December 6, 2019, 5:06 pm
What’s up Hoopballers! We’re back with another edition of Stock Watch and this week we’ve got a pair of Nets that have really stepped things up in Kyrie Irving’s absence.
Since we’re going to be talking about the Nets I figured I might as well shamelessly plug our/my Hoop Ball Nets podcast which you can find right here.
Spencer Dinwiddie, PG/SG, Brooklyn Nets
When Kyrie Irving went down the Nets were already in a bad, bad place and everyone (including myself) though that it was just going to get worse. Well, turns out Spencer Dinwiddie had other plans.
The last time Uncle Drew played was November 11th in a loss to the Nuggets, which also marked the Nets’ sixth loss of the season in only 11 games. Since then, Brooklyn has won seven of their last ten games and vaulted themselves into the seventh seed in the East with an 11-10 record. Many of those wins have come at the hand of Dinwiddie who recently took home an Eastern Conference Player of the Week award for his heroics. He’s a top-25 guy over his past seven games with averages of 25.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.3 triples on 43.8 percent shooting in 32.8 minutes.
The Nets needed him to step up and he certainly answered the call. He’s been handling the ball now more than ever with both Irving and Caris LeVert absent. He’s top-13 in touches per game since Irving went down with 79.9 which is ahead of guys like Pascal Siakam, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard and Ja Morant while also being top-5 in terms of time of possession with 8.1 seconds per touch. Everything runs through Dinwiddie as seen by his top-12 usage rate (30.0%) and the Nets seem to be better because of it.
He’s providing his owners with production in every single category except turnovers, where he’s averaging 3.0 per game over his last two weeks. However, with everything else he’s giving fantasy players, a few turnovers is something that is very capable of being dealt with. He’s thriving in Kenny Atkinson’s system and should continue to put up these monstrous numbers for as long as Irving is out.
Jarrett Allen, C, Brooklyn Nets
I don’t remember that last time that I featured two players from the same team so prominently in Stock Watch but Dinwiddie and Allen deserve it. They’ve been the driving forces for a Nets team that needed wins badly. Allen always seems to be a big breakout candidate coming into the season but he’s never been able to live up to it until now. He’s the 33rd-ranked fantasy player over his last seven games with averages of 15.1 points, 12.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks on 69.5 percent shooting in only 28.5 minutes. Allen is actually leading the league in field goal percentage over the course of the entire season and he’s kept up that incredible efficiency, even in Irving’s absence.
When the Nets signed DeAndre Jordan, some thought that he would severely cut into Allen’s minutes and production but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are some games that Atkinson chooses to start Jordan based on the matchups but for the most part Allen has a firm grip on the starting job as he’s started in 18 of the Nets’ 21 games this season. His usage rate has risen from 14.4 with Irving to 17.0 without him and it’s clear that the Nets are willing to give him the ball if needed.
He’s a vital part of the offense that Atkinson likes to run as he serves as the primary screen man for the ball handler (usually Dinwiddie) and constantly finds himself getting open rolls to the hoop for easy buckets. If not, Dinwiddie will usually lob it up to where only Allen can get it and slam it down. He reminds me a lot of Clint Capela and if the Nets continue to develop him he could be so much more.
As of right now his biggest issues are shooting from anywhere outside of the paint as even his free throw percentage has taken a big dip this year. In fact, his free throw percentages have decreased in each season of his career, starting out at 77.6 percent in his rookie year before dropping to 70.9 percent last year and bottoming out at a horrific 59.8 percent this season.
I have hope that he’ll turn it around and even without it he’s still been an amazing asset for his owners. I’d recommend holding onto him the entire season, even when Irving inevitably returns.
Jonas Valanciunas, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies
Before we get into Valanciunas’ recent production, I just want to say that I think that it’s very unjust of the Raptors to not give him and Delon Wright a ring. Yes, they weren’t on the championship team but they were a vital part of the Raptors having the number one seed at the trade deadline, which eventually led to them having home court advantage in the playoffs. Let’s be honest here, if Jeremy Lin and Jodie Meeks (I bet you didn’t even know he was on the Raptors) got rings then Wright and Valanciunas should’ve too. Even Drake got a ring, come on.
Well, Valanciunas has gone on a tear as of late and don’t think that it has to do with Ja Morant getting injured. Big V was putting up big numbers even with Morant in the lineup but he’s gotten even more opportunity with him missing time. Over the past two weeks he’s the sixth-ranked player in fantasy with averages of 20.4 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks on 70.0 percent shooting in 29.2 minutes. He’s been asserting his dominance as of late and he looks to be a crucial piece of this Grizzlies team going forward. You know what they say, one team’s trash is another team’s treasure and the Grizz look to have found their treasure chest in the Raptors’ dumpster.
Zion Williamson, PF, New Orleans Pelicans
Zion hasn’t stepped foot on an NBA court in the regular season and somehow he’s landed himself on the Stock Down list. How? Well, it’s because the Pelicans are 6-16 and sitting with the second worst record in the Western Conference to only the Warriors. People were drafting Zion within the first three rounds in some leagues and there’s a very good chance he doesn’t even play until around the All-Star break. As of right now, there is no return date for Williamson and the Pelicans don’t really have much incentive to bring him back. Brandon Ingram is looking like the league’s Most Improved Player and they’re getting a chance to see what they’ve got outside of Williamson.
When he does come back he’ll undoubtedly be under a minutes restriction and this could just end up being a lost season for one of the most hyped draft picks since LeBron James. The Pelicans are currently on a seven-game losing streak and would much rather fight for a nice pick in next year’s NBA draft than rush back the face of their franchise and risk re-injury. If you don’t have an IR spot in your league, it might be time to drop Williamson, as hard as it may be.
Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Now, this is the Andrew Wiggins that I know.
He’s the 118th-ranked player over the past two weeks and he’s averaging 23.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 triples on 39.2 percent shooting in 35.1 minutes. Pair the horrific field goal percentage with the fact that he’s shooting 71.8 percent from the line and turning the ball over 2.6 times per game and it’s easy to see why his value has dropped. I was never a big believer in the Wiggins hype train this season but I must admit that he is having a much better season than last year. Take a look:
Andrew Wiggins 2018-2019: 18.1 points, 2.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks, 1.6 triples and 1.9 turnovers on 41.2 percent shooting from the field (16.6 FGA), 33.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc (4.8 3PA) and 69.9 percent shooting from the charity stripe (4.1 FTA) in 34.8 minutes.
Andrew Wiggins 2019-2020: 24.9 points, 3.4 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 1.3 blocks, 2.3 triples and 1.9 turnovers on 45.0 percent shooting from the field (20.6 FGA), 34.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc (6.6 3PA) and 71.6 percent shooting from the charity stripe (5.6 FTA) in 34.8 minutes.
He’s shooting better percentages all around, is attempting more shots and keeping his turnovers below 2.0 in the exact same amount of minutes. While I’m not Wiggins’ biggest fan, I must give credit where credit is due. He’s been balling so far this season and I pray that he doesn’t make me regret these words: buy low on Wiggins. There’s probably a ton of people like me who think that he’ll return to what he’s been and that means that they’ll be trying to sell him. I’d pull the trigger on him and cross my fingers that he doesn’t make a want to drop him in about two weeks.