NEW ROTOWORLD BETA SITE

Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

print article archives RSS

Stew: Can't Stop Ayton

Friday, January 4, 2019


 

This week in the Stew, I have decided to unabashedly embrace a blatant alphabetical gimmick: One write-up on a player for every letter in the alphabet. That would be 26 write-ups in total, at least half of which figure to be useful. Let’s do this:

A is for Ayton: Deandre Ayton, as you probably know, has gone full-on beast mode. Ever since a relative low point — seven points on Dec. 13 — he has now unleashed the following bonanza over his last 10: 21.4 ppg, 13.4 rpg, 1.3 spg and 0.8 bpg on 66.2 percent from the field and 81.3 from the line. (With just 1.4 turnovers.) We often see lofty FG percentages from big men, but it’s far less often accompanied by an outstanding FT percentage. And low turnovers. From a 20-year-old. And by the way — his 9-category ranking over those last 10 games: No. 5 overall, behind James Harden, Anthony Davis, Paul George and Kyrie Irving. He’s not hitting 3s yet, but based on the look of his mid-range jumper, that’s coming too at some point down the line. It’s possible we’re looking at a top-15 fantasy option for the next decade. Whatever the case, there is no other place we could have started this column, and nowhere left to go but down from here. Let’s continue…

B is for Brook (and Booker): There are four players in the current top 50 of 9-category leagues who are averaging 4.0 rebounds per game or less — Mike Conley (No. 30), Devin Booker (No. 32), Josh Richardson (No. 42) and… Brook Lopez (No. 48). For the last 12 games, Lopez is almost averaging more triples (3.1) than rebounds (3.3). He also has 17 3s with just eight boards his last three games. It’s a bizarre and wonderful turn of events for a dude who averaged 7.4 rpg with a total of three treys the first eight years of his NBA career. In other B-related news, Devin Booker in 10 games since returning from his hamstring injury has put up 29.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 8.0 apg, 1.1 spg and 2.3 3s on 46.7 from the field and 88.6 from the line — on 7.9 attempts a game. That puts him 12th overall in 9-category leagues during that stretch, and I’d treat him like something close to a top-15 option as long as he’s on the court.

C is for Carter Jr.: Just quickly checking in on Wendell Carter Jr., who had an absolutely awful game on Wednesday (scoreless in 13 minutes), which I think makes him a prime target to trade for right now. In his three games prior to that, the 19-year-old had looked a lot more like his early-season self, averaging 15.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 1.7 bpg on 64.5 percent from the floor. As a reminder, WCJ had about a month-long stretch (15 games) from late October to late November where he put up 12.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.9 spg and 1.7 bpg with strong percentages (48.6 / 87.0), and it’s easy to see him thriving down the stretch for the tanking Bulls.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattStroup

D is for Derrick(s): That would be Derricks, plural, which I guess puts us on track for 27 players (or maybe 28). I’ll start with Derrick White, who continued his breakout run on Thursday with 19 points and four dimes on 8-of-11 shooting. Over his last eight, he’s at 11.4 ppg, 4.1 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.0 bpg and 1.1 3s on 58.3 percent from the field. He’s owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues and very much appears to have figured out whatever it was that was stopping him from stepping into the Dejounte Murray void. It’s absolutely time to add him wherever available.

As for Derrick Jones Jr. … Airplane Mode disappeared for a minute, but is now decisively back in our lives. After four straight disappointing outings, he has back-to-back games of 14.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.5 spg, 1.0 bpg and 1.5 3s, and I would add him anywhere you have an open bench spot and feel inclined to take a swing on upside.

E is for Elfrid: I’ll be honest — I wasn’t that high on Elfrid Payton prior to or during his injury. Shaky FT percentage, not a lot of 3s, etc. However, he certainly caught my attention with his line the other night — 25 and seven with two 3s — and in his six full games this season (he left two games early), he has posted 15.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 6.8 apg, 0.8 spg and 1.0 3s. Those points, assists and 3s would all be career-highs, so it’s possible that this 24-year-old surrounded by explosive talent is finally ready to take off. The other way to look at it is that Payton's 9-category finishes his four years in the NBA go like this: 178, 194, 94, 129. And this year, in eight games, he’s 178th (again, with a couple games where he left early bringing down his stat line). If nothing else, I’m cautiously optimistic that he can finish inside the top-100 for the second time in his career.

F is for Forbes: I had Bryn Forbes pegged as a points/3s guy based on his first couple months of the season, when he averaged 11.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.6 spg and 2.0 3s in 26 games. Lately though, it has been a slightly different story. And I do mean slightly. Over his last 13 games, Forbes has upped his output to 13.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.1 apg, 0.6 spg and 2.5 3s. It’s quietly a significant difference in a number of categories, and for this latest stretch Forbes has been the 68th overall player, compared to No. 186 for those first 26 games.

G is for Gordon: Just when Aaron Gordon looked borderline unplayable due to bad percentages — he shot 34.0 percent from the field and 57.1 from the line for a seven-game stretch in early/mid-December — he now has gone 49.3 percent from the field and 81.3 from the line over his last six games. I don't worry at all about his production in counting stats, as Gordon peppers the box score in a bunch of categories even when his shot is off, but the percentages strike me as pretty tenuous. If he was driving you crazy just a couple weeks ago but now you're starting to believe in him again, it’s probably the ideal time to try to trade him away.

H is for Holiday: Justin Holiday got dealt to the Grizzlies on Thursday, and while conventional wisdom might say that this move crushes his fantasy value, I’ll offer this: What if it actually saves it? Holiday, a 29-year-old impending free agent, was always a candidate to get shut down during the second half of the season in Chicago, and was already starting to lose some steam (8.8 ppg on 29.3 percent shooting his last 12 games). The Grizzlies are at least on the fringe of the playoff picture, and in Memphis he may only have to beat out Garrett Temple to secure major minutes. I wouldn’t say I’m wildly confident it will happen, but I’d at least wait a handful of games before preemptively dropping him.

I is for Isaac: Jonathan Isaac, last 10 games — 8.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.9 spg, 1.2 bpg and 0.9 3s on 36.2 percent from the field. This is either frustrating or wildly intriguing depending on your vantage point. Personally, I think now might be an ideal time to try to sneak Isaac and his upside into a well-disguised multi-player trade.

J is for Jaren and Jackson and Jr.: The rookie is trending back up again the last couple of weeks, with averages of 15.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 0.6 spg, 1.0 bpg and 1.0 3s his last seven, with two of his three-highest point totals coming during that span (a 27- and 26-point game). He actually only has one block in his last five games, so while the buy-low moment has certainly passed, the lack of blocks lately might still help your cause if you’re trying to trade for him.

K is for Kurucs: Ok, I’m giving him one more chance. To review: Rodions Kurucs got very hot in the latter part of December (17.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.3 spg, 1.0 bpg and 1.7 3s over a three-game stretch), then was terrible for two games, then at least partially bounced back with 10 points, a block and two triples on Wednesday. For better or for worse, I’m arbitrarily designating Friday night against the Grizzlies as a crossroads for Kurucs. We’ll find out which road he takes shortly.

L is for Lou: This is just a brief reminder that Lou Williams, fantasy dynamo, is back. I honestly thought it was going to take a significant injury to someone else in Clippers country, but apparently all it took was Lou flipping some sort of internal switch. After putting up 17.2 ppg, 4.5 apg, 0.5 spg and 1.2 3s on 39.8 percent shooting in his first 26 games, he’s at 22.1 ppg, 6.1 apg, 0.9 spg and 1.4 3s on 50.5 percent shooting over his last seven.

M is for Montrezl: Remember that ugly slump in early December? Turns out it was just a blip for Montrezl Harrell. Sweet Lou’s fellow bench dynamo has put up 18.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.0 spg and 1.0 bpg over his last nine — on 63.8 percent from the floor.

N is for DaNuel: Yes, I cheated with the letters. It was inevitable in a few cases. Also, I realize that Danuel House may only be surging because Eric Gordon is out, but what if it isn’t just that? House actually started to produce before Gordon’s absence, and let’s not forget that there have been wing minutes for the taking in Houston all season. It's starting to look like House has no plans to surrender them. He has 15, 16 and 17 points in his last three games, and is at 12.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.8 spg, 0.6 bpg and 2.4 3s over his last five. If nothing else, he’s a gamble with some upside.

(continue to O-Z on the next page…)



continue story »
12
Matt Stroup has covered basketball for Rotoworld since 2008. You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Player News: Week 17

    Player News: Week 17
  •  
    Matchups: Gordon, Jeffery

    Matchups: Gordon, Jeffery
  •  
    DFS Analysis: Williams/Coleman

    DFS Analysis: Williams/Coleman
  •  
    Dose: Cam

    Dose: Cam's Season Ends
  •  
    DFS Analysis: GB

    DFS Analysis: GB's Williams
  •  
    Dose: Cam Shut Down

    Dose: Cam Shut Down
  •  
    Dose: Lindsay Makes Pro Bowl

    Dose: Lindsay Makes Pro Bowl
  •  
    Dose: Gordon Eyes Wk 16 Return

    Dose: Gordon Eyes Wk 16 Return