The new year has brought with it some changes to the NBA. Some players and teams are outperforming previous expectations while others are now falling short. But how should we navigate this for Fantasy Basketball? How do we know if these are temporary or permanent? To try and answer this, I bring to you the 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Week 13 Buy Low-Sell High.
If you're new to my weekly segment, this article comes out every Friday. I go over players that I feel you should target or move on from. But not every player will be in the same tier. I divide them into groups to help you better understand who I would prioritize as a target. They are split into three sections: buy/sell of the week, main buy/sell targets, and other players to buy/sell.
As it is with most things, context is important. I normally determine my selections based on 9-category leagues, also called 9-cat. If you are in a points league, this may still help, but I cannot guarantee it. If you're unsure, or just have any fantasy basketball questions in general, you can reach out to me on Twitter @GreysonAdams907, or just click the link here.
Disclaimer: All statistics for the 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Week 13 Buy Low-Sell High were made before games on Thursday, January 12th. Things may change in only a day! So be on the lookout.
2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Week 13 Buy Low-Sell High
Buy of the Week: Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks
Why is Giannis having his LEAST efficient (+1.5rts) scoring seasons since his Rookie year (-2.3rts). This also may be his WORST offensive season since 16-17. Alot has to do with shots like this. I must note he is having his best VOLUME scoring season this year though. pic.twitter.com/lHhP9tCRtP
— No Layups (Najee Simons) (@NoLayups_) January 12, 2023
I never thought that Giannis would fall into this category, but here we are. Giannis had back-to-back incredible games against the Washington Wizards and the Toronto Raptors. But fantasy managers have short memories. Those games have all but vanished thanks to some pretty terrible performances by the Greek Freak's standards.
Over his last three games, Giannis has averaged 12.7 points (-18.3 points compared to his season average), 10.7 rebounds (-1.2), and 0.0 steals (-0.8). He's also shooting 34.4% from the field (-18.0%) and 55.6% from the charity stripe (-9.7%). He's also already been ruled out for the contest against the Heat on January 12th. Needless to say, this is likely the worst four-game stretch we will see this year (including tonight's game).
In order to determine if he truly is a buy candidate, I reached out to my league-mates who roster him. He's gone from untouchable to "yeah I would trade him for the right price." This is the effect that this type of short but detrimental run can have. I don't think I need to sit here and give you statistics to back up why I think Giannis will bounce back. I think that's pretty obvious. But the grass is always greener on the other side, so maybe hit up the manager with Giannis to see what his asking price is. You may be surprised.
Main Buy Targets
Kyle Lowry, PG, Miami Heat
Kyle Lowry with a dime to Jimmy Butler for the easy two 👀pic.twitter.com/vbNMB7WMP5
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCP) January 7, 2023
Kyle Lowry hasn't ever been a score-first guard, and the trend has continued this season. Normally he's inconsistent and tends to shoot a pretty poor percentage, but his value is buoyed by his solid all-around production. He's good at getting you a good amount of everything else. Recently this hasn't been the case. Over the last two weeks, Lowry has averaged 1.0 triples (-1.2), 6.5 points (-6.6), 2.8 rebounds (-1.6), and 3.7 assists (-1.9). He's shooting even worse from the field than normal, at a whopping 31.1% (-8.7%).
Today Lowry was ruled out for the second game in a row with a knee injury after playing a full slate of minutes in his last healthy game against Brooklyn. This could be a case of him trying to fight through an injury over these past couple of weeks. Normally I wouldn't speculate this about Lowry. He is pretty smart about knowing when to sit, but the Miami Heat have been struggling to field a healthy roster, which could play into his decision. To add more evidence, this is clearly a recurring issue for Lowry, who sat as recently as December 20th with a knee issue, according to their injury report.
Now that he's sitting for consecutive games, it looks like he's going to recover completely and come back healthy. I would expect him to return to a top-75 value in 9-cat leagues when he comes back.
Ivica Zubac, C, Los Angeles Clippers
Pray for Ivica Zubac 🙏
Nothing's wrong with him he just got trapped in a dance circle a few nights ago pic.twitter.com/A6wpC00JXb
— Lost Tribe Sports (@LostTribeSports) January 8, 2023
Ty Lue has been experimenting with the Los Angeles Clippers lineups as of late. This has unfortunately had a negative impact on Zubac's playing time, as their small-ball lineups see him on the bench. Over the last four games, Zubac has played 21 minutes or less in three of them. I don't expect this to continue, and when Zubac does get the minute, he produces. We saw this in the game against Atlanta, where he played 38 minutes and recorded 17 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, and a block.
We've also seen a drop in the big man's block rate, dropping to just 0.6 blocks per game over the last month. I would also expect this to see positive regression. Over his last four seasons, Zubac has averaged at least 0.9 blocks per game. His minutes per game in each of those seasons was at or below 24.4 minutes per game, significantly lower than his 29.2 minutes per game this year. If we do some extrapolating from just last season's numbers, I'd expect him to finish with about 1.2 blocks per game, or about double what he's currently at for the past month.
Other Players to Buy
Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Charlotte Hornets
DENNIS SMITH JR. DETONATES ON JALEN SMITH 😱 pic.twitter.com/oOwn1Zj5hb
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 8, 2023
Dennis Smith Jr. has had a very odd NBA career. He's bounced around and I honestly thought he was done in the NBA as a relevant player, but I've been pleasantly surprised by him this season. He has some low-end value in deeper 9-cat leagues with his high assist and steals numbers. His field goal percentage is low, but his low shot volume means that it doesn't really have that much of an impact either way. He might still be on waivers, but if he is on a team, see if you can snag him for one of your drop candidates.
Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Denver Nuggets
Porter Jr. has been in a bit of a shooting slump recently. Over his last four games, he has averages of 2.0 triples (-07) and 2.3 points (-3.7) on 40% shooting from the field (-6.8%) and 62.5% from the line (-12.5%). As a Nuggets fan, I have watched almost every game Michael Porter Jr. has played this season. His process in these last four games hasn't been any different than it has all season. He's unfortunately just in a slump, and here are some numbers to prove it.
NBA.com has a great collection of stats, one of which is how "open" a player is when they shoot. They measure this based on how close the nearest defender is. Here's the key for those interested:
0-2 feet of space = "very tight"
2-4 feet of space = "tight"
4-6 feet of space = "open"
6+ feet of space = "wide open"
For MPJ, his season-long distribution for three-point attempts has him at 0.5% "very tight" shots, 30% "tight" shots, 44% "open" shots, and 25.5% "wide open" shots. In his shooting slump, we're actually seeing 85% of his three-point attempts as either "open" or "wide open" shots, which is a 15.5% increase. The process is correct, the shots just aren't falling. I'd trade for him before he gets his rhythm back.
Sell of the Week: CJ McCollum, PG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans
CJ McCollum has been BALLIN' lately. 😳 pic.twitter.com/d58pWUMZDm
— theScore Bet (@theScoreBet) January 12, 2023
The Pelicans have been riddled with injuries, and CJ McCollum has stepped up big-time. Over the last two weeks, he's averaging 5.1 triples (+2.1) and 29.4 points (+8.1) on 51.4% shooting (+7.9%) on 20.3 shot attempts (+1.9). Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have been out during this stretch, and he's done a great job shouldering the load. Zion is considered to be out for "multiple weeks" but Ingram is closing in on a return, though there is no set date.
While these two are out I'd expect him to continue to have some great-looking stat lines, but I would expect a drop in efficiency. Shooting above 50% on 20 shots is not sustainable for almost any player, especially not for a guard who typically shoots around the 44%-46% range.
A sustained run of great play like this can be enough for some people to mentally move him up to a tier that he likely doesn't belong in. It would be wise to move him before regression hits and he falls back out of that tier. Someone I would prefer to McCollum for the rest of the season would be Zach Lavine. I feel like you could get Lavine for McCollum straight up, so it's worth a shot if you feel similar to me.
Main Sell Targets
Onyeka Okongwu, C, Atlanta Hawks
Onyeka Okongwu going nuclear here in Atlanta leading the Hawks back pic.twitter.com/Pq7wvbBUDH
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 30, 2022
Onyeka Okongwu is a super-talented player, but his stats have been inflated with the absence of Clint Capela. Capela has been out for some time, so this stretch isn't a short one. Okongwu is ranked 36th on averages over the last month, per Yahoo! Fantasy 9-category rankings. He's a great player to have for multiple categories, primarily field goal percentage and stocks. These unfortunately see a lot of fluctuation when Capela is in the lineup.
Per Stat Muse, Okongwu averages 0.9 steals and 2.1 blocks without Capela. With Capela, those averages drop to 0.5 steals and 0.6 blocks.
Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, Sacramento Kings
Harrison Barnes tonight vs. Orlando ⤵️
👑 30 PTS (game-high)
👑 11-of-13 FG
👑 6-of-7 3PT
👑 +17 plus/minus pic.twitter.com/yfeC49M1qX
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) January 10, 2023
Over the last two weeks, Barnes has averaged 3.0 threes (+1.5) and 18.7 points (+4.1) on 50% shooting from the field (+2.2%). He had a big 30-point game where he only missed two of his thirteen shots just two games ago. He looks very aggressive and is having a great stretch.
I don't believe this type of play is unsustainable for him, but with the amount of talent on the roster this year I wouldn't expect him to continue to score at this same volume. He also tends to lack stats outside of scoring, which puts him in my "Terrence Ross category" of players. I would attempt to trade him for someone that has a more diverse output of stats, like Kyle Lowry potentially.
Other Players to Sell
Josh Richardson, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs
Josh Richardson, man pic.twitter.com/UerFKJENoR
— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) January 8, 2023
Josh Richardson has had a very weird up-and-down season with the Spurs. He's currently in one of his "up" phases of the season, averaging 12.4 points (+1.4), 3.1 rebounds (+0.6), and 4.4 assists (+1.2) on 53.3% shooting (+9.9%). Head coach Gregg Popovich has been inconsistent with Richardson's minutes as he tries to get the young guys more involved. It's better to try and move him while he has any sort of value. He won't be a player you use as a main piece but could be someone to add to sweeten a deal in a deeper league.
That concludes my 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Week 13 Buy Low-Sell High. Make sure to check back in next Friday for the next edition!
For more Fantasy Basketball content, click here.
Awesome write up! Thank you.
I’m glad you liked it, happy to help!