April 4, 2019, 6:17 pm
Welcome to the final edition of Stock Watch this season, by the time all of you have either finished your leagues or are in the final week right now. I’d love to know how many of you actually walked away with the fantasy gold, so feel free to tweet me @najeeadams_ and let me know. It’s been a great season, filled with ups, downs, triumphs, failures and everything in between and I truly believe we’re about to witness one of the craziest offseasons in years. However, we’re still pretty far away from that, we’ve still got the playoffs and of course the Finals before we get to the good stuff.
With all of that being said, I hope you all had an amazing season and I hope that I was able to help at least one of you this year. Before I get into Stock Watch, let me just offer one last shameless plug. If you like the Brooklyn Nets or just want to support two college kids trying to make it big in this sports industry, go listen and subscribe to the Hoop-Ball Nets podcast on iTunes and leave a five-star rating and review.
It’s been a pleasure writing Stock Watch this season and I can’t wait to make things even better next year. Here’s one last edition to get you through your most important week. See you all soon!
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:
Thomas Bryant, C, Washington Wizards: Stock Up
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers: Stock Up
JaVale McGee, C, Los Angeles Lakers: Stock Down
Seth Curry, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers: Stock Down
Christian Wood, PF, New Orleans Pelicans: Wood should’ve been on this list two weeks ago so excuse me but here he is, finally. He’s been absolutely eating as of late in pretty limited minutes which really makes me wish they’d play him more. Over the past month, Wood is the 50th ranked player with averages of 15.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.6 blocks and 0.4 triples on 58.0 percent shooting in only 23.1 minutes. If we were going by his per-36 stats, Wood would be putting up 24.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2.5 blocks which is absolutely incredible. Another great thing about Wood is the fact that he’s only averaging 2.0 turnovers over the past two weeks which only adds to his value.
The Pelicans only have three games left and he should see a good amount of run in those games as his minutes have already gone up to 25.1 over the past week. If you grabbed him a couple of weeks ago then you’re an absolute genius and if you’re still looking for someone to help you seal the deal in your final week, he could be your guy. He should be owned everywhere right now.
Justin Holiday, SG, Memphis Grizzlies: Holiday has been amazing as of late and over the past two weeks he’s playing the second most minutes of anyone on the entire Grizzlies roster. In his past seven games he’s averaging 12.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.3 triples on 43.2 percent shooting in 34.1 minutes. He’s actually not doing anything great, he’s just managing to provide value in all areas which makes him well worth owning right now. The Grizzlies have no shot at the playoffs, currently sitting at 31-46, and they’ve got four games left which means Holiday has plenty of time left to help his owners.
He’s attempting 10.6 shots over the past two weeks which is the fourth most on the team in that time span. However, Jonas Valanciunas, who takes the most shots at 17.8, is out for the season and Mike Conley is questionable almost every single game. Holiday will face off against the Mavericks twice and the Pistons during his last four games and both of those teams are amongst the top half of the league when it comes to the field goal percentage they allow to their opponents. He’s a 3-and-D guy and he deserves to be owned right now.
Alex Len, C, Atlanta Hawks: Dewayne Dedmon is out for the season and that means that Alex Len should have the green light for the next three games. Over the past week he’s been the 78th-ranked player in only 23.1 minutes so imagine what he could do if he was getting at least 28. In that time span he’s putting up 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 3.0 triples on 65.6 percent shooting with only 1.3 turnovers. The only thing holding Len back from being a top-50 guy is the fact that he just doesn’t play enough minutes because everything else looks to be spectacular.
He’s only attempting 10.7 shots per game but he’s been hyper-efficient as of late and that’s one of the reasons he’s worth owning. I will say, his last three games come against the Bucks, Pacers and Magic which all rank in the top-8 of least amount of points allowed in the paint so it’ll be a tough matchup. However, the opportunity should be there and he’s only owned in 23 percent of leagues so go scoop him up now if you can.
Sterling Brown, SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks: If you’re not a Bucks fan, you probably have no clue who this man is, I definitely didn’t. Well, he’s only owned in 7 percent of leagues and could be a crucial piece of some championship-winning teams down the stretch. Over the past week he’s the 31st-ranked player in all of fantasy with averages of 18.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.0 triples on 51.2 percent shooting in 30.9 minutes. Brown is playing a ton of minutes because the Bucks have basically locked down the number one seed and are resting their key players, which means Brown has the green light to do as he pleases.
The Bucks are 2-1 in their last three games and that’s when Brown has really been playing big minutes. Why would coach Mike Budenholzer play his star players when they’re still winning games without them? He wouldn’t, which means Brown should have a ton of opportunity coming his way over the next four games. If you’re in your championship week I would highly recommend picking up Brown because he could be the difference maker you’ve been looking for.
Walt Lemon, G/F, Chicago Bulls: With a name like Walt Lemon Jr., you’ve got to produce in fantasy. Well, Lemon is doing so as the Bulls are extremely banged up with no chance at a playoff berth. Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr and Wendell Carter Jr. are all out right now. That’s literally the Bulls’ entire starting lineup out with injuries and the likelihood of any of them returning with just three games left are slim-to-none. That has given birth to a ton of opportunity on the Bulls and Lemon is making the most of it.
Over the past two weeks he’s the 34th-ranked player in fantasy with averages of 16.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 3.0 steals on 51.2 percent shooting in 30.2 minutes. The 30.2 minutes are the second most of anyone on the team in that time span behind only Shaq Harrison and Lemon is attempting the most shots on the team right now at 14.3. He’s become their go-to guy now that all of their real go-to guys are gone. He’s only averaging 1.7 turnovers per game and is owned in 4 percent of leagues so he’s worth a look if you need some help.
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:
Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors: Stock Up
Kevin Love, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers: Stock Down
Jarrett Allen, C, Brooklyn Nets: Stock Down
Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers: Butler has shown flashes of the dynamic player we know he can be but he just hasn’t been that same guy on the 76ers. He’s been used to being the only great player, or at least the best player, on his team and that hasn’t been the case in Philadelphia. Over the past week he’s the 131st-ranked player in fantasy with averages of 12.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 triples on 31.6 percent shooting in 35.4 minutes. The shooting percentage is obviously not too great and neither is his percentage from the charity stripe. Butler is shooting just 66.7 percent from the free throw line on 5.0 attempts per game over the last week which isn’t helping boost his value any.
He’s basically gone from being the number one option on a team to being Philly’s number five option. Yes, he’s the fifth option on the 76ers. Over the past week, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick are all taking more shots than Butler. Not only will that affect a player’s production but it’s got to effect his morale as well. I truly believe that whether or not the 76ers win a championship is irrelevant for Butler, he’s leaving regardless and unfortunately for fantasy owners, he won’t be the driving factor to your championship that you probably hoped he’d be.
D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, Brooklyn Nets: There is no doubt that this has been a breakout season for Russell, but it’s crunch time for the Nets right now and he’s hit a shooting slump at the worst time. The Nets are 39-40 right now and they’re tied with the Magic, who are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Right now they’re sitting at the seventh seed but they are only half a game ahead of the ninth-seeded Heat, which means they’ve got to win games. However, the Nets have the hardest rest-of-season schedule in the league according to tankathon.com and have to play the Bucks, Pacers and Heat in their final three games. That game against the Heat could very well decide who gets into the playoffs just as the Nuggets and Timberwolves game did last season.
Well, D’Angelo Russell, the team’s leader, best player and only All-Star will need to step up and possibly carry his team into the playoffs. The question is, is he capable of doing so? Over the past week he’s the 150th-ranked player in fantasy with averages of 24.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.5 triples in 31.3 minutes. Those stats sound amazing don’t they? Well let me tell you the rest of his averages in that time.
He’s putting up 5.0 turnovers and shooting 40.0 percent from the field and 70.0 percent from the free throw line while attempting 23.8 shots. The 40.0 percent is decent, not amazing, but it’s decent. However, the 5.0 turnovers aren’t going to do anything but help other teams bounce the Nets from the playoffs. This was the worst time for Russell to get reckless with the ball and the Nets are 3-7 in their last 10. It should be an exciting next three games for the Eastern Conference and if Russell can clutch up and will his Nets into the playoffs then his season will get a nice little bow wrapped atop it, but if not, everything he worked so hard to prove this year might go right out of the window.
With that being said, thank you all for sticking with me this year and I hope you’ve all had a great season and also have an amazing offseason. See you all after the NBA Finals wrap up!
April 18, 2019, 1:13 amRicky Rubio - G - Utah Jazz
Ricky Rubio put up 17 points with four rebounds, nine assists and four steals in a loss to the Rockets in Game 2 on Wednesday.
He shot 7-of-17 from the field and had the unfortunate matchup against James Harden for much of this game. Harden hit him with a crossover that sent Rubio to the floor, but he missed the shot. The Jazz have been getting good performances from Rubio and Derrick Favors, but the inconsistent play from the remainder of their roster has left them with a two-game series deficit. The Jazz are heading back to Utah for Game 3 as they will try to steal their first game of the series.
April 18, 2019, 1:06 amDonovan Mitchell - G - Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell had another poor shooting night as he went 5-of-18 from the field on his way to 11 points in a Game 2 blowout loss to the Rockets on Wednesday.
Mitchell shot just 1-of-8 from 3-point territory and 0-of-2 from the stripe. He also had five fouls and four turnovers while playing a team-high 37 minutes. He did add six assists and two steals, but this was a disappointing performance from the second-year rising star. Eric Gordon has been outshining him, but Mitchell has a chance to rectify things as the Jazz head home for Game 3.
April 18, 2019, 1:00 amDerrick Favors - F/C - Utah Jazz
Derrick Favors played well in his 22 minutes of action in a Game 2 loss to the Rockets on Wednesday, with 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
Although Favors is putting up good numbers in such limited minutes, you should not expect to see him go above 25 minutes at all in this series. He shot 7-of-11 from the field and missed both of his attempts from deep. Also, the Rockets play a lot of small ball as PJ Tucker is their power forward, so Favors is often at a defensive disadvantage when on the court.
April 18, 2019, 12:56 amRudy Gobert - C - Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert did not have a great showing in Wednesday's Game 2 loss to the Rockets as he managed just 11 points and 12 rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting.
He made five of his seven attempts from the stripe and added one assist and two steals to the stat sheet. He did not record a block in this one which is rare to see from Gobert as he averaged 2.3 blocks per game on the season. Clint Capela has been defending Gobert well, which is making things a lot tougher on the Jazz to score and rebound the ball. Gobert will look to bounce back as the Jazz head home for Game 3.
April 18, 2019, 12:47 amRoyce O'Neale - F - Utah Jazz
Royce O'Neale played well on Wednesday in a Game 2 blowout loss to the Rockets as he had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with three triples and four assists.
O'Neale stepped up as Joe Ingles managed just seven points on 3-of-8 shooting with five steals. He saw 27 minutes of action in this one after seeing just 15 minutes in Game 1. He has guarded James Harden on numerous possessions thus far and it seems as though Harden goes at him every chance he gets. This may be the best game we see from O'Neale all series, but he has given the Jazz some solid run off the bench thus far.
April 18, 2019, 12:37 amJames Harden - G - Houston Rockets
James Harden dominated the Jazz in Game 2 on Wednesday as he triple-doubled with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Aside from his eight turnovers, there was not much to complain about Harden’s performance. Rather, there were elements of Harden’s showing that deserve high praise such as his six triples, one block and toughness throughout the entire game. He would not back down from Ricky Rubio and actually crossed him up in the first half. The Beard is continuing his MVP-like season into the playoffs, which is no surprise given how truly great his 2018-19 campaign was.
April 18, 2019, 12:31 amChris Paul - G - Houston Rockets
Chris Paul put up 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting with two steals and two blocks in a blowout win over the Jazz on Wednesday.
He made just one of his six 3-point attempts and turned the ball over six times. However, he did add four rebounds and three assists to the box score as well. James Harden is clearly the dominating force for the Rockets, but Paul's stability will be crucial for the team to continue their playoff success.
April 18, 2019, 12:25 amEric Gordon - G - Houston Rockets
Eric Gordon outplayed Donovan Mitchell once again in Game 2 as the Rockets beat the Jazz 118-98 on Wednesday.
Gordon scored 16 points on an efficient 6-of-11 shooting and 3-of-6 shooting from long-range. He also contributed one rebound, two steals and one block to the stat sheet. Gordon is tasked with guarding Mitchell, which is the toughest defensive assignment on the Rockets and he is thriving in that role. He has held him to 30 points on 37 shots in the series thus far. This series could potentially end in four games if Gordon continues to play at this high of a level.
April 18, 2019, 12:17 amPJ Tucker - F - Houston Rockets
PJ Tucker drilled four triples on his way to 16 points in a blowout win over the Jazz in Game 2 on Wednesday.
He added two steals and four boards while converting five of his eight shots from the field. The Rockets have confidence in Tucker to fire from deep and he proved them right as he drilled four of his seven attempts from 3-point territory. Surrounding James Harden with 3-and-D wing players has been their formula for success and Tucker fits that mold perfectly. When Tucker is hitting his shots, the Rockets are likely to dominate the way they did tonight.
April 18, 2019, 12:09 amClint Capela - C - Houston Rockets
Clint Capela did not have to do much in the Rockets’ Game 2 blowout win over the Jazz on Wednesday as he had just seven points and 10 rebounds with three blocks.
He shot 3-of-4 from the field and added one assist and one steal to the box score. Although the numbers were down in this one, he did what he had to do in his 29 minutes of action as he kept Rudy Gobert in check as well. Capela is an important cog in the Rockets’ formula for success, so even when he is not scoring as much he is still impacting the game in other ways.