Fantasy Hoops Week 20 Stock Watch
As the Fantasy Hoops season nears its playoffs, here are the players who are making moves for better or worse.
Every two weeks, we'll take a look around the league at whose stock is moving up, and whose is on the way down. We'll be reacting to the latest news and performances, with an eye on who might be for real and who is just on a hot streak.
Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers PG
|You could make the argument for assigning this designation to Lillard every week, but he really has taken his stellar level of play up another notch recently. He's scored between 39 and 50 points in four of the last six contests, and he's shooting a tidy 52.1 percent during that stretch with averages of 34.6 points, 5.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds on 22.8 shot attempts per game.|
Jeff Teague Minnesota Timberwolves PG
|Teague has immediately picked up the pace in the wake of Jimmy Butler's knee injury, as he's already taking four more shots per game (15.0 FGA/G, up from an 11.0) in the last three contests. That's naturally led to his assists taking a slight hit for the moment, but he's more than made up for it by boosting his scoring average to 20.8 points per game in the four full games that Butler has missed thus far. He's rebounding at a slightly higher clip, as well, and the fact that he's previously shouldered the level of offensive responsibility he currently has should serve him well in maintaining the recent bump in production. Austin Rivers, LAC: Rivers appears to have the reins of the starting point guard job for the moment, and he's rattled off seven consecutive double-digit scoring performances dating back to before the All-Star break. He's also providing serviceable complementary numbers across the rest of the stat sheet, and he's currently sporting a career-best 39.0 percent success rate from distance on a career-high 6.2 attempts per game.|
Jarrett Jack New York Knicks PG
|Jack is officially the forgotten man in the Knicks' backcourt rotation now that Emmanuel Mudiay is in town, as he's now logged three straight DNP-CDs. He'd scored in single digits in three of the five games prior to his deactivation as well, and the Knicks appear set on giving both Mudiay and 2017 first-round pick Frank Ntilikina plenty of run to close out the season.|
ALSO TRENDING UP: Cory Joseph, IND; Ish Smith, DET; Dejounte Murray, SAN; Elfrid Payton, PHO
Devin Booker Phoenix Suns SG
|Like Lillard, Booker is playing at a particularly prolific level lately, averaging 31.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists over the last four games. He hasn't even been particularly sharp during that stretch – his 42.1 percent success rate is actually a tick lower than his 43.0 percent season figure – but he's powered through any struggles by taking 24.0 shot attempts per contest, leaving his 19.2 season figure in the dust. With that level of usage and a skilled facilitator in Elfrid Payton feeding him, Booker's rest-of-season outlook is especially bright.|
Lou Williams Los Angeles Clippers SG
|Williams has officially reached RINO (Reserve In Name Only) status, as the veteran sharpshooter is averaging a career-best 32.5 minutes across 58 games this season. Avery Bradley's arrival via trade earlier in February could conceivably have resulted in a slight dip in opportunity for Williams, but given the former's lingering sports hernia, it's been a non-issue. Moreover, Williams has been exceedingly productive over the last three games, shooting 52.7 percent from the floor, up significantly from his season-long number. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL: KCP has endured his fair share of inconsistent stretches this season, but he's made up for cold shooting streaks, at times, by averaging a career-high 5.2 rebounds. He's been clicking in both areas as of late, posting double-digit scoring efforts in four straight games, while also notching a pair of double-doubles over that span on the strength of 11- and 14-rebound performances, helping lead to an average of 9.2 boards in the last five contests.|
Jrue Holiday New Orleans Pelicans PG
|DeMarcus Cousins' season-ending Achilles injury was bound to spike the usage rates of both Anthony Davis and Holiday, and accordingly, each has seen boosts across the stat sheet. For his part, Holiday's shot attempts are up to 20.8 per game over the last four contests, a stretch that includes an overtime win against the Bucks in which he hoisted an eye-popping 31 shots. Already a strong rebounder for a two-guard, Holiday is also facilitating at an elevated clip since before the All-Star break, as evidenced by the 9.3 dimes he's dishing out over the last five games.|
J.R. Smith Cleveland Cavaliers SG
|Smith is apparently headed back in the wrong direction after a brief surge before the All-Star break. He's scored in single digits in all three games following the extended layoff and is shooting an unsightly 29.4 percent -- including 19.0 percent from distance -- over the last four contests overall. The Cavs continue to be maddeningly inconsistent, and it wouldn't be out of the question for head coach Tyronn Lue to eventually give the recently acquired Jordan Clarkson or Rodney Hood more run with the first unit.|
ALSO TRENDING UP: J.J. Barea, DAL; Danny Green, SAS; D'Angelo Russell, BKN
David Nwaba Chicago Bulls PG
|With no postseason aspirations, Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg has openly declared that some veterans will be ceding significant minutes to young players moving forward, and Nwaba has been one of the beneficiaries thus far. The second-year swingman has three double-digit scoring efforts in the first four games coming out of the All-Star break, while also putting in solid work on the boards. Over his last four games, Nwaba is averaging 13.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals across an encouraging 32.5 minutes per contest. Will Barton, DEN: The Nuggets will soon have to make a decision on whether Barton or Wilson Chandler will head to the bench to accommodate Paul Millsap's presumed reentry into the starting five, and the former is certainly making a case to be the one to stick on the first unit. Barton has been holding down the starting small forward job since prior to the All-Star break and has made good use of the opportunity, averaging 19.6 points while putting up an elevated 14.4 attempts per contest over the last five. He's ripped off six straight double-digit scoring efforts, as well, and with strong returns in virtually every other category, his stock is as bullish as it's been all season.|
Robert Covington Philadelphia 76ers SF
|Covington has now shot below 50.0 percent in 10 straight contests and sports success rates of 33.0 percent from the field and 27.9 percent from three during that stretch. That's led to single-digit scoring tallies in six of the last eight games, and with plenty of other options on offense for the Sixers to turn to, Covington is much more valuable for his defensive contributions at the moment.|
ALSO TRENDING UP: Brandon Ingram, LAL; Andrew Wiggins, MIN
Wilson Chandler Denver Nuggets SF
|The veteran wing started to come alive from a multi-game stretch of lackluster production shortly before the All-Star break, and he's now strung together seven consecutive double-digit scoring efforts. The increased offensive production is in direct correlation to a bump in both accuracy and usage, as Chandler's 48.1 percent success rate over the last 10 games and average of 13.6 shot attempts during the last five are notable increases over his 43.2 and 8.5 seasonal figures in those respective categories. Whether the improvement will be enough for him to remain in the starting five following Millsap's eventual return to the first unit remains to be seen, but his outlook is positive for the time being.|
Julius Randle Los Angeles Lakers PF
|Randle has one less obstacle to minutes with Larry Nance, Jr. now in Cleveland, and he's been playing like a man unburdened of late. The 2014 lottery pick has scored over 20 points three times and double-doubled on three occasions over the last six games, all while seeing at least 30 minutes in each contest. There's a clear-cut pecking order at power forward in Los Angeles now with the struggling Kyle Kuzma relegated to second-unit duty behind Randle for the foreseeable future.|
Anthony Davis New Orleans Pelicans PF
|Davis has made 40-point outings the norm recently, accomplishing the feat on three occasions, including a 53-point outburst earlier this week, over the last six games. He's logged double-doubles in each of those contests and hauled in 17 or 18 rebounds in three of them. His numbers clearly spell it out, but needless to say, Davis is finding a way to ascend even further up into the Fantasy stratosphere.|
Al-Farouq Aminu Portland Trail Blazers PF
|Aminu has been a bit up-and-down all season in terms of his scoring, but he's in the midst of a particularly unproductive offensive stretch. The veteran has scored in single digits in eight of the last 11, with sub-40 percentages from the field and from three during that span. His steady rebounding continues to oftentimes salvage his overall lines, but the high-usage trio of Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic still gobble up the lion's share of opportunities on the majority of nights for the Blazers.|
ALSO TRENDING UP: Serge Ibaka, TOR; Markieff Morris, WAS
Jarrett Allen Brooklyn Nets C
|Jahlil Okafor still looms behind him and is likely to return to the rotation in some capacity down the stretch, but Allen has made a formidable case for himself, scoring in double digits in 12 of his last 15, a span that includes a trio of double-doubles. Neither he nor Okafor are particularly strong defensively, but Allen has proven to be the more reliable option in terms of health and conditioning thus far and has been consistently afforded minutes in the mid-20s, on average. Given the Nets' incentive to develop young players only Okafor to truly compete with him for significant playing time, Allen is an intriguing option for those looking for some supplemental scoring and rebounding as Fantasy playoff season draws closer. Nikola Jokic, DEN: Jokic has produced some eye-popping lines over the last five games, logging a trio of triple-doubles en route to averages of 24.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 10.2 assists across a relatively modest 32.0 minutes per game. Millsap's return could eat into Jokic's overall production, but The Joker is simply too versatile for his Fantasy value not to remain at a near-elite level going forward.|
Robin Lopez Chicago Bulls C
|Lopez is one of the veterans whose minutes have been slashed since the All-Star break, and he enters Wednesday on the heels of a fourth straight DNP-CD. Cristiano Felicio looks to be in firm control of the starting center job for what's left of the regular season, and there's a good chance Lopez's minutes will continue to be few and far between over Chicago's remaining 21 games.|
ALSO TRENDING UP: Cristiano Felicio, CHI; Ivica Zubac, LAL; Jusuf Nurkic, POR
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