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If there are two things I love in this world its NBA basketball & the stock market. One way I look at the futures of players is like stocks on the NASDAQ or NYSE. There are bulls in the market(Hassan Whiteside circa 2014, Giannis in 2015) and there are bears in the market(Jabari Parker and D-Rose right about now) When it comes to investing, I like to go for home runs rather than singles, so if there was such a thing as an NBA player stock market, these are the top 5 players “stocks” I’d invest in right now…remember buy low, sell high!
Malik Monk, SG, Charlotte Hornets
Monk comes into his rookie year with a big chip on his shoulder. I still can’t believe he fell to the Hornets @ pick 11, though he would have been a great fit in New York, Chicago, and Sacramento(Fox & Monk backcourt of the future…C’mon Sacramento)he basically would have been a great fit anywhere because this kid is the perfect player for this era of basketball. Monk had an excellent career at Kentucky, averaging 19 PPG, 40% 3 PT, and unloaded for 47 against UNC. He is everything you want in a 2017 NBA player…he’s athletic, long, and can stroke it from deep. There is a strong history of players who fall on draft night and slip to the 10-14 pick range(Paul George, Andre Drummond, Kobe) They feel slighted and they circle the teams who passed on them on their schedule and really try and make a point when they play those teams…’hey, you should have taken me’. I am a big fan of Monk’s game…his ‘stock’ is at an all-time low after falling to the Hornets and getting injured in summer league, so now would be a good time to buy Monk stock for sure.
Richaun Holmes, PF, Philadelphia 76ers
Holmes is still stuck in the PF/C carousel in Philadelphia fighting for playing time with Embiid, Okafor, Noel (finally gone), and Saric. Holmes had an excellent 2016 season and he’s still just 23 years young. He logged just 20 minutes/game in 2017, but averaged 10.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1 BPG, and shot 56% from the field, along with an impressive 35% from deep (did not know he could shoot) He ended last season with a PER of 18.61 and has already had some incredible posterizing dunks in his young career. I love Holmes’ game as a Dunk & Defense type player, his body is perfect for the 2017 PF spot and he has an incredible bounce at 6’10”, but he is stuck fighting for playing time in Philly. I’m buying Holmes stock banking that he gets traded at the deadline, his name will no doubt be a hot commodity around February. I would love to see Holmes get more playing time on a team like Boston (would probably start for them), San Antonio, or Minnesota. On his contract of just $1.5 million/year, he is an exceptional value for the numbers he puts up (on one of the best contracts in the league)…the phones will definitely be ringing in Philly come February, would love to see him get moved to a place where his talent can be better utilized.
Brandon Ingram, SF, Los Angeles Lakers
I’m not as high on Ingram as a lot of other writers, but the potential for this kid is still very evident. He needs to add weight and muscle, but other than that he has an incredible NBA-ready body with an impressive vertical(he can touch the top of the backboard) Ingram had an abysmal rookie year last year, playing 29 MPG, scoring 9.4 PPG on 40% shooting…and a terrible 62% from the stripe. With Embiid going down after 31 games and Simmons sitting out, this was the worst rookie class in recent memory and yet Ingram could only muster all-rookie 2nd team…so why am I buying Ingram stock right now? The swap of D’Angelo Russell for Lonzo Ball is going to do wonders for this kid’s career. That Laker team last year was poison for the start of Ingram’s career…you had Russell playing hero ball and Nick Young taking 3’s with 19 seconds left on the shot clock…Ingram never really saw the ball at all. Last year was just a bad situation for a rookie… new coach, Russell was the primary ball handler, and the team around him was just terrible. Lonzo’s unselfishness and incredible court vision are going to make all the difference for Ingram in his second year. He’s going to have a bigger role in the offense and with his body and wingspan, he will always be an above average defender. He really needs to improve his shooting…like A LOT, but he is an exceptional ball handler for his size and his wingspan allows him to disrupt passing lanes easily. With his body and athleticism, he will be an easy target for Lonzo alley-oops in 2017. I’m buying Ingram stock for the upcoming season.
Dejounte Murray, PG, San Antonio Spurs
Murray is currently just a penny stock right now as he came in as a late first-rounder in the 2016 draft and didn’t really see a lot of playing time in his rookie year. He averaged about 9 minutes/game and only played 38 games, but I’m still really high on him for a plethora of reasons. His stock slipped dramatically on draft night and he fell all the way to 29th and right into the hands of Pop and the Spurs…so right off the bat, his career is off to a great start… you know Pop will get more out of him than any other team in the league…it’s just what San Antonio does (like Monk, he’s got the chip on his shoulder factor too). Secondly, I’m a fan of tall, lanky point guards like Lonzo, John Wall, De’Aaron Fox, & Murray certainly fits the bill at 6’5” with an impressive 7-foot wingspan. Bigger point guards are always a tough match up on the offensive end and with a wingspan of 7’0” Murray can disrupt passing lanes easily(averaged 2 steals/game at Washington) He isn’t that great of a scorer right now, but the Spurs have the best shooting coach in the world in Chip Engelland and at the very least he’ll be an excellent defensive player. One thing you always hear in interviews with star PGs like John Wall & Russell Westbrook is that the biggest factor in their development was getting consistent reps and learning through their mistakes early on. Murray is clearly San Antonio’s point guard of the future and he even started two playoff games as a rookie, so we’ll see how he develops…hopefully he can get more consistent reps as a sophomore since Tony Parker is in the twilight of his career.
Donovan Mitchell, SG, Utah Jazz
The 2017 draft was the best draft since 2003, but even ’03 was a super top heavy draft, 2017 had value everywhere from Monk at 11 to Jordan Bell at 38, this was just an absolutely stacked draft class. It’s tough to call right now who is going to be the best player from this class in 15 years…virtually impossible (My guesses in order would be Ball, Fultz, Monk, heck it could be Dennis Smith Jr. who knows!) but Donovan Mitchell is a name to keep an eye on in Utah. Lonzo obviously was the gem of Summer League, but Mitchell was far-and-away the 2nd best player in the tournament. The loss of Gordon Hayward is going to open up some more playing time for Mitchell this season and I’m excited to see what he brings to the table. He’s a high-flying swingman with a 7’0” wingspan who is great on the defensive end. A lot of analysts and writers around the league say he has all-star potential…and that is exactly what you want when drafting at the 14th spot…a home run swing. Much like Murray, Mitchell comes into the league in a great organization that knows how to develop young talent(Gobert was 27th pick and Hood was 23rd pick) Being in a well-run organization can make all the difference for a young player…you wonder what some guys like Ben McLemore or Elfrid Payton could have been if they had been picked by a different team that actually knew what they were doing. Mitchell is basically in the best situation possible…he gets to play with other good players with a team that won a playoff series last year, and will actually get big minutes unlike if he was taken by GSW or SA. I think Mitchell is the steal of the draft…I’m all in on Mitchell stock.