Russell Westbrook has always been a controversial figure in basketball. There are those who love his competitive spirit, ability to lead and mentor his teammates, and dynamic and physical play. There are also those who criticize the lack of progress in his shooting, defensive commitment, and success in the playoffs. Whatever your take is on Westbrook, in terms of fantasy, there was one moment that proved to be a major turning point. And it wasn’t a trade, an injury, or anything else related to his play.

Over the summer of 2017, the NBA changed the delay of game rules, making it so that a free throw shooter is no longer allowed to go beyond the 3-point line, or he will be assessed a delay of game violation. Westbrook’s ft% average before this rule was 82.4%. His average after it is 70.3%. And he is shooting a whopping 7.1 free throws per game for his career, so you can understand the fantasy impact this has. His shooting woes this year (41.3%) along with a major decrease in steals (0.8) and increase in turnovers (4.9) has him ranked 207th in per-game value. Let that sink in…Take an extra moment, you need it. Now see things clearly and try with all your might to trade him if you drafted him, taking advantage of his name value and the owners in your league that like him in real life, because he is actively hurting your fantasy team, even if you are punting turnovers.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, all were serviceable, with Thaddeus Young leading the bunch with three excellent fantasy lines. Beware that from the “Buy” suggestions, De’Anthony Melton hurt his shoulder and is questionable, so feel free to stream his spot, if necessary.

Buy

Jakob Poeltl: This suggestion comes with a major warning. You have to be punting or be extremely confident in your ft% in order to get Jakob Poeltl, since he is shooting 28.6% from the line. If you can ignore this and with LaMarcus Aldridge sidelined, Poeltl is a top 70 player over the last two weeks and can be a huge source of rebounds and blocks. Again, beware that the increased opportunity has resulted in more attempts from the free-throw line, but also more attempts from the field and he looks like a great add until LMA returns (35% owned).

Josh Richardson: After a subpar start to the season, the Mavericks are starting to show signs of life, with three wins in their last four games and Josh Richardson is a major factor for their improvement. He has been a top 70 player in his last five by increasing his fg%, triples, and assists and looks like a good pickup for the remainder of the season, as he is available in 48% of Yahoo leagues.

Taurean Prince: The player I have been hyping up every preseason, drafting him with alarming consistency, and then living with my disappointment all fantasy year long is none other than Larry Nance. But not this year. This is his breakout year and thank god I indeed drafted him again wherever I could, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself otherwise. But nothing good lasts forever and Nance, unfortunately, broke his finger and will miss the next six weeks, paving the way for Taurean Prince to sneak into top 150 value. His fg% has always been an issue but he can be an all-around contributor that can be had from the wire, at least until Kevin Love returns (11% owned).

Sell

Russell Westbrook: Please read the article’s title.

Nicolas Batum: The resurgence of Nicolas Batum to fantasy relevance has been a pleasant surprise this season and he is currently sitting at no 60 in per-game value. I don’t expect his minutes or his production to drop moving forward, but him shooting 50% is something that is bound to change, even a little, as he is a career 43.6% shooter. I expect him to finish the season closer to the top 90 so it would be a good time to try and swap him for another top60 contributor.

  1. Mr. Hooper

    Mr. Hooper says:
    (link)

    That’s an amazing bit of information about Westbrook’s free throws. How did you come to learn this?

    • Kostas

      Kostas says:
      (link)

      I remembered him saying something similar in an interview back in 2017, when they changed the rule but then did some digging into the numbers. He said he will be fine back then, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

  2. Juan Canasta says:
    (link)

    Who do you think has the best ROS outlook: Diallo, E.Gordon, Lamb, Nunn, or Richardson? I’m wondering if Richardson because he’s the only one of those five whose production isn’t at least in part due to, or tied to, the absence of someone else. But wanted to get your take because I own Lamb and I’m concerned about his recent drop in minutes.

    • Kostas

      Kostas says:
      (link)

      I still like Lamb a bit more but Richardson is a close second. Give Lamb a week more and then decide

  3. Lisandro9 says:
    (link)

    Would you trade MPJ+Westbrook for Randle? This would seem ridiculous before the start of the season, but i m in 9 cat roto and Westbrook is doing me a lot of damage

    • Kostas

      Kostas says:
      (link)

      No that’s too much, not because of Westbrook but because of Porter. I think Porter is better than Randle, so I don’t like that deal for you.

      • lisandro9 says:
        (link)

        yeah Porter has a higher ceiling. It’s just that i think Harris is back and then he goes back to the bench playing 23 mins. Not confident in Malone unleashing him while Randle will lead the league in minutes.

        • Kostas

          Kostas says:
          (link)

          He is susceptible to some lower minutes here and there due to some visits to Malone’ s doghouse but I still like him more. Although good thought on your part to move Westbrook in a roto, he is becoming a straight liability.

  4. P. Ramos says:
    (link)

    Hi Kostas,

    Would you trade Collin Sexton, Ayton and Mikal Bridges for Vucevic and SGA?

    • Kostas

      Kostas says:
      (link)

      No, I like the 3 player side more

  5. Jon says:
    (link)

    Dude…that’s some next-level, Jedi mind, deep-cut statistics on the FT!! Thanks for that!

    12 teams, h2h 11 cats – std 9 plus off reb and def reb, keep 5 by rounds

    I was offered Markkanen and his 7th for Wiseman and my 5th? Markk is a keeper in the 10th and Wiseman is a keeper in the 3rd.

    Do you trust Markk’s health? My only hesitation is that Wiseman could be an absolute monster on the glass, as Kerr gives him more minutes and trust. Thoughts? Thanks!

    • Kostas

      Kostas says:
      (link)

      My pleasure, I love those kind of stats and deep research.

      It’s a difficult trade to evaluate for sure, mainly due to the extra categories. Markkanen in the 10th sure sound juicy and Wiseman in the 3rd kind of pricy. I can understand the fear Wiseman dominates the glass with more minutes but I think with the 3rd rounder you will have, you can get similar production, so I’m leaning 55-45 towards doing the trade.

      • Jon says:
        (link)

        For sure – it’s almost balance qualitative and quantitative data – you see the distance he’s walking, but it has to be mental on some level.

        I tend to agree on the pick difference – it gives some insurance to cushion the loss. I am a big fan of Markky Mark, but do you think he can stay healthy? I’d say I’m at a similar percentage, 55-45, and debating if/how much I’d regret losing Wiseman if he became Drummond-esque with a better shot and system around him?

        • Kostas

          Kostas says:
          (link)

          It surely is mental, the thing that fascinates me is that it’s been 3 years and he still hasn’t even come close to the percentage he was shooting.

          No-one knows if he can stay healthy and he hasn’t been that durable early in his career. But Drummond’s glass dominance is hard, even for Wiseman’s ceiling. The only thing that holds me back from being sure about the trade is the extra weight rebounds carry in your setting.

          Still I think I’d do it in your position.

          • Jon says:
            (link)

            Definitely – you think he’d have found comfort in a new approach after time?

            I appreciate it, man! I am going to sit on it a little more, but gives me some confidence that you’re leaning toward Markk.

            • Kostas

              Kostas says:
              (link)

              That was the hope but it definitely is not working currently, based on the stats. Only time will tell though.

Comments are closed.