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Fantasy Basketball Buy/Sell: Week 8

by George Haw | @georgeWarfieldH | Featured Writer
Dec 17, 2015

Should owners sell high on Kyle Lowry?

Should owners sell high on Kyle Lowry?

We’re halfway through the eighth week of the NBA season and we have a new set of Buy, Sell or Hold candidates for you to peruse. This is the time of the year when fantasy basketball starts to pick up speed as the date of December 15 has just passed. What is the significance of this past Tuesday you ask? Well, with minor exceptions, any player signed to a team before September 6 isn’t able to be traded until December 15. That’s one reason why this time of the year is always so busy for the NBA and so crucial for fantasy owners. While there are still only trade rumors abound, expect the trades to start coming in pretty soon.

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BUY

Victor Oladipo – SG/PG – Orlando Magic

Oladipo is currently in his third year as a professional and from the start it was obvious that the Maryland native had talent. He managed to improve throughout his rookie season, and in his second year (while starting 71-of-72 games) averaged 17.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 threes, 1.7 steals and 2.8 turnovers in 35.7 minutes. To start this current season, Oladipo remained in the starting lineup, playing shooting guard for a smaller lineup that utilized a point guard, shooting guard, two small forwards and a center. That lineup continued for eight games until the Magic decided to make a change by adding more height. Oladipo was moved to the bench, and Channing Frye was promoted to the starting power forward role. Forwards Tobias Harris and Evan Fournier remained as starters with Fournier moving to shooting guard and Harris to small forward. With the exception of a few games where Oladipo got a spot start, that lineup has held firm to the present. It’s not clear if, or when, Oladipo will return to the starting lineup, but even as a bench player, he’s putting up stats useful enough to provide low-end value in standard leagues. Oladipo is simply too talented to see 25 minutes or less for too long, so it’s only a matter of time before his usage increases, at least, to the upper 20s. Whether he returns to the starting lineup or manages to lock down more minutes off the bench, Oladipo is very likely to turn things around sooner rather than later. Now is a nice time to buy low on the talented 23-year-old.

Jordan Clarkson – PG – Los Angeles Lakers

Clarkson just returned from a two-game absence due to an ankle injury and immediately relieved rookie D’Angelo Russell of his fill-in role at starting point guard. Clarkson has started all 23 games that he’s played in this season, and on a team like the Lakers, that seems pretty likely to continue. Los Angeles is currently 4-21 on the season, and while they did win their last game, things don’t seem to be improving…at all. When you’re as bad as the Lakers, it’s extremely important to spend time developing young talent, worrying less about the present and focusing more on the future. Unfortunately for the Lakers, there really aren’t that many players to focus on, but fortunately for Clarkson, that means more attention. Even though Russell was drafted last year, in hopes of developing him into their future play-caller, the fact that Clarkson is further along in his development (one extra season) and is looking good, means that he’s likely a higher priority at the moment. Barring a future trade, Clarkson is a pretty solid lock to continue seeing the lion’s share of the minutes and still has plenty of room for improvement. With the recent injury and relatively modest stats so far, Clarkson owners may be a little underwhelmed and looking to get someone for him that seems more reliable. Whether it’s a one-for-one trade or a package deal, now is a good time to look at Clarkson as a buy-low candidate.

HOLD

Jae Crowder – SF – Boston Celtics

Currently averaging more points, steals, blocks, assists, rebounds and three-pointers than he ever has in his career, it’s safe to say Crowder is on a roll. After beginning his career in Dallas and then moving to Boston…and then back to Dallas…and then back to Boston, Crowder may have finally found where he belongs. OK, that may be a little too optimistic as the Celtics have been a revolving door, as of late, for players young and old, but he really is flourishing as a starter under coach Brad Stevens. After 25 games this season, Crowder is averaging 12.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.7 threes in 31.2 minutes. The points aren’t bad, and the rebounds are useful as well, but the real value in Crowder can be found in the more difficult statistical categories to fill. He’s had nine games of three or more steals and has knocked down a three in all but three games. On top of that more consistent production, Crowder is also averaging one block over his last eight games.

He specializes in the parts of the game that are easily ignored in points-based fantasy leagues, but in category leagues, he’s a gem that many were lucky enough to grab from the waiver wire. Seeing as how far above his career numbers Crowder is currently averaging, it may seem like a good idea to trade him away before things start to return to normal. However, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that his playing time is going to change anytime soon. On top of that, Crowder is just one of those players that is difficult to trade away and see fair value in return. Without the flashy double-doubles or 20-plus points per game, Crowder can easily be forgotten, and that’s why it’s best to just keep his talent to yourself and enjoy it while it lasts. It’d be a shame to trade him away, expecting an eventual decline, only to watch him keep it up for the rest of the season. For now, just be happy you got him when you did and continue to reap the rewards while you can.

Rajon Rondo – PG – Sacramento Kings

One of the great surprises of the year has been that of Rajon Rondo. Before this year, most people would have told you his career was nearing an end. He was traded twice in two years and his production had been dropping over the past few seasons. Rondo looked more like a useful backup than anything else, but the trade to Sacramento seems to have solved all of his problems (at least in the basketball world).  The wily veteran is now in his 11th season and is posting career numbers. His points, assists, rebounds, steals, three-pointers and field goal percentage are all equal to or better than most of his past seasons, and it hasn’t come at the expense of his team’s success. Sure, the Kings are still five games under .500, but it’s not because of a selfish Rondo. He’s currently averaging 11 assists per game and shooting better than 45 percent from the field (not amazing but not all that detrimental either). Rondo is leading the NBA with four triple-doubles on the season and seems capable of recording another one at will. Other than his free-throw percentage, Rondo’s providing valuable stats across the board and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The reason Rondo is currently a hold candidate is because he’s providing value that’s unexpectedly high, likely to continue and difficult to match. If you’re in a points league, it may be a bit more realistic to shop him around as value in those leagues is rather obvious and easy to gauge. But if you’re in a categories league, it may be best to just hold onto the vet and enjoy the many crazy performances sure to come.

SELL

Kyle Lowry – PG – Toronto Raptors

Lowry has been a beast so far this season, averaging 21.3 points, 6.0 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 threes per game. Those numbers top his career averages in every statistic, including his shooting percentages from the field and from the line. More specifically, Lowry’s three-point percentage this year is a good six percent higher than his career average. It’s unlikely that he’s going to be able to keep up such a torrid pace for the rest of the season, and he’s also been somewhat injury prone in the past, so now may be a good time to cash in. That’s not to say, however, that Lowry is in danger of losing much value, just that he’s probably playing pretty close to his ceiling, and as a result, is a good sell-high candidate.

Kevin Love – PF – Cleveland Cavaliers

It’s been a great season so far for Kevin Love, and he couldn’t have done it with Kyrie Irving. Well, maybe he could have. Maybe his success has more to do with an improved relationship with LeBron James than it does not having another All-Star around. As is often the case, Love’s renewed success is probably not due to just one specific thing but rather a few factors coming together. It should still be noted, however, that Irving is a star and commands attention when on the court. It’s hard to think of a way that Love manages to continue scoring at his current pace after Irving returns.Love is in a very similar situation to the one that Chris Bosh found himself in when he played with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade from 2010 to 2014. In the five seasons leading up to his move to Miami, Bosh averaged 22.8 points and 9.9 rebounds, but during the four years he played with James, Bosh saw his averages drop to 17.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. And then, when you look at how he’s played since James left for Cleveland, after the 2013-14 season, you’ll notice his points and rebounds have risen again, currently sitting at 19.5 and 7.7 respectively. You might think that Bosh’s assists would have increased while playing with James, but they too followed the same trend as his points and rebounds. His minutes and shooting percentages remained roughly the same, however, meaning that it wasn’t a lack of playing time or poor shooting streaks that caused his slide, it was the LeBron James effect. However Love ends up reacting to the return of Irving, it’s almost certainly not going to be by adding to his current production. You might see an increase in rebounds (Bosh might argue otherwise), but overall, it’s likely that Love will lose some value. And seeing as how Irving should be returning to action any game now, it’s best to act now rather than waiting to see how it turns out. This is by no means a fire sale, but since it’s hard to see Love playing better than he is at the moment, and it’s easy to see him slide a bit, it only makes sense to at least find out what his current value is in your respective league.

Love is in a very similar situation to the one that Chris Bosh found himself in when he played with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade from 2010 to 2014. In the five seasons leading up to his move to Miami, Bosh averaged 22.8 points and 9.9 rebounds, but during the four years he played with James, Bosh saw his averages drop to 17.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. And then, when you look at how he’s played since James left for Cleveland, after the 2013-14 season, you’ll notice his points and rebounds have risen again, currently sitting at 19.5 and 7.7 respectively. You might think that Bosh’s assists would have increased while playing with James, but they too followed the same trend as his points and rebounds. His minutes and shooting percentages remained roughly the same, however, meaning that it wasn’t a lack of playing time or poor shooting streaks that caused his slide, it was the LeBron James’ effect.However Love ends up reacting to the return of Irving, it’s almost certainly not going to be by adding to his current production. You might see an increase in rebounds (Bosh might argue otherwise), but overall, it’s likely that Love will lose some value. And seeing as how Irving should be returning to action any game now, it’s best to act now rather than waiting to see how it turns out. This is by no means a fire sale, but since it’s hard to see Love playing better than he is at the moment, and it’s easy to see him slide a bit, it only makes sense to at least find out what his current value is in your respective league.

However Love ends up reacting to the return of Irving, it’s almost certainly not going to be by adding to his current production. You might see an increase in rebounds (Bosh might argue otherwise), but overall, it’s likely that Love will lose some value. And seeing as how Irving should be returning to action any game now, it’s best to act now rather than waiting to see how it turns out. This is by no means a fire sale, but since it’s hard to see Love playing better than he is at the moment, and it’s easy to see him slide a bit, it only makes sense to at least find out what his current value is in your respective league.

 

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George Haw is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from George, check out his archive and follow him @georgeWarfieldH.

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