Week 24 NBA Stock Watch
It’s the last edition of the year for the NBA Stock Watch! It’s been a fun 24 or so weeks that have brought plenty of streaky teams, players, and trends. In fact, I reviewed all 23 Stock Watches prior to this week to see who has had the biggest rollercoaster seasons:
Team Stock Watch
- Season Stock Ups:
- 21 total teams featured.
- Seven teams were featured at least twice.
- The Sixers were the only team to be featured more than twice. The Sixers!! I guess that’s what happens when you start at the bottom.
- Season Stock Downs:
- 26 total teams featured. The only four that were not: the Sixers, Rockets, Suns, and Pistons.
- 11 teams were featured at least twice.
- The Clippers led the way with four appearances; the Blazers, Knicks, Mavs, and Cavs were the next closest with three each.
Player Stock Watch
- Season Stock Up:
- Featured 38 different players.
- Isaiah Thomas was the only player with three appearances; Beal, Booker, Wiggins, and Rubio were the only other players with more than one showing.
- Season Stock Down:
- Featured 24 different players.
- No player was on it more than once.
Now, here is the final stock report of the season!
Team Stock Watch
Stock Up: Atlanta Hawks
Hands down the easiest ‘Stock Up’ I have given out all season. After losing to the Nets twice on back-to-back Sundays, Atlanta turned it around yet again. After last Sunday, it was evident that they had one of the toughest weekly schedules with Boston on Thursday, Clevland on Friday, and then the reigning champs again on Sunday. They started off with a strong showing against the Celtics, as Boston never really threatened their comfortable lead. The next night, they rolled past the Cavs in convincing fashion. And then on Sunday, they were down 26 points going into the final quarter…and won in overtime. It was truly an amazing and historic comeback — they’re only the third team in NBA history to come back from at least 26 points down and win.
In the matter of a week, the Hawks went from inconsistent (they still haven’t proven to be consistent, but still) early playoff exit to a scary first-round threat for any top Eastern Conference team.
Stock Down: Cleveland Cavaliers
As mentioned in the introduction, the Cavs were featured in this spot the second most of any team (tied with three others), only behind the Clippers. They have simply had an odd second half of the season, playing mediocre basketball for a team that we all know is capable of being the best in the business. After destroying the Celtics on their home court last Wednesday, it looked like all was restored in the Eastern Conference and that the Cavs were ready to cruise to another Finals appearance. However, with two losses to Atlanta – one of which was an epic fourth quarter collapse that was formerly mentioned – and another defeat against Miami, they once again kissed away their No. 1 seed. In fact, if Boston beats Milwaukee in their season finale, they will clinch the top seed over Cleveland.
I really don’t understand why you bench LeBron and Kyrie in a game that is kind of a must-win for the top seed. I know that Cleveland is always a different team come playoff time, but the Cavs have actually been pretty worrisome on the road this year, especially recently.
Stock Up: Los Angeles Lakers
Tank? Noooo, we aren’t tanking.
It really looked like the Lakers were throwing away the rest of the season. That is until they decided to go on a little four-game winning streak. What I found more shocking, however, was their performance against the San Antonio Spurs. They went up 40-14 in the second quarter…yes, this was a 26-point lead for the second-worst Western Conference team against the second-best. Many will actually say that the Lakers were the real losers since they should be tanking, but I respect Luke Walton for trying to capture a couple more wins before the close of the season.
They finished the week on a high note, too — D’Angelo Russell hit a buzzer-beating three to lift LA over the Timberwolves. They beat two playoff teams and closed two close games against lower-tier teams to go on their win spurt.
Player Stock Watch
Stock Up: Russell Westbrook
Okay, so Russ has been playing out of his mind all year long, really. But for some reason, it took passing the Big O and officially averaging a triple-doub for the season for people to realize the stunning numbers he has been putting up. His MVP case is skyrocketing, and this week only helped the late take-off. He put up 45 points on the Grizzlies, tied and passed Oscar for triple-doubles (despite the Suns literally trying to stop him from the achievement — more on that later), and in the game that put him pass Oscar, he registered 50 points, 16 boards, 10 assists, and an MVP-worthy buzzer-beating three for the win. If he hasn’t had our attention all year, he certainly does now. There is no possible argument to make against what Russ has done for his team.
Stock Down: Brook Lopez
Step aside, you old man. The Brooklyn Nets are all about the youngins for the rest of the season. It’s hard to believe that Lopez is still stuck on this squad, but here we are. With such mediocrity around him, it should be easy to fill up that stat sheet — which he often has earlier in the season. Yet, over his past three games prior to Monday night, he has only put up 13 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists with 2.3 turnovers per contest. That rebounding number is the third lowest among all centers who have played at least 20 minutes per game (and his 28.6 mpg is plenty of time to grab a decent amount of boards). B Lopez just hasn’t been the go-to guy in Brooklyn lately, and yet they’re 4-1 in April. Hmm.
On Monday night, Lopez was a workhorse for the Nets and put up 25/7. He became the all-time scoring leader for Brooklyn — a very nice accomplishment. However, he still shot under .500 in the game and took some questionable shots in the loss.
Stock Up: Karl-Anthony Towns
There isn’t really anything that KAT could do to increase his stock since I already know that the kid can do basically anything on the court. However, if I have that mentality then he will never get any well-deserving praise, so if there’s any time to feature him now would be it. So, while he certainly doesn’t need the validation, I’ll give him the nod this week.
Towns is closing the season on a tear. In his last three, he has averaged 32 points, 16.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists on 62.7% shooting from the field and 50% from behind the arc. He put up his first career 40/20 game in a last-second loss to the Lakers. And he is 21 YEARS YOUNG. This kid is absurd.
By the way, he’s apparently dating a model now so that’s bonus points.
Bonus Stock Watch
Stock Up: Trolling
So when I play 2k with my buddies and I’m close to a crazy stat line, they will often go well out of their way to ensure that I do not get to enjoy that individual accomplishment. Whether it’s notching a triple-double, putting up 50 points, or whatever else, they will shift their efforts from winning the game to preventing Erik from completing that in-game goal.
The Phoenix Suns essentially did the same exact thing to Russell Westbrook this Friday. Russ needed two assists to break Oscar Robertson’s record for triple-doubles in a season, and the Suns not only refused to take their foot off the pedal, but they went above and beyond to prevent Russ from getting those last two dimes. They began intentionally fouling the star point guard and after taking the free-throws, Russ figured it wasn’t worth it. He intentionally fouled back and took himself out of the contest for the final two minutes. Quite the troll job by the Suns:
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) April 8, 2017
Stock Down: Jeopardy Nerds
I’m a huge Jeopardy guy. I will record episodes and compete with family or friends when we aren’t doing anything. But the thing is, as I’m sure many can agree, Jeopardy always makes average Americans feel incredibly dumb. The whizzes that they have on that show can name Chinese rulers from hundreds of years ago, the 8th tallest mountain, or what word an intricate definition refers to. But, guess what? I know something you don’t know!
This lady on Jeopardy put her whole $17,200 earnings on the line during Final Jeopardy when the category ‘Sports Mascots’ appeared on the screen. She definitely didn’t need to risk it all to win, mind you (the winner only finished with like $6,000 more), so she clearly must have some basic knowledge, if not an avid fan. Then, the question came and it was a fricken gimme. Well, at least for me:
“The animal on this team’s primary logo peaked about 75 million years ago”
Go ahead, answer it yourself. Pretty easy, right? So our friend who put everything on the line had this answer:
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) April 6, 2017
Timberwolf? What? Did timberwolves exist 75 million years ago? I’m fairly confident that they were nowhere close to existing yet 75 million years ago. Hold this L Jeopardy nerds…
Stock Up: Average Fans
This was a topic two weeks ago when that Hawks fan put had an impressive trampoline dunk and a more impressive celly, and it’s back courtesy of a Dallas Mavericks fan who had the night of her life over the weekend:
🚨 FROM HALFCOURT! 🚨
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) April 8, 2017
First of all, that’s a fire shirt. No words needed — a portrait of Dirk on your chest is all you need for a fire shirt. Second, she won a 65′ flat screen, so that’s pretty dope. Most importantly, she got to celebrate with Dirk himself. Now that is cool. Here’s to you, average NBA fans.
That’s a wrap for this season! For those of you who followed the segment, thanks for the support. If you have any feedback or comments about the Stock Watch I’d love to hear.
Cropped photo of Westbrook from Flickr
Cropped photo of Lopez from Flickr