• What’s up HoopBallers!

    Welcome to the fantasy playoffs my friends, it’s been a long journey but we’re finally here. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the playoffs in the Hoop-Ball Staff League but I did make the playoffs in the points league I have with some friends. I barely squeaked into it and my team is in no shape to even win a single week but hey, you never know what can happen. In that league, I’d say things really started to go down the drain for me when Victor Oladipo went down because he was my first-round pick and the clear anchor of my team.

    I even stopped editing my lineup for a while, I figured that there was no point. However, I got back into the swing of things and won the last three weeks of my league in order to squeeze into the playoffs as the last seed. We’re nearing the end of the fantasy season and the regular NBA season but I hope that at least one of us can walk out of it with a championship.

    With that being said, I wish you all the best of luck in the playoffs and I’ll see you on the other side.

    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:

    Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks: Stock Down

    Dwight Powell, PF/C, Dallas Mavericks: Neutral

    Patrick Beverley, PG, Los Angeles Clippers: Stock Down

    Marc Gasol, PF/C, Toronto Raptors: Stock Down

    Moe Harkless, SF, Portland Trail Blazers: Neutral

    This Week

    Damian Lillard (PG) and C.J. McCollum (SG), Portland Trail Blazers: I think this is the first time that I’ve ever included two players on the same team in one section of Stock Watch but I figured that I might as well. Both guys have been absolutely dominating as of late and are the number four and five players in fantasy over the past week. I’ll start with Lillard as he’s the more popular of the two and he’s the better player in almost every aspect. Over the past three games Dame is averaging 29.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 10.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.7 triples on 50.9 percent from the field in 36.8 minutes. He’s not even attempting the most shots on the team in that time span and yet he’s still carrying his fantasy owners.

    One of the best parts about his recent play has been his incredible percentage from the charity stripe. Over his past three games he’s attempting 10.0 free throws per game, which is the third-most in that time span, and he’s knocking them down at an insane clip of 90.0 percent. It’s been an amazing three-game stretch for Dame and his partner in crime, C.J. McCollum, hasn’t been too bad either.

    McCollum is averaging 28.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 4.3 triples on 54.2 percent shooting in 36.9 minutes. The 3-pointers are the fourth-highest of anyone in that time span and McCollum has really been letting it fly. He’s attempting the most shots on the team at 19.7 per game and he’s only committing 0.7 turnovers although he has the ball in his hands a ton. The fifth-seeded Blazers have been rolling and these two are a huge reason why. They’re 7-3 in their last ten and are currently on a two-game winning streak. Dame and C.J. couldn’t have picked a better time to turn things on and hopefully they can continue as their owners hopefully get deeper into the playoffs.

    Brook Lopez, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks: Lopez has been great basically the entire season but he’s really stepped it into high gear over the past week. He’s actually the highest-ranked fantasy player on the Bucks, even above Giannis Antetokounmpo. Over his past four games he’s the 12th-ranked player in fantasy and putting up 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.8 blocks and 1.5 triples on 54.3 percent shooting in 31.0 minutes. He’s also attempting 4.5 free throws per game over his past four and has yet to miss a single one, which is incredible. T

    he Bucks have a pretty balanced scoring attack with six players taking more than eight shots per game and Lopez is still somehow managing to put up 15.5 points. The rebounds are also big for Lopez as he’s not really known to be the typical “rebounding” big although he’s 7’0. However, he’s averaging 8.0 rebounds right now and although that’s not incredible, it’s impressive for Lopez whose career average in rebounds is only 6.5 a night. Overall, he’s been amazing lately and his fantasy owners have got to be pleased.

    Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Miami Heat: Olynyk has become Miami’s best big man and it didn’t take very long for him to overthrow Hassan Whiteside at all. It seems like every season Olynyk has a stretch where he becomes a must-own guy and this is that time. He’s the 17th-ranked player over the past week and he’s just been rolling as of late. Over his past three games he’s averaging 12.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.3 triples on 41.4 percent shooting in 31.3 minutes. The two most important pieces of that stat line are the steals and the minutes. He’s playing 31.3 minutes compared to Hassan Whiteside’s 20.4 and Bam Adebayo’s 25.9 and seems to have a firm grasp on his position as the team’s best big option right now. He’s one of only two players over the past three games to even average 30 minutes along with Josh Richardson.

    The steals are abnormal for Olynyk as he’s only averaged more than 0.8 steals in a season once in his entire career. With that being said, the steals will likely decrease and even when they aren’t taken into account Olynyk is still the 59th-ranked player in all of fantasy. He’s also a stretch big who’s definitely capable of averaging two 3-pointers per game and always keeps his turnovers to a minimum. If he’s somehow on the wire in your league go change that and if you own them then just keep your fingers crossed that the minutes keep coming his way.

    Jalen Brunson, PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks: I have no clue what’s gotten into Brunson but the former Villanova guard has really put himself on the map. He’s been the Mavs’ best fantasy player over the past week with averages of 20.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.8 triples on 58.8 percent shooting in 34.4 minutes. He seems to have carved himself a place in the rotation as his 34.4 minutes are the second most on the team behind Luka Donic and his 12.8 shot attempts are the third most behind Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr.

    Brunson is also attempting 3.5 free throws per game and has yet to miss one over his past four so that’s helping his fantasy owners out as well. He doesn’t do much in terms of defensive stats but he’s providing in almost every other category, including field goal percentage, and doesn’t do a bad job in terms of turnovers either, only averaging 2.3 per game. He’s only owned in 30 percent of leagues so if he’s out there go get him right now as he could definitely help owners make some deep playoff runs.

    Stock Down

    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:

    Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers: Neutral

    Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz: Stock Up

    This Week

    Paul George, SG/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder: This is PG-13’s first appearance in the Stock Down section all season and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Over the past week he’s the 120th-ranked player and just hasn’t been able to get his shot to fall at all. He’s averaging 20.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 triples on a horrific 29.8 percent from the field in 35.2 minutes. After having the best season of his career and carrying his fantasy owners to countless wins, he’s choking when they need him the most. He’s actually attempting the third-most shots on the team over the past three games at 15.7, behind both Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder. He’s also committing a team-high 4.3 turnovers per game and when you’re committing more turnovers than Russell Westbrook you know it’s a problem.

    George’s value has really plummeted due to the horrible field goal percentage and if you’re punting it then he’s back up to the 39th-ranked player in fantasy. That’s good news because George is a career 43.3 percent shooter from the field and is too good of a player to continue to shoot this poorly. He’ll turn it around sooner or later, his owners just have to hope that it’s the former of those two options because they’ll need him for the playoffs.

    Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors: Just like George, this is Curry’s first appearance in the Stock Down section and it’s for similar reasons. Over the past week Curry is just the 131st-ranked player in fantasy and is averaging 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 4.0 triples on 33.3 percent shooting in 34.7 minutes. Curry is still attempting the second-most shots on the team behind Klay Thompson in that time span but he just isn’t getting his shot to fall as much as we’re used to. He’s also only attempting 2.0 free throws per game which is much lower than the 4.4 he’s attempting this season or the 5.9 he attempted last season. With that being said, Curry is only knocking those free throws down at a rate of 75.0 percent which is completely unlike the man who’s got a career free throw percentage of 90.5 and has had the highest free throw percentage in the league four times in his career.

    Perhaps the biggest problem lies in his turnovers as he’s averaging 5.0 per game over his last two, which is the most in the entire league over the past week. If you were to punt both percentages and turnovers, Curry would be the 18th-ranked player in fantasy but that’s just not realistic. I truly believe he’ll get back to his top-5 ways soon so if you own him in your league, don’t panic.

Fantasy News

  • Gordon Hayward - F - Boston Celtics

    Jackie MacMullan of ESPN cited Brad Stevens “force feeding” Gordon Hayward to help him come back from his gruesome ankle injury as what started the Celtics' chemistry issues that seemingly plagued the team all year long.

    “You hate to pick on Gordon Hayward because he was coming back from injury and he was doing the best he could, but I really think that’s where it started," said the longtime reporter. Basketball is a game of chemistry, and the Celtics seemed to lose theirs over the course of the year. At least externally, it appeared that Boston was disintegrating and now we might have some confirmation of this rift. Hayward returned and never really looked like himself, and Stevens devoting his faith to his former Butler Bulldog was obviously misplaced. The Celtics are trying to pick up their pieces from the aftermath of a disaster offseason so far as Kyrie Irving is likely gone and Al Horford is rumored to sign elsewhere once free agency begins on June 30th.

    Source: NBC Sports Boston

  • Tomas Satoransky - G/F - Washington Wizards

    As expected, Tomas Satoransky was included in Czech Republic’s preliminary squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup which will take place in China this summer.

    The 20-man roster also includes former first round pick Jan Vesely and big man Petr Herman, who is back in Europe after playing four years of college basketball at Loyola Marymount. Czech Republic will participate in Group E against the United States, Turkey and Japan. Sato is entering free agency this summer and it’s likely that he is able to secure a deal before the start of the World Cup.

    Source: Sportando

  • Al Horford - F/C - Boston Celtics

    A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston, is reporting that a team to keep an eye on in the Al Horford sweepstakes is the Nets.

    Horford is close to head coach Kenny Atkinson while the team has the cap space to offer him a max contract but this is simply a rumor at this point. The belief around the league is that Horford already knows there is a four-year contract worth in excess of $100 million waiting out there for him on June 30h and that’s why his negotiations with the Celtics fell apart. The sudden appearance of the Dominican center in the free agent market seems to have caught many of us off guard but it’s likely that some NBA teams have been preparing for this turn of events.

    Source: A. Sherrod Blakely on Twitter

  • Kevin Love - F/C - Cleveland Cavaliers

    According to Brian Windhorst, Kevin Love has been in some trade talks and the chances that he's on the Cavs next season are 50/50.

    Windhorst mentioned that it's hard to find the right deal for Love, who is set to start a 4-year $120 million contract this fall, but that's a much bigger chance of him leaving than had been recently reported. The Cavs likely have some summer deals to make, but as it sits now, the fantasy values of Larry Nance Jr. and Ante Zizic would be on the rise with a Love departure.

    Source: Aaron Goldhammer on Twitter

  • Bobby Portis - F - Washington Wizards

    Bobby Portis, who will likely become a restricted free agent after the Wizards extend a qualifying offer, is expected to be pursued by at least 5-10 teams once free agency begins.

    Among the teams that are reportedly interested in Portis are the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and the Knicks among others. If the Wizards extend the $3.6 million qualifying offer to Portis, they will have the chance to match any contract offer Portis receives from another team.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Marc Stein of The New York Times is reporting that the Nets believe they are the favorites to land Kyrie Irving in free agency.

    Irving to the Nets has been on overdrive the past few weeks, and it's looking almost certain that Irving will be on the Nets, Lakers or Knicks come July 1st. D'Angelo Russell may be playing elsewhere next season if the Nets acquire Irving in free agency. Stay tuned.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Rob Pelinka - Team - Los Angeles Lakers

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Lakers are aggressively pursuing the purchase of second-round picks in Thursday’s draft.

    In addition to trying to unload additional bench players, the Lakers would like to acquire a few second-round picks to round out their roster with minimum salary players. If the Lakers can get any late picks, it will give the team even more breathing room in free agency. The Lakers’ master plan after signing LeBron James last offseason is starting to shift into high gear.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - Los Angeles Lakers

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Lakers are trying to expand the Anthony Davis trade to open up a max salary slot on July 6, by offering up Mo Wagner, Jemerrio Jones and Isaac Bonga to additional teams.

    The Lakers got their guy in AD, but they also want more wiggle room for another max guy and role players to fill out their roster. It seems that the team will do whatever it takes to get that third max player spot, aside from moving Kyle Kuzma. It seems very likely that another team will join in on the deal.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, since the season ended, Kyrie Irving has been communicating forthrightly with Celtics' officials both privately and publicly signaling that he will leave the team in free agency.

    It has been widely expected that Irving would leave the Celtics for a bit now, with the Nets being the team most analysts are pegging Irving end up with. With the news that Al Horford is going elsewhere, there is little reason to believe that Irving would stick around. We should have an official update on Irving's intentions soon enough.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Al Horford - F/C - Boston Celtics

    Sources close to Al Horford have told Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that his camp is no longer discussing a new contract with the Celtics and he is expected to sign a 4-year deal elsewhere.

    A few short months ago the Celtics were pegged as the favorites to land Anthony Davis, and forming a new big three of there own. Flash forward to now, and Davis is on the Lakers, and it looks like both Horford and Kyrie Irving are set to leave. The Celtics couldn't have foreseen a worse start to the offseason.

    Source: Steve Bulpett on Twitter