Week 16 NBA Stock Watch
This is a brand new (hopefully weekly) segment for the 2016-17 season where we will talk about the highs and the lows of the past week to get a grasp of players and teams’ stock value. Whether you have bet your money on teams or players for this year, want a report for fantasy basketball, or are just emotionally invested, this NBA Stock Watch will have you covered on who’s trending in which direction.
Team Stock Watch
Stock Up: Sacramento Kings
It has been a very nice week for Sacramento. They started off without Boogie Cousins on Wednesday and matched up with one of the hottest teams in basketball, the Celtics. However, they scratched and they clawed and they just wanted it more than Boston, ultimately getting a comfortable victory. The Kings followed that up with a nice come-from-behind win over the Hawks and then got it done against the Pelicans. The Kings have been a royal pain in the ass for much of the past couple of seasons, but fans can enjoy these last three games.
Stock Down: Brooklyn Nets
This seems like an easy plug, right? I mean, I could really put Brooklyn here any week I want. However, they have truly outdone themselves now. 13-stright losses, some of which were exceptionally bad. Letting up comebacks to the Knicks, Heat, and more is not ideal, even for the league-worst club. They have been leading the league in turnovers as of late, only further emphasizing the shit show featured at the Barclays Center. Will they win again this season? I am only partially kidding but as a Celtics fan, I would like now.
Stock Up: Denver Nuggets
The rest of the week is irrelevant: the Nuggets get a huge stock boost for what they did to the Warriors on Monday night. Denver’s center Nikola Jokic, who I will get to momentarily, tore apart Golden State from the inside out. They shot 16/23 from three-point land in the first half after only registering 16 threes in two other games this year. They went on to finish 24/40 from deep (60%) and ended up with 132 points against one of the best defenses in the NBA. I mean, they were just on fire all game long. They seem to be winning every other game recently which isn’t necessarily good, but they have had their hands full with very tough matchups. Therefore, one whooping of an elite team is good enough in my book for a team that is low-key in the No. 8 seed spot in the West at the moment.
Player Stock Watch
Stock Up: Nikola Jokic
This guy has been awesome. All year long the Nuggets have been shaping their game plan and roster around their versatile Serbian center. His court vision and passing is exceptional for a big man, and has been on display nonstop this season.
Over the last week, Jokic has shown how he is continuing to polish his offense arsenal. He put a career-high 40 points on the Knicks Friday. He orchestrated a magnificent upset against the Warriors when he finished the THIRD QUARTER with a 13pt/16reb/10ast triple double. Coming into his monstrous performance Monday night, he was second in the league in made field goals per game, with only the 12th most field goals attempted.
Stock Down: LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge is typically an extremely consistent performer in the league. He has a reliable mid-ranger and efficient post scoring, mixed with really solid rebounding and passing. The Spurs forward hasn’t been playing great hoops for quite some time now, though.
Aldridge is averaging 47.8% shooting this season and 48.7% in his career. Yet, he has only shot above that season average twice in his last 11 games. In fact, he has only hit 29 of his last 85 shots (over five games), just 34% for a player who has made a living in and around the paint. Aldridge is also averaging 2.1 assists on the season, but haven’t even had two in a single game over his last five contests.
Stock Up: Bradley Beal
Beal is proving to be a legitimate scorer in this league. It was initially his perimeter shooting that set him apart, but he is now capable of scoring and creating on offense in many ways. Don’t get me wrong, the shooting touch is still his bread and butter. Beal dropped 41 on the Cavaliers a week ago, shooting 16/28 from the floor with six three-pointers. Just on Monday night, the former Gator left Oklahoma City thunderstruck by draining six of his seven attempts from downtown and putting up 22 points off just eight shots in 23 minutes.
Bonus Stock Watch
Stock Down: Cupcakes
I know what you’re thinking, and I will explain why cupcakes’ stock has actually gone down instead of up after this weekend.
Kevin Durant was welcomed with loud fans, constant boos, and…mocking cupcakes? Yup, if you watched KD’s highly anticipated return to Oklahoma City Saturday night then you know what I’m talking about. Signs with cupcakes, shirts with cupcakes, a cupcake chant during the game, and even a cupcake mascot:
There are a LOT of cupcake signs, t-shirts, etc, in the arena tonight, btw.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 12, 2017
For starters, is this the best you got OKC? Using cupcakes to express your feeling of betrayal or anger doesn’t fit well. What really made me shoot down cupcakes’ stock is the fact that KD and the Warriors took a lead on them early and never looked back. Sure, KD may be a “cupcake” but that makes OKC the candles cause they got blown out big time. Oh yea and that cupcake is still a damn good player:
That's cupcakes, folks. pic.twitter.com/MqH2V7M4JR
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) February 12, 2017
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 12, 2017
Yea, good try Thunder fans. The whole cupcake thing didn’t really do anything but backfire.
Stock Up: Sweet, Sweet Redemption
Brook Lopez has been the poster child of posterizers. Does that make sense? Let me rephrase myself: Brook Lopez has been getting fucking dunked on like crazy this year. Larry Nance damn near ended his career. Jeff Green and Karl-Anthony Towns gave him a nice facial. The list goes on for a while. But finally, Brook was done with getting dunked on. He had enough of it:
Brook Lopez is done getting dunked on this year… 😳
📽: (ESPN) pic.twitter.com/49lSGVOH3N
— ProCity Hoops™ (@ProCityHoops) February 11, 2017
Stock Down: Trash Talking
The NBA released a memo around the league this week about their new social media policy that prohibits teams from mocking or ridiculing opponents. This is a damn shame considering the hilarious Twitter exchanges in the past. Sure, it was technically trash talk, but it was harmless and HILARIOUS. Like when the Kings turned the Cavs logo into an L when they beat them. Or when the Trail Blazers and CJ McCollum put Chandler Parsons on blast after he chirped them following a loss.
The league is so “soft” now (maybe I’ll start calling the NBA a cupcake too, what do you think OKC?) that they won’t even allow Twitter banter? C’mon now man! The Kings and the Hawks used perfect sarcasm to sum up what the league intended with this new policy:
Don't get discouraged. Three quarters left, we fully expect a run from you guys. Chins up.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 11, 2017
We prefer you don't but it would sure be impressive if you did. This game is far from over!
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 11, 2017
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 11, 2017
Well done to the both of you.
Follow Erik Johnson on Twitter: @erikjohnson32
Cropped photo of Aldridge and Jokic by @Sportsnet