October 24, 2018, 6:56 pm
What’s up HoopBallers!
This is a very monumental edition of Stock Watch as it will contain the first ever “Community Choice” spot. I put the forum post up late Monday night and it’s gotten a couple of responses so far and I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t expect to come out of the gate and top Chef’s Rate My Team forum.
Mark my words though, one of these days I will.
So for the four people (including you Panda) who left a post in the forum, I thank you for being apart of something that I hope will one day be a special thing here at Hoop-Ball. Also, Panda is out for the day so I’m editing my own stuff for the very first time. I feel like a child being left at home alone for the first time, and I like it.
Here’s the deal Panda, for now on this is what we’re doing. I am the captain now. Deal? Deal.
(Sike, please don’t stop editing my work, you’re great).
I said I’d keep you guys updated on how my team in the Hoop-Ball Staff league is doing and I’m no liar so here goes nothing.
So, I won last week by a score of 6-3 and took home field goal percentage, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Pretty good right? Yeah I thought so myself until I looked at the other teams in the league that won and saw that they pretty much had me beat in every single thing. I might’ve gotten lucky and beat up on one of the lower-level teams in the league but hey, a win is a win.
Since last week I’ve only made one change to my roster. Someone dropped Terry Rozier and I figured I had to pick him up, not because of any one stat he’ll help me with but just because he’s Terry Rozier. Hear me out, if Kyrie Irving, who has a history of injury woes, goes down again then Rozier could be a league winner. If not, then at worst he’s a nice little backup point guard for my team considering the only other PG I had was Rondo and now he’s suspended.
Speaking of suspensions can we just quickly talk about that Lakers-Rockets brawl? My entire friend group chat was blowing up that night with hot takes about who started it, who hit who and for how long everyone should be suspended. Can I just say, as a Lakers fan, I LOVE ME SOME BRANDON INGRAM. It was nice to see some passion from the kid after really being dormant for most of his career.
In no way do I condone violence but when I saw him push Harden I was immediately on his side because we all know Harden gets these ridiculous, unbelievable calls and I don’t blame him for being fed up. Do I think he should’ve got all up in the ref’s grill like that? Not at all, but hey you live and you learn and I doubt he’ll ever do it again. On to Rondo vs. CP3, did Rondo spit? The answer is undoubtedly yes and for that I don’t blame CP3 for acting how he did, simple. However, since I’m a Lakers fan I must point out that Rondo got in more hits than CP3 if anyone was counting.
Now, on to the argument everyone was having on Twitter. Should LeBron have been so adamantly trying to pull CP3 away rather than supporting his own team? It’s a hard question to answer but as much as I want to, I ultimately can’t blame him. What was he supposed to do go and swing at CP3, we all know LeBron was never going to do that and in a situation where he knows his best friend better than most people he went to comfort him. Does that mean he regrets choosing the Lakers and wish he played for the Rockets two games into the season, NO.
Wow, this was supposed to be about my Hoop-Ball team, just remembered. Back to that.
So yeah, I picked up Rozier and dropped Montrezl Harrell which might turn out to be a mistake but I figured Drummond, Whiteside and JJJ should hold me down at the big man positions. I was on the edge of dropping Rondo for Danny Green and I still might but Rondo is really the only person on my team that I can rely on for assists and before he got suspended he was doing pretty well.
Enough about me though, I’ve been talking for far too long. Let’s get into it.
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:
Caris LeVert, SF, Brooklyn Nets- Stock Up
Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte Hornets- Stock Up
Joe Ingles, SG/SF, Utah Jazz- Stock Up
Trevor Ariza, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns- Stock Down
Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Indiana Pacers- Neutral
Cedi Osman, SF/PF, Cleveland Cavaliers- Neutral
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG/SF, New York Knicks- Stock Up
Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks
The baby Steph Curry himself has started the season on fire and is making anyone that drafted him at his ADP look like a genius. He’s also making all of the people that called him a bust in the preseason and Summer League for his poor shooting eat their words.
Young is currently the 36th ranked player in 9-cat leagues ahead of players like DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, Devin Booker and John Wall. He’s touching the ball so much that it’s almost impossible for him not to put up amazing value. He’s fourth in the league in player touches at 95.7 behind only Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook and shocker, Joe Ingles. Actually, those are the only four guys in the league with above 95 touches with the next highest being James Harden at 90.0. In fact, no one else on Young’s team is even close to him when it comes to touches as the next highest is Alex Len at 53.3.
The Hawks might be the worst team in the league this year and most definitely won’t be vying for any spot in the playoffs so they’ll be running Young into the ground. He’ll play big minutes and is on a team lacking talent outside of himself and Taurean Prince, which is a recipe for amazing stat lines night after night. So far through three games Young is averaging 23.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks and 3.7 triples on 45.5 percent shooting in a team-high 34.6 minutes. Young is actually the only player on the Hawks playing above 28 minutes which only shows their willingness to keep him on the floor.
He’s also attempting a team-high 18.3 shots per game and averaging 2.7 turnovers per game. The turnovers side of that is the worrying aspect. He recorded at least two turnovers in every single one of his college games and averaged 5.2 per game, that might be amplified here in the NBA. He’s already almost at three and if worst comes to worst he could even average 3.5-4 turnovers per game. That’ll definitely hurt owners and it’s very reasonable to believe that the 45.5 percent shooting won’t stay that way. Young shot 42.2 percent in college where the competition was much lighter before shooting 38.0 percent in the Summer League and 39.4 percent in the preseason.
The turnovers will be bad all season long and the field goal percentage will undoubtedly regress but Young will definitely help owners in points, assists, threes and free throw percentage. Owners will have to decide themselves if that’s worth holding him but I’d suggest selling high while you still can. Young is a better real life player than he is a fantasy star and will end up holding your team back with his turnovers and field goal percentage along with his lack of defensive stats. Use the hype and sell-high now, see if you can get a top-30 or 40 player in the process.
Nikola Jokic, PF/C, Denver Nuggets
Even though Jokic was a bonafide and unanimous top-10 pick in drafts, he still felt undervalued to me and he’s showing exactly why.
He’s currently the best player in fantasy when it comes to total value and he’s the third ranked player in per-game value. Jokic is averaging 23.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.3 triples on 61.2 percent shooting in 30.0 minutes per game, he literally helps his owners in every single category. He averages 1.8 turnovers per game which is a little high for a big man but he repays his owners in so many other ways.
The crazy thing is, the Nuggets roster is so stacked and he’s doing this with a usage rate of only 24.6. That happens to be the highest on the Nuggets but there are also four other players with usage rates over 20.0. He’s so efficient and makes the most of his time on the floor which is the reason he’s the only player currently ranked inside the top-10 playing under 31 minutes per game.
The Nuggets are undefeated this season so far and he’s a big reason why. Barring any catastrophic injuries Denver will undoubtedly be fighting for a playoff spot which means Jokic won’t be a shutdown candidate like other highly-touted big men like Karl-Anthony Towns or Nikola Vucevic. It’s simple, Jokic is only 23 years old and might just be the best center in the league. He’s got so much potential and should continue blessing his fantasy owners all season long.
Don’t look to sell-high by any means, if you don’t own him then you should actually be looking to buy-high because this guy is the real deal. If you own Jokic, congrats.
Blake Griffin, PF/C, Detroit Pistons
Griffin has come out of the gate swinging and it’s a truly, truly a shame that he was being drafted in the fourth or even fifth rounds of some leagues. He’s started the season of on fire, averaging 36.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 0.7 blocks and 3.7 triples on 53.3 percent shooting in 37.6 minutes. The man is almost scoring a point every minute, that’s insane.
He’s currently the ninth ranked player in per-game value and leading the league in scoring after just coming off of a 50-point gem against the 76ers. Griffin has yet to score below 26 points in a game and he’s scored more points in each game he’s played. What’s next? 60 points, maybe 70?
He’s playing the most minutes on the Pistons and at times is even serving as their primary ball-handler and play initiator. He often brings the ball up the court, calls for an Andre Drummond screen either before or after sizing up his defender with guard-like handles and either dishes the rock or take his defender to the basket for an easy lay. Griffin is by far the Pistons’ best offensive weapon and coach Dwayne Casey clearly isn’t afraid to unleash him no matter what his injury history might look like.
Griffin is currently sixth in usage rate at 31.1 behind only Victor Oladipo, Tim Hardaway Jr., Devin Booker, Kemba Walker and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Along with the high usage rate, Griffin is also third in the league when it comes to touches at 95.7. A large amount of touches combined with a high usage rate is the perfect recipe for insane fantasy value. The question is, can Griffin keep it up or will it only lead to his eventual breakdown.
Here’s the thing, Griffin hasn’t played 67 games since the 2014-2015 season and while the Pistons might be 3-0 right now, they will definitely be one of the teams scrounging for a playoff spot. All that means is that Griffin won’t be able to get a ton of rest days which will only lead to his inevitable demise. While Andre Drummond is also an All-Star caliber player, there isn’t a single player on the Pistons roster with the offensive capacities that Griffin has and he’ll be asked to tap into those night after night after night.
In my opinion, all of that usage and those touches for Griffin is amazing right now but it’ll only end up hurting him in the end. However, he’s so good right now that I can’t even advise selling high unless you’re getting a bonafide top-15 guy. If not, you’d probably just be better off hanging on to Griffin and hoping I’m wrong.
JaVale McGee, C, Los Angeles Lakers: McGee is experiencing a career-resurgence with the Lakers averaging 15.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals and 3.0 blocks on 63.3 percent shooting in only 23.2 minutes. The fact that McGee is currently putting up top-25 value in under 25 minutes is incredible and he is currently the highest ranked player on the Lakers. Yup, you read that right. JaVale McGee is a better fantasy player then LeBron James right now. Never, ever thought I’d write those words but here I am. He’s second in the league when it comes to blocks behind only Anthony Davis and I can’t stress enough how impressive that is in only 23.2 minutes. Mcgee’s per-36 blocks numbers are currently sitting at 4.6 blocks per game which would by far be leading the NBA. He’s helping his owners in points, rebounds, both percentages and blocks which is the hardest category to get value in. He costed a very late round pick in most drafts so congratulations if you took a chance on McGee.
Danny Green, SG/SF, Toronto Raptors: Shoutout to HoopBall’s own Dan Besbris for this one as he was one of Green’s biggest backers coming into the season. He’s currently ranked 37th in per-game value throughout four games with averages of 11.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals,1.3 blocks and 3.0 triples on 47.1 percent shooting in 30.6 minutes. There aren’t a ton of guards in the league that can average both 1.3 steals and blocks while also netting his owners three triples per game so that alone makes Green worth owning in every league. His minutes will scale back when Delon Wright returns but I’m hoping Norman Powell will take the biggest loss when Wright returns. He’s the literal definition of a steal in drafts so hold on to him and ride the wave.
Again, thanks to everyone who posted in the forum this week and I look forward to increased activity as the weeks go on. This week’s Community Choice spotlight is going to shine on:
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who was recommended by keithjenkins79.
Keith explained that, “His early praise from coach Doc Rivers on top of the underwhelming play from his three backcourt mates. His only issue may be getting quality minutes or boosting his usage next to the guys on the floor who happen to be placing a cap on his potential.”
I completely agree with Keith. Doc Rivers is a hard coach to please so the fact that SGA has him on his side already is a great sign. So far this season, SGA is the 164th ranked player in fantasy and somehow that’s higher than every other Clippers guard. Patrick Beverley is sitting at 182, Lou Williams at 209 and Avery Bradley at 293. Gilgeous-Alexander is only playing 24.8 minutes per game and has the highest box plus-minus out of those same players at 2.6 while Beverley sits at 2.3, Williams at -2.2 and Bradley at -2.8. SGA is an asset the Clippers need to utilize far more than they are right now and if he keeps up the good play, more minutes will come. If he’s on your wire go grab him up because he could be in for a big second half of the season.
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:
Jonathan Isaac, PF, Orlando Magic- Stock Up
Ricky Rubio, PG, Utah Jazz- Neutral
Darren Collison, PG, Indiana Pacers- Neutral
Marvin Bagley III, PF, Sacramento Kings- Stock Up
Kyrie Irving, PG/SG, Boston Celtics
“There’s too many mouths to feed in Boston, someone has got to take the fall.”
Those were the words spoken by so many sports and fantasy analysts this offseason and its turning out to be true. Most people believed it would be Jayson Tatum or Gordon Hayward. Well, turns out it’s Kyrie.
Well, kind of. In reality, the depth that the Celtics have limits every single one of their players as it’s inevitable that each player is going to ball out on a different night which will end up limiting the other’s production. One night it’ll be Tatum, one night it’ll be Hayward, then Jaylen Brown and of course Kyrie. However, since Kyrie was the player taken highest he’s the one that’ll be negatively effected the most.
If you used a third round pick on Kyrie you’re expecting him to perform at a high-level every night and that just might not be the case. As of right now he’s the 111th ranked player behind Tatum, Hayward and Al Horford. That’s just not acceptable for a guy most owners selected thinking he’d be a top-25 player.
In 32.8 minutes, Irving is averaging 16.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.5 blocks and 1.0 triple on 39.1 percent shooting. It’s bad right now for Kyrie but I have reason to believe he’ll turn it around. Let me explain. Right now Irving is attempting 5.5 triples per game and knocking down only 1.0 of them leaving him with a 3-point percentage of 18.2 percent. There is absolutely no way Irving is that bad of a three point shooter as he’s never shot below 32.1 percent in his career with his last two seasons being above 40.0 percent. He’s shooting 20.0 percent on shots 10-14 feet away from the basket which is an outlier considering he’s shot at least 45.0 percent from that range in the last two years.
Another reason why I have hope Irving will turn it around is free throws, simple. He’s currently attempting 2.3 free throws per game which would be the lowest in his entire career and while it’s true he’s never been on a team this stacked, Irving is one of the best finishers in the league and won’t just stop driving to the basket. Irving is attempting 6.0 shots less than 5 feet away from the basket which is more than last year, so rest assure the calls will start coming and he will start knocking down his free throws.
Irving is playing more minutes than he was last year and attempting only 0.8 less shots per game so it’s not like he’s completely fallen out of the offense. Last year Irving was the 14th ranked player and he’s averaging more rebounds and assists than he did last season so if he could bring the percentages up he’ll easily match his ADP. If you’re an Irving owner then hold tight and if you’re not then definitely go buy low.
Dennis Smith Jr., PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks
I drafted DSJ in both of my leagues this year because I simply fell into the hype. I believed in the proposed “breakout” and fell in love with the step-back jumpers I was seeing fall in the preseason.
We’re three games through the season and DSJ is the 206th ranked player in fantasy and he was being selected in the fifth and sixth rounds of drafts. He’s currently averaging 13.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.0 triple on 34.1 percent shooting in 28.3 minutes. When Doncic got to Dallas he was supposed to make things easier for Smith Jr., allowing him to get easier buckets and raise that field goal percentage. However, that hasn’t been the case so far as Smith is shooting a worse percentage from the field than the 39.5 percent he shot last year.
We knew Doncic was also going to take away some of the assists from DSJ but owners were hoping the improved efficiency would make up for it and with him shooting worse than he did last year it definitely isn’t. The good news is that Smith Jr. still has a pretty decent place in the offense. A couple of nights ago he was trusted with the final shot of the game against the Timberwolves and knocked it down. The final shot is usually given to the team’s best player so it’s good to see that the mass still have faith in him.
Smith Jr. is attempting 14.7 shots per game so far this season which is second to only Doncic’s 15.3 and tied with Wesley Matthews. Besides the three of them, only DeAndre Jordan is attempting shots in the double digits. However, the Mavericks are missing Harrison Barnes right now and once he returns he’ll undoubtedly take shots away from DSJ. Although the Mavs might not be a great team, they are deep and have a lot of mouths to feed which doesn’t bode well for Smith Jr.’s fantasy value.
He’ll still have his nights and his shooting percentage will definitely go up but as of right now it’s looking like owners made a big mistake drafting him over guys like Gary Harris, Trae Young, Joe Ingles, Josh Richardson and even Lonzo Ball.
Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors
The second-half of the Splash Bros. has been having a hard time finding the bottom of the net so far this season.
So far through four games Thompson is the 178th ranked player with averages of 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.0 block and 0.8 triples on .373 percent shooting in 33.1 minutes. Perhaps the most shocking stat of all is the 13.6 percent Thompson is shooting from behind the arc. Yes, you read that right, Klay Thompson is shooting 13.6 percent from the 3-point line.
He’s not even averaging 1.0 triple per game, something that even Jonas Jerebko is doing and he’s only playing 15.6 minutes per game. What’s worrying is that the shooting woes might be messing with Thompson’s confidence as he’s only attempting 5.5 triples per game which is the least amount since his rookie season all the way back in 2011.
Listen, Klay has never finished a season with a field goal percentage below 42.2 percent and he’s coming off of a year where he shot a career-high 48.8 percent from the field. To go along with that, he’s never shot below 40.0 percent from behind the arc and he’s also coming off a a career-high in 3-point percentage at 44.0 percent. It’s only a matter of time before Klay breaks out of his slump and does something crazy like score 37 points in a single quarter.
Don’t overreact, hold tight if you have him and seriously buy low if you don’t. Odds are nobody will even remember this little shooting slump come January.
Victor Oladipo, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers: Dipo hasn’t come out of the gates as strong as most of his owners have liked as he’s currently sitting at 165th when it comes to per-game value. He’s a strong buy-low candidate as he’s almost matching his stats from last season other than the free throw percentage and steals. He’s currently averaging only 1.0 steal per game compared to the 2.4 he averaged last season. That 2.4 led the league last year and it’s possible he won’t get back up to that but he should definitely get to at least 1.8. When it comes to the free throw percentage you have to expect that to rise as well as he’s currently shooting 50.0 percent from the stripe. That’s obviously horrible especially for a guy drafted at the back end of the first round or early second round. Don’t be afraid though, Dipo hasn’t shot less than 75.0 percent from the line in his entire career and once that turns around he should be able to get a ton of his value back. Go buy low if you can, because Dipo will likely still finish as a top-15 player.
Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG, Utah Jazz: Just like Dipo, I’m confident Mitchell will turn things around as he’s currently the 186th ranked player in per-game value. A really interesting stat I stumbled upon is that Joe Ingles leads the NBA is “Player Touches” and is the 10th ranked player in fantasy right now. Now I’m not saying that as Joe Ingles declines, Mitchell will rise I’m just saying that’s kind of alarming considering the pure amount of shots Mitchell takes. Just like most players going through slumps right now, the problem with Mitchell right now is that he isn’t shooting the ball particularly well. He’s shooting 34.4 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from the 3-point line compared to the 43.7 percent and 34.0 percent he shot last year. He’s still attempting the most shots on the Jazz by far at 20.3 and him and Ingles are the only two Jazz players attempting double digit shots. Once the shots start falling Mitchell will get back to that top-75 production he was giving last season. I don’t know if I’d bet on him getting up into the top-30 like so many people predicted but he should at least match what he did last season.
This week’s Community Choice pick for the Stock Down section is:
Jakob Poeltl, who was recommended by Mike Passador. (Wonder who that guy is.)
Mike went on to say that, “I know the Spurs started Cunningham vs. LAL since the Lakers go small, but a DNP is a DNP. He just hasn’t gotten it going dating back to the preseason.”
Panda is completely right, as per usual. Poeltl was being drafted as a pick that was supposed to have very much upside as the Spurs starting center next to LaMarcus Aldridge. Well, he was a DNP in the Spurs last game as Mike said and he’s only the 266th ranked player in fantasy right now. Poeltl is playing only 10.5 minutes per game which is the third lowest amount of minutes on the team. If you took a chance on Poeltl, you struck out and he’s probably safe to drop if there’s a hot free agent sitting out there on your wire.
WHEW, that’s it for this week’s Stock Watch. I hope you all enjoyed it, if you have any questions or just want to chat about fantasy/real basketball feel free to reach me on Twitter @najeeadams_