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NBA Stock Up/Stock Down
by Danny Panosian
Each week I will be diving into a few players whose stock has gone up the past week, and conversely whose stock has gone down. Trends in the NBA are always changing, and players’ values can change on any given night. So without further adieu, let’s dive in!
Reggie Jackson, (PG) Oklahoma City Thunder –
Some of the biggest news this week was the scope surgery on the knee of Russell Westbrook. He will be out until at least the All Star break, which gives Jackson a chance to step in and shine. He was a candidate for sixth man of the year before the news came out, so he is plenty capable of filling in for Westbrook. He did struggle a little bit in his first start shooting 4-19, but the fact that he is taking 19 shots is an indication he will be a major part of the offense going forward without Westbrook. I expect him to pick up his shooting and fill up the stat sheet in the process. If he was somehow left on your waiver wire, run and pick him up before you regret it later!
Blake Griffin, (PF) Los Angeles Clippers –
We all know the highlight reel plays Griffin makes on a nightly basis. But this year, Griffin has seemed to make a step forward on his overall game. He has become a complete player this season. In particular, his last 5 games he has averaged 30.2 points, 12.2 boards while shooting 55% from the field. Maybe even more impressive than that are his 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks and 82% free throw percentage during that span! He has more confidence in his jump shot than he ever has and if he can continue his stellar shooting at the line and the defensive stats, he will be a steal in most fantasy drafts. His owners might still be a little skeptical of these number so try and shoot him an offer, though his value might be too high right now.
Russell Westbrook, (PG) Oklahoma City Thunder –
On the flip side, Russell Westbrook seemed to be fully healthy after shocking everybody when he returned so soon from his knee injury to begin the season. He was putting up stellar numbers as we have all become accustomed to with him. But now people will have to wonder if the Thunder may have rushed Westbrook back too quickly. He will be out till after the All Star break and who knows if there will be further complications from that point. As we have seen with Derrick Rose, serious knee injuries can have complications even after a player seems to be fully healthy. With a more than capable backup in Reggie Jackson, the Thunder would be smart not to rush back Westbrook this time, as they should still be fine to make the playoffs without him. Most people will probably stash him on their benches, and I hope for their sake he comes back healthy for their stretch runs in fantasy leagues, but I’m not so sure he will be back when fantasy owners will hope.
Al Horford, (C) Atlanta Hawks –
The other major injury news this week came out of Atlanta where Al Horford suffered a torn pectoral muscle once again, the same injury that knocked him out of the season last year. Before the injury, Horford was having another nice year. He was probably the anchor center for many fantasy teams, so this will have a ripple effect all across fantasyland. The Hawks will now have to rely on Paul Millsap to be the man down low. With now two torn pectoral muscles in back to back seasons, one has to wonder of the long term outlook for Horford. Many fantasy owners will be very hesitant to take him early on in drafts next season with an injury history such as his. I do hope for his sake he will be able to fully recover from this, but this may be an indication he is breaking down.
Please leave any comments you may have below, and be sure to check back next Monday.