It’s the third installment of Buy/Sell and I’m already out of prologue ideas. That’s not good. And I’ve just burned the “I don’t have a prologue” prologue. Hmmm, to divert your attention let’s talk about some of the calls from last week. TJ McConnell has been more than serviceable, Lillard predictably started knocking down his shots (shutting down his buy low window in the process), and Moore and Crowder were blah. The controversial Murray pick confirmed his inconsistency scoring. Six, 26, 20, 24, three, nine, and four points in his last seven. I remain optimistic, but the dud against the Nets (one of the worst teams defending the PG spot) definitely hurt. Boogie and the Virgin continued dominating, but I stand by my advice to sell. The best call may end up being Henson who, with Monroe going to Phoenix, has a great opportunity to maintain his value for the rest of the season. With all that out of the way let’s look at our new candidates.
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Kyle Kuzma: With Larry Nance suffering a fractured hand (out 4-6 weeks), Kuzma has a real opportunity to earn starter minutes. Although his game is far from complete, he has impressive scoring instincts and will knock down the 3pt with ease. The Lakers have shown a commitment to player development with Magic Johnson running the office, so the minutes should be there. Julius Randle also has an opportunity to right the ship after his disappointing start with more minutes coming his way.
Tyreke Evans: At first I was skeptical for Tyreke, but the stat lines don’t lie. He is a clear cut must-own player in standard leagues with 16.8/2.1/5.6/2.8/0.9/0.0/1.5 on 48.5/86.4 % shooting. The Grizzlies lack talent outside of their Big 2 of Gasol and Conley, so Evans is asked to provide much of the scoring and playmaking. I’d call them all together the Memphis Big 3 but that sounds a little bit blasphemous. Maybe Big 2.5 for right now. Anyways, Evans is always an injury risk but he is “only” 67% owned at Yahoo. Make sure you increase this percentage if he is available in your league.
Jimmy Butler: Jimmy Butler is currently ranked 74th in per game value, three spots under Spencer freakin’ Dinwiddie (and yes, I totally Googled his name to get it right). The reason is easy to pinpoint. Lack of scoring efficiency and volume. He is shooting 41.8% (down from 45.5%) from the field on 3.5 less attempts than last year and 84.8% from the line on 4.7 attempts (4.2 less than last year!!). He seems uninvolved at times on offense and, despite playing the same minutes, he is down in virtually every statistical category. So you might wonder “Kostas, why in the world is he in the Buy column?” Because he is too good not to overcome this period of adapting to his new team. Because the Wolves went 0-2 in the two games he didn’t play and they need his leadership. And finally, because Thibs is Thibs and I firmly believe he will help his favorite player get it going eventually on the offensive side as well. I’m sending buy low offers in all the leagues I don’t own Butler and I encourage you to do the same.
John Collins: He is steadily eating into Dedmon’s minutes and looks to be the real deal. Long, athletic with a great motor that helps him get to the glass. He is also in a great situation to produce in Atlanta. It is beyond me that he is only 53% owned at Yahoo, so if you got the lucky side of the coinflip, go get him from the wire in your league.
George Hill: The Kings are a complete mess right now. What a surprise!! Who would have thought that trading your franchise player for Buddy Hield, an average pick, and some fill-in players was not such a smart move after all. Then they proceeded to sign free-agent veterans Hill, Randolph, and Carter to eat into the minutes of their young players and don’t even trade Koufos (a serviceable big man for a contending team) even though they already have WCS and Big-Papa to develop at the 5. Ok, rant over. Besides, the title reads “George Hill” not “NBA fan with no front office experience criticizes NBA legend Vlade Divac.” D’Aaron Fox is too good a player not to run the team so Hill is steadily losing minutes to him and already has two DNP-rest under his belt. My advice is to try and trade him after a good game, as he will be tough to own during the second half of the year.
Eric Gordon: Chris Paul is reportedly returning in two weeks, so this seems like the perfect time to sell Gordon at the peak. He is absolutely balling right now and, while I think he will still be a good value for the season, the return of CP3 definitely decreases his usage. D’Antoni has repeatedly insisted that he will stagger the minutes for Harden and Paul as much as possible, so Gordon won’t be on the floor without either ball-dominant superstar.
Klay Thompson: His production is not going to suddenly fall off a cliff, but I expect his 51% fg to drop closer to last year’s 47%. He is currently ranked 19th but I expect him closer to 30-35 when all is said and done, so if you can flip him for a proven top 20 asset go ahead while he is hot.
As always, comment below with your thoughts and suggestions about players I have not included and, of course, all your fantasy related questions!