Week 2 NBA Stock Watch
Everyone’s favorite weekly hoops column, the NBA Stock Watch, is back for the 2017-18 season! Just like the New York Stock Exchange, the National Basketball Association is constantly changing and requires extra attention to properly monitor. Teams go through win or losing streaks. Players get hot or cold. Lucky for you, I accumulate this information and put together a report every Monday at 9:30 am ET to keep you up to date!
This series is divided into three sections: Team, Player, and Bonus Stock Watch. In each, I will name three teams, players, and trends in the league whose stocks have either gone up or down over the last week. In addition, I am including one team and player who you should either “buy” or “sell” based on their outlook for the future. This way, the NBA Stock Watch isn’t just updating you on what’s happening in the league, but also preparing you for the future of it.
Whether you gambled money on teams or players for this year, want a report for fantasy basketball, or are just emotionally invested, the NBA Stock Watch will have you covered on who’s trending in which direction during the 2017-18 season!
Team Stock Watch
Stock Down: Cleveland Cavaliers
Steven A. Smith vouched for the idea that this 2017-18 Cavs roster is the most talent LeBron James has ever had. Through the first seven games of the season, that certainly has not been the case. James’ supporting cast has been extremely poor, putting a lot of pressure on the 32-year-old that has already proven to be too much at times.
The Cavs opened this past week by squeaking away with a win over the impoverished Chicago Bulls after trailing for a large part of the game. The very next night, they took an L to the Brooklyn Nets, who were without their best player, D’Angelo Russell. Over the weekend, they were blown away by the New Orleans Pelicans and rolled over by the New York Knicks to drop the fourth of their last five. So to recap, the Cavs have already lost to the Nets, Knicks, and Magic. What is happening??
Stock Up: Memphis Grizzlies
This is really a testament to the first two weeks as a whole for the Grizzlies. After six games in the books, the Grizzlies have a fantastic resume that includes two wins over the Rockets and a win over the Warriors. Literally half of their games so far have been against two of the best teams in the league, yet Memphis sits atop of the West with a 5-1 record.
Marc Gasol has been nothing short of amazing, Mike Conley has been his reliable self, and even Chandler Parsons is beginning to get in on the action after contributing a team-high 26 points against the Rockets on Saturday. I was very concerned that the Grizzlies would be too soft this season after losing guys like Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, but so far, they’ve proven me wrong.
Stock Down: Sacramento Kings
After the additions of Zach Randolph, George Hill, and Vince Carter, the Kings believed they found some stability for their roster. It appeared they had just the right amount of veterans to help their young core stay out of the basement of the standings. After struggling in Week 2, though, the Kings find themselves at 1-5 on the season and just a half of a game above last place in the West.
Sacramento is now in the heart of a losing streak. They suffered defeats to the dysfunctional Phoenix Suns, the New Orleans Pelicans led by a rageful DeMarcus Cousins, and the Wizards in a game that was an ugly blowout. Even with a surprisingly positive offseason, Sac-Town is off to a poor start in 2018.
Sell: Orlando Magic
As I am typing this, the Magic are sitting atop of the Eastern Conference as the No. 1 seed (it’s now a three-way tie). THE MAGIC. After a small sample size, Orlando has impressed with great team wins over the Spurs and the Cavaliers. At the same time, though, they lost to the Nets and, just recently, saw their three-game win streak come to an end courtesy of the Charlotte Hornets.
Honestly, I think this is about the best it will get for Orlando. I am not buying into the hype that the small sample size may suggest, and recommend selling your Magic shares before they dop back to reality.
Player Stock Watch
Stock Up: DeMarcus Cousins
Since we last met, Boogie Cousins has been going off. The Pelicans center has been an unstoppable force, contributing to his team in a range of categories. He’s put up the most points in the league over the last week with 109. In that time, he’s had the second most rebounds (two behind DeAndre Jordan’s 40 boards) to go along with 19 assists, five steals, and four blocks. On Saturday night, Boogie put up his first triple-double of the young season and helped his Pelicans comfortably defeat the Cavaliers.
Cousins has been a true beast this week, leading to an undisputed boost in the Boogie stocks.
Stock Down: J.R. Smith
One of the big problems with the Cavs’ recent underwhelming performances is their offense around LeBron. While Cleveland is still trying to figure it out on that end, one thing is clear: J.R. Smith is on a cold streak. Smith is typically a hit-or-miss player, and through the second week of the season, it was the latter.
Since Tuesday, J.R. has had scoring totals of 3,2,3, and (finally) 11 on Sunday night. He has taken 29 shots over the past week, and 22 of them have been three-point attempts. Unfortunately, he has only splashed home four of those – a percentage of 18%. The amazing thing is that he is hardly performing any better from the rest of the field! Smith is a brutal 6 for 29 on all his shots during this past week (21%) and has mostly been a nonfactor for the Cavaliers.
Stock Up: Dwight Howard
Remember when it seemed like Howard had 20-20 games every night in Orlando during his prime years? That’s basically what Dwight Howard has done for the Hornets so far this year. After some dissapointing campaigns with the Lakers, Rockets, and Hawks, the big-man is resurrecting his career in Charlotte.
Dwight snagged at least 15 boards in all of his first five games. He’s posted two 20-point affairs through six games and averaged 18.7 points with 15 rebounds through his four games this week. To put that into perspective, he surpasses 20 points in just 11 contests with the Hawks. He’s doing it every three games thus far, and even when he doesn’t he’s been dominant.
Only time can tell if the numbers from Howard’s small sample size can stay consistent, but it certainly looks like they could.
Buy: Victor Oladipo
This is a guy who I loved coming into the year (just ask my Fantasy Basketball Draft Kit). Oladipo has always had potential, but being the primary ball handler in Indiana has had a tremendous effect on his game. Get this – he has led his team (who have a couple of great victories so far) in scoring every single game so far. He is the fourth best scorer in the league over the past week, and has been extremely effective shooting from all over the field. Since Tuesday, Oladipo is shooting 60.4% from the field, 60% from three, and 95% from the stripe – all with averaging 28.7 points.
Oh, and I haven’t even talked about his defense. Although the Indiana star has been a good defender since college, he’s stealing the ball a career-best 2.2 times per game in this young season.
BUY, BUY, BUY on Oladipo.
Bonus Stock Watch
Stock Up: Haunted Houses
There are a lot of team-building exercises that teams experiment with. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t have chemistry, you will not make it in the league. What perhaps may be the smartest team-bonding experience to date, some Pelicans teammates went through a haunted house together:
(Via ballgod/IG) pic.twitter.com/vxPxQoo2Po
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 29, 2017
Is there a better way to form trust with a teammate then walking (or, at times, running) through a haunted house? Well, even though Anthony Davis sort of ditched DeMarcus and didn’t know where he was…still, you get the point, though.
Stock Down: Tacos
Tacos? What could anyone possibly do to make tacos’ stock go down? Well, how about putting crickets in them? Yup, believe it not, that’s exactly what the Atlanta Hawks will be doing this season:
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) October 27, 2017
That’s a hard pass for me. Whatever happened to the simple hot dogs, wings and cotton candy?
Stock Up: Costumes
Halloween is always a fun time of the year, and even the pros get in on it. There were some great costumes – from both NBA players and fans – this weekend. Here are some of the best:
Man who lost his leg to cancer gets creative for halloween
Via Reddit pic.twitter.com/ANQOUSaoy4
— NBA RETWEET (@RTNBA) October 30, 2017
Milhouse is at the Celtics-Bucks game!!! pic.twitter.com/SDyqNHrz4W
— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 27, 2017
I think the winner is Steph Curry for this hilarious display:
That wraps up week 2! Come back next Monday for the lastest news, trends, and stats!
Follow Erik J on Twitter: @erikjohnson32