By: Eric Romoff
Tuesdays are typically shorter slates in the NBA and tonight is no different. What is different compared to Tuesdays past is that tonight we have a neat little five-gamer instead of the three-game schedules we’ve seen lately. This size of slate is probably my favorite to play. It’s small enough to where guys can rise from the mid-to-low end of the pool to bring a significant return but not so small that every player on the board has their IPO price inflated. With that in mind, I’ll be focusing most of my effort on the Jock MKT tonight on Mid-Cap plays but have identified a couple of Blue Chip and Penny Stock options that I definitely want to have as part of my portfolio. The board for tonight’s game looks to be pretty straightforward as Portland is the only team on a back to back and we have pretty clear line of sight as to which players are going to be available. The only exception is the status of the Lakers, where there’s a good shot all members of their big-three are going to give it a go but we’ll need to monitor that situation as we get closer to tip. That Lakers/Kings game carries the highest total on the board tonight so there is a lot to like about it depending on how player availability shakes out.
Stephen Curry | PG | Golden State Warriors
Jock MKT Projection – 47.48 (2nd)
Max IPO Bid -$15.35
Break-Even Rank – 4.35
Sometimes process of elimination is the best way to zero in on your Blue Chip plays. All of the players projected inside the top nine on Jock MKT are within nine points of each other, from 39.13 to 48 points projected, but only two of those nine do not have a teammate joining them on the list; Steph Curry and Damian Lillard. That onto itself makes both of them significantly safer plays and makes me more comfortable spending up to acquire them. Lillard is a fine play in his own right but doesn’t hold a candle to the upside that Curry brings on a nightly basis. Curry has surpassed his current projection in seven of his last eight games. In six of those eight he scored over 50 points and three of them broke the 60-point threshold (four if you round up from 59.5). Lets not forget he also has an 85.75-point performance on his resume this year. Simply put, Curry should be the odds-on favorite to lead the slate in scoring on any given night but the who’s who of superstars on the board tonight will likely have him land around $15.00 at IPO. His opponent tonight in Phoenix is a bit of a tough out for point guards this season but I think that will be offset by how much of a pace-up spot this game is on the whole. Phoenix and Golden State rank fourth and seventh respectively in pace of play and that should provide Steph ample opportunity to fill the stat sheet. It will be expensive to acquire many shares of Curry but I’m willing to push my chips to the center of the table on this one.
Jaren Jackson Jr. | PF/C | Memphis Grizzlies
Jock MKT Projection – 29.57 (26th)
Max IPO Bid -$7.20
Break-Even Rank – 20.8
Jaren Jackson Jr. is a centerpiece of the Memphis Grizzlies’ attack and is already ninth in usage among big men. We saw point guard Ja Morant suffer a scary-looking knee injury a few nights ago; fortunately it doesn’t look to be serious but Ja will miss some time, and nobody stands to see more of a lift from his absence than JJJ. In his first game without Morant Jaren Jackson Jr. saw a nice usage uptick en route to a 31.18 finish on Jock MKT. Tonight Jackson faces off against a Toronto Raptors team allowing players to do a lot in categories of strength for him. Opposing centers average nearly three blocks and 16 rebounds per game. The Raptors do have starter Pascal Siakam back in the lineup but I believe Jackson to be physical enough to impose his will on the undersized center who carries a defensive rating outside the top-50 in the league. Given the amount of superstar talent up top, Jackson likely doesn’t have top-10 upside tonight but can certainly bring a 30%+ return on his IPO price.
Evan Fournier | SG/SF
Jock MKT Projection – 20.55 (47th)
Max IPO Bid -$4.60
Break-Even Rank – 37.23
One of the more puzzling headlines in the NBA is how quickly free-agent acquisition Kemba Walker has fallen out of favor with the Knicks. Reporting just yesterday announced Tom Thibodeau is planning to be without Walker and shortening the rotation for the foreseeable future. While this has opened up additional minutes for guys like RJ Barrett and Alex Burks, the biggest benefactor has been Evan Fournier whose usage has exploded since Kemba left the court. Over the past week, Fournier’s usage is nearly 26%, compared to around 18% in the games prior. Because this hasn’t pulled Fournier to the starting rotation he largely remains off the radar and that is an inefficiency we must attack. As long as the Knicks don’t end up being blown out by the Nets, I’m expecting Fournier to outperform his projection and flirt with greater than 50% return on the Jock MKT.