NBA Stock Watch: D'Angelo Russell rising, Carmelo Anthony falling

D’Angelo Russell highlights this week’s look at fantasy risers and fallers (Getty Images).

STOCK UP

D’Angelo Russell: He’s not guaranteed to start right away, but Brooklyn traded for the 21-year-old to be the future centerpiece of its franchise. Russell owns a 40.8 FG% through his first two years in the league, so his shooting needs improvement, but after the All-Star break last season, he averaged 18.5 points, 5.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.5 threes for a Lakers team that was in complete disarray (and again, he had barely just turned of drinking age). The Nets actually led the NBA in Pace last year, and with few other options, Russell is going to almost certainly see an increase in Usage Rate. Given his improved situation (in fantasy terms at least), and the likelihood of a further jump in year three, Russell’s value is pointing way up.

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Tim Hardaway Jr.: The Knicks surprisingly (if it’s possible for the franchise to do anything of the sorts) handed Hardaway Jr. a $71 million contract during the offseason, and he’s now the No. 2 scoring option for New York with Carmelo Anthony shipped out of town. Hardaway Jr. averaged 17.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.1 threes during 30 games as a starter last season, when he was a top-85 fantasy player over the final three months. His opportunity is going to grow in New York, playing for a team that will hopefully soon rid itself of the antiquated triangle offense (although no guarantees there).

Victor Oladipo: Another player who gets a big boost in value thanks to changing teams during the offseason, Oladipo switched from playing alongside Russell Westbrook (who led the NBA in Usage Rate by a wide margin) in Oklahoma City to an Indiana team now without Paul George and Jeff Teague (the team’s two leading scorers last season). Oladipo is still just 24 years old, has increased his shooting percentage every year he’s been in the league and now finds himself as his team’s clear No. 1 scoring option for the first time in his career.

Dewayne Dedmon: Freed from the crowded frontcourt in San Antonio, Dedmon should be the starting center in Atlanta this season. The Hawks lost Paul Milsap and Dwight Howard during the offseason, so a big opportunity awaits the center. Dedmon averaged 10.5 points, 13.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes last year, so he’s a sleeper to target.

STOCK DOWN

Carmelo Anthony: While Anthony’s career trajectory was already on the downside, he still remained plenty valuable, but he’ll see a much further plummet now that’s he’s been traded to OKC. He’ll go from being the clear top offensive option in New York to now playing a new position (power forward) while sharing the court with two others who ranked in the top-25 in Usage Rate (Paul George No. 23 and Russell Westbrook No. 1). Anthony hasn’t played 75 games in a season since 2013/14, and given his new situation, should no longer be treated as a top-50 fantasy option.

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LaMarcus Aldridge: Not only has his play fallen off (while at times dealing with a scary heart issue), but it’s become abundantly clear Aldridge is a poor fit in San Antonio. He’s now 32 years old, and the Spurs surprisingly brought back Pau Gasol on a three-year, $48-million deal, so at this point, a trade would be best for Aldridge’s value moving forward.

Isaiah Thomas: A trade to Cleveland already hurt his value now playing alongside LeBron James, but far more importantly are the reports of just how serious of a hip injury he’s dealing with. It looks like he’ll miss at least half of the season, and who knows how close he’ll be to last year’s version even when he’s back on the court. Thomas was terrific and a first-round fantasy asset last year, but Basketball Monster doesn’t even project him to be a top-175 player this season given all the time he’s going to miss. He’s more valuable in H2H formats, but you better be confident you’ll make the playoffs if you’re willing to grab him at his current ADP (a shockingly high number that figures to continue to drop as we approach the start of the season).

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