Now that we’re nearing the All-Star break, NBA headquarters will have some extra non-game time to think about how they plan to move forward with their rosters.
League executives always have to make tough decisions about who they plan to re-sign and who they plan to let go during the offseason. But as the season progresses, it becomes a little easier to assess who would be a good fit for your franchise and who would not.
As part of our ongoing series on HoopsHype, we’re looking at what free agency stocks have gone up and down in recent games.
Stock up: Bruce Brown (Brooklyn)
(Photo by Sarah Stier / Getty Images)
Brooklyn’s Bruce brown he moved into the starting lineup more consistently as of February 10 and the results have been fascinating. Since that date, though Kevin Durant has played just once, the Nets have won 10 of 11 games.
Brown may not have name recognition from his teammates James harden or Kyrie irving. But his defensive tenacity and overall versatility have played no small part in his team’s success in recent weeks. While standing at just 6-foot-4, Brown has used his 6-foot-9-inch wingspan to play in all positions on both sides of the court, even running in center.
According to Cleaning the Glass, Brown is currently shooting 72 percent at the rim (86th percentile between wings) and 51 percent from the midrange (96th percentile) on the season. This is largely due to his float, which has been one of the most efficient in the league.
Despite his size, he’s been a phenomenal pick-and-roll partner for Harden and Irving. Brown is 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) when he rolls to the basket on ball screens so far this season, according to Synergy. His offensive rebounds and kickbacks have also given Brooklyn dozens of second-chance opportunities.
Lately, he has scored at least 12 points in six straight games, reaching 29 points on February 23 against the Sacramento Kings. The 24-year-old has also grabbed at least 8 or more rebounds three times during that period. One of the best performances of his season was against the Houston Rockets on March 3. He had 17 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists during the victory.
While he currently has a minimum contract, the Nets will surely want to re-sign Brown to a multi-year contract. You are eligible for an extension now and will be eligible again in August. As a restricted free agent, a former executive told Forbes he could make roughly $ 9 million to $ 10 million per season.
For the latest Bruce Brown news and rumors, click here.
Bottom Stock: LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio)
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Seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge he’s in a tough spot with the San Antonio Spurs. Last month, the big man was removed from the starting lineup for the first time since his rookie season.
The 35-year-old has been dealing with a hip injury and is averaging just 13.7 points per game, the lowest since his first professional season. Meanwhile, his 4.5 rebounds per game are a career low for the veteran.
According to Cleaning the Glass, Aldridge is shooting just 64 percent at the rim (35th percentile among big men) and an abysmal 31 percent from the short mid-range (15th percentile) so far in 2020-21. Plus, the Spurs have posted a much better defensive rating when he’s off the court.
Considering how well Jakob poeltl has played in his new role as a starter, it seems unlikely that Aldridge has much of a future with the organization. But instead of letting it walk in the offseason, by ESPN Marc spears, is available through the trade.
Surely the market is going to be tight for an older player like Aldridge. While it may be seen as a short-term rental, unless you switch to a ground shooting specialist, it’s hard to imagine a team deciding to use up much of its salary cap space to re-sign you at the agency. free without restrictions.
For the latest news and rumors about LaMarcus Aldridge, click here.
Stock up: Carmelo Anthony (Portland)
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It doesn’t matter what Portland’s Carmelo anthony He is almost 37 years old. The 10-time All-Star can still beat just about anyone in the league who takes on them one-on-one, either by putting defenders on top or winning in isolation.
Unsurprisingly, given his age, Anthony’s 25.6 minutes per game is the fewest he has played in his career. After declaring in 2018 that he I would not get out of the bankHowever, the 6-foot-8 forward has emerged as one of the best second-unit players in the league.
Anthony has scored at least 22 points in three of his last five games, hitting six 3-pointers in the Battle of the Melos when Portland defeated LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets on March 1. He literally took advantage of his ten connections from the field and recorded five notable steals, just one short of the best game of his career.
Expect him to surpass the former MVP and two-time NBA champion very soon Hakeem Olajuwon for the 11th most points in league history.
The veteran agreed to a minimum one-year league contract with Portland last season. Based on your willingness to play your role and your ability to score in bursts from the bench, there could be contenders in the league willing to offer something closer to the mid-level or biennial exception for next year.
For the latest news and rumors about Carmelo Anthony, click here.
Bottom Stock: Wesley Matthews (LA Lakers)
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When watching the Los Angeles Lakers this season, it’s easy to forget that last year Wesley matthews He started all 67 games he played for the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Matthews, 34, is currently averaging 4.2 points per game, his career low, so far this season. He is playing just 20.2 minutes per game, the lowest level he has ever recorded.
The 6-foot-5-inch wing needs to be able to hit his jump shot to stay in the Lakers’ rotation. But he’s shooting just 20 of 70 (28.6 percent) of the catch, according to Synergy, which ranks in the 18th percentile among all NBA players.
Worse still, the veteran has been scoreless in four of the last five games and is just 1 of 14 (7.1 percent) from the field during that stretch. He has fired more than one shot just once in his last eleven appearances.
It would be more acceptable if Matthews were a significant contributor as a playmaker, rebounder, or defender. But without any of those skills in his arsenal at this point in his career, the future looks bleak.
He signed a one-year contract for the biennial exception during the offseason. If he doesn’t warm up during the second half of the season and / or in the playoffs, he will likely only have minimum deal offers next season.
For the latest news and rumors about Wesley Matthews, click here.
Stock up: Dennis Smith (Detroit)
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Former top 10 draft pick Dennis Smith Jr., who was awarded the NBA All-Rookie second team in 2018, was a promising prospect hailing from NC State.
But the point guard never made the New York Knicks rotation this season and instead applied to play in the G League bubble. While that move never materialized, it was included in a deal with the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Derrick Rose.
The organization always knew it would be capable of ridiculous dunks like what it did against the Sacramento Kings last month.
However, since moving into the starting lineup on February 23, he has been filling up the stat sheet and looking better than ever.
Smith was in his prime when he posted a triple-double during a win over the Toronto Raptors on March 3. He had 12 rebounds, the most of his career, and for the second game in a row, he added three steals.
The 23-year-old point guard is currently in the final year of his rookie contract and could become a restricted free agent if Detroit extends him a qualifying offer at the end of the season. If he continues to show he’s more than a dunk and keeps throwing his jump shots off the rebound, the Pistons could include him as part of their long-term plans.
For the latest news and rumors about Dennis Smith Jr., click here.
Bottom Stock: Stanley Johnson (Toronto)
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During the 2019 low season, Stanley johnson signed a two-year, $ 7.4 million contract with the Toronto Raptors. While he had limited minutes, he was assigned a slightly bigger role for this year.
Previously, Johnson became a regular in the rotation under the direction of the head coach. Nick Nurse. He responded well to the increased responsibility, easily displaying the best shooting stretch of his professional career.
But his jumper hasn’t dropped and Johnson was scoreless in each of the five games he played between February 19 and March 3.
In fact, during the 14 games he has played since early February, he has failed to score a point in eight appearances.
Toronto never signed Johnson as a top scoring option, but his woes on offense have been hard to ignore. The wing is averaging 0.85 points per possession on offense, according to Synergy, which ranks in the 20th percentile in the NBA.
If he doesn’t increase his productivity, it can be difficult for Johnson to land much more than a minimum contract this offseason once his contract expires.
For the latest news and rumors about Stanley Johnson, click here.