Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! This week is my favorite annual topic, as the Rotoworld Hoops crew will be highlighting our favorite buy-low players as we approach Week 5. And If you missed last week’s article in which we discussed some sell-high players, you can check out that link here! I’ll kick things off with Taurean Prince and Ricky Rubio…
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
Taurean Prince- He’s currently sitting outside the top 125 in 9-category rankings and he’s someone that I think will still finish inside the top-75 quite comfortably. Prince looked like a monster in his first four games with 21.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.3 triples and then he inherited Marcus Smart’s jump-shot and averaged 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.5 triples in his next six outings. He also just returned from a minor injury, so now is the time to float some buy-low offers before Prince heats up.
Ricky Rubio- Slow starts to the season are kinda Rubio’s thing and we’re seeing it again this year. He’s hitting just 31.5% of his shots which only Andre Roberson would be proud of, and he also has 3.1 turnovers per game. His counting stats haven’t been great either outside of assists (8.0) and steals (1.5), but if history tells us anything it’s a safe bet that Rubio is going to figure things out — he averaged 15.0 points, 1.6 3-pointers, 5.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.3 turnovers per game on 43.6% shooting from the field and 87.5% from the line after the break last season, flirting with top-30 value in that span.
Steve Alexander (@docktora)
Ricky Rubio's name should be Ricky Ru-buylow. Guy stinks it up until January every year, gets dropped by his owners, then takes off and dominates like he's the best point guard in the league for a month. I don't know if he'll do it again this year, but if I ever see him on a waiver wire, or am offered him in a cheap trade, I'll probably do it.
Larry Nance showed some signs of life on Wednesday night, but still hasn't come into the spotlight. The Cavs are a mess, he's one of the few, young big men who can actually play on that team, and I think he's going to be a must-own player by Christmas. He played 22 minutes and had six points and six boards on Wednesday, which is a step in the right direction.
Karl-Anthony Towns has scored 13 points in two of his last four games, only has five double-doubles in 12 games, has only scored more than 19 points five times, and is shooting just 44 percent. He might be the poster child for buy low, especially once the human distraction known as Jimmy Butler is finally out of the picture.
I'm not sure if Joe Ingles finally is showing us the real Joe Ingles, or if he's just off to a slow start. He hit just 2-of-9 shots on Wednesday for six points, and is shooting just 41 percent on the season. Despite his shots not falling, the rest of his numbers are right in line with what he did last season, and he's averaging 12.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.5 3-pointers. Once his shots start falling, he might be even better. And he can likely be had for a song right now.
C.J. McCollum would have been on my list, but his 40-point explosion on Tuesday night ruined my plans.
Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)
Otto Porter Jr.
Like nearly the entire Wizards team, Otto Porter has gotten off to a depressingly slow start this season. Before Tuesday’s respectable line (19/6/5), over the first eight games of the year, Otto was averaging 10.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists, while shooting just 43.4 percent from the floor and 28.1 percent from downtown.
However, I'm willing to wager that Porter gets back on track and produces as expected. Porter’s calling card has been his remarkable reliability. He’s continually stuffed the stat sheet, rarely missed games, and supplied phenomenal percentages. Over the 2016-17 and 2017-18 season combined, Porter is one of only four players with at least 250 treys, 125 steals and 80 blocks. The other three are James Harden, LeBron James and Robert Covington. Of those four, Porter has posted the highest effective field goal percentage (yes, higher than LeBron). Otto finished inside the top-25 in nine-category leagues in both seasons. If some disgruntled owner is willing to move him at a discount, go steal him away.
The buy-low window on McCollum may have slammed shut after he hung 40 points on the Bucks, but I’d still see what the asking price is.
The Hawks announced this past Monday that Collins (left ankle) has been cleared for modified on-court drills and shooting routines and that his reevaluation results showed "continued progression in his rehab from mild inflammation and soreness in his left ankle." If the owner that invested an early pick in Collins has grown frustrated and is nervous that his team is off to a slow start, ask if he willing to part with Collins. The Hawks are currently playing at the fastest pace in the league (108 possessions per 100 minutes), which will put Collins in position to hit the ground running and post monster numbers once he returns to Atlanta’s lineup.
Let’s be honest, Rubio has been awful over the first few weeks of the season. Over Utah’s first ten games, Ricky is averaging 10.4 points while shooting a putrid 32.7 percent from the floor and averaging a career-worst 3.3 turnovers.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Rubio has been a notoriously streaky player through his career. After a slow start last season, he played very well after the All-Star break. Over Utah’s final 20 games, Rubio averaged 15.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists (versus just 2.4 turnovers), 1.8 steals and 1.7 triples. He’s likely available at a bargain-basement price right now, which is rare for a player that, in my opinion, has a strong probability to finish 2018-19 ranked in the top-100.
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Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)
I fully agree on Otto Porter. He’s 9-of-15 on 3s his last three games after an early-season slump, but his recent game log still doesn’t look that great because of one game missed and one game with limited minutes.
Chris Paul has scored in single digits with high turnovers (and no 3s) in each of his last two games, and is currently just 34th in the 9-category rankings (per Basketball Monster). I still think he should be close to a top-10 player as long as he’s healthy, so I’d see what it takes to get him in a trade.
Joe Ingles — His single-digit skid has now hit three games, and I’d be sending out some offers. I still think Ingles gets things straightened out sooner rather than later.
Nikola Jokic only shot one time on Wednesday and is averaging just 5.8 ppg in his last four games. This is probably your only chance to take advantage of someone else’s Jokic-induced frustration.
How’d I forget Otto Porter. My favorite buy low right now, although it’s probably too late after what he did Tuesday.
David Leggieri (@legsanity)
Jeff Teague hasn't played since Oct. 29 because of a bruised left knee. Even when he has played, he hasn't been all that great, but the Wolves have been a hot mess as a whole. A Jimmy Butler trade seems inevitable, even though it's taking forever to come to fruition. Teague stands to gain about 4-5% of usage in the eventual departure of Butler, making him an attractive piece to acquire while he's out. His value may never be lower.
Dario Saric may have broken out of his prolonged slump Wednesday, but he's still struggled mightily thus far. He's started somewhat slowly in his first two NBA seasons and now he's in his third year. Last year, his 3-point percentage increased every month. The good thing is that his other stats, like rebounds and assists, have still been there. His shooting percentage, points, and triples will start to rise soon and now's the time to strike for The Homie.
I’m seeing Otto Porter’s name a lot and I definitely agree. This guy is a true 9-category stud and he was the 15th, 14th and 49th ranked player in his previous three seasons. Sure Kelly Oubre has improved and Coach Scott Brooks loves Jeff Green, but Porter will figure things out and we saw the old version of himself on Tuesday when he put up 19 points, five rebounds, five assists, two blocks, three steals and five triples.
I’m also all for buying low on Nikola Jokic, but I think his owners are highly unlikely to sell after we saw what he could do after the break last season and early on in this campaign. I just have no idea why he suddenly stopped shooting.
Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)
Dennis Smith Jr. - His value really can't be much lower than it is right now. His non-scoring stats have disappeared, his turnovers are up and he still hasn't got it going from an efficiency standpoint. However, DSJ's shot selection is much better than last year and he's been a great shooter when he's open, so he'll likely start making more treys once he learns to play off Luka Doncic more.
Jonathan Isaac - His ankle issues are going to be a thorn in our sides and now the Magic are going to sit him out until next week, it would appear. Like DSJ, his value has bottomed out and people are justifiably dropping him, but he was starting to show signs of life. Coach Steve Clifford was starting to stagger him away from Aaron Gordon to get minutes as the lone PF, and that'll likely continue once he's back. You can get him for next to nothing.
Nikola Jokic - He didn't take his first FGA on Wednesday until just before the buzzer against the Grizzlies. Jokic's usage rate has also disappeared in his last four games with three of those four resulting in a usage rate below 16. We've seen these Jokic low-usage runs happen all the time, so there's zero reason to worry. Maybe his owner is frustrated from the lack of scoring and he could be had at around a top-15 price tag instead of the top-five player he should be.