2015-16 Fantasy Basketball: NBA Stock Market
Welcome to NBA Stock Market, a weekly article where I will take the temperature of certain players around the league. This will be designed to let you know who you should be trading for, and who it may be time to cut bait with. There will be two sections in this article, one being “stock rising,” meaning those players who are playing above their head, while “stock falling” will be for players who should be playing at a much higher level than they currently are. For the sake of the article we will only touch upon players with serious NBA cred. If James Anderson is having a bad week, we can just chalk it up to the fact that he isn’t very good. It is pretty self-explanatory. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards – SG
The light has finally went on for Bradley Beal in his fourth NBA season. He enters Friday night with averages of 25 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 treys on the young season. All of that with a usage rate of 27.6, which is tied for 17th in the NBA. This is what we have been waiting for since Beal entered the league four years ago. The scouting report coming out of Florida was that he was a prolific three-point shooter. He’s always flashed potential, but never could sustain any real success. Through four games this season, he seems to have finally put everything together.
Randy Wittman has implemented a “pace-and-space” style of offense, which basically means the Wizards are going to push the ball regardless of a make or a miss on the other end. This system will allow Beal and John Wall to thrive. Wall is arguably the fastest point guard in the league and allowing him to use his quickness will only benefit him and his teammates. It’s going to help the Wizards spread the floor and get Beal a ton of open three-point looks in transition. Washington currently sits eighth in the league in pace, averaging 104.7 possessions per game, which is six more than they averaged last year.
Beal is currently returning fourth round value in Yahoo standard leagues. While 25 points per game may be a little high, I do think it is reasonable to believe that Beal could average somewhere around 21-to-23 points per contest this season. He is clearly the number one option in this offense, as John Wall looks to be more of a facilitator. Beal is no longer just an empty scorer either. His 4.5 rebounds are the most he has ever averaged in a season before, albeit we are only four games in, but nonetheless, it has been impressive. The more possessions that Washington averages will only benefit him. He was my breakout candidate before the year and I am very happy to have snagged him in the sixth round of my draft. If you own Beal, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers – PF
Another guy I was fortunate enough to draft is Blake Griffin. I took Griffin on the turn of round two. I was extremely high on him coming into the season and I thought that all the hype about the Clippers depth was way overblown. DeAndre Jordan is not involved in the offense, Chris Paul is getting older and Josh Smith and Wes Johnson both come off the bench. If the Clippers want to have any chance of competing for a championship this season, then they must run their offense through Griffin. So far so good, as the big fella is averaging a robust 28 points, nine rebounds and four assists through five games this season. He also ranks 14th in the NBA with a 28.9 usage rate.
For the majority of Griffin’s career he’s had to rely on his gaudy athleticism. It seems as though now his skill caught up, as he is playing easily the best basketball of his career. His free-throw percentage used to be his biggest weakness, so he made it a priority to improve and he now has it up around 76 percent. He also has become a much better perimeter shooter. Griffin’s ability to contribute in multiple categories has boosted his value into first round territory. For those people that were upset at getting a late round pick in their draft this season, I hope you selected Griffin early in round two, because he will be putting up these kinds of numbers all season.
Odds are you will not be able to convince a fantasy owner to part ways with the big man, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. My suggestion would be to offer some type of two-for-one package that includes a point guard and a big man. The team that selected Griffin probably took him early on, meaning they neglected the point guard position in the first few rounds.
DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings – PF/C
If you were ever going to trade for DMC, now would be the time. He is currently nursing an Achilles strain, which has kept him out the last two games. Even before that, something was clearly off, overall, Cousins is averaging 22 points, 11 rebounds and just over two assists on a paltry 42 percent shooting. The good news about Cousins is that he ranks second in the NBA with a 36.4 usage rate. The Kings offense still runs through Boogie.
There are fantasy owners who get incredibly impatient and do not realize that the season is a marathon and not a sprint. I would personally inundate those owners with offers for big Cuz. Odds are, you will find someone frustrated enough to bite. Cousins will return from this injury and finish with top five fantasy value. He is too good of a player not to. He has even developed a three-point shot, which probably is why his field-goal percentage is so low right now. There is no better big man in the game today than DMC and if you can find a hasty owner to part with him, click that accept button as fast as you can.
Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans – PF/C
I have to be honest with you, I did not expect to be writing up Anthony Davis in the stock down section of this column at any point this season. The main problem with Brow this season has been his lack of efficiency. He is shooting a ridiculously low 37.9 percent from the field. You can attribute that to the lack of consistent point guard play. Jrue Holiday is still on a minutes limit as he recovers from leg surgery, meaning the Pelicans have been using a combination of Ish Smith and Toney Douglas at the point. Regardless, it is still a little alarming to see Davis shoot so poorly. Due to all the injuries it seems as though he is forcing the issue and not playing his game. He seems to have fallen in love with the three-point shot also, as he has attempted 11 already through four games this season. Much like Cousins, Davis is too good of a player to continue struggling like he is.
Again, there are plenty of fantasy owners who do not want to wait for things to turn around. I guarantee you, for the right offer, somebody will trade Davis. I have already offered multiple trades for him in my league. In fantasy basketball, impatience is a virtue, meaning you can capitalize on other people’s hastiness. Go out there and get him before the quadruple-doubles start rolling in!
For more fantasy basketball analysis, follow Landon on Twitter @LandonSilinsky