Welcome back to Stock Watch HoopBallers as it’s been nearly three weeks since the last edition.

    In that time so much has happened. Owners are gearing up to make their playoff runs, we got through the All-Star break, yet another superstar in Jimmy Butler went down and a whole bunch of players’ stocks fluctuated. This part of the year is probably one of the most nerve-wracking for fantasy owners.

    If you’re firmly in a good standing in your league, you’re just biding time until the playoffs begin. Hoping, no, scratch that, PRAYING that no one on your fantasy team gets injured. If you could you would just sit all your players to avoid injury and take a couple of L’s just to head into the playoffs healthy, but unfortunately that’s not something you can do.

    If you’re a bubble team in your fantasy league, one of the teams that is fighting for a spot in the playoffs, perhaps it’s even more nerve-wracking for you. One injury could ruin your chances and one rebound, one assist or one steal could knock you clean out of the running for some fantasy hardware. You’re just hoping that your players clutch up and get you into the playoffs so you can work on upsetting the higher seed, because we all know there’s nothing better than knocking out the one seed in the first or second round of the playoffs.

    Lastly, if your completely out of it maybe it’s not so nerve-wracking, maybe it’s peaceful. Maybe it’s good knowing that all hope is lost for this season and that you’ll be the first one with his/her eyes set on next season. If it’s a keeper league then its even more amazing because you can start dealing off better, aging players to championship contenders for younger players so that sooner than later you’ll be the one hoisting that virtual, or maybe real, trophy.

    Ok, now without further ado I present to you: Stock Watch, Week 18.

    Here are the “Stock Up” guys from two weeks ago 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:

    Jarrett Allen, PF/C, Brooklyn Nets: Neutral

    Josh Hart, SG, Los Angeles Lakers: Stock Down (it would’ve been neutral but unfortunately he suffered a small fracture in his left hand that might effectively end his season)

    Ricky Rubio, PG, Utah Jazz: Stock Down

    Terry Rozier, PG/SG, Boston Celtics: Neutral

    Andrew Harrison, PG/SG, Memphis Grizzlies: Stock Up for as long as Tyreke Evans is out

    Josh Jackson, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns: Neutral

    Stock Up

    Brandon Ingram, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The Lakers are 3-0 since the All-Star Break ended and Ingram is clearly their go-to guy.

    Since the break Ingram is averaging 16.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.0 steal, 2.3 blocks and 0.7 3-pointers on .568 percent shooting in 32.2 minutes. Those averages are good enough to have him as high as the 17th ranked player over that time and Ingram doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down anytime soon.

    He’s attempting 12.3 shots per game over the past three which is the third most on the Lakers behind Kentavious-Caldwell Pope (14.0) and Julius Randle (13.0). KCP is going to get his shots up regardless of who’s on the court with him and Randle has been amazing lately too, however his great play isn’t translating as well to fantasy as Ingram’s is. Sure, Randle is averaging 16.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists since the break but he gives his owners no production when it comes to 3-pointers as most, if not all, of his shots come within the painted area.

    Not only that, but Randle is killing his owners in free throw percentage (.333) and turnovers (3.3) within this three game sample. On the other hand, Ingram is only helping his owners in those categories as he’s shooting .833 from the charity stripe and only averaging 2.3 turnovers. Yes, the turnovers aren’t great but he’s handling the ball much more than he’s used to as the Lakers are still trying to work Lonzo Ball back into the system after missing six weeks with an injury.

    As Ball’s workload increases, he’ll most likely take over ball handling duties from Ingram which will limit his turnovers. He’s still the Lakers’ main option when it comes to scoring though. When they need a bucket, the ball goes to him and he usually gets the job done with his outrageous length and wingspan.

    I don’t want to give you the impression that Ingram has just been killing for these last three games, because he’s been doing it for a cool month and a half now. Over the past month he’s the 47th ranked player with averages of 18.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.1 3-pointers on 53.4 percent shooting in a team-high 33.7 minutes per game.

    He’s one of only five players under the age of 25 to be averaging 16 points, five rebounds and three assists, you know who the other four are? Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ben Simmons. Two of those guys are All-Stars and the other two are considered two of the best young players in the league. So yeah, he’s in good company.

    The Lakers have 22 games left and they’re currently sitting at 26-34 which is seven games back from the eighth seeded Nuggets. While it’s highly unlikely that they make the playoffs, don’t expect them to throw in the towel as the more competitive they look, the higher chance they have of signing a superstar (um I don’t know maybe Paul George, just a guess though) or maybe even two (its only a matter of time before Magic and the Lakers purchase some billboards in Cleveland too).

    The Lakers need Ingram to keep playing well as their future depends on it, and so do his fantasy owners. He’s taken a huge leap from his rookie year to now and he’s come out of the break firing on all cylinders, don’t expect him to run out of gas anytime soon.

    Wilson Chandler, SG/SF/PF, Denver Nuggets

    Chandler never really got it going in the beginning of the season as he was only the 188th ranked player throughout the first two months. Well, that’s all changed now.

    Since the month of February started he’s been the 78th ranked player and he shoots up to 59th over the past two weeks and 54th over the past week. He’s been trending up and has strung together a couple of good games in a row now. Over the past two weeks he’s averaging 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.0 block and 2.0 3-pointers on 46.9 percent shooting in 36.0 minutes.

    He’s attempting 12.3 shots per game which isn’t a lot on the Nuggets, who have six players attempting 10 or more shots over the past two weeks. Somehow with all those shots to go around Chandler is still finding a way to get involved, especially since he’s playing a whopping 36 minutes.

    People were hesitant to pick Chandler up as they thought his production would only last until Paul Millsap retuned, and while that is still yet to be seen, he’s definitely worth owning in all leagues while he’s on fire. In fact, Millsap returned this week and although he only played 23 minutes Millsap still managed to put up 10 shots and only make four of them. In the same game, Chandler played 36 minutes and scored 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

    His production could certainly go down as Millsap gets back into the groove of things, but he’s playing a ton of minutes and I don’t think that’s going to change. When Millsap returned it was Trey Lyles that got his minutes cut, not Chandler. He’s only owned in 48% of Yahoo! leagues and 40% of ESPN leagues, so go scoop him up if you can because he could be a crucial contributor to your playoff run.

    Trey Burke, PG, New York Knicks

    Yeah, Burke literally came out of nowhere.

    One second he’s a part of a crowded backcourt with Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina and the next he’s dropping back-to-back 26 point games.

    All jokes aside, he’s actually been amazing. Over the past three games he’s averaging 23.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.7 3-pointers on 53.6 percent shooting in just 27.0 minutes. Those stats are good enough to have Burke sitting as the 26th ranked player over the past two weeks. He’s attempting the most shots on the Knicks throughout those three games with 18.7 per game and the fact that he’s taking that many shots but knocking them down efficiently is incredible.

    One of the best things about Burke has been his ability to limit the amount of turnovers he racks up while also dishing out a good number of assists. He’s only averaging 1.0 turnover per game over those same three games that he averaged 6.3 assists. In fact, he accounts for 45.2 percent of the team’s assists in the games that he’s played in and has a 25.7 percent usage rate. The usage rate comes in second to only Michael Beasley and the assist percentage is the highest on the team behind Jarrett Jack, who is no longer part of the Knicks’ rotations.

    He’s outplaying both Ntilikina and Mudiay and looks like the best point guard the Knicks have on their roster so his playing time SHOULD only increase, but then again it’s the Knicks. As we go down the stretch of the season, Burke will continue to get more comfortable in his role with the Knicks and while the shooting percentage likely won’t stay this high he should be able to continue to produce consistently as the Knicks are lacking talent.

    If you’re in need of a point guard or have a player that is worth dropping, Burke is one of the hottest waiver wire pickups right now. The upside is there and if it doesn’t work out you can always just move on, so why not give him a look?

    Honorable Mentions

    David Nwaba, SG/SF, Chicago Bulls: Nwaba just recently overtook Justin Holiday in the Bulls starting lineup and doesn’t look like he’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. Over the past four games he’s the 50th ranked player and averaging 13.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.3 3-pointers on an insane 65.6 percent from the field in 32.4 minutes. He’s only averaging 1.3 turnovers per game despite being on the court a pretty good amount and with the Bulls tanking there’s no reason to switch up the lineup now, meaning Nwaba’s here to stay. He’s available in more than 80 percent of leagues in both Yahoo! and ESPN so go scoop him up now.

    Alex Len, PF/C, Phoenix Suns: Len is known for being wildly inconsistent and has probably already let you down at some point during this season but it might be time to give him yet another look. Over the past two weeks he’s been averaging 10.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1,8 blocks on .625 percent shooting in 27.9 minutes. He’s one of only four Suns averaging over 27 minutes over those two weeks and coach Jay Triano said that they’re looking to play Len “as much as possible” down the stretch. That’s all we’ve ever asked for with Len, opportunity. Maybe he’s finally, FINALLY getting it.

    Nemanja Bjelica, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves: With Jimmy Butler going down it looks like Bjelica will be the main beneficiary as he’s picked up at least 33 minutes in each of the two games since Butler went down. He’s the 72nd ranked player over the past three games with averages of 8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 3-pointers on .455 percent shooting. The opportunity is there for Bjelica and he’s plenty capable of providing owners with steals, assists, rebounds and threes so he’s definitely worth a taking a flier on right now.

    Here are the “Stock Down” guys from two weeks ago with an update on how their stock has changed with “Stock Down” meaning they’re still falling, “Neutral” meaning their stock hasn’t changed and “Stock Up” meaning that they’re on the rise:

    Draymond Green, SF/PF/C, Golden State Warriors: Neutral

    Marc Gasol, C, Memphis Grizzlies: Stock Down

    Devin Booker, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns: Stock Up

    Stock Down

    Dirk Nowitzki, PF/C, Dallas Mavericks

    Dirk is a legend. No doubt about that.

    However, the fact that he’s having his worst season since his rookie year 19 years ago can’t be overlooked by fantasy owners.

    Back in Dirk’s rookie year, the 1998-1999 season, he averaged 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 blocks, 0.6 steals and 0.3 3-pointers on 40.5 percent shooting from the field in 20.4 minutes.

    Now this year, in his age 39 season season, Dirk is averaging 12.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.6 blocks, 0.6 steals and 1.7 3-pointers on 45.8 percent shooting from the field in 25.1 minutes.

    His minutes have gone down every year since the 2015-2016 season and it’s clear he’s on the last legs of his career. The Mavericks are known to be tanking by literally the entire league as they are currently 19-42 with the sixth worst winning percentage in the league at .311. They’re going for that number one pick and that means there is a very real possibility that Dirk gets shut down this season.

    Think about it, what’s the point in playing a 39 year old vet, who said next year will probably be his last, down the stretch of the season? Especially for a team determined to tank itself into that first overall pick. If Dirk wants to go one more season he’s going to need rest and why not start that process right now. Let him sit for the remainder of the Mavs’ shameful season, come back well-rested next year and begin his farewell tour.

    In all honesty, Dirk has been the Mavericks’ best fantasy player over the past couple weeks and has won them a couple of games they probably weren’t trying to win. Over the past month he’s the 33rd ranked player with averages of 13.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.1 blocks and 2.1 3-pointers on .456 percent shooting from the field and .941 shooting from the charity stripe.

    If you can convince someone in your league that Dirk can help their team win a couple of weeks in the fantasy playoffs then be my guest but it’ll probably be hard. Do whatever you’ve got to do, but he’s too good to drop right now and his value isn’t very high so trades will be lopsided. I’d take a lopsided trade over dropping him any day, plus if he gets shut down then you automatically win that trade no matter what you got in return.

    Blake Griffin, PF/C, Detroit Pistons

    Blake was flat out balling when he first got traded to the Pistons. Welllll, not so much anymore.

    Don’t get me wrong he’s still putting up decent numbers, but his stats can be far better and he’s tanking a lot of fantasy teams right now. Over the past two weeks Griffin is the 335th ranked player in 9-cat leagues. Yeah, you read that right, 335th.

    Over that time he’s averaging 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.0 steals, 0.3 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers on 39.0 percent shooting in a team-high 33.8 minutes. He’s attempting the most shots on the team at 14.8 but that’s useless if he’s only knocking down 39.0 percent of them.

    Perhaps the worst part about Griffin’s stats over the past two weeks are his turnovers. He’s averaging 5.0 per game, which is the second most of any player in the NBA over the past two weeks behind only Russell Westbrook (6.0). When you punt field goal percentage and turnovers, Griffin is the 161st ranked player over the past two weeks, which while isn’t good, is much better than the 335th he’s ranked right now.

    His shot has simply gone cold. The 15.5 points he’s been averaging during this slump is a big difference from his season average of 21.8 points. Not only his points, but his rebounds and assists have also dropped from the 7.6 and 5.4 he’s averaging on the season.

    At the end of the day, Griffin is a superstar and one of the best players the league has today. Everyone goes through slumps, and he’s no different. He’ll snap out of it, hopefully right in time to lead his owners to a championship. However, the turnovers are a problem but they’ll likely go down. He’s not going to average 5.0 turnovers for the entire rest of the season, is he?

    No, no he’s not. So if you can buy-low right before your trade deadline then go ahead because owners might be panicking right about now. Like I said in the beginning of this article, these are some of the most nerve-wracking times of the fantasy season, everyone’s on edge.

    Honorable Mentions

    Kyle Kuzma, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers: The breakout rookie has been slumping for a while now. Over the past two weeks he’s the 186th ranked player with averages of 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.4 3-pointers on .377 shooting in 24.3 minutes. He’s the definition of a volume shooter and when he’s cold, he’s COLD. Unfortunately, he just so happens to be cold at the worst possible time. With the emergence of Julius Randle as of late, Kuz hasn’t been playing as much as he used to but he’s still a crucial part of LAL’s rotation. Not to mention, his buddy Lonzo Ball is getting back into the lineup and Kuzma always seems to play better when he’s on the court.

Fantasy News

  • Eric Gordon
    SG, Houston Rockets

    Rockets guard Eric Gordon has improved his diet, focused on sprints, and has apparently shed 12 pounds in the process, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

    Gordon has battled knee ailments for essentially his whole career and has dealt with his fair share of nagging injuries this season as well. Losing weight to create a lighter frame would seem sensible, especially with the knee issues. The Rockets, remember, fully adopted the "small ball" lineup and move fast so Gordon is smart to keep his endurance and fitness at high levels. He's going to have to play well and make shots for the Rockets when the NBA returns to action, otherwise coach Mike D'Antoni won't be able to justify giving Gordon minutes. We don't anticipate much fantasy value out of him if and when the league starts back up.

    Source: The Athletic

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the NBA is planning for a Board of Governors vote on Thursday, during which they are expected to approve Adam Silver's proposal for re-starting the season in Orlando.

    The trend lines are all moving in this direction, and this adds another bullet point on the schedule as the league prepares for launching games on July 31. Adam Silver has been able to bridge any divides between ownership and the players, and has been taking into account all his key constituent's views as we approach approval of a plan for moving forward. We still have plenty of items to resolve before we see game action, but the NBA is gaining momentum as these details come into place.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Bradley Beal
    SG, Washington Wizards

    On Friday, the Wizards resumed holding voluntary workouts at their practice facilities.

    The Wizards have joined a chorus of teams that are returning in limited capacities to their facilities at this point. The NBA as a whole is continuing its march towards the resumption of play with a target date of July 31 now established. The District of Columbia also entered phase one of reopening today, and it makes sense for the team to proceed on a similar trajectory.

    Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter

  • Julius Randle
    PF, New York Knicks

    Part of the Knicks' off-season thinking is to shape the roster around RJ Barrett, and it unclear where Julius Randle will fit in those plans.

    Barrett and Randle have similar offensive styles, as they typically have an advantage relying upon their strength to attack the basket, but neither has a component deep ball at this stage in their careers. As Barrett is the younger option it makes sense that the Knicks want to sign shooters to give him more space to operate with. Randle's lousy percentages and turnovers has made for a disappointing season with the Knicks thus far, and Barrett will also need to make some strides in the shooting department to become a 12-team asset. Randle is under contract for next season is owed at least $4,000,000 in 2021-22.

    Source: https://www.sny.tv/knicks/news/heres-who-knicks-could-target-as-leon-roses-front-office-reshapes-roster/313481746

  • Jayson Tatum
    SF, Boston Celtics

    On Friday, the Celtics' announced that their practice facilities would reopen on June 1.

    That leaves us with four NBA teams without access to their facilities. Things are beginning to accelerate throughout the league as teams ramp up activities in hopes of resuming competition in Orlando on July 31. So far so good, but the NBA still has many hurdles to overcome on the path to resuming the season.

    Source: Celtics PR on Twitter

  • RJ Barrett
    SF, New York Knicks

    The Knicks reopened their practice facility for voluntary workouts on Friday.

    Another step in the right direction for the NBA's return to action at the end of July. It's still unclear if the Knicks will even be involved in whatever plan is agreed upon, but it is good to learn that the players can now access their facilities in New York. Only five team facilities have not opened up in some capacity at this point.

    Source: Knicks PR on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    On a call with the Board of Governors on Friday, Adam Silver and the league office confirmed July 31 as a target date for the resumption of the NBA season, according to a report from Shams Charania.

    We have to imagine that this is just one of the possible options on the table, as the league still has much to figure out. Charania adds that the league has four scenarios for the return: 16 teams move directly to the playoffs, 20 teams engage in group/stage play, 22 teams have games to determine seeding with a play-in tournament, and all 30 teams reconvene for a 72-game season with a play-in tournament. It's seemed unlikely that we'll have a full 30-team return given the stated priorities for player safety. There are still tons of logistical hurdles to clear but the NBA is getting its ducks in a row for a potential return.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Miami Heat

    Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.

    Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Zach LaVine
    SG, Chicago Bulls

    K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.

    The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Luka Doncic
    PG-SF, Dallas Mavericks

    Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.

    This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter