Rentals, Condos & Islands: Which NBA Players are Worth the Investment
I loved Montrezl Harrell at Louisville, loved him.
Watching him fall to the second round – blew my mind – but him doing nothing in Houston was even weirder. Seeing him flourish in Los Angeles has reassured me that I’m a genius.
If you only remember the players you were right about you could never be wrong.
We all have NBA players who we are infatuated with. Maybe you watched one game, and you saw all of the potential. The problem with this is, you can be hooked by an inconsistent player, only to watch him underachieve for his whole career (see Green, Jeff).
For every Caris LeVert, there’s a K.J. McDaniels. For every Victor Oladipo, there’s a Lance Stephenson.
Hell, I still think this is the year Aaron Gordon blossoms into a Blake Griffin-lite.
The point is that it is fun to have players we have stock in. It might be only a little bit of faith, but we still believe. In the wake of basketball returning, I decided to put together a list of my NBA real estate holdings. This is inspired by Dion Waiters’ Island a la Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons. I’m going to walk you through players I have property in. The various properties will vary from Condominium to Island. I will throw a list of rentals (honourable mentions) at the beginning that I might invest in, but I need to see more.
Josh Okogie (close to upgrading him to a condo), Jarred Vanderbilt, Nas Little, Cam Reddish, Frank Ntilikina, Sekou Doumbouya, Bruce Brown, Anfernee Simons, Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr., Miles Bridges, Robert Williams III, Jarrett Allen, Keldon Johnson, Mitchell Robinson.
Justise Winslow, SF/PF – Memphis Grizzlies, 6-6 225lb, Age: 24 (2015 Draft)
2019-20 per game: Sample size too small, only 11 games played
I bought into the Winslow hype following the 2016 draft and the seemingly perfect fit with him and Miami, only to see him underachieve due to both injuries and a bad jumpshot. He played in only 11 games this year due to injury and hasn’t exceeded 70 games in a year since 2016. He’s still somehow only 24, and I still see flashes of a great two-way player, yet I worry that he might need the ball in his hands too much to thrive in Memphis. I wonder had he stayed healthy, if his career would look different. I am forced to sell this estate, as I think the value will soon drop too low.
Lonnie Walker IV, SG – San Antonio Spurs, 6-5 205lb, Age: 21 (2018 Draft)
2019-20 per game: 5.6 pts, 2.2 rbs, 0.9 ast, 0.5 stl, 0.2 blk, 14.5 mins, 43(FG%)/41(3FG%)/72(FT%) splits
I don’t know what he even is, but his athleticism is off the charts.
He shares a theme with a lot of players on this list and that is inconsistency. Watching him in summer league and the rare games that he gets run in is very intriguing, because in games when he’s on, he can look like the best player on the floor. If he can get a consistent jump shot he will be a starting shooting guard at the least. The Spurs have a semi-decent (read that in Pop’s sarcastic voice) history of player development, and I hope they can help Walker IV reach his potential.
Still thinking about this play.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) July 25, 2020
Matisse Thybulle, G-F – Philadelphia 76ers, 6-5 200lb, Age: 23 (2019 Draft)
2019-20 per game: 4.7 pts, 1.5 rbs, 1.2 ast, 1.4 stl, 0.7 blk, 19.5 mins, 41/35/61 splits
This feels like cheating because he’s only a rookie, but I think he’s already an All-NBA level defender.
He averaged 2.6 steals and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes this year, and this is the rare player whose defence makes up for his lack of offence. His jump shot looks okay, and he’s shooting a respectable 35% from three, but his 61% free throw shooting is concerning. Free throw shooting often acts as an indicator for three-point shooting success, so you would like to see him above 70% to feel better about his shot. I see him as Tony Allen with a better jump shot, and I expect to be on Matisse Thybulle Island next year – with no plans to abandon it.
Troy Brown Jr., SF/SG – Washington Wizards, 6-6 215lb, Age: 20 (2018 Draft)
2019-20 per game: 9.7 pts, 5.3 rbs, 2.3 ast, 1.2 stl, 0.1 blk, 24.9 mins, 45/35/75 splits
“Chandler, why do you have stock in a bench player on the Wizards?”
I love point-forward types, and I had my eye on him due to fantasy basketball. I found myself incredibly intrigued by his game. He had some point-forward potential and was a solid defender. His season stat line is very promising for a young player, granted he was on a terrible Wizards team. I don’t know what his ceiling ultimately will be, but I envision him as a Danilo Galinari-esque player – maybe not as talented offensively but a tick better on defence. The Wizards have a “meh” future, but hopefully TBJ can be a positive part of it.
Jonathan Isaac, PF/SF – Orlando Magic, 6-11 210lb, Age: 22 (2017 NBA Draft)
2019-20 per game: 12.0 pts, 6.9 rbs, 1.4 ast, 1.6 stl, 2.4 blk, 29.7 mins, 46/33/77 splits
Probably the definition of an “NBA Body”, Isaac aces the eye test.
He would have been an island, but he only played 32 games before suffering a serious knee injury. He’s back and will hopefully play in the bubble, but at just 22, this choice is simply about potential. He’s a 6-11 wing defender and as his defensive numbers show, he is a terror out on the court. He will be one of the few players capable of slowing Giannis down (a bit, maybe?) in the future, due to his unique blend of size and speed. The Magic actually have an intriguing young core between Fultz, Isaac, Bomba, and Gordon. We just don’t even know what that core is yet. Isaac reminds me a bit of prime Andrei Kirilenko (on the court, I don’t know about the rules of his relationship), and I’m excited to watch him in the future.
- Editors note: This blog was written before Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL against the Sacramento Kings.
Kevin Huerter, SG – Atlanta Hawks, 6-7 190lb, Age: 21 (2018 Draft)
2019-20 per game: 12.2 pts, 4.1 rbs, 3.8 ast, 0.9 stl, 0.5 blk, 31.4 mins, 41/38/83 splits
Matt Bonner and Brian Scalabrine walked so Kevin Huerter could run.
He might suffer a little from the Alex Caruso meme syndrome due to his red hair, but Huerter can flat-out shoot. I think he is the perfect running mate for Trae Young, and hopefully they can blossom into the next great backcourt in the league. If he can stay healthy, I think his floor is a starting guard for the next 10 years, he could even make an all-star game if everything breaks right. The league has moved towards three-point shooting, which gives a great shooter like Huerter a chance to be a great player for a long time.
Lonzo Ball, PG – New Orleans Pelicans, 6-6 190lb, Age: 22 (2017 Draft)
2019-20 per game: 12.4 pts, 6.2 rbs, 7.0 ast, 1.4 stl, 0.5 blk, 32.4 mins, 41/38/57 splits
Lonzo is so much fun to watch in transition, but he doesn’t get enough credit for how he’s improved his all-around game.
While his free throw numbers remain uglier than a Big Baller Brand shoe, he has improved his three-point shooting to a very respectable 38%. I have seen his potential since day 1 and remain convinced he can be an all-star level point guard. He will flirt with triple-doubles and play high level defense, making him a great piece for any team. His true ceiling will be determined by how consistent his jump shot is, because he can go from Jason Kidd to Ricky Rubio real quick if he can’t maintain a respectable average.
DeAndre Ayton, C – Phoenix Suns, 6-11 250lb, Age: 21 (2018 Draft)
2019-20 per game: 19.0 pts, 12.0 rbs, 1.9 ast, 0.7 stl, 1.7 blk, 33.2 mins, 55/00/77 splits
I know that Ayton is a bust because Luka Dončić is already the greatest player to ever have played – but hear me out on this one. In all seriousness, the Dončić explosion and PED suspension have caused people to forget about Ayton. I hope the suspension was a mistake or a misunderstanding, because I don’t want to own a cheater villa. Ayton to me is this generation’s great center, the only issue is this generation of the NBA has devalued the center position. His numbers are very good, but I always leave an Ayton game wanting more. I worry that he will never have the killer instinct to be a true number one option, but I’m too optimistic with him. He might end up being more Al Jefferson than Shaq, but I lean towards a higher ceiling outcome for him.
OG Anunoby, SF – Toronto Raptors, 6-7 232lb, Age: 22 (2017 Draft)
2019-20 per game: 10.7 pts, 5.4 rbs, 1.6 ast, 1.4 stl, 0.7 blk, 30.1 mins, 51/38/69 splits
OG Anunoby has the potential to win a defensive player of the year award, he’s that special. Playing on a very good Raptors team (Kawhi who?) he has stepped into the primary wing defender role with ease. Just watch the guy play defense, because the numbers don’t even do him justice. If OG can improve his shot creation and prove that his three-point shooting (38%) isn’t a fluke, he will be a perennial all-star. I hope he takes that leap offensively, and I think it will come as he matures. The thought of him and Siakam paired together for the next ten years should excite Toronto, I mean think of all the scarves that could be worn in ten winters.
Markelle Fultz finally fixed his shot pic.twitter.com/Gk2QYHV2S8
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 2, 2020
Markelle Fultz, PG/SG – Orlando Magic, 6-3 200lb, Age: 22 (2017 Draft)
2019-20 per game: 12.1 pts, 3.3 rbs, 5.2 ast, 1.3 stl, 0.2 blk, 28.3 mins, 47/25/72 splits
What if I told you that a player with a “hesi pull-up jimbo” (shout-out KD) suddenly forgot how to “jimbo” completely, yet was so impactful in all other aspects of the game that he proved to be a valuable player.
Markelle Fultz has had a very interesting journey in the NBA. From a number one pick in Philly to getting the yips and being dumped to Orlando. The youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double (seriously, he is), Fultz had a great year in Orlando even though he still can’t (or won’t) shoot. I hope for his sake that he can recapture the jimbo ability he flashed in college, because that player had an MVP ceiling, but his situation is unprecedented. I think his finishing ability, passing vision, and defensive ability will equal a very good player, so while his overall ceiling is lowered by not having a jimbo, he can still be very good.
Fultz and Isaac together on the perimeter means that for the years to come, the Amway Center in Orlando will not be the happiest place on Earth for ballhandlers.