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 Down: Golden State Warriors
I was hesitant to doubt the Warriors when they initially lost Kevin Durant, but now there are real concerns beginning to surface. Golden State has dropped their last three games and five of their last seven. Their losing streak started with a loss to the Boston Celtics in which they put up a season-low 86 points on their home court. Then, after falling to the 26-38 Timberwolves by one point, the Warriors opted to sit their star players and graciously accept a 22-point loss from San Antonio’s bench that brought the Spurs within half a game of the No. 1 seed.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s shooting has been uncharacteristically off lately. But, perhaps the main reason for their slump is due to the fact that the Warriors were implementing Durant in their offense all season and now that he’s gone, it’s going to take some time to readjust to life before their fourth All-Star. I just didn’t anticipate them being this off for this long of a stretch.
Stock Up: Minnesota Timberwolves
Despite suffering a seven-point loss to the Bucks, the Timberwolves had a fantastic four games in week 20 of the NBA season. They beat down on the Clippers 107-91, slipped by the Warriors 103-102, and pounced on the Wizards 119-104. Minnesota’s Achilles heal this season has been closing out games in the fourth quarter, but they were able to hold onto their leads against Golden State and Washington despite late pushes they both made. Rubio is clicking with his young roster, and Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are continuing to develop into studs that can capture wins for their squad.
Stock Down: Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies cannot figure anything out. Before a win over the Bucks, they had lost five straight and fell to the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. They have tried many things to switch things up – including not just lineup changes but early warmups and other adjustments that may hype up the team – but have not found and answer. Their last four losses to the Hawks, Clippers, Nets, and Grizzlies have all been by double digits. A usually consistent team is struggling to stop their recent slide down the standings, but perhaps more Vince Carter (who we will get to in a bit) is the answer to getting wins.
Player Stock Watch
Stock Up: Ricky Rubio
The Spaniard has been hoopin’ for the TWolves. Just on Monday night, he had 10 assists against the Washington Wizards…in the first quarter. He went on to finish with 22 points, 19 assists, and five rebounds in Minnesota’s victory. Believe it or not, Monday marked only the second time in Rubio’s six-season career in which he has scored 20 or more points in back-to-back games (the only other time was exactly four years from yesterday). The flashy-passing point is averaging 19 points, 13 assists, 3.75 rebounds in his last four games. Compare that to his 9.6/8.8/4 average on the season, and you can notice the spike in scoring and passing production.
Stock Down: Draymond Green
Draymond has been a nonfactor for the Warriors during their three-game skid. He has been dragging Golden State’s shooting down, converting on just seven of his last 23 attempts (30%) over this past week. He has been substantially worse from behind the arc — just one of nine (11%). Out of the other players who have taken a similar number of field goals and threes, Green has been one of the least efficient. Also, he hasn’t posted a double-double in the month of March. It’s mostly the shooting, but the rest of Draymond’s game (aside from his steals and blocks) have seen a dip since the end of February and especially over his last two contests.
Stock Up: Marvin Williams
The Charlotte forward has been a top four rebounder in the league over the last week, pulling down 58 boards in four games (14.5 per game). He has also been adding 4.5 dimes every game which is well more than three times his season average (1.4). Additionally, no other player has had a better plus/minus over the last four games. I don’t think anyone saw William’s sudden heavy involvement on offense or domination on the glass coming.
Bonus Stock Watch
Stock Down: Age
Someone needs to break the news to 40-year-old Vince Carter and 38-year-old Dirk Nowitzki that you are supposed to decline with advanced age. Forty-year-olds should not be able to do this still:
VINCE. CARTER. IS. 40.
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) March 12, 2017
6-6 3 PT
40 years young
— PinPoint Sports (@SportsPinPoint) March 14, 2017
Check out those numbers: 24 points without missing a shot and 6/6 from three. HOW??
Meanwhile, Dirk turned back the clock to do this on Saturday night:
38-year-old Dirk Nowitzki had 19 points, 8 rebounds and 8-of-9 shooting in the first half
— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) March 12, 2017
We got some real-life Benjamin Buttons out here.
Stock Up: Gorillas
2016 was a rough year for gorillas *cough* Harambe *cough*, but 2017 is off to a pretty solid start for the hairy creatures. In the middle of the Suns-Wizards game, the Sun’s gorilla mascot dove right out onto the court from the baseline:
Uh, @SunsGorilla what's going on here? pic.twitter.com/5p46FqNbGR
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) March 8, 2017
I have so many questions here:
- How/why the hell did this even happen? Did he trip? Well, if you watch again very closely, you can see the gorilla is actually diving for an item that slid onto the court. Apparently, it was a drumstick (which makes this whole thing even more comical).
- Why is the Suns mascot even a gorilla again? Someone, please enlighten me on how that is in any way relevant to Phoenix or suns.
- For those watching it live, how many of you noticed the diving gorilla at all? I ask this because the whole thing kind of reminds me of those selective attention tests like this one:
See what I mean?!
No matter how you interpret it, the gorilla’s stock has got to go up after successfully extracting a potential health concern from the court and doing it in style (and for saving a drumstick, of course).
Stock Down: Resting Players
The highly anticipated meeting between the Warriors and the Spurs was a huge disappointment for fans. Both Greg Popovich and Steve Kerr sat their best players. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala didn’t play for the Warriors, while Kawhi Leonard (concussion protocol), LaMarcus Aldridge (minor heart arrhythmia), and Tony Parker couldn’t suit up for the Spurs (although I’m sure Coach Pop was being overcautious with them as an excuse to rest his players as well).
The game commentators took a shot at the NBA and the teams for benching players and not providing fans with the promised content. One family at the game traveled more than seven hours to see Curry and company play, only to be stuck with Ian Clark and Patrick McCaw leading the way for Golden State.
I personally don’t have a problem with this. Both teams have clinched a playoff spot and are about six games up on the next closest team out West. I have always thought Popovich was smart for strategically resting players and saving them for the playoffs while still getting a high seed. After all, look at their success with this conservative approach over the years. Players’ health and being prepared for a championship run is more important than the occasional unentertaining game, poor TV ratings, and disappointed fans in the regular season when teams rest their stars.
Follow Erik Johnson on Twitter: @erikjohnson32
Cropped photo via Flickr
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