s not the case anymore because D’Angelo Russell is an All-Star and is proving to be one of the most clutch players in the league while leading the Nets to the six seed. He’s the 159th-ranked player over his past three games and averaging 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.0 steals on 36.1 percent shooting in 22.7 minutes. The Nets had something special going without him on the court and coaches like Kenny Atkinson aren’t likely to mess with that. Of course LeVert will get more and more minutes as the season goes along but I doubt he gets back to the same level he was at when he went down. I’d try to trade him now while the hype is still around him.
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks: Coming to Dallas was supposed to be a good move for THJ but it has been anything but as of late. He’s the 182nd-ranked player over the past week and he’s just not doing much outside of scoring to maintain value. He’s playing 29.2 minutes per game which is definitely amazing but like I said, he’s just too one-dimensional to take advantage of the newfound opportunity on the Mavericks. I wouldn’t move on just yet because the potential is there but just temper your expectations and see what you can get for Hardaway Jr. in your league.
December 15, 2019, 11:37 pmDamion LeeSG, Golden State Warriors
Damion Lee succeeded in his first start of the season, going for 13 points (6-of-15 FG), five rebounds, five assists, one steal and two turnovers vs. the Kings on Sunday.
The Warriors rotation is wide open for talent to prevail, but we have seen many players cycle through with a strong string of games before giving way to new competitors. The Warriors only have two games next week so you will have to exude some real patience to see a return and grab Lee based off of this performance.
December 15, 2019, 11:31 pmWillie Cauley-SteinC, Golden State Warriors
Willie Cauley-Stein continued his strong play of late on Sunday, going for 14 points (7-of-9 FG), five rebounds, two assists, six steals and three turnovers against the Kings.
Cauley-Stein's defensive numbers are continuing to thrive, as he threw together six steals over 30 minutes of action tonight. Kevon Looney (0-of-5 FG, zero points, one rebound, one assist and one steal) continues to stink it up, and Cauley-Stein appears to have a steady grasp on the majority of the center minutes.
December 15, 2019, 11:24 pmD'Angelo RussellPG, Golden State Warriors
D'Angelo Russell struggled to produce eight points (2-of-9 FG), eight assists, one 3-pointer and four turnovers on Sunday against the Kings.
The eight assists were not enough to make up for the lousy shooting and four turnovers. On the positive side Russell still received 27 minutes in a game that was not close in the second half.
December 15, 2019, 11:21 pmDraymond GreenPF, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green was invisible with seven points (3-of-7 FG), three assists, two rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal and two turnovers, as the Warriors were soundly defeated by the Kings on Sunday.
If the Warriors are not playing competitively it is safe to assume that Draymond is going to have a lousy showing. Until this team strings some close games together it will be difficult to develop enough momentum to sell-high on Green. Stephen Curry's injury has really decimated Draymond's season.
December 15, 2019, 11:11 pmBuddy HieldSG, Sacramento Kings
Buddy Hield tallied 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting in a blowout win over the Warriors on Sunday.
Hield finds most of his value in scoring and shooting, but he produces so well in those categories that he maintains top-60 value. He should be able to stay in that range even when De'Aaron Fox returns.
December 15, 2019, 11:09 pmJulius RandlePF, New York Knicks
Julius Randle went for 20 points (8-of-19 FG, 3-of-3 FT), nine rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal and one turnover vs. the Nuggets on Sunday.
Randle is showing some signs of settling into a slightly more efficient version of himself. He had just one turnover and shot a perfect 3-of-3 from the line. Less is more when it comes to Randle's fantasy game. The Knicks have been competitive this week and perhaps that will encourage Randle to stop forcing things on the offensive end.
December 15, 2019, 11:06 pmMarvin Bagley IIIPF, Sacramento Kings
Marvin Bagley put up 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting with six rebounds in a win over the Warriors on Sunday.
Bagley has played well since returning from injury, so it will be interesting to see how his minutes affect Richaun Holmes and Nemanja Bjelica. Holmes had nine points and five boards on 4-of-5 shooting and Bjelica had two points on 1-of-2 shooting. Holmes and Bagley are the preferred two to own going forward.
December 15, 2019, 11:01 pmBogdan BogdanovicSG, Sacramento Kings
Bogdan Bogdanovic put up 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting in a 100-79 win over the Warriors on Sunday.
Bogdanovic knocked down four triples and added five rebounds and five assists to the box score. He has been a detriment to fantasy squads over the last two weeks, but his potential to maintain late-round value with triples, assists and steals makes him worth owning in most formats.
December 15, 2019, 11:00 pmMarcus MorrisPF, New York Knicks
Marcus Morris bounced back with 22 points (8-of-18 FG), five rebounds, three 3-pointers and one steal as the Knicks lost to the Nuggets on Sunday.
The scoring has been up-and-down for Morris lately, but he is still piling up 3-pointers and points on solid shooting for the season. Try to sell him if you can, but most people are onto the likely endgame where he gets dealt away from New York. Mitchell Robinson was able to crack 24 minutes and string together eight points (4-of-5 FG), seven rebounds, one steal and one block in a decent line. He only had four fouls and has been getting more minutes lately. Now we need to see Robinson unleash some gigantic block totals.
December 15, 2019, 10:53 pmWill BartonSG, Denver Nuggets
Will Barton dropped 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting with nine rebounds and four assists in a win over the Knicks on Sunday.
Barton has been a consistent asset for owners as he does not really damage fantasy squads in any category and is a top-60 option on the season. He has consistently outplayed fellow wing Gary Harris, who put up 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Harris is a solid triples and steals specialist for deeper leagues.