In Stock Up, Stock Down, we’ll examine players on the rise, those on their way down and opportunities to buy low and sell high in order to maximize your return.
Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
It’s been nothing but good Ju-Ju in Los Angeles where Randle is shining for the Lakers. Kyle Kuzma isn’t the only reason the organization felt comfortable trading Larry Nance Jr, and there remains a distinct and growing possibility that Randle—set to be a restricted free agent this summer—could be back in the purple and gold.
Through five February contests, Randle is beasting like a bull in the china shop with averages of 20.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists on 58.1% shooting. The 23-year-old is playing like a man amongst boys, and the difference in his game is all about effort. Luke Walton has Randle and the rest of the Lakers buying what he’s selling, and there is no indication that the Kentucky product is going to cool off moving forward.
Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers
Saric is not often talked about from a national perspective behind the eclipse that is Joel Embiid. We don’t often hear anything about Saric as a part of Philadelphia’s core, let alone the Sixers future. Despite the fact that the former lottery pick isn’t sending pings to our iPhones with push-alert notifications, that hasn’t stopped him from showing out in February.
Through five games this month, Saric is averaging 17.4 points, 7.2 boards, 3.2 assists, and 2.4 3-pointers on 50.8% shooting, including 44.4% from behind the 3-point line as well as 91.7% from the foul line. In other words, Saric is hitting 50/40/90 with goodies across the box score. While I don’t think “selling high” is the right idea, I do understand exploring the market.
Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers
The Ingram point guard experiment has been working. The slender sophomore has averaged 19.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.0 3-pointers on 56.1% shooting over the last five games, but now things stand to get interesting. It will be a fascinating test of coaching to see how Luke Walton balances Ingram’s development with the addition of Isaiah Thomas and the return of Lonzo Ball (knee), especially since all three guys are expected to play crucial stretches together.
For the season, Ingram has shown significant improvement across the board with averages of 16.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks on 46.1% shooting. Perhaps most impressive has been Ingram’s improvement from the 3-point line, as he’s now a legitimate shooter at 39.3% after an abysmal 29.4% mark in his rookie year. There is no question that the 20-year-old has an incredibly special future ahead of him, but I wouldn’t be overlooking the present, either.
Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
Powell is looking to make my “second-half” stash dreams come true this year. After advocating for the big man to get a real chance in each of the last two seasons, the rebuilding Mavs are finally in position to give him extended run to conclude the 2017-18 campaign. Powell has been awesome in February with averages of 16.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steal on 66.7% shooting (five games), and it’s fairly surprising that he’s only on 35% of Yahoo rosters.
Dirk Nowitzki isn’t getting younger, Salah Mejri cannot keep up in today’s NBA, Nerlens Noel’s (thumb) integration remains a question mark, and Powell is signed for the next two years at approximately $20 million. Given both the trajectory of the team, prioritizing Powell’s production makes a lot of sense in Dallas.
Taurean Prince, Atlanta Hawks
After a frigid January that saw him average 9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 3-pointers, and not much else on a pathetic 34.8% shooting, Prince hasn’t done much to improve his standing this month with averages of 14.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.0 triples on 40.0% shooting. And if we throw out the 31-point game Prince exploded for out of nowhere to begin the month, the second-year man is averaging just 10.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 treys on 19-of-53 (35.8%) shooting.
I want Prince to be more than what he’s been, but the production just hasn’t been there for an extended period now and he’s on all my benches (weekly format) until further notice.
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks
We stay in Atlanta for Mr. Bazemore, who just hasn’t found his flame during the icy month of February. Over his last six games, Baze has not been in his glory with averages of 11.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.8 3-pointer on 31.7% shooting. His minutes (25.5) are down for the third straight month, and while the versatility in his production has allowed Bazemore to stay relevant, his recent inability to hit a 2-point shot—he’s shooting 47.8% during this stretch—has seriously hampered his value.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
It feels like Turner could have been featured in this section every week to date. To say it’s been a disappointing year for the big man would be a tremendous understatement, and he’s undoubtedly set to fall in drafts before the 2018-19 season as a result. But with nearly one-third of the current campaign remaining, it’s not a bad idea to buy (very) low in order to have a potential difference-maker for the stretch run.
When 19 points, seven boards, and two blocks is worth writing home about, it’s a telling indication of where expectations currently stand. To look back and reflect on the fact that Turner was typically drafted ahead of names like Joel Embiid and Bradley Beal is a frustrating exercise for some, but a validating one for others.
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Lowry has not been the same player that he was last season, but anyone still clinging to that idea is likely looking up in the standings. It’s clear that the Raptors are not nearly as reliant on Lowry as they were in previous years, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a buy-low opportunity here, either.
Even with his minutes down over the last five due to Toronto being involved in a series of blowouts, Lowry’s production has been very congruent with what he’s done all year. Although Lowry could be prone to some rest down the stretch, that may not be the case if the Raptors are still fighting for the No. 1 seed.