Buy, Sell or Hold: LaMarcus Aldridge and Nikola Jokic?

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The first week of the season is over. And boy what a week it was! Too many injuries put a damper on a very exciting start to the NBA season. The reigning champions Golden State lost two out of three, and their arch nemesis Cleveland was humiliated a few days ago by Orlando, who was missing two of their starters, by the way. Phoenix already decided to thank their head coach Earl Watson for his services and Bledsoe's "I don't want to be here" tweet is having a ripple effect on the franchise, and on our fantasy lives.

Amid all of this drama, a few players surprised us with how they performed. Some pleasantly, some not so much.

Let's take a look at some early over- and under-achievers in our Week 2 fantasy basketball buy low and sell high column here at RotoBaller.

Editor's note: Purchase any NBA Lineup Optimizer pass (including daily DFS cheat sheets), and you also get access to NFL and NHL Optimizers and DFS cheat sheets.

 

Buy Low, Sell High Advice for Week 2

Are You for Real, LaMarcus Aldridge?

The answer is: Probably not.

First of all, let's take a look at how good Aldridge actually was over his first two games. He averaged 26.5 PTS with 0.5 3PM on 46.7 FG% and 90.9 FT%, 10.0 REB, 3.5 AST, 0.5 STL, 2.0 BLK and 2.0 TO while playing 36 minutes a game. Now let's put that into perspective by comparing it to his best season averages. If he were to keep this up, LMA would set career highs in points, three-pointers made, blocks, assist, free throw percentage and would come dangerously close to his best rebounding season (11.1 in 2013-14).

LaMarcus is a great player, but there's just no way he can keep this up. Why you ask? First of all, he is 32 and is playing for Gregg Popovich who is notorious for taking it easy on his "Old Stars." Second, he has seen most of his stats decline each year since coming to San Antonio two years ago. Third, and probably most important, the Spurs' leader and best player Kawhi Leonard has been absent with an injury and is set to return sooner or later. Once Kawhi returns LMA will see his usage and probably even playing time take a dip.

There's been some speculation that Kawhi is still a ways away from returning so Aldridge will have the increased opportunity in the near future, but it may be a good idea to cash in your chips now if the right opportunity comes up.

I would give up LaMarcus for most players in the top 30, and if some poor sap is willing to swap his struggling Nikola Jokic or Jimmy Butler for your Aldridge, you could count yourself very lucky.

Baller Move: Sell high

 

Time to Panic on Nikola Jokic?

Nikola Jokic is a top 10 fantasy player when he plays like he can. He showed that last season after Denver sorted out their rotation issues and unleashed him. He showed that this year in the preseason. He hasn't shown it yet in his first two regular season games though with averages of 3.5 PTS and 0.5 3PM on 23.1% from the field, 10.5 rebounds, 7.5 assist, 0.5 steals, no blocks and 3.5 turnovers in 33 minutes per game. That's just appalling.

He saw his usage drop from team-leading 23.4% last season to just 13.6% in those two games. Now Nikola is a team player, but that's just too much. It's enough to say that he hasn't taken a single free throw yet.

One could make a point of Paul Millsap's arrival eating into the Joker's offensive touches. But Millsap is not James Harden or Russell Westbrook to make such drastic an impact on Nikola's stats. Also, Millsap and Jokic played together during the preseason and they worked together just fine. So the real reason for this slip is probably just a bad game or two. I must remind you that this is still the same guy who averaged 17.7 PTS with 0.6 3PM on 57.5 FG% and 84.2 FT%, with 11.6 REB, 6.1 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.6 BLK and 2.8 TO in just under 30 minutes a game after the All-Star break last season. And he is only going to get better.

If his owner is panicking, this is the right time to try and get him. Nikola Vucevic, Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin are all bigs that have vastly outperformed Jokic so far this season, and all of them will most probably be less valuable to their fantasy teams going forward. So if you can get the Joker for any of these guys, or any player outside of the top 15-20, I would take it!

Baller Move: Hold or buy low

 

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