• What’s up HoopBallers!

    Haha, what a funny thing that has happened. Yet again I have forgotten to post the “Community Choice” forum post. Listen guys, at least I admitted it this time instead of just sweeping it under the rug. However, I’m here to make a pact. Better yet, a promise. Consider it a virtual pinky swear, because you know, those can’t be broken. From here on out, every single Stock Watch will have a “Community Choice” section, mark my words.

    We’ve gotten into quite a rhythm here so why mess things up. Let me tell you about how I’m doing in the HoopBall Staff League before we get into Stock Watch this week.

    Okay so guess who’s in first place……. THIS GUY!

    Yes, you read that correct. I, Najee Adams, am in first place. I’ve currently got a record of 25-10-1 and guess who’s right behind me in second place with a record of 23-12-1? If you’ve been reading this riveting series of articles, you’d already know the answer. His name is…. Panda.

    The man-bear and editor of this very article you are reading has become the villain in this story where I am only trying to be the hero everyone deserves. You won the 30-team league last year buddy, haven’t you done enough? Let someone else win for a change, sheesh, so selfish.

    The funniest thing is, I’m playing Panda this very week and three days in he’s destroying me by a score of 2-7. My team isn’t in good shape though, as I am the owner of Caris LeVert. Look at Panda, embracing that villain role and beating a man while he’s down. It’s okay though, we will recover and Caris will be back post All-Star break to help me get to that championship.

    (Editor’s Note: I still don’t think my team is actually any good at all, but here we are.)

    When Caris first went down I didn’t really know what to do. I almost dropped him completely because I didn’t know whether or not the league has an IL spot, which is just a reminder to always make sure you’re familiar with your league settings. However, I gave it a while to see exactly what LeVert’s timetable was and instead kept him on my roster. Thankfully he won’t need surgery and should be able to play again this season. I don’t think I could’ve handled myself if I would’ve dropped LeVert and someone else picked him up and used him against me later down the road. So I slapped him in my IL spot, changed my team name to “Do It For Caris” and kept it moving.

    As for who I picked up, that was the hard part. I had no clue. I looked at the waiver wire and saw nothing eye-popping so I simply sorted by season rank and picked up the highest ranked player. That player was none other than E’Twaun Moore. There wasn’t anyone with much potential on the wire and honestly it was between Moore and Jaylen Brown and I figured Moore would get more playing time and hopefully produce more. Listen, I was going to take a hit anyway as there wasn’t a single guy on the wire that was going to provide me with what LeVert did, but that’s fantasy. You roll with the punches, you win some and you lose some, but you keep on pushing.

    With all of that said, lets get into it!

    Stock Up

    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:

    De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings: Neutral

    Josh Richardson, SG/SF, Miami Heat: Neutral

    Zach LaVine, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls: Neutral

    Derrick White, PG, San Antonio Spurs: Stock Up

    Wendell Carter Jr., C, Chicago Bulls: Neutral

    Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Toronto Raptors: Neutral

    This Week

    D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, Brooklyn Nets

    The Caris LeVert injury was horrible and when things like this happen it’s tough to think about fantasy. However, unfortunately, that’s what I’ve got to do and with LeVert down for a good chunk of the season D’Angelo Russell has absolutely no excuse anymore. With LeVert gone, that leaves open a huge role in the offense to fill as LeVert handled the ball a ton, as shown by his 30th-ranked usage rate. The majority of that work, fingers crossed, should go right to Russell.

    The once proclaimed savior of the Brooklyn Nets was looking more like a second fiddle this season with LeVert absolutely dominating the competition. As of right now, Russell is the 87th ranked player in fantasy with averages of 16.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.1 steal and 2.6 triples on 41.3 percent shooting in 27.3 minutes. Kenny Atkinson isn’t one to play his guys a ton as since he’s taken over as the Nets head coach no player has averaged 30 minutes. DeMarre Carroll came the closest last season when he averaged 29.9 minutes but even then it wasn’t good enough.

    However, Russell does average the third-most minutes of any guy on the team behind only Joe Harris and LeVert ,and with him gone DLO seems like the player best positioned to truly step up. Even when LeVert was playing, Russell was still averaging the most shot attempts on the team with 14.9 per game and those should also be in for an increase. Russell showed a little bit of his upside in the second half of the Timberwolves game where LeVert went down, finishing with 31 points, six assists, two rebounds, two steals and a career-high nine triples in 32 minutes.

    Russell was the only player to attempt more than 15 shots and Joe Harris was the only other guy to take more than 10 outside of LeVert, who went down in the first half. Not only was he firmly in control of the ball, the minutes were there as well as he was one of only two players to get above 30 minutes. It seems as though Atkinson trusts Joe Harris the most, but is gaining trust in Russell and if he continues to play well, Atkinson will have to keep him out there as much as possible.

    Russell has always had immense upside, but he’s never quite been able to reach it. Well, now is his chance. With nothing left to stop him from showing the Nets and everyone else why he was once thought to be their franchise guy, it’s now or never for the IceMan D’Angelo Russell.

    Brook Lopez, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks

    I don’t think anyone, and I mean anyone, expected Lopez to be this good in Milwaukee.

    He had an ADP of 96.7 behind guys like Dario Saric, Myles Turner and even DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins, who won’t be playing for at least another month, was going before Lopez, which only shows how undervalued he truly is. On the season, Lopez is the 34th ranked player in fantasy ahead of guys like Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside, Blake Griffin, Clint Capela and Draymond Green but no one would ever guess that.

    Want to know something even crazier though? In the last two weeks he’s the 11th-ranked player and over the last week he’s the fifth-ranked player and the best fantasy asset on the Bucks. Yes, you read that right, the fifth-ranked player in fantasy and doing better than Giannis Antetokounmpo. Over his last three games he’s averaging 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.0 blocks and 4.7 triples on 50.0 percent shooting in 31.7 minutes.

    He is firmly entrenched as the Bucks’ starting center and that will definitely yield a good chunk of fantasy value. What’s even more incredible is that despite being the best fantasy player on the Bucks right now, he’s attempting the fifth-most shots on the team behind the Greek Freak, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon. A ton of Lopez’s value right now is coming from threes and blocks as he’s averaging the most blocks since his 2014-2015 season and is shooting the best 3-point percentage of his career on career-high volume.

    In fact, most of the shots he takes are behind the arc. Of the 9.6 shots he’s attempting this season, 7.2 of them are 3-pointers. That’s a ton for a big man — the same as Damian Lillard and even more than Kyrie Irving. Lopez is knocking down 3.0 triples per game on the season which is good enough for sixth in the entire NBA, ahead of guys like Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo and even Klay Thompson.

    The question is, will he be able to sustain this level of production? My answer is no. Do I think he’ll be this good all season long? Absolutely not, as he’ll fall back down to Earth eventually. However, I do think he’ll be a strong asset for owners to have all season long and will continue to be an absolute steal for those who drafted him at or around his ADP. Instead of being a top-35 guy I think he’ll end the season somewhere around the top-75.

    Derrick Rose, PG/SG, Minnesota Timberwolves 

    It was hard to believe at first not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. However, Derrick Rose might actually be in for a comeback year this season.

    Now of course he won’t be returning to 2011 MVP form. That man, unfortunately, is long gone. We might be looking at a new Derrick Rose though, dare I say, a sharpshooting Derrick Rose? The man that was so known for his ability to slash right to the basket and hit almost any acrobatic layup at will has become what seems to be a knock-down 3-point shooter. Rose is averaging 1.8 triples per game on the year, which is already a career-high, but over the past week he’s averaging the third-most 3-pointers in the league with 4.3 a night.

    Rose is also knocking down those threes at a rate of 48.0 percent which is by far a career-high. Over the Wolves’ past three games Rose is averaging 25.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 4.3 triples on 51.0 percent shooting in 36.7 minutes. Not only is he himself playing well, but it seems as though coach Tom Thibodeau is also allowing him to get loose a little. Rose is attempting the second-most shots on the team at 17.0, behind only Karl-Anthony Towns, and also has the highest usage rate on the team at 25.4 percent. While that isn’t too high, it’s impressive considering the T-Wolves are a team with two former first-round picks in KAT and Andrew Wiggins.

    All of that combined with the fact that Jimmy Butler is now gone is setting Rose up for what looks to be a true comeback year. He’s started at shooting guard multiples games this year and that trend might just be beginning to stick as he’s performed well in most of his starts. Rose was someone owners could get extremely late in drafts and is now the 78th-ranked player on the year. If he continues to play well that number will only rise and his owners can’t wait.

    Honorable Mentions

    Pascal Siakam, PF/C, Toronto Raptors: Siakam started the year off slow and was even dropped by some owners, including this one. However, he’s really turned it on as of late and is the 7th-ranked player in fantasy over his past three games. In fact, he’s the highest-ranked player on the Raptors in that time and is actually the only one inside of the top-70. Even Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard are outside of the top-105 over the past week. In that time span, Siakam is averaging 22.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.7 triples on 73.3 percent shooting in 30.6 minutes. The points are the most on the entire team and the minutes are second to only Kyle Lowry. He’s literally giving owners everything right now and while the rebounds could be better, the man is shooting above 70 percent from the field.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Los Angeles Clippers: SGA has finally been inserted into the starting lineup and the Clippers are rolling right now. Yes, Avery Bradley is out but it seems like Avery Bradley is always out and even once he comes back there’s no way they’d bench their PG of the future in Gilgeous-Alexander for a washed up Bradley. He’s the 44th-ranked player over the past week with averages of 17.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 triples on 55.6 percent shooting in 37.9 minutes. The minutes are second to only Tobias Harris and the 1.7 blocks are incredible for a guard. He’s a huge part of the Clippers’ plans for the future, just as he should be a huge part of your fantasy team’s.

    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:

    LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs: Neutral

    Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks: Neutral

    Josh Hart, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers: Neutral

    This Week

    Draymond Green, SF/PF, Golden State Warriors: In the midst of the turmoil that is the Draymond Green vs. Kevin Durant drama, the Warriors seem to have chosen Durant’s side. It makes sense as Durant is the second-best player in the league and also approaching a free agency that is far from clear for the first time since he joined the Warriors in 2016. Green has already been suspended for one game following the drama and he’s sure to miss others with rest as that’s just what the Warriors do. Not to mention he hasn’t even been that good as of late.

    He’s the 51st-ranked player on the season and the 141st ranked player over the past three games. He’s averaging 5.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists on 41.2 percent shooting while also putting up 3.3 turnovers per game over the past three. He just doesn’t seem to be worth the trouble he’s giving the Warriors and his fantasy owners. I’d try to sell on name value alone while I still can.

    Enes Kanter, C, New York Knicks: Kanter started off the season extremely well but has since lost his starting job to Mitchell Robinson despite possibly being the Knicks’ best player. Over the past week he’s the 101st-best player in fantasy while Robinson is the 35th and is continuing to get better. Kanter is only playing 22.9 minutes compared to Robinson’s 25.3 over the past two games and he isn’t getting enough minutes to put up the numbers he was earlier in the season. This was a fear for Kanter coming into the season as Robinson showed how good he could be in the Summer League, but it seemed as though Kanter had pulled away. Obviously, we were wrong. He’s definitely still worth holding onto but I would temper my expectations as Mitchell Robinson looks to be the Knicks’ starting center for the foreseeable future.

    Myles Tuner, PF/C, Indiana Pacers: I feel like I revisit how bad of a season Myles Tuner is having every single edition of Stock Watch but he seems to be an all-time low. People are legitimately wondering whether or not Domantas Sabonis is going to overtake him in the starting lineup, which isn’t an unreasonable thing to ask with how he’s been playing. However, I think this is a good time to buy-low on Turner. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’ll be nearly as good as some people thought coming into the season but he definitely won’t be this bad all year long. Right now he’s the 108th-ranked player while Sabonis is No. 70. Don’t forget, the Pacers inked Turner to a $72 million extension not too long ago and clearly trust him when it comes to their future.

    He’s still averaging 2.4 blocks per game, which is phenomenal, and is shooting a respectable 48.4 percent from the field. He’s only 22 years old and he was bound to go through some bumps in the road over the course of his career, this just happens to be one of them. When it comes to him and Sabonis, I truly believe he’s the better player and I think the Pacers do too. Go float out a low-ball offer to the Turner owner while his value is this low, because he can’t be this bad all season.

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