Hey guys, welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! Last week the Rotoworld crew picked three players who they were looking to buy low, so now it’s the perfect time for us to pick three players who we are looking to sell high. I’ll start us off.
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
The first player that comes to mind is Evan Fournier. The guy has returned top-40 value so far and his head coach seems to love him, but at what point does his role start to decline? The Magic look pretty good this season, but I still don't see them making the playoffs. With young players such as Mario Hezonja and Aaron Gordon waiting in the wings, you would have to think that they get more playing time down the stretch. Fournier is posting averages of 18.8 points, 4.3 boards, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.2 3-pointers in 38.0 minutes per game, so I'd be shocked if he kept up this torrid pace.
Next up for me is Dirk Nowitzki. Despite being 37 years old, the German superstar is returning second-round value and Dallas is currently third place in the Western Conference after many people(myself included) thought that they had no shot at the playoffs. Nowitzki has already had one maintenance day this season, and I would suspect that there will more to come down the road. Due to the emergence of Dwight Powell, I'm sure the Mavs will be a little more comfortable reducing Nowitzki's workload fairly soon.
Finally, the last player on my sell-high list is Jared Sullinger. Don't look now, but the big man is currently returning top-40 value and has turned David Lee into the team's equipment manager. Given Sullinger's injury history and the depth of Boston's frontcourt, I feel like there isn't a better time to test the trade waters in your league.
Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)
First of all, I agree on Fournier. His fast start feels a bit too good to be true – and eerily similar to what we saw one year ago. Last season, through the first three-plus weeks (13 games), Fournier was averaging 17.6 ppg and 2.2 3s. But from late-November onward (45 games), he posted just 10.4 ppg and 1.3 3s. This is not to say I think Fournier will completely fall apart – he’s playing a ton of minutes every night in Skiles’ rotation – but this still feels like a peak moment for his stats.
Another guy I’d be shopping is Eric Gordon. There’s no doubt his jump shot is butter, and he’s off to a terrific start (right around 19 ppg and 3 treys per game), but there’s simply no ignoring his injury history (games missed, last three seasons: 40, 18, 21).
Lastly, I’ll ask: Can you get anything for Marvin Williams? Before a dud on Tuesday night, he was averaging 10.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg and 1.7 3s. During a decade in the NBA, Marvin has averaged better than six rebounds per game exactly one time (in 2008-09). He hasn’t averaged 10-plus ppg since he last played for the Hawks (in 2011-12). In his entire career, he has never posted better than 0.6 bpg. And yes, his jumper has certainly improved over the years, but 1.7 treys per game still seems high (he averaged 1.3 and 1.2 the last two seasons, respectively). Bottom line: All signs point to unsustainable overachievement, and if I had to guess I’d say he’s probably on waivers later in the year. Deal him now if you can.
Jared Johnson (@JaredJ831)
Ricky Rubio is a stat sheet stuffer when he's on the court, but the problem is that that whole "on the court" tidbit happens a lot less often than you'd like. Rubio has already shown his owners this season what things will look like while he's wearing a suit, missing four straight games with a hamstring injury, and I seriously doubt that's the last time he finds his way to the sidelines this year. He's currently putting up second-round value, and I would seriously suggest exploring the trade market before he suffers his next devastating injury.
There's no way that Eric Gordon is this good for an entire season.
2) Excluding his rookie season, Gordon has never lasted more than 64 games. Always sell injury prone guys.
If you can convince someone that Mo Williams will be this good for the entire season, go ahead and get rid of him. He's putting up fourth-round value on the year behind averages of 15.6 points, 5.1 assists and 1.8 three-pointers per game through 31.6 minutes. However, he'll be coming off the bench upon Kyrie Irving’s (knee) return, and there’s just no way that Mo can sustain those numbers as a reserve.
Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)
T.J. McConnell’s "breakout" reminds me of Jeremy Lin just a short time ago, and now the scouting report is starting to get out on the undrafted rookie. A poor shooter who is hurt in other areas by playing for a putrid Philadelphia 76ers team, McConnell's flame should be extinguished before 2016 arrives.
LeBron can say whatever he wants about Kevin Love's usage, but the looming return of Kyrie Irving cannot be ignored. There is only one basketball to go around and LeBron clearly gravitated toward Irving last season when all three were on the floor. I don't doubt that Love will be more involved, but he's unlikely to produce at his current level.
Mo Williams has been a pleasant surprise while filling in for Irving, but I'm just not convinced his value will ever be higher than it currently is for those with him on the roster. Even with whatever limitations Irving faces when he's back on the court, Williams is going to take a back seat. With Iman Shumpert (wrist) also due back soon, Williams will find himself with competition for minutes he hasn't had so far.
Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)
I love what Dirk Nowitzki is doing this season and I'm rooting for him to stay healthy and have a big year, but I'll double-down on him as a sell-high candidate. Why is his early-season productivity unsustainable? Start with his 3-point shooting. Dirk is draining 2.0 triples on 50.0% shooting from deep, both easily on pace to crush previous career highs. That won't last. He's also averaging 9.0 rebounds on a per-36-minute basis, something he hasn't done in over a decade (2004-05). He's been surprisingly durable with only seven DNPs in the past two years, but we've already seen his minutes decline (28.1 per game) and Rick Carlisle gave him a precautionary DNP during a busy stretch of games last week. I'm all for flipping him for a younger top-40 value.
Emmanuel Mudiay isn't so much a 'sell-high' recommendation as a 'sell-before-everyone-realizes-he's-toxic' candidate. He's not helping you in roto or H2H leagues. In a points league, depending upon the format, he might provide sustainable value despite his current averages: 11.4 points, 1.0 threes, 4.0 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.9 blocks...so far, so good...but also 4.3 turnovers, 30.5% FGs (on 13.7 attempts) and 65.8% FTs (on 3.2 attempts). Mudiay has been the single-biggest FG% anchor in the league this season, exceeding even Kobe Bryant, and his turnovers are only exceeded by John Wall, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The allure of rookie 'potential' might invite a re-draft owner to give up a valuable player for Mudiay's perceived upside -- if they take the bait, reel 'em in.
I'm going to continue on my rookie theme and suggest Jahlil Okafor as a perfect sell-high candidate. Okafor is averaging 18.8 points on 48.3% FGs and 63.3% FTs, with 7.5 boards, 1.3 assists and 1.7 blocks. Solid stats that weaken in 9-cat leagues when you add his 3.0 turnovers to the mix. The problem is that defenses are wisely beginning to load up on Okafor in the paint, daring other players to beat them. It's an effective strategy, as the Sixers rank 27th in team FG% (41.8%) and are dead last in points per game (90.2), fully five points lower than 29th-ranked Utah. Okafor also shot 51.0% at the FT line with Duke last season and I fear that his average will continue to trend downward -- he began the year 15-of-19 at the line (78.9%) before beginning a steady decline. I could go on, but you get the point.
I'd like to formally co-sign on Evan Fournier, Eric Gordon and Marvin Williams. I'm also on board with Jared Sullinger as a sell-high candidate, but I can't imagine anyone giving up another player in his current neighborhood (top-40). The name-brand recognition and proven track-record just isn't there, reducing the likelihood that Sully's owners can cash in before his stock sinks.