• What’s up HoopBallers!

    I’m going to let you in on a little secret… last week I completely forgot the “Community Choice” spot for Stock Watch. Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t, but I know when I was writing it I realized I had never posted the forum post for Week 3.

    However, fear not. It shall return this week.

    Before we get into Stock Watch let me update you on how I’m doing in the Hoop-Ball Staff league. I’m currently tied for second in the league with an 18-8-1 record while also having made the least amount of moves at one. The only move I’ve made so far was dropping Montrezl Harrell for Terry Rozier which I’m definitely regretting, but hey you live and you learn.

    Funny thing is, guess who I’m tied with. You guessed it….Panda.

    The man whose team I criticized for “sucking” in the beginning of the year is currently tied with me after winning 9-0 last week so I guess I’ll just go shove my foot in my mouth. What’s even better is that I’m currently playing the first place team which is sitting at 19-8 and as I’m writing this I’m winning the matchup 5-4. However, most of the categories are extremely close so it’s very likely I’ll be losing by the end of the night.

    In my points league on the other hand, I’m in first place and currently sitting at 3-0. However, right now I’m facing one of my good friends who is also 3-0 so this is a very important week for both of my fantasy basketball leagues.

    Before I get into Stock Watch let me just plug my newest project real quick yet again. I love the writing side of basketball and am so grateful to be apart of it, but I’m also trying out something new. I recently started a podcast with another writer here at Hoop-Ball and it’s all about the Brooklyn Nets.

    I know, the Nets are bad.

    I feel like that’s the fun thing about it though. Who wants to cover a team like the Warriors where you already know they’re going to win 65 percent of their games and make the NBA Finals. I’d much rather cover the journey the Nets take this season and this offseason in the hopes of building a playoff, maybe even championship, contender. Listen, I’m not saying you have to love it. I’m just asking for anyone who’s reading this to give it a chance.

    You can follow us on Twitter @HoopBallNets and you can find on on iTunes here and Stitcher here. While you’re at it, leave a review (preferably five stars) and subscribe to the show if you like it. Thanks in advance.

    Editor’s Note: Come join our Beat the Expert contest through our partnership with DraftKings and see if you can beat our own Mike Apotria! Top 10 slots pay out, top finisher gets a Hoop Ball T-Shirt. Free entry with a first deposit of $5 or more. The contest runs tonight so check that out here! Furthermore, you can sign up for our Hoop Ball Premium Membershipfor FREE if you sign up with DraftKings as a new user with a $10 deposit. Good Luck tonight!

    With all of that out of the way, lets 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:

    Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors: Neutral

    Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz: Stock Down

    Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers: Neutral

    Montrezl Harrell, PF/C, Los Angeles Clippers: Neutral

    Stock Up

    De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings 

    Player A over the past two games: 23.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 10.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 3.0 3-pointers, 2.5 turnovers on 55.6 percent shooting in 29.9 minutes.

    Player B over the past two games: 26.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 3.5 steals, 5.0 3-pointers, 6.5 turnovers on 43.8 percent shooting in 34.2 minutes.

    If I gave you those two players’ stats without telling you their names, which one would you choose?

    I’d choose Player A easily. Sure the points, steals and triples are down but he destroys the other player in rebounds, assists, turnovers and field goal percentage in less minutes. Do you want to know who the players are now?

    Well obviously you know one is De’Aaron Fox because why else would this be under his section of “Stock Up”, but who’s the other guy? Fox is Player A and Player B is…. James Harden. Yup, that’s right, a consensus top-3 pick in almost every league is currently being outplayed by De’Aaron Fox. Yes, I know it’s only two games but when you watch Fox play this season, he legitimately looks like he’s taken that next step.

    In no way am I trying to say that De’Aaron Fox will be better than James Harden for the rest of the season, I’m just using Harden to show you all how good Fox has been playing lately. On the season, Fox is the 80th ranked player but over the past two weeks he’s risen up to 58 and he’s been even better over the past week, coming in as the 4th ranked player. The Kings’ young backcourt of Fox and Buddy Hield seem like they’re ready to both take the leap and after a lackluster rookie year, Fox seems poised to make a huge sophomore leap.

    Fox is playing in the second fastest paced offense in the league and the Kings are currently sitting at 6-4, which is actually much better than many people probably expected. He has no real competition for playing time at the point guard spot and is emerging as the Kings’ best player so they’ll be keeping him out there as many minutes as possible. It will take a ton to pry him away from his fantasy owners so don’t get bamboozled trying to trade for him, but if you can float out a sell-high guy who won’t sustain that kind of value for much longer then go ahead.

    Josh Richardson, SG/SF, Miami Heat

    Richardson has been a breakout candidate for the last couple of years and each year he continues to show flashes, but ultimately not quite reach the ceiling everyone expects him to. He’s got an incredible skillset and this season it looks like he’ll finally have the numbers to match.

    Richardson is currently the 27th ranked player in fantasy and he’s been improving each and every game. Over the past two weeks he’s the 14th ranked player and over his past three games he’s the 8th ranked player. The Heat’s rotation is very unclear and volatile, but it seems as though one of the only stable pieces of it is Richardson. He’s averaging 24.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks and 3.7 triples on 44.3 percent shooting in 37.9 minutes over the past week and he only looks to keep on improving.

    He’s attempting the most shots on the Heat with 17.7 and seems to finally be asserting himself as their best, and most talented player. He’s the most versatile guy Miami has and also seems to be their best scorer so he should be in for big minutes for the rest of the year. Richardson is a guy that handles the ball a ton but also manages to not kill owners with the turnovers, only averaging 1.9 this season.

    He’s a dream for owners in 9-cat leagues as he contributes in literally every category and owners were able to get him with a pick outside of the top-75 on draft day yet again. He’ll likely be a 20-point per game scorer this year while also giving his owners a steal, a block and over 2.0 threes per game. There’s not a ton of players in the league that can do that, making Richardson all the more valuable. This year finally looks like the year that Richardson may really break out and become a household name while helping his owners earn some fantasy glory in the process.

    Zach LaVine, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls 

    Just like Richardson, LaVine looks poised to take the leap into superstardom that has been predicted for him for so many years. He’s got full control over this Bulls team and has the green light to take as many shots as he pleases which usually leads to fantasy success.

    When I look at LaVine and the Bulls it reminds be of how Devin Booker and the Suns were in years prior. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if LaVine had a 65-70 point game this season if he keeps this pace up. Before drafting Deandre Ayton, the Suns were a team without much else to hang their hat on, so it made some sense to allow Booker to jack up 19 or 20 shots per game and go from there.

    For the Bulls, it’s the exact same situation.

    LaVine is currently attempting 20.1 shots per game and no one else on the entire roster is attempting more 13. He has the ball in his hands a ton, as shown by his 33.1 usage rate which is good enough for third in the entire NBA behind the Greek Freak and Russell Westbrook. With LaVine, it simply boils down to opportunity and he’s got a lot of it. He’s currently the 36th ranked player in fantasy and living up to the expectations that were set for him when he first got traded to the Bulls.

    He’s putting up 27.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.3 triples on 46.1 percent shooting in 35.8 minutes. The high-flying LaVine is also getting the the free throw line a ton as he’s attempting the 7th most in the league at 7.8 per game. He’s knocking them down at a clip of 84.9 percent so he’s definitely not hurting owners in that category. In fact, the only thing LaVine is really killing his owners in is the turnover category this season, averaging 4.0 per game but that’s to be expected by someone who has the ball in their hands as much as he does.

    You know who else is top-7 in turnovers with LaVine? Devin Booker.

    Both guys are in similar situations, but LaVine has even more freedom than Booker and seeing as how Booker finished as a top-50 fantasy player last season, things are looking good for Zach LaVine.

    Honorable Mentions 

    Derrick White, PG, San Antonio Spurs: This is just a reminder to go and scoop up White if he was dropped in your league. He made his debut for the Spurs on Wednesday and dropped a dud, finishing the game with only one rebound, three assists and one steal in 16 minutes. He failed to score, but it was encouraging to see him starting in his first game back. White showed he had some potential in the preseason before he went down and the Spurs clearly trust him. He’s a starting point guard and those aren’t to easy to find on the wire so go get him if he was dropped.

    Wendell Carter Jr., C, Chicago Bulls: Carter has really turned it on as of late, coming in as the 20th ranked player over the past two weeks which is the highest of any Bulls player including Zach LaVine. His stock is on the rise as of late as he’s putting up averages of 14.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.3 blocks on 48.2 percent shooting in 27.1 minutes over his past eight games. It’s clear that the Bulls have moved on from Robin Lopez and that starting center spot is firmly in the hands of Carter Jr. He could be in for a big rookie year and an even bigger second half of the season if the Bulls fall out of contention.

    Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Toronto Raptors: Ibaka has really picked it up as of late, averaging 20.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.3 blocks on 63.1 percent shooting in 25.1 minutes. Those stats are good enough to make him the 16th ranked player over the past two weeks and he’s barley playing over 25 minutes. Do I think Serge Ibaka is back to being his old-self? Not exactly, but he could be in for a season much better than the ones he’s been having. Still though, it’s tough to believe that all of a sudden he’s a top-35 guy again after finishing outside of it over the past two seasons. I’d sell high on Ibaka now while he’s still on fire and see what I could get for him.

    Community Choice:

    Kyle Lowry, who was recommended by Hoop-Ball’s own Dio Nikiforos.

    Dio explained that, “It’s always good to see NBA players buying into a coach’s Xs and Os and Kyle Lowry looks like he has fully embraced Nick Nurse’s style. The assists numbers and his overall performance (other than maybe the percentages) don’t look like a fluke and he is currently returning first round value in 9-cat leagues.”

    I actually wanted to put Lowry in the Stock Up section myself but I figured I’d let Dio take the credit for this one. Lowry is on absolute fire right now and he’s the 5th ranked player in fantasy currently. When DeMar DeRozan left some people wondered if it would be good for Lowry because of the chemistry between those two. Well, seems like that question was answered as the league-leading 11.5 assists Lowry is averaging is a career-high for him. He’s also currently shooting the best field goal percentage of his career at a flat 50.0 percent while shooting the second highest 3-point percentage of his career at 40.8 percent. He seems to be in for a career year with Kawhi Leonard and the top-seeded, 10-1 Raptors, so good job to the owners that scooped him up in the third or fourth rounds in some leagues.

    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:

    Otto Porter Jr., SF, Washington Wizards: Stock Up

    Gordon Hayward, SG/SF, Boston Celtics: Neutral

    Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder: Stock Down

    Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves: Neutral

    Stock Down

    LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs: Aldridge was drafted with an ADP of 28.7 and is currently the 99th ranked player in fantasy so he’s definitely been under-performing. If owners drafted him expecting him to repeat last year’s top-20 season then they were mistaken as he’s no longer the primary/number one option for the Spurs. Last year Aldridge was the only All-Star on the team as Kawhi Leonard was dealing with his injury. Now, he’s got DeMar DeRozan who isn’t afraid to jack up any shot he pleases and also has the ball in his hand a ton. DeRozan is attempting 20.1 shots to Aldridge’s 17.1 per game. However, the good news is Aldridge only attempted 18.0 shots last season and still put up amazing value.

    In fact, Aldridge’s first two seasons in San Antonio, in which he finished 26th and 53rd overall, he only attempted 14.1 and 14.6 shots, so a top-50 season is still very much in reach for LMA. This season his numbers are almost identical to the ones he put up last season outside of the dip in points that was expected. However, the big outlier is his percentages as he’s shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 76.0 percent from the free throw line compared to the 51.0 percent from the field and 83.7 percent from the free throw line he shot last season. The free throw percentage would be Aldridge’s lowest since the 2009-2010 season and I doubt he’ll regress that much so buy-low on the 99th ranked Aldridge now while you still can.

    Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks: Barnes missed the first two weeks of the season as he was sidelined with an injury and since he’s come back he hasn’t been playing so well. He’s the 214th ranked player in fantasy right now with averages of 15.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.7 triples on 36.0 percent shooting in 32.4 minutes. He’s only played eight games, but so far he looks flat out bad. The 15.2 points would be his fewest since he joined the Mavericks in 2016 and the 3-point percentage and field goal percentage would be a career-low.

    Sure, he’s attempting only attempting 14.5 shots per game, which is down from the 15.7 he attempted last year, but he’s also shooting 5.3 triples per game, which is a career-high. Barnes is still playing over 30.0 minutes per game and he’s still finding his shot after missing the entire preseason and some of the regular season as well. His percentages will come around and when they do he’ll be back to producing top-75 value, so go get him in leagues where his owner has given up on him.

    Josh Hart, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers: Hart started off the season strong but has since dropped off the face off the map. Over the past two weeks, Hart is the 166th ranked player in fantasy with averages of 7.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 triples on 33.3 percent shooting in 27.3 minutes. The Lakers have a ton of depth so for Hart to maintain good value he’ll have to make sure to take advantage of the shots he does get, and shooting 33.3 percent isn’t going to get the job done. He’s only attempting 6.5 shots per game so his value will be tied to his ability to maintain a good shooting percentage all year long. He’ll have ups and downs and if you own him you’ll have to be prepared for that all season long.

    Community Choice:

    Dario Saric, recommend by the man himself, Dan Besbris.

    Dan said, “Looks like folks are moving on from Dario Saric. He could resurface as an interesting free agent mid-season in many leagues.”

    Saric is the 256th ranked player over the past two weeks and Dan is right, owners are starting to lose faith in him. He’s playing 27.9 minutes per game but only averaging 1.4 assists and 1.1 triples on 33.3 percent shooting. Right now he’s not worth owning in leagues but leave him in your watch list as he could get hot in a hurry.

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