Week 21 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: Milwaukee Bucks
It appeared that Milwaukee was on a free fall down the standings a little earlier in the year. They have a tremendous future in store, but it didn’t seem like they were going to have what it took to even make the playoffs this year.
Well, the Bucks just fought to win eight of their last 10 games. Despite getting whooped by the Warriors over the weekend, Giannis and company have had a nice month thus far and are right in the playoff picture. They have been doing so without relying heavily on Giannis either — they had five different scoring leaders in their 11 March games (in which they won eight of them).
Stock Down: Atlanta Hawks
Is this the streakiest team in the NBA? The Hawks either win or lose in bunches, and unfortunately, right now it’s the latter. After a three-game losing streak and then a three-game winning streak, Atlanta has lost four in a row. In other words, their schedule looks like this: L L L W W W L L L L. Streakier than a poorly washed window, amiright? Their last two losses stand out more than the prior two since they were both to sub-.500 teams, the Hornets and Trail Blazers.
Stock Up: Philadelphia 76ers
No Joel Embiid? No Ben Simmons? No Nerlens Noel? No problem for Dario Saric and the Sixers. Philly continues to win games despite not having their two franchise players and trading one of their top recent draft picks. In this week alone, the Sixers nearly slipped by the Warriors at Oracle, had a comeback win over the Celtics, destroyed the Dallas Mavericks by 42 points, and played well against the Magic before letting their lead slip away (I’m not gonna lie, the Sixers were up by around 15 when I began writing this). Along with TJ McConnell, Richaun Holmes, and Robert Covington, Saric, who may now be a legitimate competitor with his teammate for the Rookie of the Year award, has his team playing – dare I say it – good basketball! This Sixers team continues to surprise people this season.
Player Stock Watch
Stock Up: James Harden
The beard has been going off all year. His 29.2/11.2/8.1 season average is just beyond imagination. Think about it — if Harden puts up 28 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds, his season average is going to go down. The Rockets guard somehow managed to string together three games that were even more impressive, though.
Harden not only had four straight triple-doubles going into Monday night, but he had two straight 40-point games too. Over his 4-game triple-doub streak, the Beard averaged 34.3 points, 11.3 assists, and 11.5 rebounds. Not too bad, right?
Stock Down: Kemba Walker
Kemba used to struggle with his shot on a daily basis, shooting an inefficient percentage from the floor for most of his career. This year had been different…until this past week. He’s only put up 13 points a night over his three games this week. His shooting percentage has been even worse — Kemba shot under 30% in back-to-back games for the first time this season when he was 3/11 and 5/18 against the Pacers and Wizards, respectively. His 6/16 shooting (37.5%) on Monday night was a step in the right direction but is still nowhere close to his 44.6% season field goal percentage. Charlotte’s hanging on by a thread in the playoff race, and if they want to climb anymore it is essential that Walker steps up and makes something happen.
Stock Up: Damian Lillard
Dame Dolla is putting the Trail Blazers on his back in an attempt to carry them into the playoffs, and it worked out great this week. Lillard’s 36, 27, and 49 point totals led Portland to three straight victories. The 26-year-old point guard poured in nine treys on just 12 tries and was 15/25 this week. He hasn’t gone full-blown Kobe either, as he has dished out 14 assists over that span to go along with the high-volume scoring. Oh yea and Dame hasn’t missed a free-throw in his last 45 trips to the line. Dude cannot miss lately!
Bonus Stock Watch
Stock Down: More Life
Chill, Drake fans. More Life (Drake’s new album that dropped on Saturday, for those who don’t know) is nice. That’s not what I mean here.
What Drake really needs is some more life at Raptors games. The rapper is unofficially referred to as the Toronto Raptor’s Ambassador for his commitment to his hometown hoop team and courtside presence at many games. However, the Canadian hasn’t made an appearance at the Air Canada Centre in many months and Raptors fans have taken note:
— NBA RETWEET (@RTNBA) March 18, 2017
Love the #FakeLove thrown in at the bottom of the poster. But really, they have a point. I called Drake the next Spike Lee in a former post about him, but he doesn’t seem to be nearly committed enough.
Drizzy seems to have had a relationship with the Raptors since way back, but is it now just fake love? Or has he just been so committed to his craft that he had to make sacrifices and miss sitting courtside at games to complete this new album? After all, you can’t have everything.
Stock Up: Potatoes
Over the weekend, Dirk posted this picture on social media that had the NBA world scratching their heads:
Whoever sent me this POTATO!!!! Much appreciated…. pic.twitter.com/fVaqRvvgTn
Then, other NBA players began to share the potatoes that they received in the mail. This stirred up talk about who the hell was sending these things. Turns out, it was Potato Parcel, a company who specializes in – yup, you guessed it – potato messages. You may remember them from an episode of Shark Tank (kind of ironic that Dirk, who plays for Mark Cuban, was the first one to post about his potato). Here are some of the best potatoes received from around the league:
Treatment and inspirational potatoes. Thanks, whoever you are. pic.twitter.com/10IzZPmrFo
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 17, 2017
They ended up sending these customized potatoes out to 150 NBA players. What a genius marketing move! Texting? Please, texting is the new telegram. It’s all about sending messages via potatoes now!
Stock Down: LaVar Ball
I don’t know what the think of LaVar Ball, father of UCLA phenom Lonzo Ball and many future UCLA studs. He clearly has premature NBA expectations for Lonzo after declaring that he is better than Steph Curry and other NBA All-Stars. He fired shots at Charles Barkley saying that he could beat him one-on-one and to “keep eating donuts.” The man has his own hashtag on Twitter called #LaVarBallSays where people sarcastically think of funny and basically impossible things that he would say he could do. Also, he took one right out of Kanye West’s book by selling his own merchandise at unreasonably high and inconsistent prices (a pretty basic t-shirt goes for $60, which is the same price as the hoodies for some reason).
He hasn’t really accomplished anything, yet is causing a buzz around the sports world just for being annoying and arrogant in public. In fact, I would say that he is the Kim Kardashian of the NBA world right now.
LaVar didn’t do anything back when he played so he shouldn’t be calling out other players and trying to sell merch. He can talk the talk, but can’t walk the walk. Barkley noted many times how LaVar averaged a laughable 2.2 points at Washington State:
— NBA RETWEET (@RTNBA) March 19, 2017
Your sons are great, but you’re trash LaVar. Arrogance, chirping players, and selling overpriced merch aren’t going to change that. And by the way, when will people learn to not take shots at Chuck because he fires back twice as hard (re: JaVale McGee).
Cropped photo of Walker from Flickr
Cropped photo of Harden from Flickr