• Whats up HoopBallers!

    Hope your fantasy seasons are going great, a little bit of a humble brag: Mine are.

    I’m currently 2-0 in the points league I have with my friends from home and I’m 13-5 in the HoopBall Staff League and sitting in second place. The only person ahead of me right now is Neil, one of the hosts of the nightly Box Score Breakdown podcast. Yes, that was a shameless plug for another podcast that I myself am not on but hey, we’re a family here at Hoop-Ball so if they eat, we all eat.

    Technically Neil has the advantage considering he literally breaks down box scores every night so he’s already cheating which means he forfeits his position in first place. Therefore, I’m currently sitting at first place in the Hoop-Ball league.

    All jokes aside though, if you guys do want to support me or hear what I actually sound like or just listen to a good old fashioned Brooklyn Nets podcast you can now do so. Myself and another HoopBall contributor, Hunter Jacobs , have just recently started a Brooklyn Nets podcast on HoopBall entitled, you guessed it, The HoopBall Nets Podcast. I figured it was time for me to integrate myself into the world of podcasts and since I live in New York what better team to cover then the Nets.

    Yes, I could’ve chosen the Knicks but they’re old news, the Nets run NYC now. Well, I mean I guess the Yankees do but in terms of basketball it’s definitely the Nets. Back to the podcast though, we’re two episodes deep and Hunter and I love recording those things. What I think will make us stand out from other podcasts is actually our lack of experience, which is ironic.

    Usually when I say that people ask me why anyone would want to listen to a podcast where the hosts don’t know what they’re talking about. Well, being inexperienced and not knowing what you’re talking about are two completely different things. I’d like to believe Hunter and I are very knowledgable in the realm of basketball and now in all things Brooklyn Nets, it’s just podcasting itself we’re new at. Listeners will have the chance to hear us mess up a bunch, and when I say a bunch trust me I mean a BUNCH, of times. However, they’ll also get to hear us learn from those mistakes and grow as podcasters.

    We’re an investment, so take the chance on us and I promise we won’t let you down. If you want to follow the podcast i’ll link it’s Twitter account here. We appreciate every single one of you.

    Now that the second shameless plug of this article is out the way, 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:

    Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks: Stock Down

    Nikola Jokic, PF/C, Denver Nuggets: Neutral

    Blake Griffin, PF/C, Detroit Pistons: Neutral

    JaVale McGee, C, Los Angeles Lakers: Neutral

    Danny Green, SG/SF, Toronto Raptors: Neutral

    Stock Up

    Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors: The Golden Boy himself has come out of the gates on literal fire. He’s the front-runner for MVP right now and is averaging a league-leading 32.5 points, 5.5 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 6.0 triples on an insane 54.3 percent shooting in 33.6 minutes. He’s shooting 51.6 percent from the 3-point line alone and is truly proving why he’s the best shooter of all time. He’s the number two ranked player in fantasy behind only Anthony Davis and in most drafts he was falling outside of the top-5, in my own personal draft he didn’t go until pick nine. He’s averaging career highs in 3-point and field goal percentage along with rebounds, 3-point attempts and points. The man is getting you six triples per game, thats almost enough to guarantee you win that position every week. If he has a four game week that’s around 24 triples alone from just him. He’s attempting the most shots he’s ever taken in his entire career, including before Kevin Durant got here and he simply looks un-guardable and unstoppable. If you took him in your league, congrats and if you didn’t then you’re definitely probably face-palming every time you see a deep three splash in.

    Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz: Gobert was being drafted later than usual after having a very, very injury riddled season last year but so far he’s doing amazing. He’s currently the ninth best player in per-game value above guys like Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid and Nikola Vucevic. Gobert is averaging 17.7 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.7 blocks on 75.0 percent shooting in 34.1 minutes. The 75.0 percent from the field is second in the league right now and he’s knocking down every shot he gets to take. His turnovers, which are currently sitting at 2.3 are a career-high but he’s also taking the most shots he ever has in his career meaning that the Jazz are putting the ball in his hands more on the offensive end. He’s getting his owners rebounds, points, blocks, great field goal percentage and is also shooting 73.7 percent from the charity stripe which is better than Anthony Davis who takes the most free throws in the league. He was actually a steal for his owners on draft night and if he could stay healthy he could be in for a top-15 finish.

    Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers: My next two guys both happen to be Clippers but we’re going to start with the Rooster first. Gallinari is a guy that’s capable of putting up top-25 value but has always been hampered by injuries. Well, he seems healthy this season and is sure showing it, averaging 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.1 triples on 46.4 percent shooting in 28.8 minutes. Those stats are good enough to have him ranked as the 22nd ranked player right now and if he doesn’t get injured he could stay up there. He’s attempting the second most shots on the team at 13.9 compared to Tobias Harris’ 15.4 and the Clippers look to be a much better team than anyone thought. I’d still sell-high though because it all just seems too good to be true and its only a matter of time before you and everyone else gets a notification on their phones telling them how long the Rooster will be out.

    Honorable Mentions: 

    Montrezl Harrell, PF/C, Los Angeles Clippers: I regret dropping Harrell in the HoopBall Staff league as he’s now tearing up the game. He’s the 60th ranked player as of right now and was going outside the top-150 in a ton of drafts. The Clippers front-court situation is unpredictable but everyone knows that Marcin Gortat is washed up and that Harrell has more upside than Boban as of right now. Harrell is playing more minutes than both Gortat (17.7) and Boban (9.5) and that trend should continue as he’s clearly their best option at center. He’s averaging 13.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.9 blocks on 64.0 percent shooting in only 20.4 minutes. If he’s still available on your wire then sprint and go grab him because he could be one of the pickups of the year when it’s all said and done.

    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:

    Kyrie Irving, PG/SG, Boston Celtics: Neutral

    Dennis Smith Jr., PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks: Stock Up

    Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors: Stock Up

    Victor Oladipo, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers: Stock Up

    Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG, Utah Jazz: Stock Up

    Stock Down

    Otto Porter, SF, Washington Wizards

    For the last two years, Otto Porter has finished inside the top-25 when it comes to per-game value and since his rookie year hasn’t finished outside of the top-50. Well, he’s currently sitting at 73 and has managed to string together a couple of very, very forgettable games.

    In the seven games he’s played this season, Porter is averaging 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.1 triple on 41.4 percent shooting in 30.8 minutes. The points and assists would be the lowest he’s averaged since the 2014-2015 season but other than that, everything is really the same. When you drafted Porter you weren’t looking for him to get you a ton of points and assists anyway and neither one is low enough to warrant the low ranking he’s got right now.

    So then what’s wrong with Porter?

    It’s simple, it’s whats wrong with a ton of underperforming players right now, they’re percentages are down the drain. Now yes, Kelly Oubre is integrating himself more into the offense and attempting 10.6 shots per game which is a career-high for them, but Porter is still definitely the better of the two players. He just can’t seem to knock down shots at the rate he had been previously, but I have faith he’ll turn it around.

    He’s currently shooting 27.6 percent from behind the arc after being one of the best 3-point shooters in the league over the past two seasons. Porter shot 43.4 percent from behind the arc in 2016 and 44.1 percent from triple last season and it’s not like players just forget how to shoot. He’s hasn’t just gone cold from behind the arc, he’s gone cold from the field period, shooting 41.4 percent from the field on the season which would be the lowest since his rookie season.

    Bottom line, Porter hasn’t just lost his touch and although Oubre is gaining more time in the rotation, Porter should still be able to post the top of value you drafted him for. He’s a prime buy-low candidate and the Wizards might even get a new coach soon because it doesn’t really seem like Scott Brooks has a handle on things anymore.

    Gordon Hayward, SG/SF, Boston Celtics 

    Unlike Otto Porter Jr., I don’t have much faith in Hayward turning things around. Things are far too crowded in Boston for him to be awarded the opportunity to figure things out and he’s still on a pretty decent minutes restriction. If he’s not having a good shooting night it’s very easy for Brad Stevens to just take him out and put in Jaylen Brown or Marcus Smart or Marcus Morris.

    Had Hayward been on a different team, one with much less depth, things would’ve been fine. He would’ve started slow until he got his legs back under him and then taken off for his fantasy owners somewhere around December. However, on this Celtics team he won’t be given the luxury of just “figuring it out”. Sure, if he’s hot then he’ll play a couple of extra minutes but he probably won’t be able to get hot with him only being on the court for short spurts.

    It seems as though Jayson Tatum has taken over the role Hayward was signed to fill last season as the secondary scorer to Kyrie Irving. Had Hayward not missed last season it’s very possible that Tatum doesn’t develop as quickly but since he did, Hayward’s isn’t as needed as he once was. That’s the pick I regret the most in my points league, picking Gordon Hayward over Gary Harris and even Luka Doncic. I panicked and took him based on his name alone and that’s one of the biggest mistakes a fantasy owner can make.

    Right now Hayward is the 212th ranked player in fantasy with averages of 10.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 triples on 40.7 percent shooting in 24.5 minutes. Now his minutes will undoubtedly go up but not by much. It’s almost impossible for me to envision a world where Hayward gets 30 minutes per game on this Celtics team and I believe his minutes will max out at around 27 or 28. While that’s still enough time for him to put up good value, I just don’t believe it’ll happen.

    Hayward has played at least 34 minutes per game in every season since the 2013-2014 season and those high amounts of minutes is what contributed so much to him as a fantasy player. Both his rebounding numbers and 3-point percentage is on-par with what he’s averaged his entire career so the only thing left to bring up are points, assists and field goal percentage. While it’s likely he gets better as the season continues, Hayward ins’t a headache I’d be wanting to deal with. It’s probably too late to just ship him off to another unsuspecting owner bases on name alone so you’re just going to have to rock with him until he goes on a hot streak.

    Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Sure, he’s a walking triple-double but he’s also a walking turnover and free throw percentage killer.

    Westbrook does so much in a ton of categories and in no way am I trying to take that away from him, but he also hurts a couple quite a lot. Most guys being drafted in the top-12 like he usually is don’t hurt as many categories as him. For example, KD, Steph, Dame and even KAT can all be drafted safely without having to worry about them tanking you one category.

    On the other hand, if you draft Westbrook you know there’s a good shot you’re losing turnovers every single week. He’s currently the 95th player in 9-cat leagues behind Paul George, Steven Adams and even Nerlens Noel and that’s just the guys on his own team. He’s fourth in the league in turnovers with 4.8 behind only James Harden, the Greek Freak and Devin Booker.

    Now I know what you’re thinking, “Aren’t Harden and Giannis players that are usually drafted high too? So why aren’t they in Stock Down?”

    Well, I’ve debated putting Giannis in here for a while but I’ve held off as he’s only the 30th ranked player in fantasy despite being the consensus number one pick in a ton of leagues. What makes Westbrook different from those two is that he hurts you in more categories and much worse in those said categories. It’s not only turnovers with Westbrook, but free throw percentage as well and for an explosive guard who gets to the basket so much, that’s a killer. Westbrook is taking the fifth most free throws per game at 8.3 and for someone who takes that many to only be knocking them down at a 60.6 percent clip is hurtful for fantasy owners.

    The players taking more free throws than Westbrook are Harden, Joel Embiid, Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis, who are all pretty reliable free throw shooters. He’s averaging 25.0 points, 7.8 assists, 10.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 0.5 triples on 48.1 percent shooting in 33.0 minutes. The 48.1 percent from the field is a career-high for Westbrook so I’d expect some regression in that. He’s also not knocking down triples after averaging at least 1.2 in every year since 2011 so his production is already being limited.

    If I owned him, I’d sell HIGH on name alone and I guarantee you’ll probably find someone who bites.

    Honorable Mentions: 

    Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves: So I stayed away from Butler in every draft I did, even mocks because I didn’t want to be apart of this Wolves drama. Not because Butler is a bad player by any means, he’s currently the third ranked player in fantasy but a report recently came out that he’d be sitting out in order to get the All-Star Game moved from Minnesota. Butler later came out and said it’s not true and that his body just needed rest, whether it’s true or not this is exactly what I wanted to stay away from. He’s an amazing asset when he’s on the court but how often will that be as long as he’s still going through it with the Wolves. Since he’s performing so well you could probably ship him off for a much better, long term option so give it a try.


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