The 2019-20 NBA season officially tips off tomorrow! Here, we will take a look at each NBA team in the Eastern Conference and select one player from each team whose figurative “stock” is trending up from last season. Conversely, we will also look at a player on each team who will regress from last season.
Stock Up: Kevin Huerter
In his rookie season, Kevin Hurter started 59 games, averaged 9.7 points per game, and shot 38.5% from three-point range. At just 21 years old, the “Red Mamba” will certainly break the double-digit mark for points per game and has a chance for a lot of open looks, as teams focus their perimeter defense on Trae Young.
Stock Down: Jabari Parker
Jabari Parker started just 17/39 games for the Chicago Bulls and 0/25 for the Washington Wizards. He will likely come off the bench for John Collins and he will be competing with rookie De’Andre Hunter for minutes.
Stock Up: Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker finds himself on a truly competitive team with a great head coach. He also joins a locker rooms that seems to have had the toxic players removed.
Stock Down: Daniel Theis
Daniel Theis has been a solid big man off of the bench for the Celtics. However, the likes of Robert Williams III and Grant Williams will put pressure on Theis to perform this season. Theis will likely be a change-of-pace power forward for Boston, but it will be more matchup-based rather than talent/potential on Theis’ part.
Stock Up: Jarrett Allen
Jarrett Allen has quickly established himself as the anchor of the defense for the Brooklyn Nets. He averaged 1.5 blocks per game last season and, with DeAndre Jordan to mentor him, he could look to average double-digit rebounds per game.
Stock Down: Wilson Chandler
Wilson Chandler was signed by the Nets to serve as a savvy veteran while Kevin Durant recovers from his achilles surgery. Chandler has been on the decline since he turned 30 and is suspended for the first 25 games for violating the NBA’s drug policy.
Stock Up: Malik Monk
Malik Monk will likely make his first career start in the opening game for the Hornets after coming off the bench for just 17 minutes per game. Monk has the potential to be a solid three-point shooter and shows a lot of upside, as he doesn’t turn 22 years old until February.
Stock Down: Terry Rozier
Terry Rozier will be the starting point guard for the Hornets after signing a $56.7M contract. However, he shot just 38% from the field last season and averaged just nine points per game in 22 minutes. Pretend he didn’t play extremely well in the playoffs two years ago and you start to realize Rozier is overrated and may not be worth what he will be making.
Stock Up: Zach LaVine
LaVine is coming off of a career year after averaging 23.7 points, 4.7 assists, and four rebounds per game last season. At 24 years old and entering his prime, LaVine could be in line to make the All-Star team this year.
Stock Down: Denzel Valentine
Valentine missed all of last season after undergoing ankle surgery. The Bulls also signed Thaddeus Young to join Otto Porter Jr., so Valentine will see fewer minutes despite being healthy going into the season.
Stock Up: Cedi Osman
Cedi Osman saw a decent amount of success with the Cavaliers as a starter, putting up 13ppg in 22 minutes per game. His took his game to another level with Turkey in the FIBA World Cup, scoring 20 points per game. Osman is just 23 years old and has the makings to be a solid player this year.
Stock Down: Collin Sexton
The Cavaliers spent the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft on Darius Garland after using eighth overall in 2018 to take Sexton. Sexton may have the makings of a useful scoring guard, but his defense makes him borderline unusable. Garland may be a more permanent solution for the point guard position and Sexton may be the Cavaliers sixth man by the end of the season.
Stock Up: Luke Kennard
Luke Kennard has been one of the better NBA three-point shooters and has converted on 40% of his attempts in his young career. Kennard put up a surprising, and unprecedented, 21.4 points per game against the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs and hit 60% of his three-point attempts. Those numbers are likely unsustainable for Kennard, but perhaps they mark him turning a corner at 22.
Stock Down: Reggie Jackson
The Pistons made an effort to stock up on solid depth players, such as Markieff Morris and Joe Johnson. Derrick Rose will be the sixth man of the team, which could result in a decrease in usage for Reggie Jackson, who hasn’t averaged more than 16 points per game since the 2015-16 season.
Stock Up: Malcolm Brogdon
As of right now, there is no timetable for Victor Oladipo’s return. This leaves the point guard position for Indiana with Malcolm Brogdon starting and T.J. McConnell off of the bench. Brogdon has been one of the most efficient players in the NBA and shot 50.5% from the field last season. He may not be flashy, but he will hold down the production from the point guard position until Oladipo can return.
Stock Down: Myles Turner
Despite a career-high 2.7 blocks per game last season, Myles Turner finds himself without the extremely underrated Thaddeus Young to help plug up the paint. I foresee Turner struggling without Oladipo in the mix to keep defenses guessing.
Stock Up: Bam Adebayo
With Hassan Whiteside now on the Portland Trail Blazers, the Miami Heat can build their team around both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. In just 23 minutes per game, Adebayo was still able to post 8.9 ppg and 7.3 rpg. Look for a big year from him.
Stock Down: Derrick Jones Jr.
Derrick Jones Jr. posted career-highs in points (7.0) and rebounds (4.0) in his 60 games with the Miami Heat. The good news this offseason for Jones Jr. was that starter Josh Richardson was traded. The bad news for Jones Jr. was that All-Star Jimmy Butler will keep his minutes limited.
Stock Up: Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Eastern Conference is even more wide open with the departure of yet another superstar to the Western Conference (Kawhi Leonard). Giannis Antetokounmpo’s stock as a player goes up and his odds of winning the MVP by beating up the rest of the East goes up as well. The Bucks should be considered the favorite to win the conference and Giannis will be in MVP conversations yet again.
Stock Down: Brook Lopez
Brook Lopez shocked everyone in the postseason by showing off his three-point range. However, Lopez looked awful in his limited minutes for the United States, as he played just seven minutes and shot 15.8% from three-point range. With twin brother Robin joining the team, the Bucks may rest Brook Lopez against the more physical big men in the league.
New York Knicks
Stock Up: Frank Ntilikina
Many are excited to see R.J. Barrett’s NBA debut, but Ntilinkina could look to be a defensive menace. Ntilikina had a good outing in the FIBA World Cup for France and averaged eight points and one steal per game.
Stock Down: Taj Gibson
Taj Gibson started 57/70 games for the New York Knicks last season. However, he joins a squad with the likes of Julius Randle and Bobby Portis already listed at the power forward position. At 34 years old, Gibson may be relegated to a mentor role.
Stock Up: Jonathan Isaac
Jonathan Isaac took a big step forward from both a health and playing standpoint. He averaged more points, assists and rebounds in year two compared to year one. He also saw seven more minutes per game (from 19 in his rookie year to 26). I expect his minutes, and production, to increase once again in 2019-20.
Stock Down: Mo Bamba
Bamba is still easing his way back fully from the stress fracture in his leg. With injuries like these to big men, his workload is likely to be heavily-monitored throughout the season.
Stock Up: Ben Simmons
Simmons has been working on his jumpshot all offseason and, if it can come together during the NBA season, he may be an absolute nightmare for teams given the skill set he already offers. Simmons will also benefit from the addition of Al Horford, who is known around the league as one of the best pick-and-roll big men.
Stock Down: Josh Richardson
Don’t get me wrong, Josh Richardson has a lot of upside. However, the 76ers offense has a lot of mouths to feed, with Simmons, Hoford and Embiid. Richardson will have the ability to sit back and focus on his play around the perimeter.
Stock Up: Pascal Siakam
Siakam had a stellar postseason in 2019. He started all 24 games for the Raptors and averaged 19 points per game. At 25 years old, Siakam will perhaps be the most exciting player to watch on the Raptors this year, and it will be interesting to see how the Raptors do as they run it back with everyone except for NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Stock Down: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Hollis-Jefferson started 21/59 games for the Brooklyn Nets last season. However, he took a huge step back, playing fewer minutes and averaging fewer points, rebounds, assists and steals. He also posted career-lows in three-point shooting and overall field goal percentage.
Stock Up: Ish Smith
The former jolt of offense for the Pistons will be the day one starter for the Washington Wizards, while John Wall recovers from a ruptured achilles tendon and Isaiah Thomas recovers from thumb surgery. Smith may be 31 years old, but he displayed tremendous speed last season and will get his first start since the 2017-18 season.
Stock Down: Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas recently underwent thumb surgery that will keep him off of the court for six weeks. Some may do the math and say his injury won’t be a problem because his surgery took place six weeks before the NBA season begins anyway. However, missing an entire training camp and preseason to build chemistry with teammates will hinder Thomas for a chunk of games early this fall.