Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! I got several requests to bring the “Stashables” column back to the Season Pass, so starting next week I’m going to be writing about a few players to either keep on the end of your bench or on your watch list for subscribers. I’ll let this week’s article serve as a sample with additional feedback from my Rotoworld Hoops colleagues. I’ll kick things off…
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
Mikal Bridges- I have him stashed in my 14-team leagues and I’m close to pulling the trigger on an add in standard leagues as well. Bridges is the only player on the Suns with a positive net rating (+6.2) and has per-36 minute averages of 13.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.9 triples on 45% from the field and 88% from the line. The Suns’ front office wanted you to believe that they were going to be competitive this season, but they are sitting at 3-11 and headed towards another lost season. It won’t be long before Bridges is playing big minutes, and his ability to play positions 2-4 will only help.
De’Anthony Melton- Sticking with the Suns for a bit, I think Melton is a better player than Elie Okobo, especially on the defensive end. That makes him a better fit next to Devin Booker, and the Suns desperately need more defense considering they are ranked 28th in the league. Melton has only appeared in three games, but he put up monster numbers during the Summer League and in the G-League where he put up a triple-double recently. If given the minutes, Melton could average 3.0 combined steals and blocks — his 4.4% steal rate comfortably leads the NBA and his 2.5% block rate is elite for a PG/SG. One of my favorite dynasty and deep-league stashes.
Mitchell Robinson- Unlike the previous two guys, Robinson is someone you have to stash right now. Sure he’s going to be inconsistent with Enes Kanter claiming the majority of the center minutes even in a backup role, but Robinson’s per-minute production in blocks alone makes him worth owning. In fact, his 9.3% block rate leads the entire NBA.
Steve Alexander (@Docktora)
Wilson Chandler - He wasn't that great last year and isn't up to full speed yet, but maybe he can return to form and start at PF for the new-look Sixers. If you have room to stash, he might be worth it.
Jonathan Isaac - The Magic are already on the outside looking in for the playoffs and Isaac has a ton of talent. If the Magic keep sliding, they just might be ready to turn Isaac loose.
Kevin Knox - He's gotten off to a rough, injury-plagued season with the Knicks, but he's a key piece to the future and played well in his last game. It's time for the going-nowhere-Knicks to let the kid play. And the same goes for Mitchell Robinson. He's already starting, and the Knicks should go ahead and give him all the minutes he can handle.
Kyle Anderson - There was some hype swirling before the season and he was a big disappointment. He's starting to come on, and I don't think Memphis will be in the playoff hunt forever.
James Johnson - He's the starting power forward for the Heat when healthy, but he simply hasn't been able to play. If he can get healthy and start playing, he'll put up numbers, including threes and blocks.
Cedi Osman - He's banged up, but the Cavs have nothing to play for and have to get him ready for the future. I'm all in, as long as there's plenty of room at the end of my bench.
E'Twaun Moore - There's nothing exciting about his name, but he keeps putting up decent numbers and will keep playing big minutes for the Pelicans.
Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)
Steve mentioned Mitchell Robinson, and he is absolutely one of my favorite stashes. He’s not a guy you can really put into weekly lineups right now because his scoring is so inconsistent, but he had nine blocks the other day and is averaging a robust 4.0 swats in his last four games. If he figures out how to score 8-10 ppg at some point, the latter part of the season will be a prosperous time for anyone who stashed away Mitch-A-Palooza.
This may sound a little silly, but another player I’d think about stashing — especially in 9-category leagues — is Dirk Nowitzki. He’s been the No. 72- and No. 76-ranked player (per Basketball Monster) the last two years in right around 25 minutes a game, which is all he needs to hit respectable value. It’s also possible he’ll completely fall off in his age-40 season, but there should be no risk stashing him away on an IR spot or otherwise vacant roster space.
Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)
‘Reke was certainly not a player I thought would be available in 50% of Yahoo! Leagues a month into the season, but here we are. He’s averaging just 10.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists this season. And, despite his slow start, he’s playing even worse of late. He’s scored in single digits in each of his last three games. Over this three-game stretch, he’s shooting under 30 percent from the floor. As a result, Evans is being dumped left and right by frustrated owners. If you play in a deep league and have room on your bench, he makes sense as a long-term stash. This is a guy who 19/5/5 last season and will be a free agent this summer. There’s nowhere to go but up.
‘Melo is a mess right now, and in the middle of an ugly divorce. However, once he parts ways with the Rockets, he’ll hit the open market and could land in a favorable situation. Despite his horrendous defense, Anthony is still capable of putting up 15+ points a night and a couple of 3-pointers. He ranked just outside the top-150 in nine-category formats over the first ten games of the season.
Johnson missed the entire preseason and has yet to suit up during the regular season due after undergoing sports hernia surgery in May. However, the good news is he told reporters earlier this week that he’s making solid progress and basically only needs to lose some weight before being cleared to play. He also added this encouraging quote: "When I come back, I’m not trying to be on a minutes restriction. I feel like I’m getting all the way healthy. So when I’m able to play, I want to play." I was higher on JJ than most coming into the season, so I’m stashing him and hoping for the best. He has top-100 overall upside when he’s healthy.
It’s still unknown when IT will return to action, or if he’ll be effective if/when he does… But, if we are looking at lottery-ticket stashes, he probably belongs in the conversation.
If you own Steph Curry or Kyle Lowry, stashing their handcuffs makes some sense.
Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)
Jonas just beat me to Mikal! I'm looking at a handful of guys sub-15% ownership in Yahoo.
Mikal Bridges (3% owned) - He's a rookie playing for the 3-11 Suns, which is already a fortuitous position to be in. As a three-year player in college he's looked a bit more steady than some rookies, and Phoenix is finding ways to get him 25+ minutes per game, even starting him (ahead of Josh Jackson) with Trevor Ariza out on Wednesday. He's shooting a respectable 45.0% from the field and 88.2% from the line, with low turnovers, so the typical rookie concerns don't really apply.
Nerlens Noel (12% owned) - Steven Adams being an iron-man really hurts the 'stash' cause, unfortunately, but Noel is still worth a mention. He's healthy and somehow hitting 9-cat value in a mere 14.0 minutes per game, thanks to 5.3 boards, 61.2% shooting, and value-anchoring 1.0 steals and 1.4 blocks. In deep leagues, you can do much worse than a guy with top-50 upside who is quietly helping you in multiple categories.
Stanley Johnson (3% owned) - Yes, he's shooting under 40% and has yet to produce reliable value for a sustained period. He's starting to find his way in a reserve role, though, and has three very nice games in his past four -- even with that dud included he's averaging 12.8 points (46.5% FGs, 66.7% FTs), 2.3 triples, 4.8 boards, 1.5 assists and 1.8 steals. I'm at least intrigued.
Moe Harkless (1% owned) - He's reportedly aiming to play during the Blazers' road trip, although this wouldn't be the first false-start related to his balky left knee. Portland has been cruising without him, which is another concern, but Harkless should eventually start, he's still 25 years old and he's one year removed from top-100 value. In deep, competitive leagues a guy like that could be your best bet.
And I'm of course down with Mitchell Robinson, who is owned in nearly 40% fewer Yahoo leagues than Mo Bamba even though he's been a better roto value to date. It's not a knock on Bamba, but a plea for more owners to stash Robinson for blocks potential alone. I'll also second Okobo, Isaac and viewing IT as a lottery ball.
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David Leggieri (@legsanity)
I'll add Miles Bridges (8% owned). Bridges was the Hornets first round pick this past offseason and has been playing just about 20 minutes per night so far. The Hornets have cooled off a bit after a hot start and Bridges should get more time as the season progresses.
Furkan Korkmaz (2% owned) seems to have become part of the Sixers' rotation after the Jimmy Butler trade as the team needs his shooting. Korkmaz can light it up in limited minutes, but is more of a deep-league stash.
Boban Marjanovic (12% owned) because why not? He's very matchup dependent, which makes it easier to know when he's likely to play. #FreeBoban
Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)
Shoutout to owners in deep leagues! Here are a handful of guys under five percent owned who offer nice upside later this year:
DeAndre Bembry - The Hawks are not good and they're giving Bembry minutes at three positions. Once Kent Bazemore or others are dealt, Bembry should be looking at 32 minutes and has shown he can be an adept stat filler. Per 36: 13 points, seven boards, three dimes, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.4 treys.
Mikal Bridges - The fact that the Suns started Bridges over Ryan Anderson on Wednesday shows they believe in him -- Trevor Ariza is out for personal reasons. He'll be in the mold of Ariza with plus steals and treys, and he's played extremely well next to Devin Booker with a +38.9 net rating on the season. Josh Jackson is kind of a mess and the Suns might have a fire sale later in the season, so big minutes could open up for him.
De'Anthony Melton - I love Elie Okobo, but it's pretty clear Melton is the better stat filler. In his four G League games, he's lit it up to the tune of 18.0 points, 6.8 boards, 6.5 dimes, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 treys. Once the Suns go into the full tank, Melton and Okobo could split the PG minutes and Melton could outproduce Okobo even if it's a 2-1 split.
Kevin Huerter - For the same reasons Bembry is listed. Huerter gives the Hawks much-needed space in their offense and coach Lloyd Pierce has hinted he wants them to be even faster when John Collins returns.
Isaiah Hartenstein - Clint Capela has given us a few scares on injuries and he's been injury prone in his career. Meanwhile, Hartenstein can block shots, board and hit the occasional three. You don't need me to tell you Marquese Chriss has not played well lately.
Hamidou Diallo - He keeps getting better and he is cutting into some of the wing minutes. We still haven't seen much of him with the first unit, but at least Diallo has a +11.2 net rating in his 10 minutes with PG and Westy (#SmallSampleSize), and he's actually been productive in that sliver of time too with 21.0 points, 7.0 dimes and 3.5 steals per 36. Again, #SampleSize, but the upside is there.