• What’s up HoopBallers!

    So, you know how I always talk about the Hoop-Ball Staff League? Yeah well um, until I actually win another week I refuse to even mention its name. Remember when I was in first place not too long ago? Well now, I’m 37-33-2 and sitting in sixth place and I haven’t won a week in as long as I can remember.

    Things went downhill fast and honestly, it’s not going to well in my other league either. I started the season off 5-0 and now I’m 5-3. Yup, that’s right, I lost three straight but I have an excuse. Hear me out, Tristan Thompson, Taurean Prince and Dennis Smith Jr. are all on my team. Each of those players have been/are now out for multiple weeks with the exception of DSJ and he’s on the injury report every other day.

    So with me talking about all of my recent losses I bet you’re wondering, “Should I even be taking fantasy hoops advice from this sorry sack of L’s?” Well, the answer is yes. Why? I can’t exactly explain why, I just need you to trust me and we’ll turn both of our seasons around in no time.

    Also, let me just mention this is by far the most hectic time for me as a student. I have two finals tomorrow both of which I need to get an A on, but instead of studying what am I doing? Writing Stock Watch, so trust the dedication that I have. Would I rather get a 4.0 GPA this semester or write this 1,500 word article? Easy, the article. Duh.

    With that out of the way, let’s 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:

    Malcolm Brogdon, PG/SG, Milwaukee Bucks: Neutral

    Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, Orlando Magic: Neutral

    Damyean Dotson, SG, New York Knicks: Stock Up

    Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Orlando Magic: Neutral

    Richaun Holmes, PF/C, Phoenix Suns: Stock Up

    This Week

    Kris Dunn, PG, Chicago Bulls: Dunn has only played one game since he’s returned from injury but it’s clear that he’s Chicago’s point guard of the future. As well as he’s played, they’re not putting their hopes in Ryan Arcidiacono. It’s just not happening. In Dunn’s first game back he put up nine points, three rebounds, six assists and two turnovers in 20.1 minutes. He came off the bench but I wouldn’t expect that to be the case for long as Chicago came into the season expecting Dunn to start for the foreseeable future. His minutes should continue to ramp up as the season goes along and he should be expecting a full workload within the next month or so.

    Last season in 52 games Dunn was the 77th player in fantasy with averages of 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.9 turnovers in 29.3 minutes per game. He can do a lot with his game and is one of those players that is definitely capable of getting multiple triple-doubles throughout the season. Next to Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen, Dunn is the Bulls’ most prized asset and they’re going to be willing to roll him out there as long as he’s healthy. He’s owned in 76 percent of leagues so if you’re in that 24 percent of leagues then consider yourself lucky and go scoop him up.

    De’Anthony Melton, PG, Phoenix Suns: Melton has started in Phoenix’s last three contests and although Devin Booker is out right now, there’s a legit shot that he’ll continue to start when he returns. Yes, the Suns’ offense runs through Devin Booker but it would make much more sense for the Suns to allow him to return to his natural position while Melton handles the point guard duties. Over the last four games, Melton is averaging 12.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.5 triples on 35.8 percent shooting in 29.9 minutes. He’s also averaging 3.0 turnovers per game, but Booker was averaging somewhere around that too when he was starting at the point guard position. Melton isn’t the best shooter, as shown by his field goal percentage, but the opportunity is there and that’s all you can really ask for.

    He seems to be much further along in his development than Elie Okobo so there really isn’t much competition for him at the point guard spot. Over the past two weeks he’s a top-150 player with the upside for so much more. He’s actually attempting the most shots on the Suns over their last four games which will obviously change when Booker returns and maybe that’s a good thing. With Melton taking fewer shots, his field goal percentage should increase which should increase his overall value. The upside is there and he’s only owned in 34 percent of leagues so I’d recommend taking a chance on him.

    Kyle Kuzma, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers: It seems like there’s a Laker on here every single week and this time it’s Kuzma’s turn. Over the past three weeks, Kuzma is the 7th ranked player in fantasy and Kuzmania has come to town in the absence of Brandon Ingram. He’s averaging 26.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks and 3.0 triples in a team-high 37.6 minutes. Luke Walton seems to trust Kuz the second most on the team behind LeBron as it seems like he’s always out on the floor. He’s clearly the Lakers’ second best scorer behind the King and is able to get himself a shot whenever he feels like it, or at least that’s what it feels like lately. Kuzma is also only averaging 2.0 turnovers per game, which is impressive for someone who has the second-highest usage rate on the team behind James.

    There’s clearly a trend here with Kuzma being second in everything behind the best player in the world so if LeBron James ever does go down this season, Kuzma will be in for a huge boost. He’s attempting 20.0 shots per game and perhaps what’s the most impressive part about his recent play is the 56.7 percent he’s shooting from the field. Kuzma is known to be quite a “chuck” at times but if he’s knocking down 56 percent of his shots he’s easily going to put up top-25 value. His production will obviously take a hit when Ingram returns but it’s safe to say he’s established himself as the LakeShow’s second-best player.

    Honorable Mentions 

    Bam Adebayo, C, Miami Heat: Over the past week Adebayo is the Heat’s best fantasy player as he’s ranked 33rd over their past four games. With Hassan Whiteside out for personal reasons, Bam was in the driver’s seat when it came to the starting center position. Over the last four games he’s averaging 12.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.5 blocks and only 1.3 turnovers on 57.1 percent shooting in 29.4 minutes. The man is doing everything except shooting three pointers but the 1.3 steals for a center is amazing and so are the assist numbers. He’s playing well enough to warrant a big bump in minutes even once Whiteside returns and the Heat should be taking notice and seeing that they can do just fine with Bam at the starting center spot.

    John Collins, PF/C, Atlanta Hawks: Collins was one of the biggest breakout predictions of the offseason and now he’s finally looking like one. He’s the 19th ranked player in fantasy and putting up second round value over the past five games, actually playing better than anyone probably expected. He’s averaging 23.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 blocks and 1.0 triples on 61.4 percent shooting in a team high 32.7 minutes. He clearly looks to be Atlanta’s best player and is attempting the most shots on the team with 17.6 per game. I don’t believe that he’ll continue to be a top-20 player but he should definitely crack top-45. Good pick to those that drafted him.

    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:

    Lonzo Ball, PG, Los Angeles Lakers: Neutral

    Jarrett Allen, C, Brooklyn Nets: Stock Up

    Andre Drummond, PF/C, Detroit Pistons: Stock Up

    This Week

    Ben Simmons, PG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers: I’ve wanted to put Simmons in the Stock Down section for a while now and every week I would give him a break, but that’s over. Simmons has been a letdown this season and the acquisition of Jimmy Butler certainly doesn’t help. Over the season Simmons is the 52nd ranked player in fantasy, which wouldn’t be bad for any regular player. The problem is people were drafting Simmons in the first couple rounds of their leagues and those people certainly wish they could have a re-do.

    He has still yet to hit a single 3-pointer in his entire NBA career — in fact, the last time he made a 3-pointer in an organized game of basketball was November 30th, 2015, which is over three years ago. That’s just insane. The lack of triples combined with the 3.5 turnovers per game and the horrible free throw percentage (58.3 percent) doesn’t help Simmons’ case. At the end of the day though, I think Simmons will figure it out. He’s actually trending up over the past couple of weeks but owners’ perception of him is down. He’s the 10th ranked player over the past week because his steals and blocks are up but he’s still a buy-low candidate. I’d suggest floating an offer out to his owner and seeing if they bite.

    Chris Paul, PG, Houston Rockets: The Rockets’ stock is down and so is Paul’s. He’s the 98th ranked player over the past two weeks with averages of 12.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 triples on 36.0 percent shooting in 32.0 minutes. The minutes are tied for a team-high with James Harden but Paul’s field goal percentage is really tanking his production. He’s only attempting 12.5 shots per game over the past two weeks and for him to only be shooting 36.0 percent is horrible. By comparison, Harden is attempting 18.7 and shooting 46.4 percent from the field. He’s also averaging 2.8 turnovers and his free throw percentage is only sitting at 78.9 percent.

    Both Paul’s 3-pointers and rebounds are also down compared to the 2.5 and 5.4 he averaged last season. He’s been a big reason behind the Rockets’ horrible play as of late but just like Ben Simmons, I believe he’ll turn it around. He’s a veteran point guard and is just an overall better player than he’s showing right now so go ahead and buy low.

    Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz: Over the past week Gobert is the 117th ranked player in fantasy and only averaging 20.8 minutes per game. In those 28.0 minutes he’s putting up 9.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and not even a full block or steal per game. Gobert is known for his shot blocking capabilities but in the limited minutes he’s receiving it doesn’t seem like he’ll be able to live up to it. However, I do believe that the minutes will rise again and that this is just an anomaly. I just wanted to warn owners of Gobert, especially since I am one, not to panic and that better days are on the horizon.

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