Welcome to the first ever Lake Show Life’s first Fantasy Focus! Myself, Caleb Cottrell (@caleb_cottrell), and Kevin Yeung (@KevinHFY) of Grizzly Bear Blues and Welcome to Loud City — both SB Nation — will be doing fantasy basketball update every Sunday. There will be four categories: Buy Low/Sell High Candidates, Waiver Wire Adds, Love, and Hate. We will be using all data from ESPN Fantasy Basketball. Kevin and I will be alternating each week on which categories we do. Shall we get started?
Love (by Caleb):
Markieff Morris, PF – 16 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 steals (Schedule: NOP, @Por, BKN)
Markieff Morris, also known as the good twin, has been on fire as of late. In his last three games, Morris has averaged 22.7 points, 9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2 steals a game, while also shooting 68.3 percent from the floor, and 71.4 percent from the free throw line. Yes, Morris is still coming off of the bench, but over the last three games, he has averaged just over 31 minutes a game. Morris does have a rough schedule this week, but he put up 17/5/4/2 against the Pelicans just a week ago. I really like the elder twin this week.
J.J. Redick, SG - 17.6/3.0/2.4/1.0 (Schedule: Min, OKC, BKN)
Playing with Chris Paul isn’t too bad. That’s what J.J. Redick has found out this season. Coming off of a career year, Redick has been torching teams this season. To go along with the stats above, Redick is knocking down a little over two 3’s a game (36.6 percent). J.J. is also hitting 96 percent of his free throws. With defenses occupied with CP3 and Blake Griffin, Redick is getting a lot of looks thus far. Start the Duke alumni.
Dion Waiters, SG - 14.4/3.4/2.3/2.0 (Schedule: @Chi, @Min, Cha, @Wash)
Waiters has been under a lot of scrutiny, thanks to the Cavaliers drafting him so high, but over the last few games, Waiters has shown a lot of potential. In said time, Waiters has averaged 21 points, 4 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and 2 steals. Dion has also made over two buckets from beyond the arc, at 45 percent. Start the sophomore while his hot streak lasts.
Arron Afflalo, SG - 19.7/5.1/4.4/1.0 (Schedule: @Bos, Mil, Dal)
It’s not easy being on a rebuilding team, but Arron Afflalo is making it work. Afflalo is putting up the best numbers of his career, so far. Afflalo has made the most of being the lead guy, taking almost 16 shots (45 percent) and about five outside shots (47 percent) a game. Without Tobias Harris, he will continue to put up big numbers.
Hate (by Caleb):
Harrison Barnes, SF - 7.7/2.0/1.0/0.7 (Schedule: Det, OKC, Utah)
After coming back from injury, Harrison Barnes has really struggled to find his groove. It was thought that Barnes, being moved to the Sixth Man role, would have a shot at putting up some nice numbers, but that hasn’t been the case so far. Although Barnes is taking about the same amount of shots as last season, and has a better overall field goal percentage, he is shooting just 25 percent from downtown. Hopefully his start is just a case of getting the rust off, but I wouldn’t start him for now.
Kevin Garnett, PF/C - 6.0/6.7/1.8/1.3 (Schedule: @Sac, @Pho, @LAC)
It appears Father Time has finally caught up to Kevin Garnett. The Nets were supposed to be the next super team with Garnett, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Paul Pierce, and Joe Johnson, but that hasn’t happened yet. KG is converting on just 32.1 percent of his shots. In his current state, KG just isn’t going to help your team. Sit him for the time being.
Kenneth Faried, PF – 7.6/7.6/1.2/0.4 (Schedule: @Utah, LAL, Min, @Hou)
The Manimal is producing a bit better than Garnett, but not by much. Shooting 40 percent from the field, and having a coach that doesn’t know what he’s doing isn’t the best position to be in for a player. Of the five games Faried has played in, he has only started three. However, news just came out saying Javale McGee could be out for a while, so that could be good news for Faried. I would use a wait and see approach for now.
Tyreke Evans, SF/SG - 8.5/4.5/3.5/0.7 (Schedule: @Pho, @LAL, @Utah, Phi)
It’s been a rocky start to Tyreke Evan’s first year in New Orleans. The former Rookie of the Year has averaged a tad under 25 minutes a game — six minutes less than his career low. Evans has averaged almost 11 shots a game so far, but he is only shooting 33.8 percent, and just 16.7 percent from three. The plus side to Evans is that he can fill up a stat sheet; we just haven’t seen it yet. Using the same approach as Faried would probably be a good idea for now.
Buy Low/Sell High (By Kevin)
Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder (Buy low!)
Serge is off to a slow start, averaging 10.8 points on 40.7% shooting to go with 10.2 rebounds and most shockingly, just 1.6 blocks. There’s no reason to think that those stats won’t come around, and they’ll probably do so sooner rather than later. Ibaka shot a career-high 57.3% from the field last season, even while taking a greater amount of outside shots. He’s been taking the same shots this season, finding plenty of open shots even in the two games without Russell Westbrook. Westbrook being back now will only help Ibaka, who thrives as a complimentary spot-up/pick-and-pop shooter. It seems Ibaka’s shooting touch is starting to come around too, as he’s shot over 50% in both of his last two games against the Mavericks and the Pistons. The rebounding might be a bit of an outlier (the 18.0% rebounding percentage is a career high), but so too is the infinitely more valuable shot-blocking (4.4% block percentage is a career low). In other words: buy low, and buy now before the window closes.
Joakim Noah, C, Chicago Bulls (Buy low!)
Noah’s a great guy to own in fantasy for his versatile production, but he hasn’t been fun to have so far this season. The 7.2 points, 39.4% shooting and 1.2 blocks can appear extremely underwhelming after averages of 11.1, 48.5% and 2.1 last season. It’s hard to imagine that Noah’s shooting percentage won’t return to the 48-50% range it’s hovered at throughout his career, especially as Derrick Rose gets into better shape as the season progresses and begins to command more attention from defenses. Last season’s shot-blocking was a career-high for Noah and a regression was possible, but the blocks should rise a bit anyway since he’s playing just 28.2 minutes per game compared to 36.8 last season. When the points, field goal percentage and blocks bounce back a bit, it makes the other stats Noah is already averaging (10.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, all good numbers already for a center playing just 28.2 minutes) look even nicer.
Other buy low guys: Derrick Rose, Derrick Favors, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Pekovic
Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Philadelphia 76ers (Sell high!)
MCW is still going strong, with a sparkling 22-13-7-2-2 in his last outing (which finished in double overtime) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s been recording strong rebounding and assist numbers all week long, and has yet to score in less than double digits. A start like this has a lot of people buying in to the 11th overall pick. Maybe he can keep this going, but it’s much more likely that Carter-Williams will regress. This level of production is unlikely even from the league’s best players. Carter-Williams is a rookie, playing for a Philadelphia 76ers team that has been stripped down of weapons in the offseason. The 76ers are 4-3 right now, but they’re a team targeted for the bottom of the standings rather than .500. There will be a drop-off for the Sixers eventually, and it’ll likely come with a similar decrease in production for MCW. If you can find someone in on MCW (which shouldn’t be too hard, the way he’s been playing so far), make the swap for a player with a safer long-term outlook.
Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State Warriors (Sell high!)
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that 3.1 triples per game on 46.8% shooting from beyond the arc is not sustainable, nor is 20.1 points per game on 51.4% shooting from the field. There’s no denying Klay is one of the NBA’s most deadly shooters, but you might as well sell high on him while he’s performing at a top-15 level. As a fantasy contributor, he’s distinctly average in his production after three-pointers. Last season, he averaged 3.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting just 42.2% from the field. Even his high free throw percentage (84.1%) was negated by the low number of free throws he attempted (1.9 per game). The way Thompson is playing right now, you’re likely to find someone willing to give up a player that offers more well-rounded stats and can help you better in the long term.
Other sell-high guys: Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner (both will produce well in big minutes, but not this well for all season), DeAndre Jordan
Waiver Wire (By Kevin)
Patrick Beverley, PG, Houston Rockets (17.6% owned in ESPN leagues)
Beverley started at point guard over Jeremy Lin in the Rockets’ season opener, but injured his rib in that game and missed the next three games as well. He’s back now, and he hasn’t lost the favor of Kevin McHale while he was out because he’s started in the Rockets’ last two games. Beverley has a well-rounded game and seems to be getting a healthy amount of minutes for his fantasy production, as he’s averaging 33.7 minutes in the three games since his injury. The 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, four steals, two blocks and two triples on 6-of-13 shooting that he had against the Clippers on Saturday demonstrate what he’ll give you on a good night, and a tantalizing 12-5-5-2-1-2 per-game stat line could be in the cards.
Brandon Knight, PG/SG, Milwaukee Bucks (63.9% owned)
Like Beverley, Knight was injured in his team’s season opener and sat out the next three games. He made a surprise return on Saturday, and while he’s being eased back slowly (6 points in 15 minutes off of the bench in his return), he could make for a great pickup if he was dropped because of his injury. Knight’s career has been pretty underwhelming so far, but there is intrigue in what he may be able to do playing on a new team in the Bucks. One should be wary of Knight’s low field goal percentage and high turnovers, but the Bucks appear committed to the former 8th overall pick and playing alongside O.J. Mayo should be a good thing for Knight.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Charlotte Bobcats (39.7% owned)
MKG had himself a solid week, averaging 14.7 points on 68.0% shooting, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.3 blocks in the three games the Bobcats played. It’s unlikely he’ll be quite that good from here out, but he’s looking very sharp on the court in the early part of this season and the Bobcats appear to be building trust in him after a great defensive performance against Carmelo Anthony. The mix of steals and blocks (even if 2.3 blocks is unsustainable) is exciting, and he’s always been solid on the glass. MKG is scoring much better than last season, with his field goal percentage more than ten percent higher this season. If you’re in need of a small forward and last week’s hottest pickups in Shawn Marion and Trevor Ariza are gone, you can do much worse than MKG.
Andrea Bargnani, PF, New York Knicks (44.2% owned)
Tyson Chandler is out with a leg injury that should sideline him for 4-6 weeks, which thrusts Andrea Bargnani into the starting center role. That means a lot of minutes and probable center eligibility eventually. We can talk dirt on Bargnani’s game all day long, but he’ll at least contribute in fantasy leagues. In his first start of the season against the Bobcats, he took 25 shots in 35 minutes for 25 points to go with eight rebounds, three assists and five blocks. He’ll score, he’ll hit threes and he’ll probably offer passable rebounding and shot-blocking numbers (the effort comes and goes). His field goal percentage has looked solid alongside Carmelo Anthony, so Bargnani’s definitely worth a look in fantasy leagues.
Other waiver-wire adds: Danny Green, Wilson Chandler, LARRY SANDERS! (slumping/injured guys being dropped that are probably still worth a roster spot; Chandler is a game-time call on Monday), Mario Chalmers, Reggie Jackson (still worth a look as the Thunder’s sixth man)
Deep-league adds: Kelly Olynyk, Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, Steven Adams
Tags: Andrea Bargnani Arron Afflalo Brandon Knight Dion Waiters Fantasy Basketball Harrison Barnes J.j. Redick Joakim Noah Kenneth Faried Kevin Garnett Klay Thompson Los Angeles Lakers Markieff Morris Michael Carter-williams Michael Kidd-gilchrist Patrick Beverly Serge Ibaka Tyreke Evans